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The 20 Best Movies Streaming on Max Right Now

Subscribers to Max (formerly HBO Max) can browse a vast library of movies and television shows to satisfy every taste, from action to drama to comedy. If you’ve already made your way through their superhero selections and popular catalog titles, take a look at some of the best of the rest down below:

The Von Erichs are professional wrestling royalty, but the family has been plagued by tragedy over the years. This stunner of a biopic, a standout on the National Board of Review’s 2023 best-of list, stars Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson, and Stanley Simons as brothers raised to dominate the squared circle by their legendary father, Fritz (Holt McCallany). The film delves into their complicated family dynamic amid championship belt wins and an unrelenting string of premature deaths and debilitating accidents.

Richard Brooks’s adaptation of the famous Tennessee Williams play is a sweaty, luxuriating drama that keeps the tension bubbling on the front burner. Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor are electric together as a drunken former athlete and a headstrong woman locked in a stormy marriage. During a visit for his father Big Daddy’s (Burl Ives) 65th birthday, past family dysfunction, a massive inheritance, and the dark cloud of cancer hover over the pair, forming a rocky pathway toward reconciliation—if only they can deal with their past trauma. Unsurprisingly, the acting is astonishing, a masterclass in bringing theater to the big screen.

Vincent (Ethan Hawke) dreams of flying in space, but he’s not a “valid,” a genetically constructed human designed to bodily perfection. He’s natural-born, and he’s not expected to live long past 30 because of a heart defect, so he jumps at the chance to impersonate a valid when a former competitive swimmer (Jude Law), paralyzed in an accident, gives him his DNA samples. But can he keep up the ruse? Also starring Uma Thurman, Gattaca is a fantastic dystopian sci-fi future where all the humanity has been pushed out of humans by design.

Melancholia is a state of extreme depression, which makes it the perfect name for the giant planet that’s on course to slam into Earth in Lars von Trier’s 2011 sci-fi drama. Kirsten Dunst stars as Justine, a depressed woman who endures a tumultuous wedding as the end of the world draws near. Co-starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alexander Skarsgård, and Charlotte Rampling, this slow-burn descent into existential despair makes you wonder what we’d all do if we only had a few more days not just to live, but before everything we’ve ever known gets obliterated.

While the world was on the edge of ecocide in the 1979 original, George Miller’s 1981 sequel shoves it off a cliff into a sun-baked, gasoline-guzzling hellscape. Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) returns, unshackled by trying to hold civilization together. Still mourning the loss of his family, he roams the wasteland searching for fuel and food while violent gangs threaten to kill him at every turn. A post-apocalyptic nod to Akira Kurosawa, Miller’s film sees Max offer to help a group of settlers terrorized by Lord Humungus (Kjell Nilsson), a vicious marauder who promises violence if the settlers don’t give him their fuel. If you dug Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, this iconic entry in the series is definitely worth checking out.

Sarah Bailey (Robin Tunney) is the new girl at a Los Angeles parochial school but quickly falls in with a group of bullied outcasts that everyone thinks are witches. Turns out they are. Nancy (Fairuza Balk), Bonnie (Neve Campbell), and Rochelle (Rachel True) ask the deity Manon for supernatural powers, which they use to take exact revenge on those who have hurt or rejected them. When they grow power-hungry, it threatens to tear the high school coven—and their lives—apart in this 1996 teen horror flick.

John Travolta stars in this Elmore Leonard adaptation as Chili Palmer, a loan shark who has a mind for the predatory world of Hollywood. Danny DeVito, who co-stars in the film, was originally going to play Palmer.

Sixty years before Steven Spielberg tried his hand at the movie musical, Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer starred as the star-crossed lovers kept apart by rumbling teen gangs in the Upper West Side. This Technicolor classic is a vibrant display of singing, dancing, and fight-dancing that will have you snapping along.

Released in 1976, Network more or less predicts how mass media and corporate culture would collide to complicate how we now get our information and entertainment. It stars William Holden and Faye Dunaway as television producers engaging in an affair as the entire landscape of the medium shifts thanks to the new mandate that the news needs to make a profit. Desperate for eyeballs, they each exploit different people to invent infotainment. A Best Picture Oscar nominee, it’s got more going for it than just its most memorable line: “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!”

Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway star as the infamous bank robbers in this landmark film, which burst open the doors for Hollywood to showcase violence and sex in more graphic ways. Boasting a slew of Oscar nominations and wins for acting and cinematography, Beatty and Dunaway burn down the screen with lust and aggression in a gorgeous display of cruel behavior.

Joel and Ethan Coen’s debut feature is a neo-noir about a bar owner (Dan Hedaya) who enlists a private detective to kill his wife (Frances McDormand) and her lover (John Getz). Naturally, things don’t go as planned. That was mirrored off-screen, too, when the Coens went looking to raise money for production and accidentally hit the car of one potential investor.

Despite advances in special effects, few films have come close to the grandeur and visual impact of director Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The film, which was co-written with Arthur C. Clarke, takes viewers on a psychedelic journey through space in the guise of a manned mission to Jupiter that’s soon thrown off-balance by the sentient HAL—a computer with plans of its own. Kubrick and Clarke went through a few prospective titles, including Project: Space and Tunnel to the Stars.

A seemingly mundane story of a blue-collar Italian worker (Lamberto Maggiorani) who finds his job in jeopardy when his only mode of transportation—a bicycle—is stolen turns into a meditation on the challenges of morality and ethics in the face of desperation. The film is regularly found on lists ranking the best films of all time.

Joaquin Phoenix followed in the oversized footsteps of Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger with his own distinctive take on the infamous Batman villain. This time, performance clown Arthur Fleck finds himself in a seedy metropolis and drawn to the darker side of life. The result was a critical winner, albeit one that became the first Batman film to receive an R rating.

Bong Joon-ho helmed this Oscar winner about a family of have-nots who commandeer the residence of a wealthy clan. A black-and-white version was released in 2020; Bong felt it gave more weight to the performances.

Director Henri-Georges Clouzot offers a riveting example of sustained suspense in this fascinating story of four men who volunteer to drive two trucks of volatile nitroglycerine to the site of an oil field fire in South America. One bump in the road too many and they’ll explode. Consider it a predecessor to 1994’s Speed—only far more stressful to watch. The film suffered from edits during its initial U.S. release because distributors felt it was too long and that some scenes were anti-American. It was restored in 1992.

Strange things are afoot for Florence Pugh, who takes a trek with her boyfriend (Jack Reynor) and friends for the Swedish midsummer festival. While the locals are initially hospitable, their underlying intentions soon take a dark turn. Director Ari Aster (2018’s Hereditary) was inspired both by Swedish folklore and a romantic relationship of his own that had recently gone sour.

Writer-director Ingmar Bergman received great acclaim for this enchanting period drama of two children (Pernilla Allwin and Bertil Guve) who find their happy home in ruins after their father dies and their mother remarries. Only their sibling bond and an indomitable will to survive can help them endure the upheaval. Bergman originally conceived the project as a television production and edited a 320-minute version down to 188 minutes for the theatrical release available on Max.

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman co-star in this wartime romance that has become an American classic. It’s also one of the most quoted movies, though one memorable pseudo-line (“Play it again, Sam”) is an example of the Mandela Effect. Bergman actually says, “Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By.’”

This unsettling French film about a surgeon (Pierre Brasseur) who kidnaps young women in the hopes of helping his daughter (Édith Scob)—who was in a disfiguring car accident—by grafting their faces to hers is a study in restraint. There’s little gore but plenty of unease in what amounts to a highbrow take on the mad scientist genre. The film inspired Billy Idol to record a song with the same title in 1983.

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A version of this story ran in 2020; it has been updated for 2024.

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