The Best Movies on HBO Max Right Now
If you’re trying to figure out what to watch on HBO Max, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ve assembled a list of the best movies available to stream on HBO Max right now, from comedies to blockbusters to rom-coms to Oscar-winning dramas and beyond. Since first launching in 2020, HBO Max has quickly solidified itself as lowkey one of the best streaming services around, with a robust library of some genuinely great movies past and present to choose from. It’s a true bounty of choice with plenty of older films alongside bona fide new releases.
Take a look at our curated list of the best movies on HBO Max below. This list will be updated weekly with new titles, so be sure to check back often.
*The Last Duel*
20th Century Studios
Ridley Scott’s historical drama “The Last Duel” made an early streaming debut on HBO Max, and if you missed this 2021 film in theaters now is a great time to catch up. The story recounts the last officially sanctioned duel in the 1400s, and kicks into gear when a woman (played by Jodie Comer) accuses one of her husband’s (Matt Damon) former friends and semi-rival (played by Adam Driver) of rape. The film plays out in three parts, telling the story from three different points of view — that of the woman, that of her husband, and that of the man she accused of raping her — and in doing so serves as an insightful and unsettling look at the way men view the world and their place in it, and how that impacts women. Damon, Ben Affleck and Nicole Holofencer wrote the screenplay.
*Singin’ in the Rain*
Quite simply one of the most joyous films ever made, there’s no way that “Singin’ in the Rain” will leave you in a bad mood. Released in 1952, the film is set against the backdrop of the transition from silent films to “talkies” and revolves around three Hollywood performers: Gene Kelly is Don Lockwood, Debbie Reynolds is Kathy Selden and Donald O’Connor is Cosmo Brown. In addition to telling a compelling Hollywood-set story, the film boasts some of the most mesmerizing musical numbers ever put to film, from the acrobatics of “Make ‘Em Laugh” to Kelly’s iconic “Singin’ in the Rain.” This is a perfect feel-good movie.
*The Suicide Squad*
While filmmaker James Gunn brought a lighter sensibility to his “Guardians of the Galaxy” films for Marvel Studios, his DC film “The Suicide Squad” harkens back to the darkness of his earlier work. Not quite a sequel and not quite a reboot, the 2021 film largely stands alone as it follows the anti-hero team of Task Force X – which includes Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and Idris Elba’s Bloodsport – as they’re assigned to sneak into a foreign country on a top secret mission. R-rating antics abound, but there’s a surprising humanity at the center of this gloriously weird and wild superhero movie.
“Paddington 2” is one of the highest rated films in Rotten Tomatoes history, and for good reason. This cheerful and deeply empathetic 2017 sequel follows the continued adventures of Paddington Bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) as the gift he picked out for his aunt’s birthday gets stolen, and he and his family seek out the true culprit. Hugh Grant – who is delightful as the film’s villain – has said this may be the best film he’s ever made, and it’s hard to argue with him. This one’s great fun for the whole family and will have you crying happy tears by the end.
*Annabelle Comes Home*
New Line Cinema
If you’re looking for a spooky horror movie that’s light on gore but heavy on the scares, 2019’s “Annabelle Comes Home” is well worth a watch. The film is technically a sequel to the “Annabelle” movies and is set in the “Conjuring” universe, as it focuses on the daughter of Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, respectively) played by McKenna Grace. Left home alone with a babysitter, the Warrens’ basement full of cursed objects gets loose, resulting in a bevy of horrors being unleashed on the young girl, her babysitter and her babysitter’s friend. You don’t need to have seen any of the previous “Annabelle” movies (or even a “Conjuring” movie) to enjoy this one.
A delightful romantic comedy with a teen twist, “Easy A” is also a terrific showcase for the charms and talent of Emma Stone. The eventual Oscar winner stars in this 2010 film as a high school student named Olive who, in a bid to help her friend who’s being bullied for being gay, offers to pretend to have sex with him. Olive soon gets a bit of a reputation, all the while boys from her school start paying her in gifts in return for telling people they hooked up. “The Scarlet Letter” serves as a backdrop for this bitingly funny and sharp teen tale, and the swell ensemble cast includes Penn Badgley, Thomas Hayden Church, Lisa Kudrow, Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson.
*Mad Max: Fury Road*
For a jolt of adrenaline, check out filmmaker George Miller’s action masterpiece “Mad Max: Fury Road.” You don’t have to be familiar with the “Mad Max” franchise in order to appreciate the pulse-pounding at the story of this film, which finds captive Max (played by Tom Hardy) hopping aboard an oil tanker driven by Furiosa (Charlize Theron) who is absconding from Immortan Joe’s Citadel with his “wives” in tow. A chase ensues, and indeed the entirety of “Mad Max: Fury Road” is one car chase from start to finish, but captured in jaw-dropping form by Miller, who takes a meticulous approach to the action. But on top of the theatrics, the film is also a meaty feminist diatribe that leaves you with much to chew on after you’ve finished your popcorn.
*When Harry Met Sally…*
One of the classics. Director Rob Reiner and screenwriter Nora Ephron make for a perfect duo in 1989’s “When Harry Met Sally…” which follows two people played by Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal through over a decade of near-misses and friendship in New York City. Everyone can relate to this story of friends who can’t decide if they want to be something more, or can’t get on the same page with how they truly feel about one another. Reiner, who was coming off of a divorce, served as the basis for Harry while Ephron served as the inspiration for Sally.
If you’re a fan of the work of Steven Spielberg, then the documentary “Spielberg” is a must-watch. The film is anchored by an interview with Spielberg himself (and his family members) as it runs through his storied career, with the filmmaker offering candid insight along the way. If you’ve ever wondered how Spielberg took the blow of “1941” or why “Catch Me If You Can” was rooted in a family secret, those answers and more are found within.
*Zack Snyder’s Justice League*
At four hours in length, “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” is really for interested parties only, but for those with even a passing familiarity with “Man of Steel,” “Batman v. Superman” and “Wonder Woman,” this HBO Max exclusive marks a fascinating, rich and wildly different take on “Justice League” than the one that was released in theaters in 2017. Presented in six chapters with an epilogue, everyone gets more story this time around, and it’s for the better. Cyborg (Ray Fisher) provides some emotional heft; Superman (Henry Cavill) actually gets some depth; and Ben Affleck’s Batman gets more to do than half-heartedly pull together a Justice League. This film is director Zack Snyder’s unfiltered vision for better and for worse, and that includes some major teases for sequels that never came to fruition, plenty of violence and lots of slow motion. And honestly? It’s good.
*All the President’s Men*
One of the best films ever made, 1976’s “All the President’s Men” chronicles the real-life investigation into the Watergate scandal by journalists Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) and Bob Woodward (Robert Redford). Director Alan J. Pakula captures the electric atmosphere of the newsroom but treats the investigation with the seriousness it deserves, as there’s no need for embellishment when the story’s this good. Shades of a paranoid thriller keep the tension up even when you know how the story unfolds, and Hoffman and Redford are stellar as the two journalists at the center.
*In the Heights*
If you missed Jon M. Chu’s adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning musical “In the Heights” when it was released in 2021, now’s your chance to catch up with this joyous, colorful and hopeful film. Anthony Ramos stars as Usnavi, a young man living in Washington Heights who dreams of reopening his late father’s business in the Dominican Republic. As Usnavi and others in the neighborhood struggle with xenophobia, gentrification and the decision to move back home, he must make a decision that will determine the trajectory of his entire life. The songs are incredible, the musical numbers are stunning and the whole thing builds to an emotional finale that celebrates community.
*No Sudden Move*
Steven Soderbergh’s HBO Max original film “No Sudden Move” is a heck of a crime thriller. Set in 1954 Detroit, it stars Don Cheadle as a gangster short on cash who wants to leave town, and who reluctantly agrees to do a job that immediately goes sideways. He’s then on the run with a fellow gangster played by Benicio Del Toro, trying to figure out who he can trust and discovering who’s behind it all. The script by Ed Solomon brilliantly weaves a twist-filled story with thematic resonance, as the film uses historical context to add to the complexity of its plot and characters.
*The Harry Potter Franchise*
All eight films in the “Harry Potter” franchise are currently streaming on HBO Max, making for a fulfilling binge-viewing if you so desire. The eight-part series still stands as one of the best and most complete film franchises of all time, as it charts the adventures of a boy wizard from his very beginnings to his final showdown with the evil Lord Voldemort. What makes “Harry Potter” so brilliant is the films evolve and mature along with the characters, so while the first few films are bright and cheery – just like their young protagonists – the latter films are dark and complex, reflecting the characters being forced into adulthood. Brush up before the big reunion on HBO Max in January.
If it’s musicals you like, 2002’s “Chicago” is one of the best movie musicals ever made. Adapted from the stage play of the same name, director Rob Marshall’s film won six Oscars including Best Picture and stars Renee Zellweger as Roxie Hart, a young woman who begins an affair and ends up in jail for murdering her husband – right alongside showgirl Velma Kelly (played by Catherine Zeta-Jones). What follows is a delightful tale of media manipulation, moxie and jealousy with Zellweger, Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere knocking the lead roles out of the park.
One of the scariest films ever made, Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” is the story of a father slowly going insane while serving as caretaker of an empty hotel high up in the mountains. Based on the book by Stephen King, the 1980 film stars Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance, who agrees to live in a snowed in hotel with his wife and young son over the winter. But once they arrive, Jack slowly starts to go insane (due in part to the fact that the hotel is haunted) and then things turn murderous. You no doubt know the iconography for this one, but if you’ve never seen it it’s certainly a thing to behold.
*No Country for Old Men*
Miramax Films/Paramount Vantage
If you’re in the mood for a dark, complicated drama, the Coen Brothers’ Oscar-winning 2007 film “No Country for Old Men” will do the trick. The Cormac McCarthy adaptation stars Josh Brolin as a man who happens upon the aftermath of a deadly shootout that has left behind a bag full of money. He takes the money for himself, but in doing so puts him and his wife in the crosshairs of a cold-blooded killer played by Javier Bardem. The film is a harrowing meditation on morality and chance, and won four Oscars including Best Picture, Director and Adapted Screenplay.
*Promising Young Woman*
“Promising Young Woman” not only checks the “fairly new release” box but also the “movie you won’t stop thinking about for days” box as well. The 2020 thriller from writer/director Emerald Fennell stars Carey Mulligan as a young woman with a traumatic secret who spends her nights picking up men and punishing them for preying on what they thought was a drunk, barely conscious woman. As the story unfolds, twists and turns abound, but Mulligan centers the entire story with a conviction that’ll rattle you to your core, up through the jaw-dropping ending. The film won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Pam Grier takes center stage in Quentin Tarantino’s wonderfully romantic 1997 film “Jackie Brown.” The story revolves around a flight attendant, played by Brown, who’s smuggling money from Mexico for a dangerous criminal played by Samuel L. Jackson. When she’s approached by the authorities about setting Jackson’s character up, she’s faced with a tough decision, all while striking up a romantic relationship with a bail bondsman played by Robert Forster. “Jackie Brown” is more measured and, frankly, more tastefully sensual than any of Tarantino’s other films, and Grier shines as a woman who works her way out of a tight spot.
Widely hailed as the greatest film of all time, 1941’s “Citizen Kane” is also just tremendously entertaining. The groundbreaking effort from co-writer/producer/director/star Orson Welles traces the life and career of a mysterious and wealthy newspaper publisher by beginning with his death. The film employs techniques that were, at the time, unheard of in order to weave the complicated narrative and immerse viewers into the story. Eighty years after its original release, “Citizen Kane” remains a humdinger of a film. That’s cinema, folks.
*Crazy Rich Asians*
If you’re looking for lighter fare, the 2018 romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians” is an absolute delight. Based on the Kevin Kwan novel of the same name, the story follows a Chinese American professor played by Constance Wu who goes to meet her boyfriend’s (Henry Golding) family in Singapore, only to discover he’s the heir to a massive fortune and the beloved son of a very controlling mother. Director Jon M. Chu builds out a charismatic ensemble as the story weaves in various different characters, making the experience that much richer.
*The Truman Show*
“The Truman Show” came at a time, in 1998, when reality television was just starting to take hold, and in hindsight it’s a tremendously prescient film. Jim Carrey plays a man named Truman who, unbeknownst to him, has been on camera since the day he was born. His parents, his friends, his co-workers and even strangers are all actors living inside the world’s biggest soundstage, as Truman is literally the star of a television show being broadcast across the globe. But when Truman starts to get curious about why he’s never left his small island town, the whole thing starts to unravel. This film is funny, sweet and wildly inventive.
Look no further for proof of Steven Spielberg’s brilliance as a director than his 1993 film “Jurassic Park.” This Michael Crichton adaptation follows a group of strangers who are whisked away to a wealthy billionaire’s tucked-away island, where he’s built a theme park full of resurrected dinosaurs in secret. Things soon get out of hand when the power goes out and the dinosaurs are loose, and Spielberg relishes in thrilling and terrorizing his audience in equal measure.
*Pride and Prejudice*
Jane Austen’s beloved novel “Pride and Prejudice” got the prestige treatment with director Joe Wright’s 2005 film, which remains one of the best adaptations of the material of all time. Keira Knightely stars as Elizabeth Bennet, a young woman who falls for the enigmatic Mr. Darcy played by Matthew Macfadyen. The terrific ensemble cast of this romantic drama also includes Donald Sutherland, Rosamund Pike, Jena Malone and Judi Dench.
*2001: A Space Odyssey*
If you’re looking to watch a sci-fi classic that may or may not make your head hurt a little bit, try Stanley Kubrick’s masterful 1968 film “2001: A Space Odyssey.” The epic adventure takes place in the year 2001 (then the future) and follows a crew that’s sent to Jupiter after a mysterious monolith is discovered on Earth. Aboard the ship is a computer named HAL that wreaks havoc on the mission. This is one of the most visually stunning and perplexing films of all-time – a true work of art that’s open to various forms of interpretation by the time you reach the end of the journey.
*The Matrix Trilogy*
Revisit the original trilogy before taking in the truly bonkers fourth “Matrix” film “The Matrix Resurrections.” “The Matrix,” from 1999, remains the best of the bunch, as Keanu Reeves plays a man named Neo who is awoken to the truth that the world he inhabits is actually a computer program called The Matrix, and the real world is actually a desolate landscape run by machines. The story gets far more complicated from there in “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions,” as the few humans awake in the real world stage a coup against their machine overlords. Writers and directors The Wachowskis break ground both in terms of action and allegorical storytelling, as the films are loaded with heady philosophical ideas.
Spike Lee’s 2006 thriller “Inside Man” is one of the director’s best and most entertaining films. The story opens in the aftermath of a bank heist, with those taken hostage giving their interviews to police about what happened. The film then flashes back to portray the events as they unfold, with Denzel Washington playing the detective trying to talk down the robber and kidnapper (played by Clive Owen) who seems to be harboring some kind of secret. Mind games ensue, and this one keeps you guessing all the way up through the end.
*The Lord of the Rings Trilogy*
New Line Cinema
With the holiday season comes plenty of vacation time, and if you’re in for a really long binge-watch, “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy will do the trick. Peter Jackson’s epic trio of J.R.R. Tolkein adaptations remain some of the most accomplished achievements in the history of moviemaking, as this fantastical tale of a young hobbit who sets out to save the world as he knows it is crafted with ingenuity and passion to spare. Whether it’s your first or fifth time to Middle-earth, it’s a journey well worth taking. As a bonus, HBO Max offers both the theatrical versions and the richer extended versions available to stream.