- There are a lot of movie titles to choose from on HBO Max.
- Honestly, it’s the most impressive selection we’ve seen of any of the streaming services out there.
- To help you navigate, here’s a list of the best movies on the streamer.
- They range from classics like “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Enter the Dragon,” “North by Northwest,” and “The Seventh Seal,” to more mainstream like “Bridesmaids,” “Die Hard,” and all the “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings” movies.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Streaming services are cropping up all the time and giving people endless amounts of content to watch. But one of the latest, HBO Max, has suddenly set itself apart from the others and is gaining respect from movie buffs thanks to its incredible library of titles.
I have done a lot of lists that dive into the movie catalogues of the big streamers and without question, HBO Max has the best I’ve seen so far in mixing popular titles from the last few decades with essential movies (both from the US and around the world) that many consider the greatest ever made.
The mix of options is quite impressive. They range from classics like “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Enter the Dragon,” “North by Northwest,” and “The Seventh Seal,” to more mainstream like “Bridesmaids,” “Die Hard,” and all the “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings” movies.
Here are the 101 movies (listed alphabetically) that you have to watch on HBO Max right now:
Note: Numerous HBO Max titles drop off the service monthly, so the availability of titles below may change.
1. “8 1/2” (1963)
One of Federico Fellini’s masterpieces, the movie (its title marking the number of movies he had made to that point in his career) is a surrealist dark comedy that looks at a director (Marcello Mastroianni) struggling with personal and professional issues to create a profound work.
2. “The 400 Blows” (1959)
Another movie regarded as one of the best ever made, François Truffaut takes moments from his and his friends’ lives to create his alter ego Antoine Doinel (a character Jean-Pierre Léaud would play numerous times going forward in Truffaut movies).
We follow the misunderstood Doinel as he runs around Paris skipping school and doing petty crimes. Finally, he’s brought to a centre for troubled youths. It leads to a powerful ending with one of the greatest closing shots ever created as Doinel, who has never seen the ocean, is running along a beach and the looks directly into the camera.
3. “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968)
Let’s keep the masterpieces going. Stanley Kubrick adapts Arthur C. Clarke’s sci-fi novel and creates one of the greatest space movies ever.
Kubrick takes us all the way back to the dawn of man with amazing photography and powerful classical music and then thrusts us to the future where we see life in space. But things turn sideways when we meet the sentient computer HAL.
4. “Adventures in Babysitting” (1987)
Elisabeth Shue became our all-time favourite babysitter thanks to this movie where she takes on all obstacles after driving to the big city (with the kids she’s watching) to try to help out a friend.
5. “Alien” (1979)
Ridley Scott completely raises the bar in the genres of space movies and horror with this thrilling look at an alien that overtakes a ship. (The great sequel, “Aliens,” is also available on HBO Max.)
6. “American Splendor” (2003)
Paul Giamatti is at his prickly best in this biopic where he plays Harvey Pekar, an everyday guy who just happens to have a wild imagination that leads to him creating popular comic books.
7. “An American in Paris” (1951)
One of Gene Kelly’s classics, here he brings his magnificent dancing to the equally legendary compositions of George Gershwin.
8. “Analyse This” (1999)
Who would have ever thought combining Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro would lead to a great comedy? But that’s what happened here. De Niro plays a mob boss going through some Tony Soprano-like inner anxieties while Billy Crystal plays his psychiatrist.
9. “Andre the Giant” (2018)
While director Jason Hehir was patiently waiting if he would get the green light to make “The Last Dance,” he went and made this fantastic documentary on the life and myth of pro wrestler Andre the Giant.
10. “Any Given Sunday” (1999)
Oliver Stone’s look at pro football may be off-the-wall crazy sometimes, but that’s a big reason why it’s so great.
11. “Apocalypse Now” (1979)
Francis Ford Coppola’s epic reimagining of Joseph Conrad’s novella “Heart of Darkness” put through the lens of the Vietnam War still delivers a solid punch to the gut.
12. “Batman” (1989)
There have been many actors who have played Batman, but there’s something about Michael Keaton as the Dark Knight paired with director Tim Burton that stands out. His performance also set the standard for how the character would be played for decades to come.
13. “Battleship Potemkin” (1925)
This silent film from Sergei Eisenstein is regarded as one of the greatest movies of all time.
Its epic battle sequences in its dramatization of a mutiny that occurred in 1905 when a Russian crew rebelled against its officers has been ingrained in the minds of many great directors. Homages to the movie can be seen in everything from Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil” to Brian De Palma’s “The Untouchables.”
14. “Belly” (1998)
Hip-hop music video visionary Hype Williams creates a stylish crime movie with rappers DMX and Nas playing the leads. The blacklight shots in the movie have become one of its hallmarks.
15. “BlacKkKlansman” (2018)
Spike Lee won a best-adapted screenplay Oscar for this movie where he casts John David Washington as Ron Stallworth, a Colorado Springs police officer who infiltrated the KKK.
16. “Blindspotting” (2018)
Carlos López Estrada’s powerful look at two Bay Area friends as they navigate their lives in the era of gentrification and Black Lives Matter is memorable thanks to the performances by Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs, who both also penned the script.
17. “The Blob” (1958)
This great horror from the 1950s stars a very young Steve McQueen who has to convince a town that a deadly alien blob is terrorizing everything in its path.
18. “Blood Simple” (1984)
This pulpy modern-day noir marks the directorial debut for Joel and Ethan Coen. You can see the raw talent the two have as storytellers both on the page and visually (thanks to the help of cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld, who would go on to have a great directing career of his own).
19. “Bonnie and Clyde” (1967)
Director Arthur Penn helps forge a path for auteur filmmakers in Hollywood thanks to this genre-busting crime movie about the notorious bandits starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.
20. “Bound” (1996)
This steamy noir directed by the Wachowskis has gone on to become a landmark work in the LGBTQ film world as it was one of the first to highlight lesbian characters (played by Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon) in lead roles.
21. “Bowling for Columbine” (2002)
Michael Moore’s Oscar-winning documentary looks at America’s obsession with guns and the repercussions of that as he highlights the aftermath of the Columbine school shooting and the wave of gun violence around the country.
Sadly, this movie is still as timely now as when it was made 18 years ago.
22. “Boys Don’t Cry” (1999)
Hilary Swank’s powerful performance playing Brandon Teena, who was transgender and after trying to find love is killed in a hate crime, led to her winning an Oscar.
23. “Braveheart” (1995)
Winner of 5 Oscars, Mel Gibson’s brutally violent look at the rise of Scottish knight William Wallace (played by Gibson) showed moviegoers his talents as a director.
24. “Breathless” (1960)
Jean-Luc Godard’s contribution to the French New Wave is an enthralling crime movie heightened by the fantastic performances by the movie’s leads, Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg.
25. “Bridesmaids” (2011)
With an excellent cast made up by Kristen Wiig (who also wrote the screenplay), Maya Rudolph, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy, and Rose Byrne, they give us one of the top comedies of the last decade.
26. “Can’t Buy Me Love” (1987)
Patrick Dempsey hit heartthrob status in this high school rom-com where he plays an outcast who pays the popular girl to pretend to be his girlfriend.
27. “Capturing the Friedmans” (2003)
Director Andrew Jarecki uses hours and hours of home video footage to chronicle the crumbling of an upper-middle-class family after the father and youngest son are investigated for child molestation.
28. “Casablanca” (1942)
Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman would turn into icons in this love story set in Morocco during World War II.
Chris Rock examines the art of rappers imitating the hardest guys in the neighbourhood to create their alter ego star personas in this great comedy. Rock plays Albert, who turns into MC Gusto after the real Gusto (Charlie Murphy) is thrown in jail.
30. “Citizen Kane” (1941)
Yet another movie on HBO Max regarded as one of the best ever. Orson Welles brings the group of actors he’s been working with since the radio days to tell the epic story of publishing tycoon Charles Foster Kane (played by Welles).
31. “City Lights” (1931)
One of several Charlie Chaplin movies you can watch on the service, in this classic, Chaplin plays a so-called “Tramp” character who falls in love with a blind flower girl.
32. “Contagion” (2011)
At one time thought to be a wildly fictitious horror movie, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, Steven Soderbergh’s look at a world coping with a disease it can’t control has become all too real.
33. “Cool Hand Luke” (1967)
Paul Newman delivers an Oscar-nominated performance as Luke, a prisoner who can’t conform to the rules of the prison.
34. “Crazy Rich Asians” (2018)
Jon M. Chu adapts the popular book into a dazzling celebration of Asian culture both old and new. That, mixed with the romantic comedy storyline, leads to a very fun watch.
35. “Dead Man” (1995)
This trippy tale is one of Jim Jarmusch’s best. Johnny Depp plays an accountant on the run for murder who meets a Native American who prepares him for the spirit world.
36. “Deliverance” (1972)
Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, and Ronny Cox find themselves fighting for their lives when their canoe trip goes bad and they go up against some dangerous men.
37. “The Devil’s Advocate” (1997)
Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino, and Charlize Theron as all terrific in this great thriller about a Florida lawyer (Reeves) who goes to work for a New York City firm and realises he’s literally made a deal with the devil.
38. “Diabolique” (1955)
This fantastic thriller has spawned countless copycats, even a 1996 remake. The movie follows a wife and her husband’s mistress who conspire to kill him. But things begin to go haywire when the body suddenly disappears.
39. “Dick Tracy” (1990)
Warren Beatty directs and stars as the legendary comic strip detective. The larger than life sets and characters made this a movie that was an acquired taste when it came out. But, years later, you have to appreciate what was pulled off in this movie long before CGI became the norm.
40. “Die Hard” (1988)
Bruce Willis was already a star when he agreed to play NYPD cop John McClane in this movie. But the success of this blockbuster made him a superstar and put him in the action hero space already occupied by Schwarzenegger and Stallone.
41. “Doctor Zhivago” (1965)
This epic starring Omar Sharif and Julia Christie won 5 Oscars thanks to its gorgeous photography and score that looks at World War I and the October Revolution in Russia.
42. “Dont Look Back” (1967)
D.A. Pennebaker’s landmark documentary gives a fly-on-the-wall look at Bob Dylan’s 1965 tour of England.
43. “Dune” (1984)
David Lynch gives a dazzling adaptation of the Frank Herbert novel.
44. “Elf” (2003)
Jon Favreau creates a holiday classic thanks to the outlandish comedy of Will Ferrell. In the movie, Ferrell plays Buddy, who comes to learn that he’s not an Elf and travels from the North Pole to New York City to find his real father.
45. “Empire of the Sun” (1987)
Steven Spielberg casts Christian Bale in an incredible role as an English boy named Jim who has to grow up quickly after he’s separated from his family and becomes a prisoner in a Japanese internment camp during World War II.
Equally impressive is the performance by John Malkovich, who crosses paths with Jim.
46. “Enter the Dragon” (1973)
It’s Bruce Lee’s crowning achievement. He is known the world over thanks to this captivating performance as a martial artist who is tasked with taking down a drug lord.
47. “Eraserheard” (1977)
David Lynch’s feature debut gives us the wild, strange, and beautiful as we follow a man’s daily existence in an industrial landscape.
48. “F for Fake” (1973)
Orson Welles’ love for illusion is put on full display in this documentary in which he examines if authorship really means anything by looking at some of the biggest forgeries ever attempted. And it’s all told with his usual flair.
49. “Fast Five” (2011)
This is one of the best movies in the “Fast and Furious” franchise, mainly thanks to Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs character.
It also features one of the best endings in the series as Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian (Paul Walker) race through Rio with a giant safe strapped to the bumper of their cars.
50. “Fight Club” (1999)
Brad Pitt and Edward Norton shine in this twisted drama about sticking it to capitalism, underground fighting, and just not giving a damn anymore. And only one director could pull it off right: David Fincher.
51. “A Fish Called Wanda” (1988)
John Cleese, Kevin Kline, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Michael Palin all shine in this heist comedy about a group of people trying to double-cross one another so they can have the prize all to themselves.
52. “Freaks” (1932)
Tod Browning’s classic horror looks at a group of sideshow performers who seek out retribution when they lean that the woman who is marrying their leader is only doing it for his money.
53. “Full Metal Jacket” (1987)
Stanley Kubrick turns his attention to the Vietnam War in one of his many classics. We follow Private Joker (Matthew Modine) from boot camp to fighting in the war as he observes all the madness unfolding around him.
54. “Gimme Shelter” (1970)
One of the greatest verite documentaries ever made, Albert and David Maysles along with Charlotte Zwerin chronicle The Rolling Stones’ stop at the Altamont Free Concert during their 1969 tour.
There we witness the infamous concert crumble into madness when a Hells Angeles member stabs someone in the middle of the Stones’ set.
55. “Glengarry Glen Ross” (1992)
The movie adaptation of the David Mamet play enlists some of the greatest actors ever assembled for a movie. Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris, Kevin Spacey, Jonathan Pryce, and Alec Baldwin star in this look at the cutthroat world of real-estate.
56. “Godzilla vs Megalon” (1973)
There’s a nice collection of old Godzilla movies on HBO Max, and this one is a standout. Megalon has been sent from the depths of the ocean to destroy the world and it’s up to Godzilla and Jet Jaguar to stop it.
57. “The Goonies” (1985)
This classic adventure tale follows a group of friends as they set out with a treasure map to find a pirate’s lost treasure.
58. “Gremlins” (1984)
A year before Chris Columbus’ script for “The Goonies” hit screens, he blessed the world with this creepy story that director Joe Dante brought to life.
In it, a boy breaks the three important rules of owning a mogwai.
59. “Harold and Maude” (1971)
Hal Ashby’s uniquely beautiful love story follows a misguided kid (Bud Cort) and a free-wheeling elderly woman (Ruth Gordon) as they build a connection.
60. All the “Harry Potter” movies
The franchise of the successful J.K. Rowling books (which have recently come under scrutiny because of the author’s so-called “TERF” comments about the trans community) has entertained millions and made Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry Potter in the franchise, into a worldwide star overnight.
61. “He Got Game” (1998)
Spike Lee’s obsession with basketball is on full display in this powerful look at the complex relationship between an incarcerated father (Denzel Washington) and his phenom son (Ray Allen) who are bonded by their love of the game.
62. “Hoop Dreams” (1994)
Steve James’ landmark documentary looks at two Chicago kids as they try to live out their dreams of playing in the NBA one day and overcome the hardship around them.
63. “Jaws” (1975)
The ultimate summer movie, Steven Spielberg mixes horror and good times at the beach to deliver a fantastic thriller that follows a group of men trying to hunt down a killer shark.
64. “Juice” (1992)
The longtime cinematographer for Spike Lee, Ernest Dickerson moved to directing with this classic movie that looks at a group of kids whose lives turn upside down when the robbery they commit leads to a murder.
65. “The Kid” (1921)
Marking Charlie Chaplin’s feature directing debut, his so-called “Tramp” character takes care of a young boy (played by Jackie Coogan).
66. “King Kong” (1933)
A landmark in visual effects and stop-motion, the reveal of the giant Kong and his climb up the Empire State Building at the end of the movie are still to this day powerful cinematic moments.
67. “Last Tango in Paris” (1972)
Bernardo Bertolucci’s passionate love story looks at an American businessman (Marlon Brando) and a young French woman (Maria Schneider) who build a relationship based solely on sex.
68. “Lolita” (1962)
Stanley Kubrick adapts Vladimir Nabokov’s novel with Sue Lyon playing the teen Lolita and James Mason as the much older man who is completely infatuated by her.
69. “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy
Through the vision of Peter Jackson, J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy book is brought to vivid life.
70. “Magic Mike” (2012)
Steven Soderbergh takes the experiences Channing Tatum had as a stripper in Tampa and turns it into this layered look at a man (Tatum) putting a young guy under his wing while trying to figure out his own life.
71. “The Maltese Falcon” (1941)
John Huston’s noir based on the Dashiell Hammett novel stars Humphrey Bogart as private eye Sam Spade. In this case, Spade is in search of a priceless statue that, as Spade says, is “the stuff dreams are made of.”
72. “The Manchurian Candidate” (1962)
This great political thriller stars Frank Sinatra as a brainwashed Army captain who snaps out of it just in time to try to stop one of his soldiers (Laurence Harvey) from unwittingly doing an assassination for the communists.
73. “McCabe & Mrs Miller” (1971)
Robert Altman’s classic stars Warren Beatty as a gambler and Julie Christie as a sex worker who become business partners at an Old West mining town. Things are good until a big corporation comes into town.
74. “Michael Clayton” (2007)
George Clooney is fantastic as a fixer for a big law firm. He must juggle personal issues, allegiances, and his own conscious to help protect one of his lawyers – and his own life.
75. “Monsieur Verdoux” (1947)
Setting aside his the Tramp character, Chaplin writes (a story idea from Orson Welles), directs, and stars in this dark comedy about a distinguished man who kills rich women for their money.
76. “Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993)
In one of Robin Williams’ classic roles, he disguises himself as a female housekeeper to spend time with his kids after a divorce.
77. “Network” (1976)
Sidney Lumet’s darkly comedic look inside a TV network is lifted by the Paddy Chayefsky script and performances from Faye Dunaway, Robert Duvall, William Holden, Ned Beatty, and Peter Finch as broadcaster Howard Beale who “is mad as hell and can’t take it anymore.”
78. “The NeverEnding Story” (1984)
Bastian (Barret Oliver) opens a mysterious looking book and finds himself thrust into a fantastical world of huge creatures and a loveable luckdragon.
79. “Night of the Living Dead” (1968)
George A. Romero mixes zombies and racial unrest to create one of the best horror movies ever.
80. All the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies
Sit back and do a marathon of all the terror Freddy Krueger has inflicted upon teens over the years.
81. “North by Northwest” (1959)
Alfred Hitchcock takes a thriller on the road as he casts Cary Grant as an advertising executive who is on the run for a murder he didn’t commit that leads to a finale on Mt. Rushmore.
82. “Once Upon a Time in the West” (1968)
Sergio Leone’s western masterwork stars Charles Bronson as the mysterious harmonica man and Henry Fonda in the rare time he played a bad guy in his career.
83. “The Player” (1992)
Tom Robbins plays a studio executive who is sent death threats by a screenwriter whose script he rejected. The problem is, there are so many he’s rejected it’s impossible to figure out which it is. Robert Altman’s satirical look at Hollywood is a must-watch.
84. “Point Blank” (1967)
Lee Marvin is fantastic as a crook looking for payback after being double-crossed and left for dead.
85. “Police Story” (1985)
This amazing Jackie Chan action movie would launch a successful franchise thanks to the movie’s stunts. Two memorable action sequences include Chan demolishing a shanty town as he drives through it and when Chan slides down a pole that’s several stories high.
86. “Pretty in Pink” (1986)
Molly Ringwald plays Andie who sees just how ugly high school can be when she falls for Blane (Andrew McCarthy) and starts to hang out with the rich kids.
87. “Punch-Drunk Love” (2002)
Adam Sandler goes next-level with his dramatic talents in this beautiful love story done by Paul Thomas Anderson.
88. “Raising Arizona” (1987)
The Coen brothers create a dark comedy classic with this tale of a couple (Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter) who are so desperate for a kid that they decide to nab one of a family’s quintuplets. But that leads to a whole lot of trouble.
89. “Rashomon” (1950)
Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece looks at the rape of a bride and the murder of her samurai husband from several different perspectives.
90. “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955)
Nicholas Ray’s look at misunderstood youth is heightened by the iconic performance by James Dean as the movie’s lead, Jim.
91. “The Red Shoes” (1948)
Cherished by everyone from Martin Scorsese to Francis Ford Coppola, we follow a young ballet dancer (Moria Shearer) in her pursuit to become one of the greats, but must sacrifice greatly to do it.
92. “Scanners” (1981)
David Cronenberg’s horror classic looks at a group of people called “scanners” for their telekinetic powers. We follow one scanner, Cameron (Stephen Lack) as he takes on renegade scanner Darryl (Michael Ironside).
Despite all the advances in makeup since this movie comes out, the head explosions and other in-camera effects are still amazing.
93. “Seven Samurai” (1954)
Akira Kurosawa’s essential samurai movie is so great it went on to inspire everything from “The Magnificent Seven,” “Three Amigos,” and countless “The A-Team” episodes.
94. “The Seventh Seal” (1957)
Ingmar Bergman and Max von Sydow would become cinematic gods thanks to this movie in which von Sydow plays a man seeking answers from the Grim Reaper by playing chess against him.
95. “Some Kind of Wonderful” (1987)
With a great script from John Hughes, this love triangle movie starring Eric Stoltz, Lea Thompson, and Mary Stuart Masterson would become an essential 1980s movie.
96. “Spanglish” (2004)
Adam Sandler solidifies his dramatic chops in this dramedy from James L. Brooks about a woman from Mexico (Paz Vega) who begins to work for an American family and witnesses first hand their dysfunction.
97. “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (1948)
John Huston casts his father, Walter, Humphrey Bogart, and Tim Holt as a group of men who set out to find gold. They succeed, but greed gets the best of them.
98. “Uncle Buck” (1989)
John Candy shines as a loveable uncle that’s the outcast of the family. But when an emergency forces him to have to watch his nephews, everything goes nuts for him and the kids. John Hughes writes and directs a classic here.
99. “The Wild Bunch” (1969)
Sam Peckinpah’s unforgiving Western is a guy’s movie if there ever was one. A group of ageing outlaws head out for one last score. It ends with one of the best gunfights you will ever see on the screen.
100. “The Wizard of Oz” (1939)
This beloved classic starring Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale never gets old. Sit and watch it with someone who has never seen it before and watch them be amazed by it all.
101. “Yojimbo” (1961)
Played perfectly by Toshirô Mifune, he plays a ronin who shows everyone who’s really the toughest when he enters town and plays two rival gangs against each other.
This movie would inspire countless loner characters in the decades to come.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.