What are the best movies to watch on HBO? Subscription streaming services are the fastest growing sector of the entertainment landscape, but before Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu came to dominate that arena, premium cable companies like HBO were offering consumers a way to watch movies and TV shows without commercials for a set monthly fee. Not content to let streaming run away with their market share, HBO also now allows people to subscribe to an entirely online version of their service called HBO Now, after fans begged for such an option for years.
Nowadays, cutting the cable cord is the preferred way to go for many, especially younger pop culture devotees. Cable packages are bloated, full of content very few people want, and contain multiple additional fees. Still, whether one subscribes to HBO through cable or via streaming, the service offers a great selection of movies with which to pass the time, even if the line-up isn't quite as robust as those of the subscription streaming big three.
Before the list of the best movies on HBO begins proper, there are some important notes to be made. First, the movies below are available to watch on HBO and stream on HBO Now at the time of this writing. As movies expire, the list will be updated, and new great options will be added. Also, the 15 films below, while numbered for convenience, are not ranked.
Last updated: June 7, 2019
In 1978, director John Carpenter created one of the most iconic horror villains of all time with Halloween's Michael Myers. Unfortunately, the franchise that followed wasn't exactly great, with few of the sequels doing any type of justice to the original. Thankfully, that trend changed with 2018's Halloween, directed by David Gordon Green, and now available on HBO. A direct sequel to only Carpenter's original - and with Carpenter himself onboard as producer and composer - Halloween (2018) does its best to recapture Michael's glory days, even bringing back Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode. The result isn't as good as the original, but it's pretty easily the best follow-up.
14. The Bourne Identity
An adaptation of the novel of the same name by author Robert Ludlum, 2002's The Bourne Identity turned Matt Damon into a certified action star and also proved that he could lead a franchise. Directed by Doug Liman, The Bourne Identity stars Damon as Jason Bourne, a man suffering from severe memory loss that eventually discovers he's a badass assassin formerly employed by a clandestine group called Treadstone. Bourne would reprise the title role for three further sequels, the first of which is also available to watch on HBO.
Tom Cruise has made a career out of playing likable romantic leads and/or dashing action heroes, but in 2004's Collateral, he got to indulge in his inner villain for a change. Cruise plays Vincent, a charming but brutally cold hitman who forces cab driver Max (Jamie Foxx) to provide him transport as he takes out various targets. Max goes along for his safety, but eventually reaches his breaking point, leading to a deadly game of cat and mouse between the two men. Jada Pinkett Smith, Mark Ruffalo, and Javier Bardem also star in the Michael Mann-directed thriller, which remains worth a watch on HBO.
One of the most acclaimed films of 2018, BlacKkKlansman earned six Oscar nominations, including the first ever Best Director nomination for Spike Lee. While Lee didn't win, he did share in the film's Best Adapted Screenplay victory. Based on a true story, BlacKkKlansman stars John David Washington as Ron Stallworth, the first black cop in the history of Colorado Springs. Stallworth struggles to fit in at first, but quickly finds his niche investigating infamous hate group the Ku Klux Klan. Stallworth gains their trust by pretending to be white over the phone, with fellow officer Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) posing as Stallworth for in person meetings. For those who missed it in theaters last year, BlacKkKlansman is a must-watch HBO selection.
11. Dawn of the Dead
While he has his share of both fans and detractors, Zack Snyder's films rarely fail to elicit some type of strong reaction. This began all the way back in 2004 with his first directorial effort, a remake of George A. Romero's classic 1978 zombie epic Dawn of the Dead. Many horror lovers were lukewarm to the idea of a remake, but Snyder smartly chose to only keep the basic premise of the original - a group of people try to survive a zombie apocalypse inside a shopping mall - and craft an entirely new movie around it. Snyder's Dawn of the Dead isn't Romero-level, but it's still a blast, full of action and suspense, and well worth streaming on HBO.
Directed by Danny Boyle and written by Alex Garland, 2007's Sunshine doesn't always get the credit it deserves when it comes to being a quality sci-fi film, despite it receiving predominately good reviews at the time of release. A lot of that is likely due to it bombing at the box office, but that's one of the great things about streaming services like HBO Now, films that didn't soar out of the gate can find a new audience. In the year 2056, Sunshine sends a crew of astronauts up to try and reignite the dying sun with a nuclear bomb. Unfortunately, things go wildly awry. The all-star cast includes Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Rose Byrne, Michelle Yeoh, and Mark Strong.
Related: Why Did Danny Boyle Quit Bond 25?
9. A Time to Kill
Based on a novel by best-selling author John Grisham, 1996's A Time to Kill takes a harsh look at the often racially-biased justice system in the American south, and also asks the question of whether murder can ever be justified. Set in Mississippi, A Time to Kill's plot is put in motion by the brutal rape of a young black girl. Afraid the rapists will go free, the girl's father, powerfully played by Samuel L. Jackson, gets revenge by shooting and killing them on their way to trial. This earns him a murder trial of his own, and it's up to white lawyer Jake Brigance (Matthew McConaughey) and his defense team to try and avoid the death penalty. Sandra Bullock, Ashley Judd, Kevin Spacey, and Donald and Keifer Sutherland also star in this prime HBO pick.
8. Won't You Be My Neighbor?
One of the most beloved documentaries in recent memory, many moviegoers were outraged when director Morgan Neville's Won't You Be My Neighbor? was snubbed in the Oscars best documentary category. Despite that sad turn, the film's exploration of the life and career of Fred Rogers - host of legendary kids show Mister Rogers Neighborhood, and lifelong advocate for children - remains utterly compelling, and enough to pierce just about anyone's cynical exterior. HBO subscribers should get acquainted with it as soon as possible.