Last Updated: July 27th
In addition to being America’s most trusted source of Carnivale episodes, HBO Go/HBO Now has a lovely collection of movies available ranging trashy action thrills to elegant period pieces to star-studded comedies. Here is a ranking of the 30 best movies on HBO Go/HBO Now that you could and should be watching right now.
1. Back To The Future (1985)
Run Time: 116 min | IMDb: 8.5/10
Who knew working overtime to make sure your parents get together could be such a treasured family adventure? Robert Zemeckis’ classic sci-fi comedy Back to the Future is still held in high esteem decades on thanks in part to the endearing team of plucky everyteen Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and delightful lunatic scientist Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd). The sheer joy and adventure packed into this trip to the ‘50s via the ‘80s still resonates today. Your mileage may vary on the sequels which are also cozily nestled into the HBO Go library.
2. Die Hard (1988)
Run Time: 132 min | IMDb: 8.2/10
The 1988 John McClane action masterpiece that spawned countless imitators more than holds up thirty years on, which explains Die Hard being tapped for preservation in the National Film Registry. Bruce Willis is armed with quips and thrilling sequences as one man fighting insurmountable odds in a Los Angeles skyscraper that’s been taken over by Alan Rickman’s genius baddie Hans Gruber. Laughs, gasps and Carl Winslow await. Welcome to the party, pal.
3. Logan (2017)
Run Time: 141 min | IMDb: 8.1/10
Hugh Jackman bids goodbye to his furry Canadian alter-ego in this hard-R box office smash that offers up a grizzled late period take on Wolverine with a lovely mix of emotional gravitas and the appeal of a dude clawing up the brains of bad guys and ne’er-do-wells alike. Dafne Keen shines as the mysterious young girl that’s found herself in Logan’s life and Patrick Stewart returns as the least cuddly version of Professor Charles Xavier yet. Critics and fans alike are pretty sweet on this different brand of superhero movie.
4. Wonder Woman (2017)
Run Time: 149 min, IMDb: 7.5/10
Embraced by critics and filmgoers alike, Wonder Woman is living, breathing, ass-kicking proof that the DCEU is capable of providing superhero fare that doesn’t have to lead to shouty arguments over a Rotten Tomatoes score. Gal Gadot stars as Diana Prince (the titular woman of wonder) in Patty Jenkins’ exhilarating comic book motion picture set during World War I. Leaning into charm and fun alongside scenes of villain thumping, Wonder Woman sees our heroine as something too special not to stand out in her surroundings and the film is all the more captivating for it.
5. The Sandlot (1993)
Run Time: 101 min | IMDb: 7.8/10
If you grew up in the ’90s, then you’re probably already familiar with this coming-of-age film that follows a group of baseball-loving neighborhood boys who bond over the summer thanks to the sport and a neighborhood legend. The movie follows new-kind-in-town Scotty Smalls who joins the baseball league despite his lack of skill and becomes friends with Benny, the most talented player on the team. When Scott loses his stepfather prized baseball (signed by Babe Ruth) to a savage backyard dog named The Beast, the kids have to find the courage to retrieve the memento before Scott’s parents find out.
6. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
Run Time: 164 min | IMDb: 8.1/10
Denis Villeneuve reinvents the sci-fi cult classic with Ryan Gosling playing a young blade runner forced to team with up a familiar face in order to uncover a long-buried secret that threatens his carefully balanced existence. Harrison Ford is back as Rick Deckard, which gives the film some needed moments of levity as Gosling does his best robotic stare for most of the three-hour film. What really sets this installment apart, though, is the visuals. Roger Deakins’ cinematography is breathtaking and often transports you to different worlds, all desolate, gritty, and apocalyptic in feel but brimming with vibrant color.
7. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Run Time: 121 min | IMDb: 7.9/10
E.T. isn’t exactly a looker by any stretch, but Steven Spielberg’s candy-gobbling extraterrestrial stumbled into our hearts anyway. The universally adored ‘80s blockbuster weaves a tale of a boy and his unlikely alien friend that melds sci-fi wonder and heartfelt childhood feelings into a sweet and endlessly rewatchable story. Even after being parodied to death, iconic scenes like Elliott and E.T.’s flying bike sequence still strike a special nerve. It doesn’t hurt that the film has aged a smidge better than its Universal Studios ride.
8. Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (1969)
Run Time: 110 min | IMDb: 8.1/10
This classic Western starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman follows a pair of outlaws on the run after a job gone South. The two, along with Katherine Ross, escape to Bolivia where they live on the lam for a while before their pasts catch up to them. A crime drama and buddy comedy all rolled into one, Redford and Newman’s chemistry is electric, and you can’t help but root for these gunslinging anti-heroes to make it out alive.
9. When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006)
Run Time: 255 min | IMDb: 8.6/10
Every ounce as poignant as when it was released in 2016, Spike Lee’s four-part documentary When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts explores the real human devastation Hurricane Katrina left in its wake as well as what the catastrophe exposed about American societal constructs. It will break your heart, make you mad and once you’ve seen all four hours you’ll never forget them. It’s a difficult watch, but a necessary one.
10. It (2017)
Run Time: 135 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
If you’ve read the book, or seen the Tim Curry adaptation, you know the story of Pennywise, the murderous clown that terrorizes a small town, is truly frightening, but this new iteration takes the horrifying parts of the book and TV movies to an even darker place. With a talented cast of kids and Bill Skarsgard as the sewer-dwelling big bad, It explores terror in a unique way, by examining the fears motivating a group of outcasts and offering a story of redemption, friendship, and hope — with a bloodbath and nightmare or two thrown in for good measure.
11. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (2016)
Run Time: 133 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
Building upon a beloved children’s series is risky, especially when the first collection of movies was so superbly done, but with David Yates and author J.K. Rowling on board, Harry Potter fans shouldn’t have worried about this particular spin-off. The film, set before the events of Rowling’s written series, follows Newt Scamander, a lover of magical creatures, a curious wizard, and a man with a bit of bad luck. Scamander heads to New York, introducing us to the robust wizarding world hiding within the city and to the fierce opposition faced by the magical community. With a convincing villain played by Colin Farrell (later, a disappointing Johnny Depp reveal) and Ezra Miller as a young man grappling with his own abilities, there’s a lot to love about this new take on the series.
12. The Tale (2018)
Run Time: 114 min | IMDb: 7.3/10
Laura Dern gives a hauntingly beautiful performance in Jennifer Fox’s autobiographical drama, The Tale. The film recounts Fox’s own history of sexual abuse at the hands of a riding instructor who was three times her age. Dern plays a grown-up version of Fox, a woman struggling to recall illicit memories of her past, to reconcile the relationship she thought she had as a teenager with a man old enough to be her father with what actually happened — years of grooming, mental, and physical abuse at the hands of adults she had put her trust in. It’s a brutal but necessary watch.
13. Dunkirk (2017)
Run Time: 106 min | IMDb: 8/10
Christopher Nolan’s historical epic won all kinds of awards earlier this year and for good reason. The sprawling drama attempts to retell one of the most notorious battles of World War II with a bit of flair and ingenuity. Nolan teeters between timelines, following fighter pilots in the air, doomed troops on the beach, and a fisherman staging a rescue mission with his son. It’s captivating stuff with some moving performances by new faces and familiar names alike. And the sound editing is *Italian kiss* perfect.
14. Temple Grandin (2010)
Run Time: 120 min | IMDb: 8.3/10
Inspirational without being self-congratulatory or condescending, Mick Jackson’s Temple Grandin places Claire Danes in the role of the real-life title character as she develops into a voice in animal science that cannot be ignored. A world that’s unaccommodating to autism and women in the ranching industry does not make things easy for Grandin and Danes portrays her with detail, intelligence and heart. Bonus points awarded for having the courage to include comedy and taking the effort to make something with warmth. You don’t get that too often in movies featuring the inner workings of slaughterhouses.
15. The Theory Of Everything (2017)
Run Time: 123 min | IMDb: 7.7/10
Both Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones give stellar performances in this historical biopic of one of the greatest scientific minds of our generation. Stephen Hawking has forged a lasting legacy in the academic world for his theories on things like black holes and relativity but before he gained fame, the physicist struggled with motor neuron disease or ALS. Jones plays Hawking’s wife, Jane, a woman of singular determination and courage who made it possible for her husband to pursue his great intellectual dreams. Their relationship fuels most fo the film.
Run Time: 101 min | IMDb: 7.6/10
Chris Evans stars in this family drama about a washed-up college professor forced to start his life over again and care for his gifted niece after the death of his sister. It’s nice to see Evan out of the spandex suit for once and this role is a good reminder that the guy can actually act. Octavia Spencer and Jenny Slate also star, but the real stand-out is young McKenna Grace, who plays seven-year-old Einstein Mary Adler – a brilliant and misunderstood young girl at the center of an ugly custody battle that has less to do with her and more to do with her mother’s mathematical legacy.
17. Ice Age (2002)
Run Time: 103 min | IMDb: 7.5/10
Sure, this is an animated film franchise that probably stayed past its welcome, but the original film was the interspecies buddy comedy we never knew we needed. With Ray Romano playing a grumpy woolly mammoth named Manny, who reluctantly teams up with a hapless giant ground sloth named Sid (John Leguizamo) and a tough sabretooth named Diego (Denis Leary), the film took us on a prehistoric journey as the three heroes sacrificed themselves in order to save a human baby. Just recapping the film is bringing on the feels.
18. Mommy Dead And Dearest (2017)
Run Time: 82 min IMDb: 7.4/10
Erin Lee Carr’s spellbinding crime doc Mommy Dead and Dearest plunges into the bizarre and absorbing true story surrounding the murder of Dee Dee Blancharde. It’s an absorbing, strange and disturbing watch that doles out enough jawdropping moments in 83 minutes to put full seasons of TV to shame. Sundance hopefuls would have a field day with the visuals in this documentary if they were to try and adapt this stranger-than-fiction tale of manipulation, murder and motherhood.
19. Man On The Moon (1999)
Run Time: 118 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
Jim Carrey fully inhabited the eccentric and legendary Andy Kaufman in this biopic that recounts the comedian’s prolific rise to fame. If you’ve seen his Netflix documentary, you know Carrey underwent some of the same on-set issues caused his fair share of disturbances while embodying the equally-troubled Kaufman, a man with a wicked sense of humor that few could actually understand. The film chronicles his stand-up career, his beloved sitcom, and his “feuds” with celebrities.
20. American Made (2017)
Run Time: 115 min | IMDb: 7.2/10
It’s easy to forget that Tom Cruise is a good actor, but his turn as a commercial airline pilot-turned CIA operative-turned high-flying drug mule is a decent enough reminder that, along with insane action sequences, Cruise can deliver a wildly fun performance every now and then. The fact that this story is based on a true story is even more bonkers, and Cruise has fun with the absurdity of it all, transforming Barry Seal, a guy who worked for the CIA while moonlighting as a drug dealer for the Medellin Cartel, into a character you actually find yourself rooting for in the end.
21. Real Women Have Curves (2002)
Run Time: 93 min IMDb: 7/10
Living up to the immense hype it earned at Sundance that year, Real Women Have Curves is a coming-of-age tale that balances drama and comedy while shining a spotlight on the acting skills of future Superstore star America Ferrera. (The film marked the actress’s cinematic debut.) Ferrera plays Ana García, a young Mexican-American woman navigating cultural, societal and familial expectations in Los Angeles as she works toward her goal of heading to college. Smart, dignified and occasionally bittersweet, Real Women Have Curves is a movie unafraid of its warmth and humanity.
22. Atomic Blonde (2017)
Run Time: 115 min | IMDb: 6.7/10
This spy thriller is set in Cold War Era Berlin and sees Charlize Theron playing a badass spy tasked with retrieving a sensitive information. Theron’s MI-6 agent Lorraine Broughton is brought in to investigate the death of her former partner and to deliver a list of double agents to her bosses in London. Of course, things aren’t what they seem, and Lorraine must take plenty of punches and shed a bit of blood in the name of God and country.
23. Behind The Candelabra (2013)
Run Time: 118 min | IMDb: 7/10
It’d be rude for a Liberace-focused film not to be showered in sparkly awards upon release, don’t you think? Steven Soderbergh’s HBO Films take on Scott Thorson’s memoir Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace earned Emmys galore for its blend of effective drama and dark comedy. Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, and Scott Bakula all scored well-deserved praise and trophies for their work in this gripping (and appropriately stylish) drama that will have you scrambling down many a Wikipedia rabbit hole after.
24. Lady Macbeth (2016)
Run Time: 90 min | IMDb: 6.9/10
This British drama starring relative newcomer Florence Pugh chronicles a young woman’s murderous attempts to gain her freedom. Pugh plays Katherine, a beautiful bride married to a man twice her age and forced to endure a strict and stifling life with her husband and father-in-law. When she begins an affair with a field hand, Katherine proves she’ll go to bloody lengths to win her independence. This is less a love story and more of a cautionary tale to 1800’s Era men: the quiet ones are the most dangerous.
25. Girls Trip (2017)
Run Time: 122 min | IMDb: 6.2/10
Girls Trip is that rare, raucous female comedy that manages to pair brilliant comedic performances with a nuanced, and heartfelt story. The premise of the film rests with four women who became close in college but drifted apart as the years wore on, reuniting for one hell of a good time in New Orleans. Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, and a scene-stealing Tiffany Haddish wade through cheating husbands, wild parties, and plenty of friendship drama while living it up in the Big Easy. And yes, that grapefruit scene is as side-splitting as everyone says.
26. Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)
Run Time: 141 min | IMDb: 6.8/10
Matthew Vaughn gave us a wickedly fun spy-action movie when he introduced us to the Kingsman franchise, and this sequel just adds to that zany, over-the-top foundation he’s built for Taron Egerton and company. Helping things along is Channing Tatum, a man whose comedic talents aren’t praised enough, and the solid, reliable presence of Colin Firth. This one isn’t really plot-heavy, but the action and the fun these actors are having more than make up for it.
27. The Beguiled (2017)
Run Time: 94 min | IMDb: 6.4/10
The only thing better than Sofia Coppola giving us a dreamy, lush interpretation of a school of Southern Belles during the Civil War is Coppola making those Southern Belles scheming, resilient women who aren’t afraid to get their hands bloody. Nicole Kidman plays the headmistress of an all-girls school in Virginia that’s been mostly abandoned during the war save for a few students and a fellow teacher. When Colin Farrell shows up as a wounded Union Army deserter, the women take him in and things spiral quickly from there.
28. Justice League (2017)
Run Time: 120 min | IMDb: 6.6/10
Zach Snyder’s DC team-up suffers from all of the vices that go along with a superhero crossover film. There’s a ton of action that distracts from the plot, not enough character-driven moments, another world-weary Batman interpretation from Ben Affleck, and a villain that fails to inspire much of anything, let alone fear, in the audience. On the plus side, the film finally gives us glimpses of some anticipated DC superheroes, guys like Ezra Miller’s spunky, lovable Flash, Jason Momoa’s bad-boy fish king Aquaman, and of course, Gal Gadot’s scene-stealing Wonder Woman. Watching the team assemble is most of the fun here and makes up for the lackluster finale.
29. Storks (2016)
Run Time: 100 min | IMDb: 6.8/10
For all the fanfare surrounding Seth Rogen knocking out an R-rated animated comedy about food-f*cking, fellow Apatow pal and comedy filmmaker Nicholas Stoller crafted his own cartoon comedy actually aimed at tots and it was pretty darn good. Stoller, who helmed Neighbors and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, wrote and co-directed this kids comedy that presents a world where storks deliver babies and packages. Andy Samberg voices a stork who’s rising high in the stork delivery, world which should give you an idea of how goofy (in the best possible way) this Warner Bros. animated offering is. A loaded voice cast roster with Katie Crown, Key & Peele, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell and Kelsey Grammar bring the jokes to life.
30. Fahrenheit 451 (2018)
Run Time: 100 min | IMDb: 4.8/10
Critics didn’t seem to love Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon’s interpretation of a literary classic, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a watch. The film imagines a terrifying future in which the written word is viewed as something to be feared. To that end, Jordan plays Guy Montag, a fireman whose job is to literally burn every book he comes across, but when Montag meets a woman who makes him question the very nature of his world and work, life begins to spiral out of control for Montag. Gloomy dystopian dramas are hard to watch right now but they are necessary, if only to remind us of how bad we don’t want things to get. Plus, Michael B Jordan weilding a flame thrower? Yes please.