Last Updated: June 3rd
More movies. More original series. More classic sitcoms and documentaries. Just more. That’s because HBO Max contains the full catalog of HBO’s original works and all the best stuff from Warner Brothers too — think Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings, Watchmen and Wonder Woman. Of course, because there’s more, you’ll probably need help deciding what to watch first. That’s where we come in.
Here’s a roundup of the best movies currently streaming on HBO Max. Get to bingeing.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Run Time: 178 min | IMDb: 8.8/10
Peter Jackson gave fantasy fans a stunning adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s epic book series which kicked off with this star-studded entry. The main story follows Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), a young hobbit faced with an impossible burden – to destroy the ring of Sauron, a Dark Lord with plans to destroy Middle Earth. He’s joined on his journey by wizards and elves and dwarves along the way as each faction fights their own battle against Sauron’s massive army.
The Harry Potter Series
We absolutely refuse to play favorites when it comes to this magical childhood classic. The series stars Daniel Radcliffe as the Boy Who Lived with Emma Watson and Rupert Grint playing his best mates Hermoine Granger and Ron Weasley. There are schools of magic, dragons, goblins, trolls, evil wizards, and everything in between, so just pick whichever stage of angsty adolescence calls to you and go for it.
Run Time: 150 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
Christopher Nolan might not be pleased, but we’re pretty thrilled that Tenet is finally coming to a streaming platform. If you didn’t catch this time-hopping thriller in theaters — and really, who did? — it follows John David Washington’s character on a mind-bending journey to prevent the start of another World War. Really, watching this epic at home is the only way to do it. How else could you be expected to keep track of all the sh*t that goes down without the pause button on your remote?
Run Time: 135 min | IMDb: 7.3/10
This reboot from writer Cary Fukunaga manages to do the impossible: improve upon a cult classic horror film. Bill Skarsgard is absolutely menacing as Pennywise, the supernatural clown terrorizing the small town of Derry by pulling innocent children into his sewer-y lair, while the group of bullied kids who form The Losers Club to stop him — Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Chosen Jacobs — give the film its emotional center.
Run Time: 122 min | IMDb: 8.5/10
In case you didn’t catch it in theaters, or you just want to revisit the chaos and mayhem of Joaquin Phoenix’s troubled clown, Todd Phillips’ Joker is now on HBO Max. This gritty origin story imagines the DC supervillain as a mentally-ill clown-for-hire named Arthur, who spirals when his stand-up career turns sour, and he discovers some details about his lineage. Really, it doesn’t take much to put this guy over the edge.
David Byrne’s American Utopia (2020)
Run Time: 105 min | IMDb: 8.5/10
Academy Award-winning director Spike Lee helms this unique look that gives Broadway fans a chance to see David Byrne’s critically acclaimed show that broke records and sold out crowds earlier this year. The show is based on Byrne’s album of the same name, so if you liked watching Hamilton from home, you’ll probably enjoy this.
The Dark Knight (2008)
Run Time: 152 min | IMDb: 9.0/10
The second film in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy is undoubtedly its best. Not only does Christian Bale fully immerse himself in the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman, playing the tortured-billionaire-turned-vigilante with a singular conviction, the film also boasts Heath Ledger’s Joker, a maniacal villain worthy of sharing the screen with our hero. The film marks one of Ledger’s final roles before his death, but it’s a viscerally gripping portrait of a man burdened by past trauma and driven by his madness for chaos and destruction. Sure, we’re all rooting for Batman to win, but we can’t deny the fun in seeing Ledger blow sh*t up for two-plus hours.
Run Time: 103 min | IMDb: 6.2/10
Hayley Lu Richardson and Barbie Ferreira star in this road trip comedy with a timely twist. Richardson plays Veronica, a goody-two-shoes who winds up pregnant and in need of an abortion. The only problem: she’s 17 so she can’t get one in her state without parental consent. Enter Bailey (Ferreira), Veronica’s one-time best-friend who agrees to drive her across state lines to get the procedure. Of course, first, they’ll have to outrun the cops, contend with Jesus-freaks ready to kidnap them, and score a ride from limo driver Giancarlo Esposito.
Training Day (2001)
Run Time: 122 min | IMDb: 7.7/10
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Run Time: 116 min | IMDb: 7.6/10
Steven Soderbergh gave us one of the slickest heist films of the decade when he delivered this caper about a group of suave criminals with plans to rob a Las Vegas casino. George Clooney plays Danny Ocean, a con-man recently released from prison who gets the gang back together again — the gang is Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck, Bernie Mac, Scott Caan, and Matt Damon — to rob a casino owner who just happens to be dating his ex (played by Julia Roberts). It sounds like more of a soap opera than it is, and it works because Soderbergh mixes sharp comedy with high emotional stakes.
The Green Mile (1999)
Run Time: 189 min | IMDb: 8.6/10
Tom Hanks, Sam Rockwell, and Michael Clarke Duncan star in this prison drama with touches of the supernatural. Duncan plays John Coffey, a gentle giant-type accused of raping and murdering a child. He’s innocent of course, but he’s also got some special abilities that both baffle and amaze his guards, including Hanks’ Paul Edgecomb. The film focuses on the struggle that these men face in carrying out their duties, despite how much they come to respect and believe in Coffey’s gifts. It’s moving, to be sure, and a great turn from Duncan.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Run Time: 144 min | IMDb: 9.3/10
There are prestige dramas, and then there’s The Shawshank Redemption, a thrilling crime saga that set the bar in terms of storytelling. Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins play convicts who bond during their stints in Shawshank prison. Robbins plays banker Andy Dufresne who’s convicted of murdering his wife and her lover. He befriends Red (Freeman) an old-timer who protects him from other gangs while Andy begins helping the prison’s warden launder money. Eventually, Andy decides to break out of prison, and what results is one of the more exciting escape stories we’ve seen on screen.
V For Vendetta (2005)
Run Time: 132 min | IMDb: 8.2/10
This comic-book-inspired dystopian drama is about more than just mind-blowing fight sequences and compared to some others on this list, the action isn’t as prevalent. Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving are trying to incite a rebellion against a fascist authoritarian regime, so clearly, they’re going to need more than car chases and shootouts to get the job done. But when the action does come — normally from Weaving’s V, an acrobatically-gifted anarchist with dreams of toppling a corrupt government by way of bombing Parliament — it’s some of the best you’ll see on screen.
Nocturnal Animals (2016)
Run Time: 116 min | IMDb: 7.5/10
Amy Adams turns in a haunting performance as a woman being, well, haunted by her ex-husband. More specifically, by her ex-husband’s novel, a violent thriller she assumes is some kind of threat or tale of revenge. As Adams’ Susan reads the novel — which plays out as a kind of separate film — she reminisces on her relationship with her ex-husband (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) and her current relationship with her cheating spouse (Armie Hammer). It’s a beautifully-shot neo-noir that feels like the most dangerous break-up drama you’ll ever see.
Wonder Woman (2017)
Run Time: 149 min, IMDb: 7.5/10
Embraced by critics and filmgoers alike, Wonder Woman is living, breathing, ass-kicking proof that the DCEU is capable of providing superhero fare that doesn’t have to lead to shouty arguments over a Rotten Tomatoes score. Gal Gadot stars as Diana Prince (the titular woman of wonder) in Patty Jenkins’ exhilarating comic book motion picture set during World War I. Leaning into charm and fun alongside scenes of villain thumping, Wonder Woman sees our heroine as something too special not to stand out in her surroundings and the film is all the more captivating for it.
Run Time: 102 min | IMDb: 8.5/10
Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Berman star in this cinematic classic. It’s on every must-watch list. It’s a national treasure. We really don’t need to sell it at this point but in case you’re unfamiliar, it’s the story of a cynical American expatriate who struggles to decide whether or not he should help his former lover and her fugitive husband escape French Morocco. Bogart and Berman’s chemistry is off the charts and the writing here is so smooth, so well-done, it makes you wonder why any other film ever tried after this thing came out.
A Star Is Born (2018)
Run Time: 136 min | IMDb: 7.7/10
Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut racked up plenty of awards, and now you can finally find out why (if you haven’t seen it already like pretty much everyone else has). Cooper plays a washed-up musician who finds inspiration in a talented singer played by Lady Gaga. The two have a whirlwind romance sprinkled with fame, mentions of addiction and mental illness, but ultimately, it ends in tragedy. Still, the soundtrack is a banger.
Hoop Dreams (1994)
Run Time: 170 min | IMDb: 8.3/10
This ’90s sports documentary remains one of the most inspiring looks at the game of basketball, even 30 years after it first premiered. The film follows the lives of two inner-city Chicago boys who struggle to become college basketball players on the road to going professional. It’s filled with grit and emotion, joyous triumphs and devastating loss, and it feels like a relevant watch, especially right now.
The Departed (2006)
Run Time: 151 min | IMDb: 8.5/10
Leonard DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, and Alec Baldwin star in this crime thriller from Martin Scorsese about an undercover cop and a mole in the police department who attempt to identify each other while infiltrating an Irish gang in Boston. DiCaprio plays the good guy (or as close as) with Billy, a disturbed officer playing the part of a criminal to get close to Nicholson’s kingpin, Frank. Damon plays the rat, Sullivan, who serves as a police officer on the force, but really works for Frank. The two unknowingly thwart each other at every turn, playing a thrilling game of cat and mouse before their secrets eventually come out.
The Conjuring (2014)
Run Time: 112 min | IMDb: 7.5/10
The Conjuring marks the first installment in a horror series that sees Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga playing a married pair of paranormal investigators, who seek to understand the phenomenon of hauntings. When the duo is called to assist a family living in a ghostly farmhouse in Rhode Island, they encounter more than they can handle when it comes to the undead. Again, these stories were based on true events, so watch at your own risk.
Run Time: 113 min | IMDb: 6.4/10
Did you ever want to chase tornados as a kid? If you had this ’90s action flick permanently lodged in the VHS player, then you probably did. That’s because Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton made hunting natural disaster-causing cyclones look damn fun. The two play ex-lovers chasing storm cells in the Midwest, trying to craft an alert system that warns people minutes, not seconds before a tornado hits. The only thing more chaotic than a swirling cloud of doom? The sexual tension in this film.
Run Time: 120 min | IMDb: 8.1/10
One of the greatest sports films of all time, Rocky helped put Sylvester Stallone on the map. Stallone plays a small-time boxer from Philly looking to break out of his working-class background and be a contender. When he gets the rare opportunity to fight in a heavy-weight match against an infamous Russian opponent, Rocky trains harder than ever before, battling against his class, his background, and his self-doubt to go the distance.
The Goonies (1985)
Run Time: 114 min | IMDb: 7.8/10
Josh Brolin and Sean Astin star in this beloved family-friendly film developed by Steven Spielberg. The movie follows a group of misfit kids, who discover an ancient treasure map and set out to find a pirate’s long-lost booty. Along the way, they fight villains who are intent upon stealing the treasure for themselves and dig into the history surrounding the gold and its previous owner.
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Run Time: 169 min | IMDb: 8.6/10
Tom Hanks leads an all-star cast in this Oscar-winning war drama from Steven Spielberg. Hanks plays Captain Miller who’s in charge of a unit directed to bring home Matt Damons titular Private Ryan after the man’s two brothers are killed in battled during World War II. It’s brutal and the cinematography is epic and Hanks gives a defining performance.
Gone With The Wind (1939)
Run Time: 238 min | IMDb: 8.1/10
If you’re old enough to remember VHS players, then you’ll probably have not-so-fond memories of having to switch out tapes midway through this behemoth of a movie. That’s because there’s a lot to get through — the American Civil War, the Reconstruction — and it all plays a part in the movie’s main romance between a Southern heiress and her roguish lover. Luckily, since it’s on HBO Max now, you won’t have to press pause on all of the action, drama, and romance contained in this thing.
Wizard Of Oz (1939)
Run Time: 102 min | IMDb: 8/10
Another classic, this Judy Garland starring staple is a fantasy adventure that never gets old. Garland plays Dorothy, a restless young woman, tired of living on her family’s farm, who gets swept by a tornado to a magical land filled with witches and cowardly lions and scarecrows and tinmen and all-powerful wizards. It’s a childhood classic and a nostalgic re-watch.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Run Time: 149 min | IMDb: 8.3/10
Another Kubrik classic, this sci-fi adventure set the tone for so many space flicks that followed it. The film follows a crew of galactic explorers, who set out to find the origins of a mysterious object buried beneath the Lunar surface. Part thriller, part futuristic drama, there’s a lot to love about this genre entry, even if some of the special effects are a bit outdated.
Studio Ghibli Collection
So, Studio Ghibli is one of the most legendary Japanese animation house in the film industry and fans have begged for years for some of its most popular films — Ponyo, Spirited Away, and Castle in the Sky — to be made available. Well, beg no more animae geeks, because HBO Max has got pretty much every Ghibli creation you can think of.
Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
Run Time: 91 min | IMDb: 7.5/10
If you’re looking for some nightmare fuel, HBO Max has this horror classic which should do the trick. From the truly disturbed mind of Wes Craven, this story follows a small town terrorized by a murderous spirit that invades people’s dreams, and well, you can probably guess the rest.
Run Time: 91 min | IMDb: 6.7/10
Why is a movie about a talking pig, who’s raised by a sheepdog and dreams of managing his own herd, on this list you ask? Because it’s a damn masterpiece, that’s why. Babe is a farm animal who has dreams of a better life, and he works to make it happen with help from his friends James Cromwell’s Farmer Hoggett. If you don’t cry at least five times while watching this movie, then you’re not human.