HBO Max is launching today on various platforms. The streaming service will combine the huge film library of HBO with a number of other films available just for the service. But which of the HBO Max movies are the best ones to stream and watch today?
Read: Can I get HBO Max for free?
Here are our picks for the best HBO Max movies that are currently available on the streaming service. We kept this list to just the films you can watch on HBO Max. For a list of the best movies on the HBO service, head over to our separate feature. You can sign up for the new streaming service at the link below:
Best HBO Max movies
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey
Stanley Kubrick directed and co-wrote (with Arthur C. Clarke) this 1968 sci-fi epic. Even in this age of CGI, this film still holds up extremely well. The themes of evolution and the discovery of a vastly superior alien civilization stand out, as humanity takes its first few steps beyond Earth. Of course, the highlight of the movie is HAL, the AI in charge of the Jupiter-bound spaceship Discovery. HAL doesnâ€™t want anything to stop this mission, even the human astronauts who HAL sees as threats. Itâ€™s definitely one of the best HBO Max movies.
The 1942 classic WWII-themed romantic movie is still highly emotional to watch in 2020. Rick, played perfectly by Â Humphrey Bogart, is the owner of a bar in Casablanca, Morocco, where all sorts of â€œbusinessâ€� is taken care of under the table. However, Rick never thought he would have to encounter his lost love Ilsa, played equally perfectly by Ingrid Bergman. Ilsa and her husband are on the run from the Nazis, and they both need Rickâ€™s help to get away from them. Can Rick keep his feelings for Ilsa at bay? Will Ilsa abandon her husband for Rick? This movie is perhaps the first great romantic film, and itâ€™s still one of the best you can watch.
3. Harry Potter and the Sorcererâ€™s Stone
The 2001 movie is the first of eight films that adapt the best selling young adult fantasy novels from author Â J. K. Rowling. It introduces us to the title character, a British orphan who gets told that he is in fact more than human. Harry Potter is a young wizard, and with that revelation, he heads to the Â Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to learn about his abilities. He meets up with new friends, discovers new enemies, and learns that he is to be more than even a wizard. Itâ€™s certainly one of the best HBO Max movies. The service has all eight films in the Harry Potter series to stream.
4. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Peter Jacksonâ€™s adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkienâ€™s Lord of the Rings trilogy of novels got better with each film. The final 2003 movie, The Return of the King, is truly epic fantasy storytelling, but with a lot of deeply personal stories as well. The final battle between the forces of Sauron and the assembled armies of men, elves, and others is huge, but the journey of Frodo and Sam to destroy the One Ring is equally powerful as well.
5. Gone with the Wind
We cannot leave out the biggest box office hit (adjusted for inflation) of all time on this best HBO Max list. The 1939 Civil War and Reconstruction historical epic clocks in at four hours. However, most people watching it will not notice. The movie centers on Scarlett Oâ€™Hara, a Southern belle who quickly learns to adapt as the Civil War destroys her land. Sheâ€™s not a likable person at times, but that just makes her more believable as she tries to get through the aftermath. We also are introduced to Rhett Butler, who loves Scarlett, even with all of her flaws.
6. Singinâ€™ in the Rain
Is there a better movie musical than this 1952 classic? Gene Kelly,Â Donald Oâ€™Connor, andÂ Debbie Reynolds are all at the top of their game as they play movie performers in 1920s Hollywood. The plot doesnâ€™t really matter. What matters is this movie has tons of great songs, tons of great singing by the leads, and some memorable dance and set pieces that really canâ€™t be topped, even today.
7. The Wizard of Oz
1939 not only brought us Gone with the Wind, but also this childrenâ€™s musical classic that is still great to watch. Ok, Judy Garland might have been a tad too old to play Dorothy Gale, but you can ignore that for the most part. What you get is excellent songs, some fantastic performances by Garland and the rest of the cast, and some superb visual effects and art design. You also get one of the best movie villains of all time, with Margaret Hamiltonâ€™s Wicked Witch of the West. Anyone who threatens a dog is automatically someone to be feared.
Thatâ€™s our look at the best HBO Max movies. Which one will you be streaming tonight on the service?