14 Best Movies on HBO Max – 2020 Update

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Are you looking for something to watch later tonight? HBO Max offers more titles that span a broader library to choose from compared to other platform competitors. Reaching far and wide across every genre and every decade, there is something spectacular waiting in the queue for you.

Below is a list of fourteen of the best movies on HBO Max.

  1. They Shall Not Grow Old
  2. Once Upon a Time in the West
  3. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  4. The Conversation
  5. An American in Paris
  6. Empire of the Sun
  7. Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird
  8. The Fugitive
  9. Catch Me if You Can
  10. The LEGO Movie
  11. The Manchurian Candidate
  12. The Searchers
  13. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
  14. The Wizard of Oz

1. They Shall Not Grow Old

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They Shall Not Grow Old (2018) – IMDb

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The first documentary Peter Jackson directed, They Shall Not Grow Old, was produced from more than 100 hours of original footage from the Imperial War Museum’s archives of World War I, most of which had been unseen by the public and was over a century old when it was finally released. Jackson said the film is meant to immerse you in the experience of “what it was like to be a soldier,” not just recount events from the war.

Additionally, the documentary with over 600 hours of interviews from 200 veterans was reviewed to make the film. The title was taken from a line in the 1914 poem “For the Fallen”, which was famous for its use in the Ode of Remembrance; “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.” –Laurence Binyon

2. Once Upon a Time in the West

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Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) – IMDb

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Directed by Sergio Leone, this epic Spaghetti Western was ahead of its time visually, as this 1968 film looks as though it could be dated decades after that. The incredible Morricone soundtrack acts as a character itself, playing the role of the protagonist in the film. This stars Henry Fonda as a villain, alongside Charles Bronson, Jason Robards, and Claudia Cardinale.

In a small border town out west, the lives of four uniquely different characters are about to clash together. Follow a young woman in need of a fresh start, an outlaw on the run, an assassin for a railroad tycoon, and a mysterious man who plays the harmonica in this spaghetti western masterpiece.

3. The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers

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The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers (2002) – IMBd

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The Two Towers is a wonderful blend of thrilling action and poignant storytelling that will leave you both satisfied and anxious for the final chapter. This is the second movie in The Lord of The Rings trilogy. This stars Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, and Sean Astin, and is directed by Peter Jackson.

Sauron’s power is growing, and the fellowship is torn apart. Frodo and Sam encounter Gollum, who has already been overtaken and dominated by the ring’s power. Legolas, Aragorn, Gandolf, and Gimli make new allies and launch an attack on Isengard. Meanwhile, the Dark Lord’s Army prepares to march on to Gondor. The War for the Ring is here.

4. The Conversation

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The Conversation (1974) – IMBd

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Francis Ford Coppola was at the top of his game when he directed this tense, paranoid thriller, wherein his argument about technology’s role in society was way ahead of its time and still speaks volumes even today. Starring Gene Hackman, John Cazale, Allen Garfield, and Frederic Forrest.

A private surveillance expert, Harry Caul, is hired to record the private discussion of a young couple that has planned a meeting in Union Square. When he suspects the couple he is spying on will be murdered as a result of his previous surveillance jobs, he goes on a quest to uncover what exactly is going on and finds himself in the middle of his worst nightmare. 

5. An American in Paris

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An American in Paris (1951) – IMBd

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While the plot is less than perfect, the pure star power of Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron and the familiar music of Gershwin will keep you from caring. Maurice Chevalier and Oscar Levant also star in this American classic film directed by Vincente Minnelli

Jerry Mulligan, an American serviceman, chooses to stay in Paris after World War II in order to pursue a life as a painter but comes to learn that such is easier said than done. He finds an eager patron willing to support him, while at the same time, he has a chance encounter with the love of his life. Now he must choose between a great career and true love. Will the American in Paris be able to have a happy ending?

6. Empire of the Sun

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Empire of the Sun (1987) – IMDb

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Steven Spielberg directed this epic coming-of-age war film which was based on the semi-autobiographical 1984 novel of J.G. Ballard, and considers it to be his most profound work on ‘the loss of innocence.’ Christian Bale stars as the young boy, Jamie “Jim” Graham, who was raised in Shanghai by a rich British family only to become a prisoner in a Japanese internment camp in World War II. Also starring John Malkovich and Miranda Richardson.

After being ripped from his privileged, aristocratic life and separated from his parents, young Jim Graham is reduced to fighting for food while living on the streets alone. His bad fortune piles on when he is captured and interned in a POW camp for British civilians. He struggles for survival, motivated by the hopes that he can find his parents and reconstruct his former life one day. 

7. Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird

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Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird (1985) – IMDb

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Considered a musical road-comedy film, Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird was the first of two Sesame Street feature films (the second is The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, 1999), which features both puppets and live actors of the Sesame Street World. Starring Jim Henson, Frank Oz, and Caroll Spinney.

Big Bird is made to live far away from Sesame Street by a nettlesome social worker named Miss Finch. However, he is very unhappy in his new home, so he decides to run away. This prompts the Sesame Street gang to go on a journey all across the country in order to find him in this heart-warming tale about friends, family, and love. 

8. The Fugitive

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The Fugitive (1993) – IMBd

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Dr. Richard Kimble has been wrongfully accused of murdering his wife, and now he must escape from the law to find her killer and clear his name. Along the way, he discovers the secrets behind his wife’s death, which pushes him even harder to find the real killer before it is too late. 

Andrew Davis directed this intense and exhilarating chase thriller, which has served as a model for efficient formula filmmaking ever since. Starring Harrison Ford at his best as the distraught and frenzied Dr. Richard Kimble. Also starring Tommy Lee Jones, Sela Ward, and Julianne Moore.

9. Catch Me If You Can

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Catch Me If You Can (2002) – IMBd

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Steven Spielberg put together a stylish, breezy, entertaining film that is also unexpectedly emotional. Based on a true story, Leonardo DiCaprio gives a strong performance as Frank Abagnale Jr., a real-life con artist, on the run from dour yet seemingly sympathetic FBI agent Carl Hanratty played by Tom Hanks.

When Frank Abagnale Sr. (Christopher Walken) finds himself in trouble with the IRS and subsequently separated from his wife, his son (DiCaprio) pledges to regain his dad’s financial losses in hopes to bring his parents back together. 

Frank Jr. runs away and poses as an attorney, a pediatrician, and a Pan Am pilot, cashing more than $4 million in counterfeit checks along the way. With the FBI always at his heels, Frank must continue to play cat and mouse to avoid arrest, but he won’t be able to keep it up forever.

10. The LEGO Movie

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The Lego Movie (2014) – IMBd

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With surprisingly appealing animation, the LEGO Movie is a 3D animated film that has a delightful voice cast, non-stop comedy gags, and a markedly insightful story. This is the first full-length theatrical release of LEGO, starring Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, and Morgan Freeman as the primary characters, and directed by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Chris McKay.

A completely ordinary LEGO construction worker, Emmet, comes to learn he may be the “special” person who is prophesied to save the LEGO universe from the evil tyrant, Lord Business. He is recruited to join in the quest to stop the evil Lord, Emmet and his friends head out on an epic adventure.

11. The Manchurian Candidate

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The Manchurian Candidate (1962) – IMBd

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With a screenplay based on the 1959 Richard Condon novel of the same name, The Manchurian Candidate is an American psychological, political thriller for the ages. Directed and produced by John Frankenheimer, the film served as a revival for the noir genre. Starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, and Janet Leigh, andn Angela Lansbury, Henry Silva, and James Gregory as the supporting cast.

Former prisoner of war, U.S. Army hero Raymond Shaw (Harvey) returns from the Korean War as a decorated soldier with his fellow surviving platoon members–who can’t remember what Shaw did to receive his Congressional Medal of Honor. 

When some of the soldiers start having recurring nightmares, they are stirred to investigate Shaw further. Find out what sinister secrets are being kept and who is keeping them from whom in this uncomfortably perceptive thriller that is perilously relevant today.

12. The Searchers

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The Searchers (1956) – IMDb

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The Searchers is considered the greatest western to come from the marvelous John Ford, becoming one of the most influential films since its creation. The American Film Institute named it the greatest American Western and ranked it as the twelfth-best film of all time. Additionally, it was one of the first films to be selected for preservation by the National Film Registry, with the U.S. Library of Congress acclaiming it as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” 

Ex-Confederate soldier Ethan Edwards returns home from a long three-year absence at war only to find that his family has been slaughtered, and his niece has been captured by the Comanche Indians and Chief Scar. Ethan, along with his nephew Martin, work to track down their surviving family member only to find she has become assimilated to her capturers’ culture.

John Wayne stars alongside Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, and Natalie Wood in this epic Western that introduced the dark uncertainty of the genre that still is popular today.

13. My Big Fat Greek Wedding

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My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) – IMDb

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Toula Portokalos (Nia Vardalos) is 30, Greek, and as single as they come. She works with her traditional Greek family at their restaurant but is searching for more in her life. After convincing her father to let her take computer classes and work at her aunt’s travel agency, she meets a handsome man and quickly falls in love. Only there is one problem–he’s not Greek! 

Toula must now convince her family to accept the man he loves while she comes to terms with her own cultural identity in this riotous love story. Nominated for Best Original Screenplay in 2002, My Big Fat Greek Wedding is one of the most successful independent films ever made.

Vardalos stars alongside a large fantastic cast, including John Corbett and Michael Constantine.

14. The Wizard of Oz

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The Wizard of Oz (1939) – IMDb

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An absolute masterpiece with visuals that were groundbreaking for its time, The Wizard of Oz is a must-see film for everyone. This Technicolor classic is the most commercially successful adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s fantasy novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Beyond its use of Technicolor, this pop culture icon is known for its musical score, fantasy storytelling, and, of course, its memorable characters.

Judy Garland stars as Dorothy and provides the vocals for “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. The film also won Best Original Score by Herbert Stothart and co-stars Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, and Margaret Hamilton.

When a tornado pushes through Kansas, Dorothy has swept away in her house to the magical land of Oz. With her dog, Toto, by her side, she follows the Yellow Brick Road to meet the Wizard at the Emerald City, who can help her get home. 

Along the way, she befriends a Scarecrow in need of a brain, a Tin Man lacking a heart, and a Cowardly Lion seeking courage. Together they travel to the Wizard, facing obstacles put in place by the Wicked Witch of the West along the way.

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