HBO Max combines the huge film library of HBO with a number of other films available just for the service. But which of the HBO Max movies are the best ones to stream and watch today?
Here are our picks for the best HBO Max movies that are currently available on the streaming service. We kept this list to just the films you can watch on HBO Max. For a list of the best movies on the HBO service, head over to our separate feature. You can sign up for the new streaming service at the link below.
Best HBO Max movies:
Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best HBO Max movies regularly as new ones launch.
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey
Stanley Kubrick directed and co-wrote (with Arthur C. Clarke) this 1968 sci-fi epic. Even in this age of CGI, this film still holds up extremely well. The themes of evolution and the discovery of a vastly superior alien civilization stand out, as humanity takes its first few steps beyond Earth. Of course, the highlight of the movie is HAL, the AI in charge of the Jupiter-bound spaceship Discovery. HAL doesn’t want anything to stop this mission, even the human astronauts who HAL sees as threats. It’s definitely one of the best HBO Max movies.
The 1942 classic WWII-themed romantic movie is still highly emotional to watch in 2020. Rick, played perfectly by Humphrey Bogart, is the owner of a bar in Casablanca, Morocco, where all sorts of “business” is taken care of under the table. However, Rick never thought he would have to encounter his lost love Ilsa, played equally perfectly by Ingrid Bergman. Ilsa and her husband are on the run from the Nazis, and they both need Rick’s help to get away from them. Can Rick keep his feelings for Ilsa at bay? Will Ilsa abandon her husband for Rick? This movie is perhaps the first great romantic film, and it’s still one of the best you can watch.
3. The Dirty Dozen
This 1967 movie was a very different kind of World War II film compared to previous such movies. It depicted 12 US Army convicts, many of them destined to be hung for their crimes. The movie takes an unusual premise; these convicts were pulled out of their cells to train for a secret mission just before D-Day. It’s a formula that been used in other movies and TV shows since, including in the superhero genre with Suicide Squad. It’s a lot of fun to watch as these criminals, one of which is a total psycho, try to work together. It’s certainly one of the best HBO Max movies you can watch.
4. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Peter Jackson’s adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy of novels got better with each film. The final 2003 movie, The Return of the King, is truly epic fantasy storytelling, but with a lot of deeply personal stories as well. The final battle between the forces of Sauron and the assembled armies of men, elves, and others is huge, but the journey of Frodo and Sam to destroy the One Ring is equally powerful as well.
5. All The President’s Men
This 1976 film tells the true store of how two reporters for The Washington Post newspaper revealed one of the biggest scandals in US political history. What started out as a simple report on a break-in at the Watergate building soon escalated. Reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, played here by Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, followed the trail of the break-in at the Democratic Party Headquarters. They find out that the break-in was linked to the White House itself. The movie shows how the two reporters, with the help of a mysterious source named Deep Throat, uncovered the truth of the story, which ultimately led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
6. Singin’ in the Rain
Is there a better movie musical than this 1952 classic? Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds are all at the top of their game as they play movie performers in 1920s Hollywood. The plot doesn’t really matter. What matters is this movie has tons of great songs, tons of great singing by the leads, and some memorable dance and set pieces that really can’t be topped, even today.
7. The Wizard of Oz
1939 not only brought us Gone with the Wind, but also this children’s musical classic that is still great to watch. Ok, Judy Garland might have been a tad too old to play Dorothy Gale, but you can ignore that for the most part. What you get is excellent songs, some fantastic performances by Garland and the rest of the cast, and some superb visual effects and art design. You also get one of the best movie villains of all time, with Margaret Hamilton’s Wicked Witch of the West. Anyone who threatens a dog is automatically someone to be feared.
8. When Harry Met Sally
This 1989 classic is not only one of the best HBO Max movies, but also one of the best romantic comedies ever made. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan play people who constantly debate whether men can actually be friends with women, without having romantic feelings get in the way. This movie, written by Nora Ephron and directed by Rob Reiner, has a ton of laughs, including THAT SCENE that could be one of the funniest sequences in film history.
You might think that a film about four friends who go out on a weekend canoe river trip would be boring. This 1972 classic is anything but boring. Director John Boorman adapted the novel by James Dickey and turned it into a truly terrifying odyssey. Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty, and Ronny Cox play the ill-fated Atlanta city residents who go on a trip into the Georgia backwoods. Not only do they battle the highly primal and rapid river currents, but they also have to deal with some murderous backwoods residents. Yes, there is a very iconic, and very upsetting, scene in this classic film, so be prepared.
10. Ocean’s 11 (2001)
The original Ocean’s 11 movie from the 1960s is, well, not that good. It was mainly an excuse for Frank Sinatra and his “Rat Pack” to get together to make a movie. The 2001 version, directed by Steven Soderbergh, is far superior. It’s one of the best heist movies ever made, as George Clooney’s Danny Ocean wants to rob three Las Vegas casinos that belong to a millionaire who currently has Ocean’s ex-wife, played by Julia Roberts, as his girlfriend. This is a movie with a truly all-star cast that also includes Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, and many more.