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The 11 best movies on Max available to stream now

New to Max? Here are the top movies to start with

The Ring, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit.
Paxillop / Pixabay

With HBO Max rebranding to Max, it’s the right time to get acquainted with all of the great movies to watch on the streaming service. In addition to large portions of the Warner Bros. catalog, it also has tons of seminal, classic films, as well as plenty of foreign releases. Because the catalog is so big and rich, there are about 250 titles that could go on this list. There’s a wealth of options to choose from whether you’re into action movies or comedies, and you shouldn’t feel limited by the selection below.

Instead, you should treat it as a jumping-off point of HBO Max movies, one that will hopefully allow you to explore many of the titles that didn’t quite make the cut. Max has great movies in every genre and from every period of film history. This is just a sampling of the best movies on Max. And if you’re looking for more Max content, we’ve rounded up the best shows on Max to watch right now.

Dunkirk (2017)

Genre War, Action, Drama
Stars Fionn Whitehead, Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance
Directed by Christopher Nolan

One of the best World War II movies in recent memory, Dunkirk is an incredible achievement in filmmaking as it gets the viewer on ground level with the troops who endured the real-life Battle of Dunkirk. Christopher Nolan’s unique approach to storytelling is intact here, and we even get a cameo from Harry Styles! All of that makes Dunkirk a great movie to watch.

Casablanca (1942)

100 %
Genre Drama, Romance
Stars Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid
Directed by Michael Curtiz
What really needs to be said about Casablanca? It’s widely regarded as one of the best films of all time, and it lives up to that billing. The movie follows Rick (Humphrey Bogart) and Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), former lovers who run into each other after Ilsa has become linked to a hero of the French resistance during World War II. Casablanca is a tragic love story, but it’s also a story about hope set during a time when there wasn’t much reason for it. Rick does the right thing for the world, and it comes at great personal cost to him, and it’s his sacrifice that makes the movie transcendent.

The Dark Knight (2008)

The Dark Knight
84 %
Genre Drama, Action, Crime, Thriller
Stars Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Michael Caine
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Even after more than a decade of superhero dominance, The Dark Knight still feels like the single best piece of comic book entertainment available. The movie was an enormous phenomenon when it premiered in 2008, thanks in no small part to Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning performance as the Joker. The Dark Knight is a crime thriller, but it also has some of the most electrifying set pieces in any superhero film. Christopher Nolan has made plenty of great films in and out of the superhero genre, but The Dark Knight is still one of his crowning achievements.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
92 %
Genre Adventure, Fantasy, Action
Stars Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen
Directed by Peter Jackson
The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy is available on Max, and it’s worth taking a day to watch all three films. They’re three of the best movies on Max. With every passing day, the trilogy feels more and more like a miracle. Adapted from J.R. Tolkien’s work of the same name, the trilogy tells the story of a band of warriors from a variety of fantastical races who come together to defeat a great evil. It’s a work of high fantasy that is both dorky and incredibly cool. There is no one too smart or sophisticated for Lord of the Rings, even if it’s one of the nerdiest things in the world. A great movie can make even niche material hugely popular, and that’s exactly what these films did.

Tokyo Story (1953)

Tokyo Story
Genre Drama
Stars Chishū Ryū, Chieko Higashiyama, Setsuko Hara
Directed by Yasujirō Ozu
Tokyo Story is as quiet and reflective as movies get, but it’s also one of the most beautiful films ever made. The film is one of the defining works of Japanese director Yasujirō Ozu, and tells the story of a mother and father who come to visit their children in Tokyo but find that their children no longer have time for them. It’s a still movie, but one that ultimately depicts the tragedy of a generation of children who don’t feel that they owe their parents anything. Tokyo Story is a movie about the profound loneliness of growing old and watching the world leave you behind. The movie is widely regarded as one of the best ever made, and with good reason. It’s basically perfect.

Deadwood: The Movie (2019)

Deadwood: The Movie
Genre TV Movie, Western
Stars Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker
Directed by Daniel Minahan
Deadwood remains on the Mount Rusmore of many HBO show rankings, and for good reason. The Western series was a dense and well-acted saga of a small town and the sacrifices it took to create respect in the 1800s in the U.S. The series was canceled after only three seasons, so this movie is a must-watch apology to the diehards of the series who never got to see where the characters ended up. All of the main ones are back, such as Al Swearengen and Seth Bullock.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Genre Science Fiction, Action
Stars Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown
Directed by Michael Dougherty

The Monsterverse has become bigger and better in recent years, culminating in this thrilling and enormous clash of the titans! Godzilla is the unquestioned star of this film, but it also features a few great human performances, including one from Millie Bobby Brown from Stranger Things, who manages to do quite a bit in her limited screen time. It’s also proof that there are plenty of great new movies on HBO Max.

300 (2006)

Genre Action, Adventure, War
Stars Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Dominic West
Directed by Zack Snyder

If comic book adaptations of ancient Greco-Persian battles are your thing, then Zack Snyder’s 300 is the right action film for you. Gerard Butler plays King Leonidas, the mythological Spartan lord who was able to stand firm against hundreds of thousands of Persian soldiers invading his lands. The color palette of the movie adds to its stylistic flair.

Predator (1987)

Genre Science Fiction, Action, Adventure, Thriller
Stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Elpidia Carrillo
Directed by John McTiernan

Arnold Schwarzenegger is more kick-ass here than in any other film playing a rescue soldier who spars with an otherworldly alien presence in the middle of the jungle. Predator is now one of the most iconic sci-fi franchises of all time, and this first film is the best in the series.

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Edge of Tomorrow
Genre Action, Science Fiction
Stars Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton
Directed by Doug Liman
Tom Cruise is one of the great action stars of his or any generation, and Edge of Tomorrow may just be his crowning achievement. Co-starring Emily Blunt, the movie follows Cruise as he and the rest of humanity battle an alien invader, and is sent back in time over and over until he finally finds a way to defeat it. Cruise and Blunt have incredible chemistry in the movie, which also somehow manages to be one of the funniest performances Cruise has delivered in a long time. The whole thing is sharp, smart, and way better than it has any right being.
Edge of Tomorrow - Official Trailer 1 [HD]

Spirited Away (2001)

Spirited Away
Genre Animation, Family, Fantasy
Stars Rumi Hiiragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Every Studio Ghibli is available on Max, but if you have to watch just one, Spirited Away is probably the one. The movie follows a young girl who finds herself transported into a mystical spirit world and has to work her way back to the real world. Spirited Away is not a linear movie, but it’s one that follows a pretty intuitive emotional logic. It’s also filled with beautiful animation, and the kind of vivid imagery that few movies, live-action or animated, possess.
Spirited Away Trailer

What movies are leaving Max in September?

Leaving on September 8

  • Too Beautiful: Our Right To Fight
  • The Tourist

Leaving on September 13

  • Tammy

Leaving on September 30

  • 300
  • 17 Again
  • Alfie
  • Along Came a Spider
  • Another Me
  • Armageddon
  • Beatriz at Dinner
  • Because I Said So
  • Big Game
  • Bloodsport
  • Boyz N The Hood
  • Braveheart
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai
  • Caddyshack
  • Can’t Hardly Wait
  • Chicago
  • Clash of the Titans
  • The Crying Game
  • The Dirty Dozen
  • District 9
  • Divergent
  • The Divergent Series: Insurgent
  • The Divergent Series: Allegiant
  • Downton Abbey
  • Dumb and Dumber
  • Entertainment
  • Experimenter
  • The Family
  • Get Hard
  • The Getaway
  • Ghost Ship
  • Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
  • Girl Happy
  • The Good Lie
  • Good News
  • The Goodbye Girl
  • The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard
  • Harriet
  • Head Full of Honey
  • Horrible Bosses
  • The Host
  • Hot Shots!
  • Hot Shots! Part Deux
  • Hot Summer Nights
  • Hotel Mumbai
  • Ice Station Zebra
  • Ingrid Goes West
  • The Invisible War
  • The Iron Giant
  • The Jacket
  • JFK
  • Jonah Hex
  • Juno
  • The Kid
  • King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
  • Kiss The Girls
  • Klute
  • The Last Circus
  • The Last Days on Mars
  • Last Night In Soho
  • Let’s Be Cops
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • Little Woods
  • Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
  • Maid in Manhattan
  • The Meg
  • Miss Congeniality
  • Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous
  • Moneyball
  • Mortal Kombat
  • Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms
  • Nancy Drew
  • Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase
  • Night Moves
  • Noma: My Perfect Storm
  • Ocean’s Twelve
  • Ocean’s Thirteen
  • Ocean’s Eight
  • Oliver!
  • The Omega Man
  • One Missed Call
  • The Perfect Storm
  • Poseidon
  • Push
  • Rampage
  • Rising Sun
  • Sex and the City
  • Sex and the City 2
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Great Escape
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • Smokin’ Aces
  • Spawn
  • Stage Fright
  • Star 80
  • Steel
  • Steven Universe: The Movie
  • Steven Universe The Movie Sing-a-Long
  • Sublet
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Tenacious D In The Pick of Destiny
  • Terms of Endearment
  • They Died With Their Boots On
  • Thir13en Ghosts
  • This Is Elvis
  • Till the End of Time
  • To Be or Not To Be
  • Torpedo Run
  • Travels with My Aunt
  • Tu Me Manques
  • Twister
  • Under the Cherry Moon
  • Valkyrie
  • The Vanishing
  • The Wave
  • We Are The Best!
  • Wild Wild West
  • You’ve Got Mail

What movies are coming to Max in September?

September 1

  • 42
  • Aliens in the Attic
  • Anna
  • Annabelle
  • Annabelle: Creation
  • Annabelle Comes Home
  • Be Kind Rewind
  • Blade
  • Blade II
  • Blade: Trinity
  • Boyz n the Hood
  • Bullet To The Head
  • Carrie
  • Carrie
  • Cat People
  • Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice
  • Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest
  • Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering
  • Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror
  • Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return
  • Children of the Corn: Revelation
  • A Cinderella Story
  • Class Action
  • Crazy, Stupid, Love
  • Critters
  • The Curse of La Llorona
  • Date Night
  • Doctor Sleep
  • Drive Me Crazy
  • Dutch
  • The Exorcist
  • Exorcist II: The Heretic
  • Fast Food Nation
  • Fire in the Sky
  • Firestorm
  • Friday
  • Friday the 13th
  • Friday the 13th Part II
  • Friday the 13th Part III
  • Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
  • Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
  • Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
  • Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
  • Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
  • Gangs of New York
  • Georgia Rule
  • The Ghost and the Darkness
  • Heartburn
  • It
  • It: Chapter Two
  • Juice
  • Just Like Heaven
  • Little Shop of Horrors
  • The Mask
  • MI-5
  • Millennium
  • Mommie Dearest
  • Ordinary Love
  • Out of the Furnace
  • Philomena
  • Post Grad
  • The Rage: Carrie 2
  • The Roads Not Taken
  • Sabrina
  • Scooby-Doo
  • Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed
  • She’s Funny That Way
  • Six Days, Seven Nights
  • Snitch
  • Source Code
  • Spy
  • Sunset Strip
  • Tears of the Sun
  • THX 1138
  • Time After Time
  • Unfaithfully Yours
  • XXX
  • XXX: State of the Union

September 2

  • The Venture Bros.: Radiant Is the Blood of the Baboon Heart

September 6

  • Max

September 11

  • The Faking Dead

September 13

  • Donyale Luna: Supermodel

September 18

  • Chico Virtual
  • Double Cultura
  • El Carrito
  • Keep/Delete
  • La Macana
  • Thank You, Have A Nice Day
  • Un Pequeño Corte

September 20

  • Naked Attraction

September 21

  • American Sniper
  • Young Love

September 23

  • Paris Can Wait

September 26

  • Savior Complex

Editors' Recommendations

Movie images and data from:
Joe Allen
Joe Allen is a freelance culture writer based in upstate New York. His work has been published in The Washington Post, The…
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