Let’s face it: there are only so many movies available on Netflix. After a few days of Adam Sandler comedies and Cameron Diaz rom-coms, you’re ready for something actually good. That is the benefit of subscribing to HBO Max. They not only have a number of new titles debuting each month, but they also have access to the Warner Bros, Studio Ghibili, and TCM archives. The possibilities are endless, but where do you begin?
That’s where our guide to the best HBO Max titles comes in. Scroll down to see all of the best movies available on HBO Max.
Martin Scorsese’s gangster film is best accompanied by garlic, gravy, and a table full of friends. No film on our list has more hangout potential than this one. The story of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) and his transformation from child to man is one of cinema’s most joyous experiences.
The Dark Knight (2008)
Not every hero wears a cape…but the best ones do. In this dark, the twisted adventure takes us into a shady underworld of cops, criminals, and billionaires. Christian Bale stands head and shoulders above all other heroes. He’s one of the few actors who can bring a masked man to life, and his performance is only matched by the late Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning performance.
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
You thought Gotham City was dangerous. Wait until you see 1970s New York. This film’s opening montage depicts a city on the verge of exploding: an explosion of heat, rage, trash, and people.
The frustration of the entire city seeps through the pores of Al Pacino, who has dragged his friends along to a bank robbery and soon realizes he is surrounded on all sides. There’s a reason why every heist film has been stolen from Lumet: he was the first director to recognize that heists are about people, not money.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Some films invent their own world, complete with laws and rules. One of these films is The Grand Budapest Hotel. The film is filled with oddballs, lobbies filled with can-colored plants, and doormen who look like they’ve just arrived from the 1800s. All of this makes sense despite the fact that there is no rhyme or reason for it. Such is Wes Anderson’s enchantment.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
The movie you’ve seen 1,000 times on TNT is still good. The way it shifts from action to emotion see: the motorcycle chase never gets old. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s robot may have a blank expression, but he’s also an ideal character for others to emote.
Paddington 2 (2018)
Nothing beats an hour or two in Paddington’s company to lift your spirits. He’s a bear hug of a character and also one of the most endearing creatures to ever grace the big screen. He looks like a cross between Charlie Chaplin and Winnie the Pooh. You find yourself wanting to be his friend.
Battle of Algiers (1966)
This film about the Casbah protests rings true in your bones. It erupts with a white-hot rage, neo-realist techniques, and visceral camera movements, and it lingers long after the credits have rolled. The film was so effective that it was shown in the Pentagon for tactics, which no other war film has ever done.
Play it again, Sam! Few films on this list have been watched more than Casablanca, a World War II drama about an American expatriate (Humphrey Bogart) discovering his ex (Ingrid Bergman) has returned to town. It’s one of the most quotable films ever, with a number of memorable lines. It’s also one of the most moving, with a love story you root for more than anything else.
Jules and Jim (1962)
What do you do after a masterpiece? That was the task that Francois Truffaut faced after completing The 400 Blows. As a result, the plot revolves around two best friends, Jules and Jim, and their mutual love interest, Catherine, who may be the most beautiful woman on the side of a Botticelli angel.
There’s a never-ending stream of visual delights, from the characters’ looks to the French countryside to the never-ending spool of camera tricks, and there’s even a musical number halfway through. It’s an experience you’ll never forget.
Eyes Without a Face (1960)
When Georges Fanju adapted Jean Redon’s novel for the big screen, he scared moviegoers. Nobody had ever seen a kidnapping and skinning of girls before.
The film took the slashers to a whole new level. But it’s the emotional crore that really stands out as proof that horror characters can be more than just objects. They can be flesh and blood humans with blinking eyes, feeling faces, and longing hearts.
In the Heights (2021)
While the pandemic may have delayed some releases, multiple musicals hit the big screen in 2021. Along with West Side Story, Tick, Tick…Boom!, and Dear Evan Hansen, one entry was so massive that we thought movie theaters had returned for good.
To find something as catchy, colorful, and cyclical as In the Heights, a confetti-egg of a film that bursts open with visual delights, you’d have to go back to MGM’s Golden Age.
Tokyo Story (1953) ON HBO Max
Bring a box of tissues and a family member to see why Tokyo Story is regarded as one of the greatest films ever made. Yosujiro Ozu’s story of a family at all three stages (child, parent, and grandparent) still has the power to make you laugh, cry, and cheer all at the same time, even after 70 years.