These Are the Best Movies You Can Watch on HBO Right Now

These Are the Best Movies You Can Watch on HBO Right Now

Ever since HBO Max came along, HBO feels a bit more robust in its offerings. Or maybe we’re just paying more attention. Regardless of what the reasoning is, the onslaught of prime programming available through the Home Box Office (fun fact: did you know what’s what HBO stands for?) is better than ever.

The veteran premium cable channel is known for its prestige TV, of course, but it also, with the addition of HBO Max, has a whole catalog of films that rivals even Netflix. And although Netflix has a library that spans for days, HBO has the substance. With a collection of major franchise installments, Academy Award winners, and crowd pleasers, HBO is a lead player in the ever-growing streaming wars.

So while we wait for Season Three of Succession together (have you caught our suggestion yet?), let’s turn to the fittingly titled Home Box Office for movies to watch.

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In The Heights

Jon M. Chu’s adaptation of Lin Manuel Miranda’s musical is the feel good movie of the summer and thankfully, you can see it whether or not you are comfortable being in a theater. Set in the NYC neighborhood of Washington Heights, the film offers a brief look into the crossroads of several residents and how their lives have been changed by the Heights.

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This is 40

Judd Apatow’s look at mid-life and parenthood is as funny as it is bleak and man, can it be bleak. But Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann always keep the humor dialed up just a bit above the mid-life crisis in this comedy about parents who are trying to keep a semblance of chemistry alive amid raising their two daughters.

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Birds of Prey

A fierce, fun superhero film, Birds of Prey (2020) stars Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn on a mission to save a young girl from Gotham’s worst villain. The stacked cast includes Rosie Perez, Jurnee Smollett, Ewan McGregor, Chris Messina, and Ali Wong, and will keep you energized and on your toes from start to finish.

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Risky Business

If its nostalgia you’re after, the classic 1983 high school comedy Risky Business—which made Tom Cruise a star—is streaming now on HBO. Slide, don’t walk.

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The original Rocky (as well as Rocky II, III, IV, V, and Rocky Balboa) starring the great Sylvester Stallone are all currently streaming on HBO, if it’s feeling like a day fit for a classic boxing movie marathon. Apologies from us to your loved ones in advance for any and all quoting of the film(s) that will surely follow.

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As are all the Saws, if the marathon mood you’re in is a good bit darker. The classic horror saga’s latest installment starring Chris Rock came out on May 13, so now’s a good a time as any to get caught up on its terrifying, dream-haunting predecessors.

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In the throes of the pandemic last spring, it was not clear exactly when or how we’d be able to see Christopher Nolan’s latest film Tenet. Now, though, it is streaming on HBO—though you may need to watch it twice to understand what happens. Featuring Esquire cover star John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, and Elizabeth Debicki, the sci-fi thriller plays with time in classic Nolan style, and will leave you doubting your own ability to compute information. Don’t worry, it’s the movie, not you.

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The Dark Knight Rises

It’s Nolan’s last Batman film, and damn if it isn’t a good one. With Christian Bale facing off against Tom Hardy’s Bane, the third installment features some of the best fights and visuals in the series. And for the record, we do not condone any Catwoman Hatha-hate in this home.

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Keep it above 50, baby. In this road warrior thriller, Keanu Reeves is an officer tasked with stopping a bomb placed underneath a bus by an unhinged Dennis Hopper. (Ok, he’s the actor who plays the man man, but could you imagine?) Problem is, if the bus drops under 50 miles an hour, it blows up. And Sandra Bullock is the hero behind the wheel keeping everyone alive.

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Life of Pi

Adapted from Yann Martel’s 2001 novel of the same name, Ang Lee’s 2012 Oscar-winning drama Life of Pi is a coming of age tale for Pi, who ends up stranded at sea aboard a lifeboat following a shipwreck of which he and a giant Bengal tiger are the sole survivors. Visually stunning and deeply moving, Life of Pi is a tale of trust, perseverance, and survival for Pi and his unlikely animal companion.

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The Normal Heart

Ryan Murphy’s powerful Emmy-award winning 2014 adaptation for HBO of the 1985 play follows a writer (Mark Ruffalo) and his friends as they fight to dispel the truth about the AIDS crisis within the government and the gay community in 1980s New York.

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The Fast and The Furious

Everyone knows that the best iteration of The Fast and the Furious franchise is Tokyo Drift (fight us), but there’s nothing quite like the original. Rob Cohen’s original film follows Brian O’Connor, an undercover cop played by Paul Walker, on his mission to discover the identities of a group of car hijackers led by Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel).

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Spielberg’s 2012 biographical historical drama depicts President Lincoln’s strife and determination as he resolves to end of the Civil War and abolish slavery. Daniel Day-Lewis won the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance as President Abraham Lincoln.

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King of Staten Island

Judd Apatow’s King of Staten Island is a semi-autobiographical film about Pete Davidson, starring Davidson himself. In it, he works through losing his father on 9/11, his mental health, and coming up into comedy. The movie, like Pete himself, is young, dark, and deeply funny.

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Kill Bill

Tarantino’s revenge movie starring Uma Thurman is not for the faint of heart. The Bride (Uma Thurman) is a former assassin who wakes from a coma four years after a jealous ex attempted to murder her on her wedding day, and her quest to get even makes for one of the most violent movies of all time.

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Justin Kirkland is a writer for Esquire, where he focuses on entertainment, television, and pop culture.

Lauren Kranc is an editorial assistant at Esquire, where she covers pop culture and television, with entirely too narrow of an expertise on Netflix dating shows.

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