Last Updated: August 5th
In addition to being Americas most trusted source of Succession episodes, HBO has a lovely collection of movies available ranging from trashy action thrills to elegant period pieces to star-studded comedies. With all the recent changes to HBOs streaming services, though, it can be confusing to know what the heck is on which app. Here is a ranking of the 25 best movies on HBO (previously known as HBO Now) that you could and should be watching right now. We also rounded up the best movies on HBO Max in another guide.
Related: The Best Shows On HBO RankedUniversal Pictures
Run Time: 124 min | IMDb: 8.0/10
With just a few bars on the piano and an oversized mechanical shark, Steven Spielberg terrorized generations of moviegoers with Jaws. The film follows a local sheriff, a marine biologist, and an old seafarer who team up to hunt a great white shark who has a worrisome bloodlust and seems to be targeting a small beach town during the busiest time of the year. Spielbergs camera work the lingering, underwater shots, the quick cuts of flesh being torn from bone and rows of teeth flashing to the surface make this exercise in inciting aquaphobia even more chilling. Youll never look at a carefree day at the beach the same way again.
Run Time: 147 min | IMDb: 8.5/10
Francis Ford Coppolas war epic starring Marlon Brando and Martin Sheen is a feat of filmmaking and a wild, gory ride. Its basically a reinventing of Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness a truly bonkers novel with the bloody conflict in the Congo being swapped out for the then-timely Vietnam War. Sheen plays Captain Benjamin Willard, an Army officer tasked with assassinating Brandos Colonel Kurtz, a renegade Army officer accused of murder. Most of the films action centers on Sheens secret mission, his journey from Vietnam to Cambodia, and his showdown with Brandos Kurtz, whos been driven mad with power.
Run Time: 100 min | IMDb: 7.2/10
A film noir set in the Ozarks of Missouri, Winters Bone was the breakthrough role for Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Ree Dolly, a 17-year-old who looks after her family since her father disappeared. With the looming threat of losing her home, Ree goes in search of her missing father, ending up in a world of distrust and violence. It was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and though it didnt take any Oscars home, it did win the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.
Run Time: 110 min | IMDb: 7.5/10
HBO managed to pull off the seemingly impossible with this follow-up movie based on a series that left us too soon. Ian McShane, Timothy Olyphant, and the rest of the residents of the camp are back to celebrate the South Dakotas statehood in the only way this dusty drama knows how with reignited rivalries, betrayals, bloodshed, and lots of swearin. The show became a fan favorite thanks to its gritty performances and nuanced storytelling, and the movie continues the tradition, investigating the lives of these pioneers whove endured plenty of hardship for their piece of the American dream.
Run Time: 122 min | IMDb: 8.5/10
In case you didnt catch it in theaters, or you just want to revisit the chaos and mayhem of Joaquin Phoenixs 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 doesnt take much to put this guy over the edge.
Run Time: 117 min | IMDb: 8.4/10
Ridley Scott basically invented sci-fi horror with this alien thriller about a crew on a commercial space tug who must battle a violent extraterrestrial being thats infiltrated their ship. Sigourney Weaver plays Ripley, an officer aboard the Nostromo, whos forced to face down the titular Alien, an aggressive lifeform intent on killing the ships human crew. Most of the action revolves around Weavers attempts to destroy the creature and save her shipmates but its Scotts direction behind the camera that creates the suspense and terror this film has become known for.
Run Time: 108 min | IMDb: 7.9/10
Visionary director Taika Waititi gives us this World War II-set satirical masterpiece (and Oscar screenplay winner) that follows a young German boy, whose imaginary friend is Adolf Hitler. The kicker is that Waititi plays the genocidal maniac, making him a weak, comedic caricature of the infamous mass murderer, and as Jo Jo (a terrific Roman Griffin Davis) begins to bond with a Jewish girl hiding in his house, his worship of the dictator wanes in hilarious ways. Scarlett Johansson does some of her best work here as Jo Jos mother, a woman fighting to help the Jews, and Sam Rockwell steals every scene hes in, playing a queer Nazi commander. Yet the joy and humor in this belongs to Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, and Archie Yates the kids who give the film some much needed heart.
Run Time: 139 min | IMDb: 8.8/10
There are timeless classics and then theres David Finchers exercise in understanding modern masculinity (a.k.a. Fight Club). The film has managed to remain relevant over the decades, with fans finding new themes and messages to dig into when it comes to Edward Nortons depressed, unfulfilled office worker and his machismo friend, Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt). The two start an underground fight club with a now-famous set of rules and wreak havoc on the city as they let loose their aggression and search for the meaning in life. But its the films surprise, introspective ending that really elevates this bloody drama.
Run Time: 132 min | IMDb: 8.2/10
Bruce Willis stars in this action classic that gave birth to a genre-defining franchise. Willis plays John McClane, an NYPD officer tasked with rescuing his wife and children from a group of German terrorists who hold a Christmas gathering hostage at an LA hotel. Alan Rickman plays the groups leader, and its his bad guy that makes this thing so enjoyable to watch. That, and Willis iconic one-liners.
Run Time: 114 min | IMDb: 7.3/10
Laura Dern gives a hauntingly beautiful performance in Jennifer Foxs autobiographical drama, The Tale. The film recounts Foxs own history of sexual abuse at the hands of a riding instructor who was three times her age. Dern plays a grown-up version of Fox, a woman struggling to recall illicit memories of her past, to reconcile the relationship she thought she had as a teenager with a man old enough to be her father with what actually happened years of grooming, mental, and physical abuse at the hands of adults she had put her trust in. Its a brutal but necessary watch.
Run Time: 120 min | IMDb: 8.3/10
Inspirational without being self-congratulatory or condescending, Mick Jacksons Temple Grandin places Claire Danes in the role of the real-life title character as she develops into a voice in animal science that cannot be ignored. A world thats unaccommodating to autism and women in the ranching industry does not make things easy for Grandin and Danes portrays her with detail, intelligence and heart. Bonus points awarded for having the courage to include comedy and taking the effort to make something with warmth. You dont get that too often in movies featuring the inner workings of slaughterhouses.
Run Time: 167 min | IMDb: 7.5/10
Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonard DiCaprio, and Cameron Diaz star in Martin Scorseses historical epic that re-imagines the birth of New York City. DiCaprio plays Amsterdam, an Irish immigrant who returns to the Five Points years following his fathers murder, looking for revenge. To get it, he infiltrates Bill the Butchers (Lewis) gang, a group of proud natives tired of the influx of foreigners in their city. Diaz plays a prostitute who forms a relationship with Amsterdam as he befriends Bill, then struggles to follow-through with his plan to kill the man who murdered his father and lead the Five Points in a rebellion against the citys elite.
Run Time: 115 min | IMDb: 7/10
Nicole Kidman, Lucas Hedges, and Joel Edgerton star in this queer drama directed by Edgerton based off the memoir of author Garrad Conley. The film follows the son of a Baptist preacher (Hedges) who is outed to his strictly religious family and forced to undergo his churchs gay conversion therapy camp. There, hes abused mentally and physically because of his queerness and his bonds with his family are tested.
Run Time: 82 min IMDb: 7.4/10
Erin Lee Carrs spellbinding crime doc Mommy Dead and Dearest plunges into the bizarre and absorbing true story surrounding the murder of Dee Dee Blanchard. Its an absorbing, strange and disturbing watch that doles out enough jaw-dropping moments in 83 minutes to put full seasons of TV to shame. Sundance hopefuls would have a field day with the visuals in this documentary if they were to try and adapt this stranger-than-fiction tale of manipulation, murder, and motherhood.
Run Time: 131 min | IMDb: 7.5/10
Keanu Reeves is back as everyones favorite dog-loving assassin but this time, hes the bad guy on the run after he kills a member of the guild. While every killer worth their salt is gunning for him, Wick must reach out to some old friends for help. He dispatches handfuls of his comrades, rides the streets of New York City on horseback, and wanders through the desert, searching for a way to clear his name. Its full of the high-concept action the franchise is known for and Reeves is having a blast playing the badass character hes made iconic.
Run Time: 106 min | IMDb: 7/10
Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, and a handful of other embarrassingly talented actors carry this heartwarming family drama about two kids in search of their father. Josh Hutcherson and Mia Wasikowska play Laser and Joni, siblings conceived by artificial insemination. Their moms Jules (Moore) and Nic (Bening) each used the same sperm donor to have them and now, as the kids have grown up, theyve become curious about this mystery paternal figure. Enter Ruffalo who plays a hippie restaurant owner named Paul that seems more interested in hooking up with Jules than getting to know his kids. Its messy and difficult, but its a relatable story about unconventional family dynamics that feels refreshingly original.
Run Time: 127 min | IMDb: 7.6/10
Baz Luhrmanns bohemian rhapsody set in 1900s France follows the tale of a struggling writer who falls for a beautiful courtesan. Ewan McGregor plays Christian, a poet with grand ideas on love who move to the Montmarte district to write a novel and truly experience life. A trip to a pleasure theater called the Moulin Rouge introduces him to Satine (Nicole Kidman), a gorgeous performer whos also caught the eye of a rich duke. Torn between her love for Christian and the trappings of her luxurious life, the pair embark on a forbidden romance that has disastrous consequences for everyone.
Run Time: 93 min IMDb: 7/10
Living up to the immense hype it earned at Sundance that year, Real Women Have Curves is a coming-of-age tale that balances drama and comedy while shining a spotlight on the acting skills of future Superstore star America Ferrera. (The film marked the actresss cinematic debut.) Ferrera plays Ana Garca, a young Mexican-American woman navigating cultural, societal and familial expectations in Los Angeles as she works toward her goal of heading to college. Smart, dignified and occasionally bittersweet, Real Women Have Curves is a movie unafraid of its warmth and humanity.
Run Time: 133 min | IMDb: 7.6/10
Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Kiera Knightley, and a host of other famous faces star in this beloved holiday rom-com. The film follows a few different storylines, all connected by six degrees of separation that converge around Christmas. Knightley plays a recently-married woman who discovers her husbands best friend is in love with her. Neeson plays a widower trying to care for his young son. Firth plays a writer scorned by love and given a second chance when he retreats abroad to finish his book. And Grant plays the newly-elected Prime Minister who falls for a member of his staff. There are more love stories in here, but really, just watch it if youre that curious.
Run Time: 107 min | IMDb: 7.9/10
In Bruges was the movie that revealed Colin Farrell could be funny. A character actor stuck in a leading mans body, Farrell gives arguably the best performance of his career as Ray, a rookie Irish hitman on the run with his partner and mentor, Ken (Brendan Gleeson), after accidentally killing a kid while executing a priest. While that may not sound much like the premise of a comedy, director Martin McDonagh crafted a truly hilarious movie. Farrell and Gleeson play off each other wonderfully all the way to the films dark finale. But as great as they are, theyre overshadowed at times by an incredible performance from Ralph Fiennes as their boss, Harry. Fiennes is at once funny and terrifying as a man steadfast in his principles, even when that involves committing murder.
Run Time: 136 min | IMDb: 7.7/10
Bradley Coopers directorial debut racked up plenty of awards earlier this year, and now you can finally find out why (if you havent seen it in theaters like pretty much everyone else already 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.
Run Time: 118 min | IMDb: 7/10
Itd be rude for a Liberace-focused film not to be showered in sparkly awards upon release, dont you think? Steven Soderberghs HBO Films take on Scott Thorsons memoir Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace earned Emmys galore for its blend of effective drama and dark comedy. Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, and Scott Bakula all scored well-deserved praise and trophies for their work in this gripping (and appropriately stylish) drama that will have you scrambling down many a Wikipedia rabbit hole after.
Run Time: 104 min | IMDb: 7.5/10
Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore star in this HBO remake of the 1975 documentary of the same name. Lange plays Big Eddie, aunt to former First Lady Jackie Kennedy, while Barrymore plays Little Edie, Kennedys first cousin. The two women became famous when it was revealed that their estate, Grey Gardens, was in ruin and theyd been living there in squalor for years. The film chronicles their journey to destitution, following Little Edie as she tries and fails to make a name for herself away from her mother while Big Eddie tries to prevent the end of her marriage. Its a gripping, tragic tale, one made more visceral thanks to some stellar performances by Lange and Barrymore.
Run Time: 106 min | IMDb: 6.7/10
Its always surreal when life imitates art but watching Steven Soderberghs star-studded thriller during the age of Corona feels more like a warning than anything. Thats because Soderbergh approaches the films plot a deadly virus originating in China ravages the planet forcing regular civilians and CDC workers to do the unthinkable in order to survive with a methodical, scientific formula. There are real stakes, especially when we watch Matt Damons character scramble to save whats left of his family or Laurence Fishburne fail to manage the crisis as a CDC head, but theres also so much scientific jargon that this could be taught in schools. It probably should.
Run Time: 125 min | IMDb: 6.8/10
Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph star in this raunchy comedy about a woman on the brink of marriage and her best friend whos struggling through a series of failures in her life. Wiig plays Annie, a woman who lost her bakery and relationship in one fell swoop right before her friend Lillian (Rudolph) gets engaged. To make matters worse, theres competition for the maid of honor spot when Lillian finds a new friend in the wife of her fiancs boss (played by the excellent Rose Byrne). Ruined bachelorette parties, Parisian wedding showers, and quite possibly the funniest, most disgusting poop explosion to ever happen on screen, quickly follow.
Recent Changes Through August 2020:Removed: Us, Blindspotting, Casino Royale, Mighty Ducks, Yesterday, BrexitAdded: Jojo Rabbit
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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero