Whether you get HBO via its traditional cable channel, or via streaming on HBO Now, the premium movie and TV service has hundreds of current and classic movies to watch. While that selection does change every month, there’s is usually some great films to watch on HBO (and of course, there’s also the large number of original series and specials to watch as well).
Here’s a look at the best HBO movies that are currently available to watch on cable, or via streaming.
Best HBO movies
Editor’s note – We will update this list as movies are removed from HBO and others are added.
1. First Man
It’s hard to believe that there was never a major feature film about the first manned moon landing until 2018, when First Man finally was released to theaters. Director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash, La La Land) offers an emotional and human story about the events that led up to the Apollo 11 moon landing. Actor Ryan Gosling does an excellent job portraying astronaut Neil Armstrong, a man who remains a somewhat enigmatic figure in the history of space exploration. First Man is definitely one of the best HBO movies currently available to stream.
This 2018 film, directed by Spike Lee, finally secured him his first Academy Award for best director earlier this year. It’s easy to see why after watching this film, based on the true story of Ron Stallworth. The black police detective, with the help of a white partner, managed to infiltrate a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado Springs, Colorado in the early 1970s. John David Washington plays the role of Stallworth perfectly and is ably assisted by Adam Driver as his partner. Look for Topher Grace in the movie as well, playing none other than the most famous Klansman of all, David Duke.
3. Deadpool 2
The merc with a mouth returns in this 2018 sequel to the hit movie based on the Marvel Comics anti-superhero. Ryan Reynolds is back as both co-writer and star, as Wade Wilson tries to save a kid who, in the future, is going to become a major threat to humans. Josh Brolin is also excellent as Cable, the cyborg who has a mission to kill the kid. While there is some serious stuff in this movie, most of it is played for laughs, including one of the most memorable, and briefest, super hero teams we have ever seen. HBO also has the Deadpool 2 unrated Super Duer Cut version, and also Once Upon a Deadpool, a PG-13 version with about 10 minutes of all new scenes. The action and humor combine to make this one of the best current HBO movies.
4. Love Actually
This 2006 film has turned into a Christmas movie tradition, but this romantic comedy from writer-director Richard Curtis can be watched and enjoyed any time of the year. He seamlessly brings together a massive amount of characters and storylines and links all of them as they encounter a number of memorable events during the Christmas season in London. Hugh Grant may be at his best in this movie as the Prime Minister of Great Britain who suddenly finds himself in love in an unexpected way. Also, look for The Walking Dead’s Andrew Lincoln in an early role as a man who tries to hide his true feelings for his best friend’s newly married wife, but finally decides to tell her in perhaps the movie’s most memorable scene.
Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe got started, there were movies based on Marvel Comics’ stable of characters. One of those movies was very polarizing, and that was this 2003 film adaptation of the Hulk, a massive and nearly mindless creature created from inside the body of Dr. Bruce Banner. Director Ang Lee brought a ton of family regret and abuse in this comic book retelling of Hulk’s origin, and we actually like that human aspect of this story. Plus, we get to see the Hulk break a bunch of stuff.
6. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
This small indie film came out of left field in 2002 to become one of the biggest box office hits of that year. Nia Vardalos wrote the script and stars as the lead character, based on her real-life courtship and marriage of a non-Greek man, and how that affects her highly traditional Greek extended family. The humor comes not from obvious jokes, but from what feels like real situations that most people can relate to. It makes this film one of the best HBO movies on the channel.
Director Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 classic sci-fi action movie may actually be more relevant today than when it was released over 30 years ago. The story of Detroit police officer Alex Murphy, played by Peter Weller, is at the center of this movie. He’s gunned down by a criminal gang but is revived by a corporation and turned into a cyborg who’s only thoughts are to “serve the public trust, pr0tect the innocent, uphold the law”. At least, that’s what OCP wanted to happen. As you will see, Robocop blends action, satire, and pathos to bring us a story that’s highly entertaining, and easily one of the best HBO movies you can watch.
8. Big Trouble in Little China
Direct John Carpenter’s previous collaborations with actor Kurt Russell were all serious films (the Elvis TV biopic, the action movie Escape from New York and the classic horror remake The Thing). Big Trouble in Little China, released in 1986, was a complete 180 as this movie is played mostly for laughs. Russel plays Jack Burton, a man who has lots of confidence but is something of a screwup. He wants to help his friend and his fiance defeat an ancient sorcerer in San Francisco’s Chinatown. The mix of comedy and action is pretty much perfect and you can look forward to watching some funny moments, along with great fight sequences and much more.
9. United 93
This is not an easy film to watch for some people, but there’s no doubt that the 2006 drama is perhaps the most effective movie made so far about the events of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. in 2001. The movie is filmed like a documentary and centers mostly on the passengers and crew of Unity 93, which was taken over by highjackers with the intention of flying into an important building. The documentary-style makes this film more intimate, as the passengers attempt to retake the plane before the terrorists complete their mission. Again, this movie is not for everyone, but it still is one of the best HBO films available.
10. A Star Is Born (2018)
The fourth version of this romantic, and ultimately tragic, film turned out to be a powerful drama that is helped by some great acting and musical performances. Bradley Cooper made his directorial debut with this movie, and stars as a highly popular country singer who is slowly losing his hearing and his audience. He finds a young female songwriter, played perfectly by Lady Gaga, and he helps her rocket up to stardom. The story has been told many times before, but the 2018 version of A Star Is Born feels more real and emotional than those previous films.