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The 100 best movies on HBO Max right now (April 2022)

Other streaming services may let you down at the end of the month with their lack of content or updates. But don’t worry about HBO Max doing the same thing. Warner Bros. Discovery’s premium streaming service never seems to lack new movies or new additions. This week, HBO is premiering a new historical boxing drama, The Survivor, which is incredibly well-made despite skipping theaters. But if that’s not what you’re looking for, then HBO Max also has an extremely wide assortment of films for everyone from kids to adults. And the easiest way to find something for you is to check out the latest update for our list of the best movies on HBO Max right now.

Looking for more suggestions? We also have guides to the best movies on Netflix, the best movies on Hulu, the best movies on Amazon Prime Video, and the best movies on Disney+

Recently added to HBO Max

The Survivor (2022) new

The Survivor
71 %
6.9/10
r 129m
Genre Drama, History
Stars Ben Foster, Vicky Krieps, Billy Magnussen
Directed by Barry Levinson
HBO’s The Survivor is an original film based on the true story of Harry Haft (Ben Foster). During World War II, Harry is imprisoned in the Auschwitz death camp for his Jewish heritage. To survive, Harry battles other inmates in boxing matches with the full knowledge that the loser will die. In post-war America, Harry allows his story to be told in the hopes of finding Miriam Wofsoniker (Vicky Krieps), the woman he loved before they were separated by the Holocaust. Harry’s rise in the boxing ranks increases his fame, but can he win the big fight and reclaim his lost love?

The Freshman (1990) new

The Freshman
78 %
6.4/10
pg 102m
Genre Comedy, Crime
Stars Marlon Brando, Matthew Broderick, Bruno Kirby
Directed by Andrew Bergman
Marlon Brando willingly plays off of his Godfather persona in The Freshman, and it’s hilarious. Everyone notices that Brando’s character, Carmine Sabatini, looks just like The Godfather’s Vito Corleone. Matthew Broderick stars as the title character, Clark Kellogg. After Carmine’s nephew, Victor Ray (Bruno Kirby), steals Clark’s bags, the young man soon finds himself working for Carmine for a potentially illegal undertaking. Clark is also unnerved when Carmine’s daughter, Tina (Penelope Ann Miller), suddenly shows an intense romantic interest in him just as the Justice Department begins pressuring Clark to help them take down Carmine.

Les Misérables (1998) new

Les Misérables
7.4/10
pg-13 134m
Genre Crime, Drama, History, Romance
Stars Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush, Uma Thurman
Directed by Bille August
There have been many adaptations of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, but the 1998 version is one of the best. Note that this is not a musical, so don’t expect any songs. Liam Neeson stars as Jean Valjean, a man who spends most of his life being pursued by the relentless lawman, Javert (Geoffrey Rush). Jean was once a minor criminal, but he turned his life around despite being hounded by Javert. Jean also adopts a young girl named Cosette (Claire Danes) and raises her as his daughter. But when the French Revolution begins in earnest, Javert renters their lives again.

Paddington 2 (2017) new

Paddington 2
88 %
7.8/10
pg 104m
Genre Adventure, Comedy, Family
Stars Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins
Directed by Paul King
Paddington 2 has some very passionate defenders who really love this anthropomorphic talking bear. The film has great reviews, and it really is as good as they say. In the sequel, poor Paddington Brown (Ben Whishaw) is framed for stealing a book that he purchased and sent to prison. Paddington being Paddington, he goes to work making the prison a better place for everyone. Meanwhile, Paddington’s adoptive family, the Browns, work to clear his name and track down Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant), the actor who stole the book in the hope of finding a lost treasure.

The Batman (2022) new

The Batman
72 %
8.2/10
pg-13 176m
Genre Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Stars Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano
Directed by Matt Reeves
Let the era of Battinson begin! The Batman is a complete reboot of the Dark Knight, with Robert Pattinson in the title role. In director Matt Reeves’ vision for Gotham City, Batman is still early in his career when he goes up against Riddler (Paul Dano), a madman who may bring down the entire city. While Batman trusts Jim Gordon (Jeffrey Wright), he isn’t so sure about Selina Kyle (Zoë Kravitz), a cat burglar who has her own agenda. But if Batman wants to save Gotham, he will have to become more than just a vigilante.

Salt (2010) new

Salt
65 %
6.5/10
pg-13 100m
Genre Action, Mystery, Thriller
Stars Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Directed by Phillip Noyce
Angelina Jolie goes full action heroine in Salt, a film in which she plays Evelyn Salt. Evelyn is a CIA operative who is happily married to her husband, Mike (August Diehl). But when a Russian spymaster, Oleg Vassily Orlov (Daniel Olbrychski), seemingly defects to the CIA, he outs Evelyn as a Russian double agent and a traitor. As Evelyn fights for her survival, her friend and partner, Darryl Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor), is sent to hunt her down and bring her to justice. Yet there is more going on here than meets the eye.

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

Four Weddings and a Funeral
81 %
7.1/10
r 117m
Genre Comedy, Drama, Romance
Stars Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell, James Fleet
Directed by Mike Newell
Four Weddings and a Funeral may seem like an odd title for a romantic comedy, but it’s a surprisingly apt name for this story. Charles (Hugh Grant) and Carrie (Andie MacDowell) keep running into each other at weddings, including their own nuptials with other partners. There’s an undeniable attraction and perhaps even love between them. Regardless, the timing to become a real couple never seems to work out for Charles and Carrie, even as their bond becomes obvious to their friends and loved ones. And true to the title, there is a funeral, too. It’s just not their funeral.

The Night House (2021)

The Night House
68 %
6.5/10
r 107m
Genre Horror, Thriller, Mystery
Stars Rebecca Hall, Sarah Goldberg, Vondie Curtis-Hall
Directed by David Bruckner
The Night House came and went in theaters, but this scary movie may haunt you on HBO Max. Rebecca Hall stars as Beth, a widow who is devastated by the unexplained suicide of her husband, Owen (Evan Jonigkeit). Nothing about Owen’s demise makes sense to Beth, and it echoes her own brush with death years before. But as Beth searches for answers, she discovers that Owen was meddling with supernatural forces beyond his control. And just because Owen is gone, doesn’t mean the entities are gone as well. That’s a lesson that Beth will learn the hard way.

RED (2010)

RED
60 %
7/10
pg-13 111m
Genre Action, Adventure, Comedy, Crime, Thriller
Stars Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich
Directed by Robert Schwentke
Within the context of RED, the title is an abbreviation for “Retired, Extremely Dangerous.” That fits Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) to a T. The former CIA operative suddenly finds his mundane life turned upside down when he is targeted for death. Realizing that his enemies will also go after the woman he likes, Frank kidnaps Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker) and reunites with some old friends including Joe Matheson (Morgan Freeman), Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich), and Victoria Winslow (Helen Mirren). The high-caliber cast gives RED an extra boost in its comedy and its action. It’s not a classic, but it is a keeper.

Hugo (2011)

Hugo
83 %
7.5/10
126m
Genre Adventure, Drama, Family
Stars Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Hugo is a live-action film, but you may mistake it for animation given all of the CGI in the film. This is perhaps director Martin Scorse’s only film that is suitable for children, and it even has a child-like sense of wonder as seen through the eyes of Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield). After Hugo and his father find a mechanical man with a heart-shaped lock, Hugo becomes obsessed with finding the key. Following the death of his father, Hugo stumbles across the key when he meets Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz), the girl who had it all along. Together, they will find the answers they are looking for. It just won’t be easy.

The Raid (2012)

The Raid
73 %
7.6/10
r 101m
Genre Action, Thriller, Crime
Stars Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Donny Alamsyah
Directed by Gareth Evans
Did you know that one of the all-time great action flicks is an Indonesian-language thriller directed by a Welshman? Welcome to The Raid: Redemption, an unexpected treat that puts most of the modern Hollywood action flicks to shame. Iko Uwais stars as Rama, a rookie member of a police special forces unit who goes on a dangerous raid to remove drug lord Tama Riyadi (Ray Sahetapy) from his fortified apartment building which is filled with criminals loyal only to him. Much to the alarm of the police, Tama’s forces severely outnumber them and there are no reinforcements on the way. It will come down to Rama to ascend 30 stories to confront Tama, if he can make it through his ordeal intact.

Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

Only Lovers Left Alive
79 %
7.2/10
r 123m
Genre Drama, Romance
Stars Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska
Directed by Jim Jarmusch
The life of an immortal vampire may sound enticing to some, but Adam (Tom Hiddleston) has had his fill of it in Only Lovers Left Alive. Despite a loving marriage with another vampire, Eve (Tilda Swinton), Adam has simply lost his will to live and he has become increasingly despondent. This forces Eve to once again reassert herself in Adam’s life after a period of separation. And while she may be able to pull Adam back from despair, Eve will first have to overcome the influence of younger sister, Ava (Mia Wasikowska). But some rivalries seem destined to live forever, even if Eve can save Adam from himself.

Roxanne (1987)

Roxanne
73 %
6.6/10
pg 107m
Genre Comedy, Romance
Stars Steve Martin, Daryl Hannah, Rick Rossovich
Directed by Fred Schepisi
This movie may be called Roxanne, but it’s essentially a modern retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac as adapted by Steve Martin, who wrote and stars in the film. Charlie “C.D.” Bales (Martin) is the beloved fire chief of his small town who seemingly has it all … except for his grotesquely elongated nose, which makes him sensitive about his appearance. One summer, C.D. falls for Roxanne Kowalski (Daryl Hannah), a beautiful astronomy Ph.D. student. While she likes C.D. as a friend, Roxanne only has eyes for firefighter Chris McConnell (Rick Rossovich). That’s why Chris recruits C.D. to help him woo Roxanne with the charming words that he can’t come up with by himself. But as C.D. continues the deception to help his friend, he finds himself with even deeper romantic feelings for Roxanne.

Beetlejuice (1988)

Beetlejuice
70 %
7.5/10
pg 92m
Genre Fantasy, Comedy
Stars Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Jeffrey Jones
Directed by Tim Burton
Is it possible to steal your own movie? If so, then somebody should arrest Michael Keaton because he absolutely walks away with Beetlejuice despite having relatively little screen time compared to the other actors. Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara Maitland (Geena Davis) are a recently deceased couple who befriend the young girl, Lydia Deetz (Winona Ryder), who moved into their home. However, the Maitlands aren’t crazy about Lydia’s parents. That’s why the ghost named Betelgeuse (Keaton) attempts to convince the Maitlands to set him loose in the house and scare away the current owners. But Betelgeuse wants a lot more than just a haunting, and it’s a price that the Maitlands aren’t willing to pay.

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Blade Runner 2049
81 %
8/10
r 164m
Genre Science Fiction, Drama
Stars Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Director Denis Villeneuve really has a talent for making visually arresting sci-fi films. Blade Runner 2049 is simply gorgeous, even when it explores the seedy side of the future. Thirty years after the original Blade Runner, a police replicant named K (Ryan Gosling) discovers evidence that a human and a replicant had a child together. K even comes to believe that the child may have been him. To get answers about his true nature, K will have to track down the long-missing Blade Runner, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford).

Dunkirk (2017)

Dunkirk
94 %
7.8/10
pg-13 107m
Genre War, Action, Drama
Stars Fionn Whitehead, Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk explores one of the darkest hours of World War II, when the Allied forces were trapped on the beaches and harbor of Dunkirk, France, by German forces, as they tried to make their escape across the English Channel. Within the film, the story covers the rescue efforts by sea and by air, while Tommy Jensen (Fionn Whitehead) and other soldiers on the ground struggle to survive the German onslaught. There are uplifting moments of hope and clarity, especially when strangers come together to save the soldiers. But this is also a story of sacrifice, and not everyone will make it home alive.

King Richard (2021)

King Richard
76 %
7.5/10
pg-13 145m
Genre Drama, History
Stars Will Smith, Saniyya Sidney, Aunjanue Ellis
Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green
Will Smith received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for his performance in King Richard. This film is based on the real story of Richard Williams (Smith), a man who paved the way for his daughters, Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena Williams (Demi Singleton), to become two of the best female tennis players of their generation. But reaching the top of the mountain involves overcoming a lot of obstacles. And the film does acknowledge that Richard’s wife, Oracene “Brandy” Price (Aunjanue Ellis), also played a critical role in shaping Venus and Serena’s lives.

The Dead Zone (1983)

The Dead Zone
69 %
7.2/10
r 103m
Genre Thriller, Horror, Science Fiction
Stars Christopher Walken, Brooke Adams, Tom Skerritt
Directed by David Cronenberg
Stephen King is a genius. His horror stories are consistently great, and The Dead Zone stands out from the pack. There’s no supernatural killer here. It’s just the tragedy of Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken), a man who is gifted with glimpses of the future after spending five years in a coma. Johnny’s attempt to use his power to help others backfires on him, and he finds himself alienated from society. But when Johnny meets Senatorial candidate Greg Stillson (Martin Sheen), he realizes that the future he saw must never come to pass.

Pacific Rim (2013)

Pacific Rim
65 %
6.9/10
pg-13 131m
Genre Action, Science Fiction, Adventure
Stars Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi, Idris Elba
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Guillermo del Toro has never had a chance to direct a Godzilla movie. Instead, he got to play in his own playground in Pacific Rim. The short version is that giant alien monsters (Kaiju) are popping into our world through a dimensional rift, so humanity created giant robots (Jaegers) to fight them. However, the Jaegers are limited because they require two pilots to be intimately joined in order to function. Former Jaeger pilot Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) has to shake off his reservations and trauma in order to bond with his new partner, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi). But Mako has some tragedy of her own that she needs to move past before she and Raleigh can save humanity.

The Cooler (2003)

The Cooler
69 %
6.9/10
r 101m
Genre Romance, Drama
Stars William H. Macy, Alec Baldwin, Maria Bello
Directed by Wayne Kramer
Is it possible to have supernaturally bad luck? In The Cooler, Bernard “Bernie” Lootz (William H. Macy) is a man who is essentially employed by a casino due to his almost infectious poor fortune. Bernie simply needs to stand near someone with a hot hand at a gambling table, and their luck will abandon them. At the end of his six-year deal, Bernie tells the casino owner, Sheldon “Shelly” Kaplow (Alec Baldwin), that he intends to leave Las Vegas. To prevent this, Shelly hires a waitress, Natalie Belisario (Maria Bello), to romance Bernie so he will abandon his plans. Unfortunately for Shelly, Bernie and Natalie form a true bond that seemingly turns Bernie’s bad luck into a run of good luck for anyone around him.

High Fidelity (2000)

High Fidelity
79 %
7.5/10
r 113m
Genre Comedy, Drama, Romance, Music
Stars John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Todd Louiso
Directed by Stephen Frears
High Fidelity stars John Cusack as Rob Gordon, the owner of a vinyl record store who loves music and pop culture a little bit more than his ex-girlfriend, Laura (Iben Hjejle). Rob also enjoys riffing with his fellow employees, Barry Judd (Jack Black) and Dick (Todd Louiso), but he doesn’t realize how good he had it with Laura until after their relationship is over. At that point, Rob resolves to do better with his life and win Laura back. Based on the popular 1995 Nick Hornby novel of the same name, the funniest parts of this movie are all about Rob’s insatiable passion for music and the obsessive Top 5 lists he makes about music, his love life, and everything in between.

Hellboy (2004)

Hellboy
72 %
6.8/10
pg-13 122m
Genre Fantasy, Action
Stars Ron Perlman, John Hurt, Selma Blair
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
There are three live-action Hellboy films. But you should really make sure that you’re watching the two directed by Guillermo del Toro. In the very first movie, Ron Perlman stars as Hellboy, a literal demon from Hell who has been raised as a force for good by his adoptive father, Trevor Bruttenholm (John Hurt). In the present, Hellboy and his friends, Liz Sherman (Selma Blair) and Abe Sapien (Doug Jones), are supernatural special agents who go after the things that go bump in the night. Unfortunately, the infamous Grigori Rasputin (Karel Roden) returns from the grave and plots to transform Hellboy into the beast of the apocalypse.

Dune (2021)

Dune
74 %
8.1/10
155m
Genre Science Fiction, Adventure
Stars Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Director Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune was one of the few true hits of the pandemic era. And now that the film is back on HBO Max, viewers can see why it received several Oscar nominations as well. Timothée Chalamet portrays Paul Atreides, the heir of House Atreides and seemingly a figure of destiny. The universe is in Paul’s hands, or at least it was until his house was betrayed by the emperor and attacked by House Harkonnen. Now, Paul and his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), must find a way to survive on the desert planet, Arrakis/Dune, and reclaim the power that was once theirs.

Frailty (2001)

Frailty
64 %
7.2/10
r 100m
Genre Drama, Thriller, Crime
Stars Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey, Powers Boothe
Directed by Bill Paxton
Frailty is a harrowing horror film directed by Bill Paxton, who also stars as Mr. Meiks. In the present, Fenton Meiks (Matthew McConaughey) approaches FBI Agent Wesley Doyle (Powers Boothe) with the story of how his father became a serial killer who believed he received messages from God. Young Fenton (Matt O’Leary) and his brother, Adam (Jeremy Sumpter), were forced to take part in their father’s murders. While Fenton had obvious misgivings about killing, Adam embraces his father’s quest and claims to see visions of his own. And soon, both Adam and his father claim to see a “demon” in Fenton as well.

Gigi (1958)

Gigi
82 %
6.7/10
g 116m
Genre Comedy, Romance
Stars Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdan
Directed by Vincente Minnelli
Until Return of the King came along, Gigi had the record for a clean Oscar sweep with nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture. In other words, this is a true classic. Leslie Caron stars as Gilberte, a young woman who is better known to her friends and family as Gigi. At the turn of 20th century in Paris, Gigi is expected to follow in her family’s footsteps and become a mistress to a wealthy man. Gaston Lachaille (Louis Jourdan) would seemingly fit the bill, but he’s become genuinely infatuated with Gigi and has real romantic feelings for her. Once that happens, it’s anything but business as usual for both of them.

West Side Story (2021)

West Side Story
85 %
7.7/10
156m
Genre Drama, Romance, Crime
Stars Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Rita Moreno
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Both versions of West Side Story are now on HBO Max, and also on this list. And they both deserve to be here. Steven Spielberg has given the classic musical a brilliant modern remake while still retaining the core essence of the original story. In the late ‘50s, two gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, are vying for domination of a neighborhood. Tony (Ansel Elgort) is a former member of the Jets who falls for Maria (Rachel Zegler), the sister of the Sharks’ leader, Bernardo (David Alvarez). Tony and Maria’s newfound love is soon tested as the gangs prepare for the ultimate rumble.

Blinded by the Light (2019)

Blinded by the Light
71 %
6.9/10
pg-13 114m
Genre Drama, Comedy
Stars Viveik Kalra, Nell Williams, Hayley Atwell
Directed by Gurinder Chadha
Blinded By the Light is inspired by the real life story of Sarfraz Manzoor, but with some fictional elements added as well. Viveik Kalra stars as Javed Khan, Pakistani teenager living in Britain in 1987. Javed faces constant racism at school, and his parents, Malik (Kulvinder Ghir) and Noor Khan (Meera Ganatra), simply don’t get him. Fortunately, one of Javed’s few friends, Roops (Aaron Phagura), turns him on to the music of Bruce Springsteen. Javed is so inspired by “the Boss,” that he embraces his creative drive. But he still needs to find a way to accept himself and his life.

Doctor Sleep (2019)

Doctor Sleep
59 %
7.3/10
r 152m
Genre Horror, Thriller
Stars Ewan McGregor, Kyliegh Curran, Rebecca Ferguson
Directed by Mike Flanagan
Doctor Sleep walks a fine line between acting as a sequel to Stephen King’s The Shining, and Stanley Kubrick’s theatrical adaptation, which King reportedly hated. Somehow, it manages to reconcile the two as much as possible. In the present, Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) is still haunted by his experiences in the Overlook Hotel. But after finding peace within himself, Danny befriends a young girl named Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran) whose shining power may dwarf his own. Unfortunately, Abra’s powers also draw the attention of a psychic cult called the True Knot, which wants to feed off of her gift. To save Abra, Danny will have to face the literal ghosts of his past.

Amistad (1997)

Amistad
63 %
7.3/10
r 155m
Genre Drama, History, Mystery
Stars Djimon Hounsou, Morgan Freeman, Matthew McConaughey
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Director Steven Spielberg brought the story of Amistad to the big screen and dramatized a real incident that happened in 1839. On the slave ship La Amistad, Joseph Cinqué (Djimon Hounsou) and the other captives stage a mutiny and seize control. Upon their arrival in America, Joseph and his fellow slaves find themselves at the mercy of a legal battle. Roger Sherman Baldwin (Matthew McConaughey) and his associate, Theodore Joadson (Morgan Freeman), take Joseph’s case and attempt to win their freedom in court. In time, even former President John Quincy Adams (Anthony Hopkins) joins Joseph’s representatives. But the odds are stacked against them.

City Slickers (1991)

City Slickers
70 %
6.8/10
114m
Genre Comedy, Western
Stars Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern, Bruno Kirby
Directed by Ron Underwood
In City Slickers, Mitch Robbins (Billy Crystal), Phil Berquist (Daniel Stern), and Ed Furillo (Bruno Kirby) are three middle-aged men who realize that their lives are unfulfilled. However, they find new purpose within themselves when they sign up for a cattle drive under the leadership of Curly Washburn (Jack Palance). But when Curly unexpectedly dies before the drive is over, Mitch and his friends will have to embrace their inner cowboys in order to safely deliver the herd. There is a sequel involving the search for Curley’s gold, but it doesn’t match the heart of the original film.

3:10 to Yuma (2007)

3:10 to Yuma
76 %
7.7/10
r 122m
Genre Western
Stars Christian Bale, Russell Crowe, Logan Lerman
Directed by James Mangold
Remakes of classic western films rarely turn out well, but 3:10 To Yuma bucks the trend thanks in part to strong leading performances by Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. Bale plays Dan Evans, a disabled war veteran who encounters Ben Wade (Crowe), the leader of an outlaw gang. After Dan inadvertently helps Pinkerton agents capture Ben, he is hired to escort their prisoner out of the town. That’s much easier said than done when Ben kills two of his captors while the rest of his gang ruthlessly pursues Dan.

Rob Roy (1995)

Rob Roy
55 %
6.9/10
r 139m
Genre Adventure, History, War, Drama
Stars Liam Neeson, Jessica Lange, John Hurt
Directed by Michael Caton-Jones
The story of a real-life Scottish clan chief Rob Roy MacGregor is immortalized in the mid-90s historical epic Rob Roy. Liam Neeson stars as Rob Roy, a man who tries to do right by his people. When Archibald Cunningham (Tim Roth) steals Rob Roy’s money, he realizes that Archibald’s friend, James Graham (John Hurt), 4th Marquess of Montrose, is also his enemy. Incensed, Rob Roy leads his people to attack James’ ability to collect taxes and rent. In retaliation, Archibald is empowered to strike back at Rob Roy, and he even targets Rob Roy’s wife, Mary MacGregor (Jessica Lange), in a bid to draw him out.

West Side Story (1961)

West Side Story
86 %
7.5/10
pg 152m
Genre Crime, Drama, Romance
Stars Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn
Directed by Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins
Steven Spielberg has a modern update of West Side Story that recently left theaters and will likely come to HBO Max in the near future. But in the meantime, the original West Side Story has been added to the library, and it retains its power even after five decades. Screen icon Natalie Wood stars as Maria, with Richard Beymer as Tony. Although both Maria and Tony have links with competing gangs, they find themselves romantically drawn to each other. It’s a Romeo and Juliet story for the ages. And we all know how that goes.

12 Years a Slave (2013)

12 Years a Slave
96 %
8.1/10
134m
Genre Drama, History
Stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o
Directed by Steve McQueen
You may not know this, but 12 Years a Slave is based on the true story of Solomon Northup, and the book he wrote about his experience. Solomon (Chiwetel Ejiofor) was a free Black man in 1841 who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the south. Despite Solomon’s protests, he is forced to toil for vile slave masters, including Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender). While in captivity, Solomon befriends a fellow slave named Patsey (Lupita Nyong’o). However, the hope of ever seeing his wife and children again seems like an increasingly remote possibility for Solomon.

The Iron Giant (1999)

The Iron Giant
85 %
pg 86m
Genre Family, Animation, Adventure, Science Fiction, Comedy
Stars Eli Marienthal, Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr.
Directed by Brad Bird
Before Brad Bird moved over to Pixar, he directed The Iron Giant, an instant classic among animated films. Vin Diesel stars as the Iron Giant, a large robot of alien origin who befriends a young boy named Hogarth Hughes (Eli Marienthal). Hogarth tries to keep the Giant a secret from his mother, Annie (Jennifer Aniston), but he finds a willing accomplice with the local beatnik, Dean McCoppin (Harry Connick Jr.). Unfortunately, paranoid federal agent Kent Mansley (Christopher McDonald) will do anything to destroy the giant, no matter who gets hurt.

March of the Penguins (2005)

March of the Penguins
79 %
7.5/10
g 80m
Genre Documentary, Family
Stars Morgan Freeman, Charles Berling, Romane Bohringer
Directed by Luc Jacquet
March of the Penguins is a beautifully filmed documentary that chronicles the lives of emperor penguins in Antarctica. These birds withstand brutally cold temperatures to mate, and then protect and feed their chicks, even if it means walking 70 miles just to find food. But perhaps the most stunning part of the film is how the penguins react to the loss of their chicks with open displays of sorrow and grief. But despite the occasional touch of tragedy, there is love and hope in the coldest place on Earth.

Nightmare Alley (2021)

Nightmare Alley
69 %
7.4/10
r 150m
Genre Crime, Drama, Thriller
Stars Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Director Guillermo del Toro veers away from fantasy and sci-fi for his modern remake of Nightmare Alley. Bradley Cooper stars as Stanton “Stan” Carlisle, a man who picks up the art of cold reading after joining a carnival. Stan’s talent allows him to pass himself off as a medium, and leads some desperate people to believe that he really has psychic powers. Soon after, psychiatrist Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett) approaches Stan with an offer to con the rich and powerful Judge Kimball (Peter MacNeill). However, Stan soon learns that Lilith may be a more gifted con artist than he is. And he’s the mark.

Donnie Darko (2001)

Donnie Darko
88 %
8/10
r 114m
Genre Fantasy, Drama, Mystery
Stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, James Duval
Directed by Richard Kelly
Donnie Darko is an unsettling sci-fi thriller with a young Jake Gyllenhaal in the title role. After narrowly surviving an inexplicable accident, Donnie begins having disturbing visions of Frank (James Duval), a man in a rabbit suit who warns him that the world will end in 28 days. As the weeks tick down, Donnie begins to realize that Frank’s warnings may prove to be correct. Donnie also finds a romantic connection with Gretchen Ross (Jena Malone). With time running out for both himself and the world, Donnie takes drastic actions to protect Gretchen, even if it means they can’t be together.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
83 %
7.3/10
116m
Genre Drama, Horror
Stars Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman
Directed by Tim Burton
There’s a reason why they call Sweeney Todd “the demon barber of Fleet Street.” It’s because Sweeney Todd (Johnny Depp) uses his barbershop as a cover to murder people and send their corpses downstairs to Nellie Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter) so she can make them into horrible meat pies. Tim Burton’s adaptation of the Broadway musical does offer some glimpses of Todd’s humanity, and the way he was wronged by the corrupt Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman). But that doesn’t excuse the gleefully morbid way that Todd goes about getting his revenge, or all of the dead bodies he leaves in his wake.

Nobody (2021)

Nobody
64 %
7.4/10
r 92m
Genre Action, Crime, Thriller
Stars Bob Odenkirk, Aleksey Serebryakov, Connie Nielsen
Directed by Ilya Naishuller
After an illustrious career on television, Bob Odenkirk could hardly be described as ordinary. And yet the leading man of Better Call Saul found his inner action star in Nobody. Hutch Mansell (Odenkirk) is a man emotionally estranged from his wife, Becca (Connie Nielsen), and their kids. After a home robbery leaves Hutch feeling like a failure to his family, he recovers his old gun and goes looking for trouble. Unfortunately for Hutch, he finds what he’s looking for when he alienates Yulian Kuznetsov (Aleksei Serebryakov), a vicious Russian mob boss. Once Yulian sends his men to get revenge, Hutch will have to step up and protect his loved ones.

The Fallout (2022)

The Fallout
86 %
7.4/10
r 92m
Genre Drama
Stars Jenna Ortega, Shailene Woodley, Julie Bowen
Directed by Megan Park
The Fallout is very much a film of the moment in which we live. Jenna Ortega stars as Vada, a high school student whose seemingly ordinary life is shattered when she experiences an active shooter at her school. Vada successfully hides from the shooter with two strangers, Mia (Maddie Ziegler) and (Niles Fitch), which leads them to form an unexpected bond. Everyone deals with their shared trauma in different ways, and The Fallout isn’t afraid to present this as a crisis that has no easy answers for the victims or the survivors.

Easy A (2010)

Easy A
72 %
7/10
pg-13 93m
Genre Comedy
Stars Emma Stone, Cam Gigandet, Amanda Bynes
Directed by Will Gluck
Easy A is both a modernized version of The Scarlet Letter, and fully aware of the story within the script itself. In a star-making turn, Emma Stone headlines the film as Olive Penderghast, a high school student who lies about losing her virginity. Olive soon realizes that her gift for lying can be very lucrative, especially because of the boys who need someone to pretend to be intimate with them. She even appropriates the “A” from The Scarlet Letter as her own symbol. Unfortunately for Olive, her lies spiral out of control when no one will tell the truth and help her salvage her reputation.

The Last Duel (2021)

The Last Duel
67 %
7.4/10
r 153m
Genre Drama, History
Stars Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer
Directed by Ridley Scott
Director Ridley Scott recently made headlines when he blamed The Last Duel’s poor box office performance on people who would rather watch their phones than sit in a theater. Now it’s on HBO Max, where it can also be watched on a phone, if you choose. But this twisty tale of desire, betrayal, and bloody revenge is compelling on any screen. Matt Damon co-wrote the script and stars as Sir Jean de Carrouges, a knight in medieval France who was once great friends with his former squire, Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver). But when Jean’s wife, Marguerite de Carrouges (Jodie Comer), accuses Jacques of rape, the two men become bitter enemies.

Memento (2000)

Memento
80 %
8.4/10
r 113m
Genre Mystery, Thriller
Stars Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan’s second feature film, Memento, established him as one of the top directors in Hollywood. Guy Pearce headlines the film as Leonard Shelby, a man who is searching for his wife’s killer. However, that search is complicated by Leonard’s anterograde amnesia, which means that he can’t form any new memories. And every 15 minutes or so, Leonard forgets everything and resets. The film plays with time by beginning at the end and working its way backwards as Leonard wonders who he can trust, and whom he should kill.

Malcolm X (1992)

Malcolm X
73 %
7.7/10
pg-13 202m
Genre Drama, History
Stars Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Albert Hall
Directed by Spike Lee
Denzel Washington did not win an Oscar for playing Malcolm X in the movie that shares his name. But he should have, because his performance is mesmerizing and this is one of director Spike Lee’s greatest films. The story follows Malcolm Little from his teenage years to his criminal career and finally to his prison stint where he converted to Islam and ultimately reinvented himself as a high ranking member of the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X’s profile in the Black community alarms his enemies both within and outside of the Nation of Islam. And when Malcolm chooses his own path to follow, it places his life in danger.

Gravity (2013)

Gravity
96 %
7.7/10
pg-13 91m
Genre Science Fiction, Thriller, Drama
Stars Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón
Gravity is director Alfonso Cuarón’s sci-fi masterpiece, but it’s a very grounded story with a powerhouse performance by Sandra Bullock as Dr. Ryan Stone. During her first mission in space, Ryan’s life is threatened on a space walk. Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) leaves the shuttle to save Ryan, only for both of them to discover that a disaster has claimed the lives of everyone else on the mission. With only each other to rely on, Ryan and Matt must find some way to survive and return to Earth. But that may require a mixture of the miraculous and basic human ingenuity.

Friday (1995)

Friday
54 %
7.3/10
r 91m
Genre Comedy
Stars Ice Cube, Chris Tucker, Nia Long
Directed by F. Gary Gray
Friday is such a classic comedy that Warner Bros. is still trying to make another sequel with Ice Cube. Within the film, Craig Jones (Ice Cube) and his best friend, small-time weed dealer Smokey (Chris Tucker), make the mistake of smoking some of the weed that Smokey’s supposed to sell for local drug lord Big Worm (Faizon Love). And Worm is not in a forgiving mood when he orders them to pay him back in just a few hours or else he will have them killed. On top of that, the neighborhood bully Deebo (Tiny “Zeus” Lister Jr.) steals their money and threatens to knock them the f*ck out! Since neither Craig nor Smokey has a job to fall back on, their misadventures in the neighborhood hilariously push them to the limit.

The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2021)

The Eyes of Tammy Faye
55 %
6.7/10
pg-13 126m
Genre Drama, History
Stars Jessica Chastain, Andrew Garfield, Cherry Jones
Directed by Michael Showalter
The Eyes of Tammy Faye is a passion project for Jessica Chastain, the actress who purchased the rights to Tammy Faye Bakker’s life story and stars in the title role. Chastain is joined by Andrew Garfield as Jim Bakker, Tammy Faye’s infamous husband. During the ‘70s and ‘80s, Jim and Tammy Faye made millions as two of the top-grossing televangelists in the world. However, all of that success led to their undoing. Well, that and some serious financial improprieties, sex scandals, and more. The film promises the “redemption” of Tammy Faye, but that part of the story is debatable.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

2001: A Space Odyssey
84 %
8.3/10
g 149m
Genre Science Fiction, Mystery, Adventure
Stars Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
The word “masterpiece” tends to be overused in film criticism. But 2001: A Space Odyssey lives up the hype and is a true accomplishment in the realm of cinema. Director Stanley Kubrick collaborated with sci-fi writer Arthur C. Clarke on this enigmatic story of humanity’s origins and their link to a mysterious alien monolith. During a space mission to follow the monolith’s signal, Dr. David Bowman (Keir Dullea) and Dr. Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood) are alarmed by the ship’s A.I., HAL 9000 (Douglas Rain), as it makes some serious errors along the way. It seems that HAL is all-too human in terms of his personality, and he plots to eliminate the astronauts in order to insure his own survival.

The Suicide Squad (2021)

The Suicide Squad
76 %
7.3/10
r 132m
Genre Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Stars Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena
Directed by James Gunn
After a brief stint on HBO Max earlier this year, The Suicide Squad is back with some of the most obscure comic book characters ever to grace the big screen. Bloodsport (Idris Elba), the man who shot Superman, is blackmailed into leading a team of dangerous convicts on a suicide mission behind enemy lines. Against his better judgment, Bloodsport even begins to care about some of his teammates. However, not everyone on Task Force X can be trusted. And there’s a fairly high chance that the team didn’t bring enough body bags for this mission. When the tagline for a film is “don’t get too attached,” take it seriously.

Anna Karenina (2012)

Anna Karenina
63 %
6.6/10
r 130m
Genre Drama, Romance
Stars Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Directed by Joe Wright
The Russian romance novel Anna Karenina will never be mistaken for a holiday film. But it’s a timeless tale of tragic love that has garnered several adaptations. The 2012 version stars Keira Knightley as Anna Karenina, a woman who accompanies her husband, Alexei Karenin (Jude Law), to Moscow in order to help her brother, Prince Stepan “Stiva” Arkadyevich (Matthew Macfadyen). Much to Anna’s surprise, she falls for Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), even though she knows firsthand what the consequences of her infidelity may be. Let’s just say that Russian novels aren’t known for their happy endings.

Jackie Brown (1997)

Jackie Brown
64 %
7.5/10
r 154m
Genre Crime, Thriller, Drama
Stars Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
For his third film as a director, Quentin Tarantino adapted Elmore Leonard’s novel, Rum Punch, into the stylish flick, Jackie Brown. Pam Grier stars as the title character, a stewardess who smuggles money for Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson). When ATF Agent Ray Nicolette (Michael Keaton) and the authorities catch Jackie in the act, Ordell plans to kill her. Fortunately, Jackie is a very foxy lady. With the help of bail bondsman Max Cherry (Robert Forster), Jackie comes up with the scheme of a lifetime. But Ordell is a very dangerous man to cross, and he will kill whoever he has to get his money back.

No Country for Old Men (2007)

No Country for Old Men
91 %
8.1/10
r 122m
Genre Crime, Drama, Thriller
Stars Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin
Directed by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Many Coen Brothers crime films have a light touch and many comedic moments. No Country For Old Men is not one of those films. Instead, the Coens go into very dark territory in this early ‘80s period piece. Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) stumbles across a drug deal gone bad as well as millions of dollars in drug money. Unfortunately for Liewelyn, the cartel has sent Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) to retrieve the cash, and he is easily one of the most terrifying movie villains of the 21st century. It’s no wonder that Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) feels so outmatched by the criminal element. Anton’s capacity for violence has no limits, and Liewelyn soon realizes just how much trouble he’s in.

The Truman Show (1998)

The Truman Show
90 %
8.1/10
pg 103m
Genre Comedy, Drama
Stars Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich
Directed by Peter Weir
Meet Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey), the star of The Truman Show. This show within a movie is all about every aspect of Truman’s life, but he has no idea that everyone around him is playing a role. The only real thing in Truman’s existence is Truman himself, and even his wife, Meryl (Laura Linney), is simply an actress who doesn’t truly love him. As Truman begins to question the carefully constructed lie of his life, the show’s creator, Christof (Ed Harris), becomes increasingly determined that Truman never learn the truth.

The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)

The Muppets Take Manhattan
64 %
6.9/10
g 94m
Genre Romance, Comedy, Family
Stars Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz
Directed by Frank Oz
The Muppets Take Manhattan is one of the greatest Muppets movies ever created, and you won’t find it on Disney+. But as one of the few Muppets films not owned by Disney, it’s a great option for families on HBO Max. After graduating from college, the Muppets move to Manhattan to fulfill their dreams of becoming Broadway stars. When their ambitions are foiled by a con man, the Muppets go their separate ways. However, Kermit the Frog refuses to let their collective dream die, and Miss Piggy sticks around to keep an eye on him. Kermit’s new friends, Pete (Louis Zorich) and Jenny (Juliana Donald), support his efforts. But Kermit will ultimately need to reunite the gang in order for the Muppets to take Manhattan as they planned.

The Queen (2006)

The Queen
91 %
7.3/10
pg-13 103m
Genre Drama, History
Stars Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell
Directed by Stephen Frears
This film may be called The Queen, but it’s all about the fallout from the death of a princess. In this historical dramatization, Britain is rocked by the sudden demise of Diana, Princess of Wales in a car accident. Queen Elizabeth II (Helen Mirren) doesn’t seem to have particularly liked Diana, and the royal family isn’t exactly eager to publicly mourn for the ex-wife of Prince Charles (Alex Jennings). Prime Minister Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) passionately argues that the queen and her family must acknowledge Diana’s importance to them and the nation or risk the monarchy itself.

Rush (1991)

Rush
66 %
6.8/10
r 120m
Genre Crime, Drama
Stars Jason Patric, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Sam Elliott
Directed by Lili Fini Zanuck
How far is too far when it comes to bringing a criminal to justice? In Rush, both Detective Jim Raynor (Jason Patric) and Detective Kristen Cates (Jennifer Jason Leigh) cross the line while attempting to take down a local drug lord, Will Gaines (Gregg Allman). Although Jim and Kristen were only supposed to be undercover as lovers and drug addicts, their roles soon become a reality for them. Regardless of their personal sacrifices and the ongoing danger of their assignment, they come up short. That’s when they find another line to cross and falsify the evidence against Will.

Thelma & Louise (1991)

Thelma & Louise
88 %
7.5/10
r 130m
Genre Drama, Thriller, Crime, Adventure
Stars Geena Davis, Susan Sarandon, Harvey Keitel
Directed by Ridley Scott
In the ‘90s, Thelma & Louise was a cultural touchstone and an impactful feminist film. Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon co-headlined the film as a housewife named Thelma Dickinson, and her best friend, Louise Sawyer. During a girls trip gone wrong, Louise murders a man who attempted to rape Thelma. Out of desperation, the two women decide to abandon their lives and race for the Mexican border. Unfortunately, Thelma and Louise’s rash decisions pile up and turn them into fugitives from justice. But together, the two women are willing to face almost any obstacle in their way.

Land (2021)

Land
61 %
6.6/10
pg-13 89m
Genre Drama
Stars Robin Wright, Demián Bichir, Sarah Dawn Pledge
Directed by Robin Wright
Robin Wright made her directorial debut with Land, a film in which she also stars as a woman named Edee. After suffering a terrible tragedy, Edde retreats from the world and tries to make a new life for herself in the Wyoming wilderness. Unfortunately for Edde, she may not be suited for living in the wild by herself. After narrowly surviving a brush with death thanks to the aid of Miguel Borrás (Demián Bichir), Edde forms a new friendship and tries to find meaning in her life and something worth living for.

Pride & Prejudice (2005)

Pride & Prejudice
82 %
7.8/10
pg-13 127m
Genre Drama, Romance
Stars Keira Knightley, Talulah Riley, Rosamund Pike
Directed by Joe Wright
Jane Austin’s romance novel, Pride & Prejudice, has been adapted several times for film and television. However, director Joe Wright’s 2005 adaptation may be the best one to date. Wright and screenwriter Deborah Moggach are true to the spirit of the novel while also making a few updates that modernize the story while maintaining its period setting. Keira Knightley stars as Elizabeth Bennet, the second oldest of five Bennet sisters who need to find good marriages in order to secure their standing once their father passes. Elizabeth isn’t eager to marry, even though Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen) is a very determined suitor. However, Elizabeth can still find love if she opens her heart and sees Darcy for who he truly is.

Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Full Metal Jacket
76 %
8.3/10
r 117m
Genre Drama, War
Stars Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D'Onofrio
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket is one of the most harrowing war movies ever made. Matthew Modine stars as Private J. T. “Joker” Davis, a soldier who is paired with Private Leonard “Gomer Pyle” Lawrence (Vincent D’Onofrio). Leonard is bullied so mercilessly by Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (Lee Ermey) and his fellow soldiers that he suffers a frightening mental break. In the aftermath of that incident, Joker is promoted to Sergeant and sent for a tour of duty in Vietnam. From there, Joker’s descent into the hell of war leaves him a changed man.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
65 %
7.6/10
pg 152m
Genre Adventure, Fantasy
Stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson
Directed by Chris Columbus
“You’re a wizard, Harry!” This year marks the 20th anniversary of the first film in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the U.K.) introduces movie lovers to Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe). On his way to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for his first year, Harry makes lifelong friends with Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson). However, their bond will be tested when a hidden danger is revealed at Hogwarts. HBO Max has debuted a new “Magical Movie Mode” for this flick, which offers a glimpse behind the scenes and even shares spell incantations onscreen.

The Wolverine (2013)

The Wolverine
61 %
6.7/10
pg-13 126m
Genre Action, Science Fiction, Adventure, Fantasy
Stars Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima
Directed by James Mangold
Don’t get too used to having an X-Men-related film on HBO Max. It’s a holdover of HBO Max’s deal with 20th Century Studios. In The Wolverine, Hugh Jackman reprises his role as Logan, a mutant hero who is haunted by the death of the woman he loved, Jean Grey (Famke Janssen). Soon, Logan is summoned to Japan and given the option to end his eternal suffering. Before long, Logan uncovers a plot against Mariko (Tao Okamoto), the granddaughter of his old friend. Logan also befriends Yukio (Rila Fukushima), a young mutant who appoints herself as Logan’s bodyguard even before his mutant powers begin to fail him.

The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981)

The French Lieutenant's Woman
64 %
7.0/10
r 124m
Genre Drama, Romance
Stars Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons, Hilton McRae
Directed by Karel Reisz
The French Lieutenant’s Woman has a unique approach to its Victorian romance. In the past, Charles Henry Smithson (Jeremy Irons) falls for Sara Woodruff (Meryl Streep) despite his impending marriage to another woman. In the present, Mike (Irons) and Anna (Streep) are actors who are performing the roles of Charles and Sara for a film. Mike and Anna are both married to other people, but they pursue an affair of their own that mirrors the relationship between Charles and Sara. Unfortunately, the romance doesn’t unfold as they may have hoped.

Trance (2013)

Trance
61 %
6.9/10
r 101m
Genre Thriller, Crime, Drama, Mystery
Stars James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel, Rosario Dawson
Directed by Danny Boyle
In Trance, Simon Newton (James McAvoy) finds himself in way over his head after a botched art heist. During the theft at his auction house, Simon was supposed to put away an extremely valuable painting before it could be stolen. While Simon was in league with the thieves, he apparently double-crossed them by hiding the painting somewhere else. After suffering a massive blow to the head, Simon’s memory is shattered. That’s why the thieves take him to Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson), a hypnotherapist who may hold the key to unlocking his mind. But the deeper Elizabeth probes into Simon’s subconscious, the more danger both of them are in.

The Hours (2002)

The Hours
80 %
7.5/10
pg-13 114m
Genre Drama
Stars Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep
Directed by Stephen Daldry
Make sure you have some tissues handy for The Hours, because this movie can definitely bring out some tears. It’s set in three interconnected time periods, with novelist Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) in the 1920s, housewife Laura Brown (Julianne Moore) in the ’50s, and Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) in the present. The primary connection is suicide, as both Virginia and Laura contemplate taking their own lives. Their choices resonate in the modern era, as Clarissa is forced to deal with the suicide of someone that she used to love. And yet within these sad tales, there is also hope.

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

Moonrise Kingdom
84 %
7.8/10
pg-13 94m
Genre Comedy, Drama, Romance
Stars Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton
Directed by Wes Anderson
As you might expect from a Wes Anderson film, Moonrise Kingdom is anything but conventional. Despite having a cast any director would kill for, the focus of the story is on two troubled kids: Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward). When Sam and Suzy decide to run away together, Suzy’s parents; Mr. Bishop (Bill Murray) and Mrs. Bishop (Frances McDormand); Sam’s Scout Master, Randy Ward (Edward Norton); and Police Captain Duffy Sharp (Bruce Willis) attempt to find them. Sam and Suzy have dreams of their own, but they won’t be able to achieve their hearts’ desires without a little help.

Promising Young Woman (2020)

Promising Young Woman
73 %
7.5/10
r 113m
Genre Drama, Thriller
Stars Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge
Directed by Emerald Fennell
Promising Young Woman was one of 2020’s most daring films, thanks to an absolutely fearless performance by Carey Mulligan. In the film, Mulligan plays Cassie Thomas, a woman haunted by the rape and death of her best friend, Nina Fisher. To find some small sense of justice, Cassie lures men into believing they can take advantage of her before exposing their severe moral failings. But when Cassie discovers that Nina’s rapist, Al Monroe (Chris Lowell), will soon be married, she throws herself into a dangerous plan to get justice even if it ruins her burgeoning romance with Ryan (Bo Burnham).

King Kong (2005)

King Kong
81 %
7.2/10
pg-13 188m
Genre Action, Adventure, Drama
Stars Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Colin Hanks, Jamie Bell
Directed by Peter Jackson
Before directing The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peter Jackson desperately wanted to remake King Kong as a modern blockbuster. Following his LOTR success, Jackson got his chance with a lavish production that makes the “Eighth Wonder of the World” bigger than ever. Naomi Watts stars as Ann Darrow, a struggling actress who is recruited by director Carl Denham (Jack Black) for an on-location shoot that is far more dangerous than she realizes. Although Ann falls for screenwriter Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody), Kong only has eyes for her. While Kong saves Ann on Skull Island, all bets are off when he is captured and taken back to New York.

The Big Easy (1986)

The Big Easy
52 %
6.5/10
r 102m
Genre Comedy, Crime, Drama
Stars Dennis Quaid, Ellen Barkin, Ned Beatty, John Goodman, Lisa Jane Persky
Directed by Jim McBride
Just as the name implies, The Big Easy takes place in New Orleans, and the film was actually shot on location for authenticity. Dennis Quaid stars Remy McSwain, a police lieutenant tasked with investigating the death of a local crime boss. Ellen Barkin co-stars as Anne Osborne, a state district attorney who finds herself romantically drawn to Remy even though she openly suspects that he’s a dirty cop. Anne’s suspicions prove to be correct, which strains her relationship with Remy. Regardless, there’s an even greater corruption within the ranks of the New Orleans PD that may threaten both of their lives if they don’t stick together.

Mad Max Fury Road (2015)

Mad Max Fury Road
90 %
8.1/10
r 120m
Genre Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Stars Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
Directed by George Miller
Most sequels fail to live up to the original movie that inspired them. But most sequels aren’t Mad Max: Fury Road, a thrilling action film that successfully revamped and updated the franchise for a new century. Tom Hardy headlines the film as Max Rockatansky, but the real star is Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa. She absolutely steals the movie from him. Together, they take it upon themselves to protect the unwilling wives of Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) and escort them to safety across the wasteland. The action is top-notch, and it’s an easy film to watch again and again.

Chariots of Fire (1981)

Chariots of Fire
78 %
7.2/10
pg 124m
Genre Biography, Drama, Sport
Stars Ben Cross Ian Charleson, Nigel Havers, Cheryl Campbell, Alice Krige
Directed by Hugh Hudson
Chariots of Fire is a drama that is based on the true story of two men, Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross) and Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), a pair of British runners who competed in the 1924 Olympic Games. While Harold is a Jewish man who continually encounters antisemitism, Eric’s religious struggles come from his family and his own devout Christian faith. Running is an escape for both of them and a way to overcome their personal obstacles. Harold and Eric’s paths don’t always converge outside of their athletic pursuits, but their drive and resilience are still inspiring to watch.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
82 %
7.9/10
pg 142m
Genre Fantasy, Adventure
Stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon, Richard Griffiths
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón
All eight of the Harry Potter movies are now on HBO Max. And while you should certainly revisit the first two movies, the third film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, is widely recognized as the best in the series. Thanks to the artful direction of Alfonso Cuarón and a powerful screenplay by Steve Kloves, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) has an affecting emotional odyssey when he learns that his godfather, Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), has escaped Azkaban’s prison for wizards. Harry believes that Sirius betrayed his parents and led them to their deaths. However, the truth is something that Harry never expected. And if the Boy Who Lived wants to put things right, he’s going to have to cheat the reaper … and evade the deadly Dementors.

Unforgiven (1992)

Unforgiven
85 %
8.2/10
r 131m
Genre Western, Drama
Stars Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood has made a lot of westerns in his career, but Unforgiven is in a class all its own. Eastwood directed the film and stars as Will Munny, an aging outlaw who turned his back on a life of violence in order to raise a family. Will’s desperate finances lead him to accept a bounty on two cowboys who brutally disfigured a prostitute, Delilah Fitzgerald (Anna Thomson). Will recruits his old friend, Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman), and they join The Schofield Kid (Jaimz Woolvett) to avenge Delilah’s injury. Unfortunately for the trio, Sheriff Little Bill Daggett (Gene Hackman) doesn’t take kindly to assassins, and his brand of justice is even more brutal than Will’s.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

The Shawshank Redemption
80 %
9.3/10
r 142m
Genre Drama
Stars Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown, Gil Bellows
Directed by Frank Darabont
Stephen King’s The Shawshank Redemption is one of his best non-horror stories, although there are definitely some horrific things that take place inside Shawshank Penitentiary. Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife and her lover. However, Andy’s pleas of innocence are ignored, even when a fellow inmate offers information that could clear his name. As the decades pass, Andy befriends Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman) and struggles to overcome the cage within his mind as well as the prison holding his body. Andy’s courage inspires Red, especially when Andy’s greatest secret emerges.

Horrible Bosses (2011)

Horrible Bosses
57 %
6.8/10
r 98m
Genre Comedy, Crime
Stars Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell
Directed by Seth Gordon
Have you ever had a terrible boss who sucked all of the joy out of your job? Then you can probably relate to the main characters of Horrible Bosses. Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman) has a boss, Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey), who cheated him out of a promotion, while his friend, Dale Arbusis (Charlie Day), is being sexually harassed by his boss, Dr. Julia Harris, D.D.S. (Jennifer Aniston). Their other buddy, Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis), has a new boss, Bobby Pellit (Colin Farrell), who may soon run their company into the ground. Realizing that their lives would be better off without their bosses, the trio hatch a murder plot that was destined to go wrong from the moment of its conception.

One Hour Photo (2002)

One Hour Photo
64 %
6.8/10
r 96m
Genre Thriller
Stars Robin Williams, Connie Nielsen, Michael Vartan, Gary Cole, Eriq La Salle
Directed by Mark Romanel
To modern audiences, the premise of One Hour Photo may seem strange. But in the pre-digital days, we really did have places where we had to get pictures developed into paper prints. In this thriller, the late Robin Williams plays Seymour “Sy” Parrish, an employee at a photo shop who has no real life of his own. Instead, Sy lives vicariously through the Yorkin family because he believes that Will (Michael Vartan) and Nina (Connie Nielsen), as well as their son, Jake (Dylan Smith), have an ideal life. However, Sy’s views are shattered when some of the pictures reveal that Will is having an affair. Combined with turmoil at work, this revelation causes Sy to snap as he tries to expose Will and anyone else who crosses him.

Jurassic Park (1993)

Jurassic Park
68 %
8.1/10
pg-13 128m
Genre Sci-fi, Action, Adventure
Stars Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Samuel L. Jackson, Wayne Knight
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Nearly three decades after its debut, Jurassic Park still stands as a monumental special effects achievement for its depiction of believable dinosaurs. Dr. John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) summons three experts, Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), to his private island so they can see a test run of the new theme park with actual cloned dinosaurs. While the doctors are alarmed and excited by the implications of John’s actions, they are soon thrust into a dangerous situation when Jurassic Park is sabotaged from within.

Inception (2010)

Inception
74 %
8.8/10
pg-13 148m
Genre Action, Sci-Fi
Stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Elliot Page
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Your mind is the scene of the crime in Inception, the film that solidified Christopher Nolan movies as events unto themselves. Nolan didn’t need Batman to make this blockbuster, but several of his actors returned for this flick. Within the story, Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a thief who makes his living by breaking into other people’s dreams to steal their most valuable secrets. However, there’s something even more valuable than secrets: Inception. That’s the act of placing an idea into the mind of a victim and letting them believe that it was their idea. It’s a very dangerous mission, which threatens the lives of Dom and his new team.

A Mighty Wind (2003)

A Mighty Wind
81 %
7.2/10
pg-13 92m
Genre Comedy, Music
Stars Bob Balaban, Christopher Guest, John Michael Higgins, Eugene Levy, Michael McKean, Catherine O'Hara
Directed by Christopher Guest
If This Is Spinal Tap goes up to 11, then A Mighty Wind is more of a 7 or an 8. However, several Spinal Tap veterans appear in this unexpectedly sweet musical mockumentary. After a famous music producer passes away, his children reunite his three biggest acts for a memorial concert: The Folksmen, The New Main Street Singers, and Mitch & Mickey. The Folksmen’s trio, Mark Shubb (Harry Shearer), Alan Barrows (Christopher Guest), and Jerry Palter (Michael McKean), get most of the screen time. But there’s also a very effective subplot about Mitch Cohen (Eugene Levy) and Mickey Crabbe (Catherine O’Hara), a former couple who have mixed feelings about reuniting on stage.

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
51 %
7.0/10
pg-13 89m
Genre Action, Comedy
Stars Mike Myers, Elizabeth Hurley, Michael York, Mimi Rogers, Seth Green
Directed by Jay Roach
Mike Myers goes for a dual role in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. In this hilarious James Bond spoof, secret agent Austin Powers (Myers) battles his nemesis, Dr. Evil (also Myers), in the late ’60s. And when Dr. Evil goes into suspended animation, Austin follows suit and awakens in the present day. Neither Austin nor Dr. Evil is able to easily make the adjustment to modern spy warfare. But at least Austin has a great partner, Vanessa Kensington (Elizabeth Hurley). On the other hand, Dr. Evil has an inept crew of henchmen, and a clone son, Scott Evil (Seth Green), who resents him.

Saturday Night Fever (1977)

Saturday Night Fever
77 %
6.8/10
r 118m
Genre Drama
Stars John Travolta, Karen Lynn Gorney, Barry Miller, Joseph Cali, Paul Pape
Directed by John Badham
Movies couldn’t possibly get more disco than Saturday Night Fever. But if you’re expecting a feel-good musical romance, then you’ve come to the wrong place. John Travolta stars as Anthony “Tony” Manero, a young man with dismissal prospects in his personal life and his day job. Yet on the dance floor, Tony is a king. He soon meets Stephanie Mangano (Karen Lynn Gorney), a dancer who may be his equal or even his superior. Unfortunately for Tony, Stephanie isn’t looking for love, just a platonic partnership. Meanwhile, the personal drama around Tony reaches a boiling point, and he jeopardizes his relationship with Stephanie by going way too far. If Tony’s not careful, his entire life could be shattered by his missteps.

The Matrix (1999)

The Matrix
73 %
8.7/10
r 136m
Genre Sci-Fi, Action
Stars Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano
Directed by The Wachowskis
There is a fourth Matrix film coming to HBO Max and theaters at the end of this year, but the original movie is still in a class by itself. The Matrix came out of nowhere in 1999 and quickly revolutionized sci-fi action with its slick direction and compelling story. Keanu Reeves stars as Neo, a hacker who is haunted by a singular question: “What is the Matrix?” Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and her boss, Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), hold the answers, but Neo is completely unprepared for the truth. And as he adjusts to his new reality, Neo is threatened by the ruthless Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) and an enemy much closer than he realizes.

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Reservoir Dogs
79 %
8.3/10
r 99m
Genre Crime
Stars Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, Lawrence Tierney, Michael Madsen
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino recently said that he briefly considered doing a remake of his directorial debut, Reservoir Dogs, as his tenth and final film. A remake is not going to happen, and that’s a good thing, because this is a classic. Crime boss Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney) puts together a motley crew to pull off a heist, including Mr. White (Harvey Keitel), Mr. Orange (Tim Roth), Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi), and the psychotic Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen). However, one of their numbers is an undercover cop who is in way over his head. Getting out alive may not be an option, once the heist goes bad and the bodies pile up.

Clueless (1995)

Clueless
68 %
6.8/10
pg-13 97m
Genre Comedy
Stars Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy, Paul Rudd, Wallace Shawn
Directed by Amy Heckerling
Did you know that Clueless was loosely based on Jane Austen’s Emma? And we mean very loosely. In the modern setting of 1995, director and screenwriter Amy Heckerling made the story her own by reimagining the heroine as Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone), a rich and beautiful high school student in Beverly Hills. While Cher seemingly has it all, her step-brother, Josh Lucas (Paul Rudd), challenges her to take a closer look at her existence. Over time, Cher realizes that she has truly been “clueless” about the important things in life and strives to find a purpose of her own.

Shazam! (2019)

Shazam!
71 %
7.0/10
pg-13 132m
Genre Action, Superhero
Stars Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Djimon Hounsou
Directed by David F. Sandberg
There’s no shortage of superhero movies on HBO Max. But Shazam! is one of the few that is truly family-friendly. Asher Angel stars as Billy Batson, an orphan who is placed with a new foster family. When Billy lashes out, he inadvertently encounters the wizard, Shazam (Djimon Hounsou), who passes Billy his power before he dies. Now, Billy can become the new Shazam (Zachary Levi), and he shares his good fortune with his new foster brother, Frederick “Freddy” Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer). Unfortunately for Billy, the evil Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) wants Shazam’s power for himself. And he’s willing to go through Billy’s new family to get it.

Lethal Weapon (1987)

Lethal Weapon
68 %
7.6/10
r 132m
Genre Action, Comedy
Stars Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Mitchell Ryan, Tom Atkins
Directed by Richard Donner
Lethal Weapon is the quintessential action buddy cop movie of the ‘80s. A middle-aged police sergeant, Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover), is partnered with Sergeant Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson), whom Roger suspects is crazy. But Martin has good reasons for his deteriorating mental state, as he struggles to move past the death of his wife. And when Martin is contacted by his old friend, Michael Hunsaker (Tom Atkins), he and Roger soon find themselves way over their heads in a deadly drug conspiracy. Lots of explosions, shootings, and fistfights ensue. But it’s the comedic chemistry of Gibson and Glover that made this flick into a franchise.

Cinderella Man (2005)

Cinderella Man
69 %
8.0/10
pg-13 144m
Genre Drama, Sports
Stars Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, Paul Giamatti, Craig Bierko, Bruce McGill, Paddy Considine
Directed by Ron Howard
Cinderella Man is the nickname of James J. Braddock (Russell Crowe), one of the iconic boxers of the Great Depression era. In this biopic, James is forced to retire from boxing after breaking his right hand. Years later, and much to the consternation of his wife, Mae (Renée Zellweger), James realizes that his recovery has made him an even more formidable fighter. James’ boxing comeback opens several doors, including a match with world champion Max Baer (Craig Bierko). This is a wonderful underdog story that has the added benefit of having some truth within this Hollywood-infused fable. Even the setbacks can’t hold James down for long.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
67 %
7.8/10
g 100m
Genre Musical, Fantasy
Stars Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson, Peter Ostrum, Roy Kinnear, Julie Dawn Cole. Leonard Stone
Directed by Mel Stuart
Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, received a slight name change for the big screen. Instead, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory wisely put Gene Wilder’s mischievous candy factory owner in the title. It’s just as well, because Wilder’s manic performance carries the movie through Willy’s wild shifts in tone and attitude. Peter Ostrum also stars in the film as Charlie Bucket, one of five children from around the world who have located one of Wonka’s golden tickets. The winner will get a lifetime supply of chocolate, but first Charlie and the rest of the kids have to pass Willy’s demented morality tests. Spoiler alert: Most of the children don’t pass, and Willy seems to delight in their bizarre and outlandish fates.

Happy Feet (2006)

Happy Feet
77 %
6.4/10
pg 108m
Genre Musical, Comedy
Stars Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Brittany Murphy, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman
Directed by George Miller
Would you believe that Mad Max director George Miller helmed the animated film Happy Feet? Not only did Miller expand into new, all-ages territory, but it’s a great example that other studios beyond Disney, Pixar, and DreamWorks can make terrific animated movies as well. Elijah Wood stars as Mumble, a penguin born without the ability to sing. Fortunately, Mumble was also born with the gift of dance, and he uses it to pursue the penguin of his dreams, Gloria (Brittany Murphy). Mumble’s elders may not understand his dancing gestures, but they can’t stifle his moves forever.

Dreamgirls (2006)

Dreamgirls
76 %
6.5/10
pg-13 130m
Genre Musical, Drama
Stars Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover, Anika Noni Rose, Jennifer Hudson
Directed by Bill Condon
Dreamgirls is an adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name, and it plays just as well on the silver screen as it did on the stage. The story is loosely inspired by the history of Motown, and it focuses on the rise of a girl group called the Dreams. Curtis Taylor, Jr. (Jamie Foxx) quickly realizes that the trio of Effie White (Jennifer Hudson), Deena Jones (Beyoncé), and Lorrell Robinson (Anika Noni Rose) can become major stars. The Dreams’ success soon eclipses their associated act, Jimmy “Thunder” Early (Eddie Murphy). However, Curtis’ manipulations also splinter the unity of the Dreams when he elevates Deena at Effie’s expense.

Dumb and Dumber (1994)

Dumb and Dumber
41 %
7.3/10
pg-13 106m
Genre Comedy
Stars Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Lauren Holly, Karen Duffy, Mike Starr, Charles Rocket
Directed by Peter Farrelly
Dumb and Dumber isn’t exactly a cinematic masterpiece. However, it is a very funny movie with Jim Carrey at the height of his comedic powers. Carrey stars as Lloyd Christmas, a clueless limo driver who develops a crush on Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly) after chauffeuring her to the airport. Lloyd inadvertently ruins Mary’s attempt to pay a ransom for her husband, and soon finds himself flush with cash. That’s why Lloyd and his best friend, Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels), go on a cross-country road trip to reunite with Mary. But they fail to realize that the kidnapper has sent hired killers to take them out.

Goodfellas (1990)

Goodfellas
90 %
8.7/10
r 146m
Genre Drama, Crime
Stars Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Where would we be without the crime epics of Martin Scorsese? Cinema would certainly be less interesting if films like Goodfellas didn’t explore such dark and compelling territory. This movie was based on the life of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), a criminal who was part of the Gambino crime family for 25 years. Henry’s illegally obtained wealth helps him woo his wife, Karen (Lorraine Bracco), and gives him a taste of the good life alongside his friends, Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) and Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci). Yet even these bonds of friendship can be shattered when money and power are at stake.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Extended Edition (2001)

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Extended Edition
92 %
8.8/10
pg-13 228m
Genre Fantasy, Action, Adventure
Stars Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Sean Bean
Directed by Peter Jackson
Nearly two decades ago, Peter Jackson unleashed the first film in his adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. But this isn’t The Fellowship of the Ring that you experienced in theaters. The Extended Edition is a nearly four-hour affair that greatly expands on the early story of Frodo (Elijah Wood), the young Hobbit who comes into possession of the One Ring. To keep this malevolent object out of enemy hands, Frodo and his eight companions embark on a dangerous quest to destroy the ring. Yet the greatest threat to the Fellowship may come from within.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
94 %
8.9/10
pg-13 263m
Genre Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Drama
Stars Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, Hugo Weaving
Directed by Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy was capped off with The Return of the King, which won Best Picture at the Oscars. The Extended Version of the film is now on HBO Max, and it includes several scenes that didn’t make it into the theatrical cut. For example, Saruman’s fate is no longer ambiguous. This is also a thrilling and satisfying wrap-up to the story that began during The Fellowship of the Ring. Just be sure to pace yourself along the way. This one clocks in at nearly four and a half hours, so it can be an endurance test for some. But it’s well worth the commitment.

The Departed (2006)

The Departed
85 %
8.5/10
r 151m
Genre Crime, Thriller
Stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Would you believe that Martin Scorsese finally won a Best Director Oscar for The Departed? It’s another Best Picture winner on this list as well as a thrilling crime drama starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Billy Costigan Jr. and Matt Damon as Colin Sullivan. Billy is a cop under deep cover within the crime family led by Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). But Frank also has Colin as a well-placed mole within the police department. As Billy and Colin become aware of each other, it becomes a race to see who can uncover their counterpart’s identity first.

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
7.8/10
pg 76m
Genre Superhero, Action
Stars Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Dana Delany, Hart Bochner
Directed by Eric Radomski, Bruce Timm
There have been many Batman movies, but Batman: Mask of the Phantasm may be the best one ever made. This isn’t an exaggeration, as the creative team and the cast behind Batman: The Animated Series created a new adversary for the Dark Knight while opening up a previously unexplored chapter in the life of Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy). In the past, Bruce almost walked away from his destiny as Batman to marry Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany). But in the present, Bruce’s life is complicated by both Andrea’s return and by the emergence of the Phantasm, a vengeful vigilante whose murder spree has been blamed on Batman himself. Mark Hamill’s chillingly evil Joker is the film’s wild card, and the wonderfully dark animation truly captures the spirit of the comics that inspired this movie.

Casablanca (1942)

Casablanca
100 %
8.5/10
pg 102m
Genre Romance, Drama
Stars Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains
Directed by Michael Curtiz
Casablanca, the Oscar-winning film that gave the world the iconic line, “Here’s looking at you, kid,” casts Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman as a pair of star-crossed lovers caught up in the dire events of World War II. Bogart portrays an American expatriate who’s forced to choose between the love of his life and the life he’s grown to love in the city of Casablanca.

Citizen Kane (1941)

Citizen Kane
100 %
8.3/10
pg 119m
Genre Drama
Stars Orson Welles, Dorothy Comingore, Joseph Cotten
Directed by Orson Welles
Often cited as the greatest movie ever made, Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane chronicles the rise and fall of fictional newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane, who rose from poverty to become a prominent player in American politics. Welles directed, co-wrote, produced, and starred in the film, which famously explores its titular character’s life in an attempt to discern the meaning of his dying words.

Spirited Away (2001)

Spirited Away
96 %
8.6/10
pg 124m
Genre Fantasy, Family
Stars Rumi Hiiragi, Mari Natsuki
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Acclaimed filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki and the animators at Studio Ghibli crafted this tale of a young girl who finds herself drawn into the fantastic world of Japanese Shinto folklore after an encounter with a powerful witch puts her — and her family — in danger. To date, Spirited Away remains the only hand-drawn, non-English film to win the Academy Award for the year’s Best Animated Feature and was ranked the fourth-best film of the 21st century in a 2016 poll of international film critics. You can also check out the best anime series on Netflix if you’re looking for more like this.

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