The 20 Best Movies to Stream on HBO Max Right Now
HBO Max is the premium streaming service from the Warner-owned media giant. For $14.99 a month, subscribers can choose from a vast library of movies and television shows. If you’ve already made your way through their superhero slate, take a look at some of the best movies currently available on the service.
1. The Invisible Man (2020)
If you're wary of yet another re-imagined horror franchise, take heart: Blumhouse's riff on the classic Universal movies is a thrilling, worthy addition. Elizabeth Moss stars as Cecilia Kass, a woman in an abusive relationship with tech mogul Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) who manages to get away from him. Believing he's dead, Cecilia has no explanation for an increasingly unsettling series of events that lead her to believe Adrian is not only alive, but once again terrorizing her--sight unseen.
2. Joker (2019)
Joaquin Phoenix delivers a sensational performance in this disquieting take on the Batman villain. As Arthur Fleck, a disenfranchised and marginalized member of society, Phoenix channels his frustrations into sowing the seeds of anarchy in Gotham City.
3. Blood Simple (1984)
The debut film from Joel and Ethan Coen is a spare film noir about a bar owner (Dan Hedaya) who enlists a private detective to kill his wife (Frances McDormand) and her lover (John Getz). Naturally, things don’t go as planned.
4. Cinema Paradiso (1988)
This Italian-language film follows two emotionally affecting stories—the bond between a boy (played by Salvatore Cascio, Marco Leonardi, and Jacques Perrin at various stages of his life) and a movie projectionist (Philippe Noiret) as well as the bond between the pair and the movies they embrace so passionately in post-war Sicily.
5. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Despite advances in special effects, few films have come close to the grandeur and visual impact of director Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Co-written with Arthur C. Clarke, the film takes viewers on a psychedelic journey through space in the guise of a manned mission to Jupiter that’s soon thrown off-balance by the sentient HAL—a computer with plans of its own.
6. Bicycle Thieves (1948)
A seemingly mundane story of a blue-collar Italian worker (Lamberto Maggiorani) who finds his job in jeopardy when his only mode of transportation—a bicycle—is stolen turns into a mediation on the challenges of morality and ethics in the face of desperation.
7. Dead Man Walking (1995)
Sean Penn delivers a brutally poignant performance as Matthew Poncelet, a man awaiting his state-commissioned execution on death row who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a nun (Susan Sarandon). Penn was nominated for Best Actor at the Academy Awards that year; Sarandon won for Best Actress.
8. Babe (1995)
A farmer (James Cromwell) becomes fond of a pig named Babe, who quickly takes a position of prominence on the family farm because he believes he can operate as a sheepdog for livestock. The film has become a family classic, and its sequel—1998’s Babe: Pig in the City, which is a bit darker and directed by Mad Max creator George Miller—is also available on the service.
9. Point Break (1991)
Keanu Reeves is an FBI agent out to capture Patrick Swayze's band of bank robbers in this cheerfully goofy action thriller augmented by Swayze's philosophical criminal and some whoa-worthy skydiving sequences.
10. The Way Back (2020)
Ben Affleck delivers a low-key bank shot of a performance in this character study of a former high school basketball star with substance abuse issues who gets a second chance when his alma mater needs a new coach.
11. Breaking the Waves (1996)
A nuanced story of love in a time of crisis, Breaking the Waves features Emily Watson as Bess McNeil, a Scottish woman who falls for an oil rig worker named Jan Nyman (Stellan Skarsgård). When tragedy befalls Jan, Bess must navigate their relationship through uncharted emotional waters.
12. Escape From New York (1981)
Kurt Russell is Snake Plissken, a grizzled con sent to retrieve the president (Donald Pleasance) from a sealed-off New York in this dystopian action classic from director John Carpenter.
13. Cast Away (2000)
Few actors could hold an audience as they navigate the perils of an island as the lone survivor of a plane crash. But few actors are as versatile as Tom Hanks, who makes marooned man Chuck Noland a compulsively watchable survivor.
14. Jaws (1975)
The original summer blockbuster is still a masterclass in suspense, with Steven Spielberg getting the most out of the rarely-seen shark terrorizing a tourist town. It's up to police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider), marine biologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), and salty sea captain Quint (Robert Shaw) to destroy the beast before it's too late.
15. The Wages of Fear (1953)
Director Henri-Georges Clouzot offers a riveting example of sustained suspense in this fascinating story of four men who volunteer to drive two trucks of volatile nitroglycerine to the site of an oil field fire in South America. One bump in the road too many and they’ll explode. Consider it a predecessor to 1994’s Speed—only far more stressful to watch.
16. Fanny and Alexander (1982)
Director Ingmar Bergman received great acclaim for this enchanting story of two children (Pernilla Allwin and Bertil Guve) who find their happy home in ruins after their father dies and their mother remarries. Only their sibling bond and an indomitable will to survive can help them endure the upheaval.
17. North by Northwest (1959)
Cary Grant and Alfred Hitchcock teamed for this classic thriller about everyman Roger Thornhill, an advertising executive mistaken for a man caught up in the spy trade. Thornhill's race to clear his name is bolstered by some legendary scenes, including the famous cropduster chase, and a riveting Bernard Herrmann score.
18. Just Mercy (2019)
In this searing fact-based courtroom drama, young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) takes on the case of Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), who insists he's wrongfully convicted of murder and that the state of Alabama is about to execute an innocent man. To free him, Stevenson will have to overcome a prosecution intent on saving face.
19. Eyes Without a Face (1960)
This unsettling French film about a surgeon (Pierre Brasseur) who kidnaps young women in the hopes he can restore the beauty of his daughter (Édith Scob) who was in a disfiguring car accident by grafting their faces to hers is a study in restraint. There’s little gore but plenty of unease in what amounts to a highbrow take on the mad scientist genre.
20. It (2017)
Stephen King's novel about a group of kids terrorized by pure evil Pennywise the Clown (Bill Skarsgård) is an exercise in effective big-budget terror. The sequel, 2019's It Chapter Two, is also available.
This story has been updated.