Whether you get HBO via its traditional cable channel or via the HBO Max streaming service, the premium movie and TV service has hundreds of current and classic movies to watch. The selection of HBO films changes monthly, so we are here to show you the best ones currently available.
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Best movies on HBO:
Editor’s note: We will update this list of the best movies on HBO regularly as new ones are released on the streaming service.
This 2019 film retells how the US started to fight off Japan in the Pacific theater of World War II during the battle of Midway Island. After the 1941 Japanese attack on the US Navy fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, things looked bleak for the US. However, the discovery of secret coded messages of an upcoming attack on Midway gave the US the edge it needed in the Pacific. This movie has lots of spectacular battle sequences and is an overall entertaining film.
This 2012 movie won the Best Picture Oscar for that year, and it’s easy to see why. It tells the true story of a part of the 1979 Iran hostage crisis that had been kept secret for years. During the fall of the Shah of Iran, six members of the US embassy in the country managed to find sanctuary in the neighboring Canadian embassy. The US government wanted to get the workers out of Iran before the followers of Ayatollah Khomeini found them. The film shows how that was accomplished in a very different way that we won’t spoil here. Ben Affleck, who stars in and directed Argo, tells an excellent tale that would sound like a Hollywood spy movie if it wasn’t real.
Kill Bill Vol. 1/Vol. 2
We are combining both of these movies into one entry on our list, because it’s basically one really long film. It’s also without a doubt one of the best movies on HBO. Directed by Quentin Tarantino, this tribute to Japanese kung-fu and samurai flicks actually elevates those genres to a new level. Uma Thurman is perfect as “The Bride,” a member of a group of assassins lead by Bill, played by David Carradine. However, we soon learn that “The Bride” decides to leave the group to have a normal life. Her former teammates find her, attack her and leave her for dead. In fact, she was in a coma, and she’s our for revenge against every single one of them, especially Bill. With some time-twisty storytelling, some excellent action sequences, and even an anime sequence, these two films must be watched.
It’s sometimes hard to forget that the Rocky series of movies began with this under-the-radar 1976 film. The story of Rocky Balboa, a small-time boxer who suddenly finds himself fighting against the heavyweight champion of the world, may be the ultimate in sports underdog stories. The movie itself is a successful underdog story. Its star, Sylvester Stallone, wrote the script for the movie as well, and his performance, the script, and John G. Avildsen’s direction helped to turn this low-budget film into a huge hit, and it won the Oscar for Best Picture that year. You can also watch all of the Rocky sequels on HBO as well.
Ford vs Ferrari
This 2019 movie got a ton of Oscar nominations, and it’s easy to see why. This film tells the true story of how the Ford car company decided to go after the Italian Ferrari vehicles in sports car racing during the 1960s. Most folks thought Ferrari was unbeatable. However, Ford’s car builder Carroll Shelby, played here by Matt Damon, wanted to prove the critics wrong. He designs and builds a race car that will go up against Ferrari at the classic 24 Hours of Le Mans race. However, the car needs a driver, and that’s where Ken Miles, played by Christian Bale, comes in to drive Shelby’s creation. Even if you don’t know anything about cars or racing, this movie will keep you riveted as we see how this rivalry shapes up. It’s definitely one of the best HBO movies.
Beverly Hills Cop
Thanks to his comedy performances on Saturday Night Live, and movie hits like 48 Hours and Trading Place, Eddie Murphy was already a big star. However, he topped himself with his first solo starring role with this 1984 action-comedy. He plays Alex Foley, a young, talented, but sometimes reckless detective for the Detroit police department. When a good friend of his gets murdered while coming to visit Foley, his one lead takes him to Beverly Hills, California to find his friend’s killers. Murphy is not only incredibly funny, especially when his style clashes with the prim and proper Beverly Hills police. but he can handle action and drama sequences as well. The movie is the perfect mix of action, humor, and character. It makes this film one of the best movies on HBO.
Who knew that a movie based on Batman’s greatest villain could not only be great, but also thought-provoking?. Joaquin Phoenix won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as Arthur Fleck. He’s a professional clown with severe mental issues. He also lives in Gotham City, where it seems no one wants to help or care about him. Fleck’s story turns into the Joker’s origin as we see him go deeper into madness. He then becomes a symbol for others to turn to violence and anarchy. This movie is dark and edgy and unlike any DC Comics-based movie you will ever watch. It’s one of the best HBO movies you can watch.
A lot of people thought Martin Scorsese was a little crazy when he cast Leonardo DiCaprio as the real-life crazy billionaire Howard Hughes. However, the 2004 biopic of Hughes’ life, concentrating on his flying and airline efforts, is a winner. DiCaprio certainly has the looks of a handsome rich industrialist, but his portrayal of Hughes’ rise, and eventual fall, is handled beautifully, with a commanding performance.
Blade Runner 2049
Many people thought that making a sequel to the 1982 classic sci-fi movie Blade Runner was a mistake. As it turns out, Blade Runner 2049 is at least as good as the original, and perhaps even better in places. Director Denis Villeneuve takes over from the original film’s director Ridley Scott (who is still a producer of the sequel) and it feels seamless. The dark future world of Los Angeles is once again the center of this movie. Ryan Gosling plays a replicant (this world’s name for android), who also happens to be a blade runner, who hunts down replicants that go off track. The story goes deeper into the themes of replicants and artificial intelligence, and how they get closer and closer to becoming truly human. It’s definitely one of the best movies on HBO.
Spies in Disguise
This animated movie is perfect for the whole family to watch. Will Smith voices super-spy Lance Sterling. He’s an expert at fighting, sneaking, and being smooth all around. However, his life takes an unexpected turn when he is accidentally turned into a small talking pigeon by his tech partner Walter Beckett, voiced by Tom Holland. Together, they must work together to fight a new threat that could take over the world. The interactions between Smith and Holland are the main reason to watch this movie.
Here are a few movies on HBO that didn’t quite make our best list:
- Darkest Hour – Gary Oldman won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of the WWII British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in this movie.
- Dunkirk – Christopher Nolan’s excellent 2017 movie about the efforts early in WWII to get British soldiers out of harm’s way from the Nazi army.
- Ted – Mark Wahlberg and the voice of Seth Mcfarlane are terrific together as a man who still hangs out with his talking teddy bear.
- Independence Day – This is truly a great summer popcorn movie, featuring lots of action, drama, and humor as an alien invasion takes place on Earth.
- The Mummy (1999) – Another fun action film combines horror with 1930s pulp adventure, as an ancient Egyptian mummy comes alive to take over the world.
These are the best movies on HBO you should add to your watchlist in our opinion, although there are plenty of other great ones to choose from as well. We’ll update this post with new titles once they make it to the streaming service.