True to its name, HBO has always aimed to bring the box office to people’s homes. That’s easier than ever now thanks to the network’s twin streaming services, HBO Go and HBO Now. At any given time, the service offers hundreds of films, from obscure documentaries to summer blockbusters — but not all of them qualify as “great.” If you feel like streaming a movie and don’t want to waste your time on something subpar, we’ve rounded up the best movies currently on HBO.
Additional streaming guides
- Best HBO series
- Best movies on Netflix
- Best movies on Disney+
- Best movies on Hulu
- Best movies on Amazon Prime
Continuing the tradition of Seth Rogen dating women so, so far out of his league, Long Shot is another fine example of the chubby, charming underdog winning the girl in the end. When writer Fred Flarsky (Rogen) meets presidential candidate Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), he slowly comes to realize that she is his former babysitter, whom he was completely smitten with. The awkward recognition leads to Fred joining Charlotte’s team as a speechwriter and, as you might expect, an “unexpected” romance blooms. Sure, it’s predictable, but it’s also raunchy, hilarious, and unleashes surprising chemistry between the two stars that makes for a lot of fun.
Rotten Tomatoes: 82 PercentGenre: ComedyStars: Charlize Theron, Seth RogenDirector: Jonathan LevineRating: RRuntime: 115 minutes
After the success of 7 Days in Hell, a mockumentary about a legendary tennis match between two fictional idiots, the Andy Samberg-led team earned a second go-round via HBO. The result? Tour de Pharmacy, a story that spoofs the Tour de France by focusing on competitors’ use of performance-enhancing substances in the early 1980s. Samberg returns to play Nigerian rider Marty Hass, while Orlando Bloom, Freddie Highmore, Daveed Diggs, and John Cena appear as the other made-up competitors. Tour is filled with classic slapstick comedy, and the concept is bolstered by the inclusion of several veteran actors — we won’t spoil the hilarious surprises here — who play the “modern-day” versions of the film’s protagonists. Lance Armstrong’s cameo doesn’t hurt, either.
Rotten Tomatoes: 89 PercentGenre: ComedyStars: Andy Samberg, Orlando Bloom, Freddie HighmoreDirector: Jake SzymanskiRating: Not RatedRuntime: 50 minutes
“Donde esta la biblioteca, Pedro?” Globo Gym magnate White Goodman (Ben Stiller) may be a real jerk who is hell-bent on expanding his high-end fitness empire to Mexico but he’s also a fantastic dodgeball team recruiter. Dodgeball is one of a slew of heavyweight comedies from the mid-aughts that continues to impact the zeitgeist in quotable lines, ridiculous attire, and themed events. Vince Vaughan stars as Peter La Fleur, owner of the somewhat decrepit Average Joe’s gymnasium, where local misfits go to work out judgment-free. But when La Fleur can no longer pay the bills, Goodman threatens to buy Average Joe’s and shame its patrons out onto the street. Rather than go down without a fight, La Fleur and the Average Joe’s enter a dodgeball tournament, hoping to win enough prize money to save the beloved gym. Goodman, however, assembles his own team to ensure the Average Joe’s come up short.
Rotten Tomatoes: 70 PercentGenre: ComedyStars: Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor, Vince VaughnDirector: Rawson Marshall ThurberRating: PG-13Runtime: 98 minutes
A movie so good they just can’t stop making sequels and spinoffs! HBO actually has all three of the original RoboCop trilogy, launched in 1987 by Paul Verhoeven’s seminal original. RoboCop is a mainstream compromise of ’80s cyberpunk, exploring a dystopian, crime-ridden future Detroit while infusing it with a cyborg cop hellbent on vengeance. The special effects may not be quite as spectacular as they were back then but the themes are enduring and, once you see it, you’ll understand why it has become such a cultural linchpin. Everybody knows of RoboCop, but you won’t really get it until you see the original.
Rotten Tomatoes: 89 PercentGenre: Action & Adventure, Science FictionStars: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O’HerlihyDirector: Paul VerhoevenRating: RRuntime: 103 minutes
Based on the popular manga series Gunnm and its original video animation adaptation in 1993, Battle Angel, Alita: Battle Angel was produced by sci-fi legend James Cameron and directed by Grindhouse stalwart Robert Rodriguez from a script by him and Shutter Island writer Laeta Kalogridis. With a team like that, fans had pretty huge expectations. It didn’t quite meet those high critical and fan standards, but Alita: Battle Angel is nonetheless a highly engaging, electric visual experience that pushes the boundaries of special effects. Set several centuries in the future, the film follows cyborg Alita who is abandoned in a scrapyard of Iron City and revitalized by the compassionate cyber-doctor Ido. Although she has no memory of who she is or recognition of the world as she finds it, Alita soon discovers she has immense powers that she doesn’t fully understand and sets off on a journey to navigate her new life and understand her past.
Rotten Tomatoes: 61 PercentGenre: Action & Adventure, RomanceStars: Rose Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer ConnellyDirector: Robert RodriguezRating: PG-13Runtime: 125 minutes
Chris O’Dowd (IT Crowd, The Incredible Jessica James) stars as Ray, a time-travel nerd who is fired from his job at an amusement park after terrifying a group of children, in this quirky British film. While drowning his sorrows in a pub with some friends (Dean Lennox Kelly and Marc Wootton), Ray meets a woman (Anna Faris) who claims to be from the future. This run-in sets the stage for an adventure of a lifetime, which has the trio attempting to navigate a time-travel conundrum, avoid alternate versions of themselves, and find out who is trying to kill them. While this HBO-produced comedy may not be the most prestigious film out there, its quirky humor and dissection of classic science fiction tropes make for a funny and engaging film-watching experience.
Rotten Tomatoes: 38 PercentGenre: Comedy, Science FictionStars: Chris O’Dowd, Marc Wootton, Dean Lennox KellyDirector: Garreth CarrivickRating: PG-13Runtime: 83 minutes
In 2001, Pearl Harbor practically redefined what a movie could be. Director Michael Bay provided a glimpse into his action movie future with his depiction of the date that would “live in infamy.” The movie won a Best Sound Editing Oscar for its pulse-pounding action sequences illustrating the sheer terror of an air raid. With remarkable special effects that stand the test of time and emotional performances from Ben Affleck, Kate Beckinsale, Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Josh Hartnett, Pearl Harbor weaves a nice yarn of American life on the eve of Pearl Harbor and the gut-wrenching haymaker that was required to draw America into the war.
Rotten Tomatoes: 24 PercentGenre: Action & Adventure, Drama, RomanceStars: Ben Affleck, Kate Beckinsdale, Josh HartnettDirector: Michael BayRating: PG-13Runtime: 183 minutes
Henrietta Lacks was an African-American woman whose cancer cells, biopsied during treatment for cervical cancer in 1951, became one of the most important cell lines in medical research. Lacks’ family was not made aware of her unwitting contributions to modern medicine, however, until 1975. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is based on the nonfiction book of the same name, which documents the story of Lacks (Renee Elise Goldsberry) as told by author Rebecca Skloot (portrayed by Rose Byrne in the film) and Lacks’ daughter, Deborah Lacks (Oprah Winfrey). The HBO film was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for an Outstanding Television Movie, and Winfrey went on to be nominated for multiple awards for her role in the film.
Rotten Tomatoes: 69 PercentGenre: DramaStars: Oprah Winfrey, Rose ByrneDirector: George C. WolfeRating: Not RatedRuntime: 94 minutes
This biopic of legendary rock band Queen was a Best Picture nominee and earned four Oscar wins, including Best Actor for Rami Malek’s electric performance as Freddie Mercury. The film follows the formation and ascendance of Queen, with a special focus on Mercury, who became a rock and cultural icon for his flamboyant style and truly awe-inspiring voice. The film captures Mercury’s voice with a combination of Malek, clips of Mercury himself signing, and clips from Mercury impersonator Marc Martel, producing a sound that’s both deeply familiar yet original. Culminating with Queen’s iconic performance at the 1985 Live Aid concert, the film’s two hours crescendo with one of the most impressive and beautiful musical set pieces in 21st-century film.
Rotten Tomatoes: 60 PercentGenre: DramaStars: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym LeeDirector: Bryan SingerRating: PG-13Runtime: 134 minutes
Al Pacino was nominated for an Oscar in David Mamet’s adaptation of his own play, but it’s Alec Baldwin’s show-stealing cameo as a big city real estate maven that is the most quotable takeaway from this film. “A-B-C … Always Be Closing!” On the surface, a film about a group of small-town real estate salesmen who have one week to start selling until all but two lose their job doesn’t sound quite like riveting cinema. Yet, with luminaries like Pacino, Baldwin, Jack Lemmon, Alan Arkin, and Ed Harris delivering powerful performances from Mamet’s sizzling dialogue, this film is a classic for more than just finance bros.
Rotten Tomatoes: 95 PercentGenre: DramaStars: Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alec BaldwinDirector: James FoleyRating: RRuntime: 100 minutes
The most recent remake of the classic Hollywood story is one of its most successful to date. Nominated for eight Oscars, including a win for Best Original Song, A Star is Born is an emotional tour de force, ferociously pushed onward by awe-inspiring performances by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. Cooper, who also directed the movie, proves a capable singer while Lady Gaga demonstrates excellent acting chops while infusing the movie with iconic music. If you didn’t hear Shallow on the radio when the movie was in theaters, you’ve definitely heard someone sing it at karaoke night. A Star is Born is more than a movie about music, it’s more than a romance, and it’s more than a dramatic tale about fame. It’s just darn good.
Rotten Tomatoes: 90 PercentGenre: DramaStars: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam ElliottDirector: Bradley CooperRating: RRuntime: 135 minutes
This thoroughly modern adaptation of Richard Wright’s groundbreaking novel, this HBO original tells the story of Bigger Thomas, a young African American man living in Chicago who stumbles into a frightening new world of wealth and whiteness. Despite the new age clubs, music, and drugs, it’s a fairly faithful adaptation of the 1940 novel, yet doesn’t feel dated or coerced — arguably the most damning and upsetting aspect of the film. It’s a harrowing reminder that, while times change, some haven’t nearly enough.
Rotten Tomatoes: 62 PercentGenre: DramaStars: Ashton Sanders, Margaret Qualley, Nick RobinsonDirector: Rashid JohnsonRating: Not RatedRuntime: 110 minutes
You thought catching augmented reality Pokémon with your smartphone in your backyard was cool? The fictional world of Rhyme City will blow your mind. In Detective Pikachu, Rhyme City is a place where humans and Pokémon are united, bonded to one another sort of like a dog and its human. They work together to fight crime, put out fires, and govern their world. There’s a beautiful harmony. However, when ace detective Harry Goldman goes mysteriously missing, his amnesiac Pokémon partner, Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) discovers Harry’s son, Tim, can actually understand him. Together, they set out to discover what really happened to Harry and, in the process, uncover a deep, dark conspiracy that threatens to unravel the balance between humans and Pokémon forever. With realistic-looking CGI-generated Pokémon in nearly every shot, this movie is a visual delight, and the story holds water enough for fans of all ages.
Rotten Tomatoes: 69 PercentGenre: Action & Adventure, Kids & FamilyStars: Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn NewtonDirector: Rob LettermanRating: PGRuntime: 104 minutes
Fans of Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, and the Scripps National Spelling Bee will love this charming, uplifting family dramedy about an 11-year-old girl from South Los Angeles who aims to compete in the National Spelling Bee. Although bright, Akeelah is unmotivated, and her peers and teachers don’t exactly expect much of her. However, when an altercation with her stern English teacher (Fishburne) reveals a knack for spelling and memorization, Akeelah is encouraged to pursue this surprising new talent. As you might expect, the results come with loads of smiles and positive vibes.
Rotten Tomatoes: 85 PercentGenre: Drama, Kids & FamilyStars: Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Keke PalmerDirector: Doug AtchisonRating: PGRuntime: 112 minutes
Not to be confused with SpongeBob: Sponge Out of Water, this film was made at the peak of SpongeBob’s popularity in the early aughts and is entirely animated. (That is, SpongeBob does not go live-action.) In this family-friendly adventure under the sea, Mr. Krabs stands accused of stealing King Neptune’s crown, and only SpongeBob and his trusty starfish sidekick Patrick can clear his name. The film progresses like the longest, most fun SpongeBob episode you’ve ever seen, standing as the gold standard of Nickelodeon animated shows adapted to movies. This is a great one for the whole family, especially for young parents who grew up with SpongeBob themselves.
Rotten Tomatoes: 68 PercentGenre: Comedy, Kids & FamilyStars: Tom Kenny, Jeffrey Tambor, Rodger BumpassDirector: Stephen HillenburgRating: PGRuntime: 90 minutes
A couple of years before The Sopranos or Analyze This featured cold-hearted killers seeking refuge in therapists’ offices, professional hitman Martin Blank (John Cusack) forced the terrified Dr. Oatman (Alan Arkin) into counseling him in 1997’s Grosse Pointe Blank. Oatman convinces Blank to attend his 10-year high school reunion to reconnect with friends and lovers he abandoned. Equal parts black comedy and action thriller, the film gives you an opportunity to see darker sides of usually comic actors like Dan Aykroyd, who plays button man Grocer intent on either taking Blank under his wing or blowing him away. With incredible action scenes and hilarity — flavored with ’80s nostalgia and a killer soundtrack — Grosse Pointe Blank is layered but fun entertainment that is utterly rewatchable.
Rotten Tomatoes: 80 PercentGenre: Action & Adventure, ComedyStars: John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Dan AykroydDirector: George ArmitageRating: RRuntime: 107 minutes
A classic Tom Hanks flick from the days when comedy was his bread and butter, Big is a heartwarming story about a boy who grows up way too soon. Hoping to impress an older girl, 12-year-old Josh makes a wish to be “big,” and the next morning he wakes up in the body of an adult. After being chased out of his house, Josh gets a job at a toy company where his childlike insights help him shoot up the ranks. Having the desires of a pre-teen with the bank account of a successful executive is fun for a while, but eventually Josh needs to find his way home. Along the way there are plenty of laughs, including Josh sharing a duet on a giant foot-operated keyboard with the toy company owner Mr. MacMillan (Robert Loggia).
Rotten Tomatoes: 97 PercentGenre: Comedy, Kids & FamilyStars: Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert LoggiaDirector: Penny MarshallRating: PGRuntime: 98 minutes
Apocalypse Now is a picture of hell. Heavily inspired by Joseph Conrad’s 1899 novella Heart of Darkness, Francis Ford Coppola’s epic tale about the moral quagmire of war is a disturbing journey that takes its subjects to the edge of insanity and beyond. Martin Sheen plays Captain Benjamin Willard, a US Army officer during the Vietnam War tasked with plunging into the jungles of Cambodia to eliminate Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando) — a rogue Special Forces officer who’s waging his own private war with men who worship him like a god. Featuring memorable performances by Robert Duvall, Laurence Fishburne, and Dennis Hopper, Apocalypse Now is one of the greatest war films you’re likely to see.
Rotten Tomatoes: 98 PercentGenre: Action & Adventure, DramaStars: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert DuvallDirector: Francis Ford CoppolaRating: RRuntime: 153 minutes
Regardless of how you feel about its many sequels and prequels, 1979’s Alien — the film that started it all — is a wonderfully crafted tale of horror and paranoia in the void of space. The crew of the Nostromo is ordered to investigate a signal from a nearby planet, but one of them brings back an unexpected passenger attached to his face. The shrinking crew find themselves acting as prey to a perfect alien killing machine while at the same time dealing with the ship’s artificial intelligence that’s willing to sacrifice everyone on board to get this new specimen back to Earth. Terrifying and suspenseful, Alien is a great watch for fans of horror and science fiction.
Rotten Tomatoes: 97 PercentGenre: Mystery & Suspense, Science FictionStars: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John HurtDirector: Ridley ScottRating: RRuntime: 117 minutes
If we followed the first rule of Fight Club, we wouldn’t be able to say much about it. Starring Edward Norton as an uptight insurance specialist and Brad Pitt as an off-the-grid salesman who purports to see through all of society’s polite falsehoods, 1999’s Fight Club is a thought-provoking film exploring manhood and commercial consumerism. While the edicts of Tyler Durden are often mistaken as calls to action to audiences who forget that the charismatic Durden is out of his space monkey mind, the film is still a powerful look at forces in society that impact the way we think and feel without us ever realizing it.
Rotten Tomatoes: 79 PercentGenre: Comedy, DramaStars: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Meat LoafDirector: David FincherRating: RRuntime: 139 minutes
“Who is Keyser Soze?” That’s the question 1995’s The Usual Suspects revolves around. The compelling mystery follows five disparate crooks gathered by unseen forces for a suicide heist. Initially working together to get back at the NYPD, the thieves eventually find themselves toiling at the behest of Keyser Soze — an international crime boss so legendary none of them agree on whether or not he exists. The story is told in flashback by Verbal (Kevin Spacey) in a police precinct, and everything is not as it seems. With an ensemble cast including Gabriel Byrne, Benicio Del Toro, and Giancarlo Esposito, this neo-noir thriller is still a ball to watch even if you already know its iconic ending.
Rotten Tomatoes: 89 PercentGenre: Drama, Mystery & SuspenseStars: Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz PalminteriDirector: Bryan SingerRating: RRuntime: 105 minutes
Long before Nicolas Cage built a reputation of saying yes to any script within range, there was 1987’s Raising Arizona. After he serves his time for robbery, H.I. McDunnough (Cage) marries Ed (Holly Hunter), the police officer who took his mugshots. Their wedded bliss is marred when they learn Ed can’t conceive children, and H.I. foolishly tries to fix things by kidnapping one the famous Arizona Quints — quintuplet sons of Nathan Arizona (Trey Wilson). When the wealthy Arizona posts a reward for the return of his son, H.I. and Ed find themselves on the run from cops, envious couples, H.I.’s prison buddies, and a motorcycle-riding bounty hunter. An early example of the Coen brothers’ mix of humor and suspense, Raising Arizona is a great way to spend an hour and a half.
Rotten Tomatoes: 91 PercentGenre: ComedyStars: Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, Trey WilsonDirector: Joel CoenRating: PG-13Runtime: 94 minutes
You might not pick a ballet company as the subject of one of film’s most mesmerizing horrors, but 2010’s Black Swan should make you think twice. Starring Natalie Portman as Nina — the new lead for the New York City Ballet Company’s production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake — Black Swan is a spellbinding psychological thriller. We watch Nina lose her grip on her sanity under the pressure of her overbearing mother Erica (Barbara Hershey) and as the ambitious Lily (Mila Kunis) threatens her status. Black Swan keeps you guessing about what is real and what is part of Nina’s twisted fantasies until the terrifying conclusion.
Rotten Tomatoes: 85 PercentGenre: Drama, Mystery & SuspenseStars: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent CasselDirector: Darren AronofskyRating: RRuntime: 108 minutes
A Fish Called Wanda is a heist comedy starring Jamie Lee Curtis as Wanda, the only woman in a gang of jewel thieves all infatuated with the young American. When Wanda and Otto (Kevin Kline) turn the gang leader Georges into the police after a successful heist, they discover he hid the diamonds. Wanda seduces Georges’ barrister Archie Leach (John Cleese) in hopes of finding the diamonds’ location, and everything gets complicated once the jealous anglophobe Otto starts thinking with his fists. Kline is particularly funny as the clueless but deadly Otto. Cleese and fellow Monty Python alum Michael Palin share only one scene, and consequently it’s the funniest part of the flick.
Rotten Tomatoes: 94 PercentGenre: ComedyStars: John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin KlineDirector: Charles CrichtonRating: RRuntime: 98 minutes
The Oscar-winning drama My Left Foot is a large part of what made Daniel Day-Lewis a household name. The film is based on the autobiography of writer and painter Christy Brown, who was born with cerebral palsy and could only write, type, or paint with his left foot. Day-Lewis’ immersion into the character is complete, showing you Brown’s personality flaws along with his physical limitations. My Left Foot is inspiring and upbeat in spite of Brown’s often difficult journey, and is absolutely a film everyone should see at least once.
Rotten Tomatoes: 97 PercentGenre: DramaStars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Brenda Fricker, Alison WhelanDirector: Jim SheridanRating: RRuntime: 103 minutes
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