The Best Movies on HBO Right Now (March 2021)

The top films to watch on HBO

While HBO started in the 1970s as a subscription cable channel, it's expanded to offer streaming services like HBO Go, HBO Now, and HBO Max as well. But no matter how you watch it, it has hundreds of films available from the Golden Age of classic films to modern-day, just-released theatrical movies. To help you make the most of your time, we've rounded up the best movies on HBO right now. 

These films are all available on HBO Max, but some may not be available on HBO Go or HBO Now due to the differing nature of those services.

01
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Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021): It Can't Be Worse Than the Original, Right?

justice league

IMDb rating: n/a

Genre: Action, Adventure

Starring: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot

Director: Zack Snyder

Rating: R

Runtime: 4 hours

Zack Snyder's Justice League, also affectionately known as the Snyder Cut, could potentially save the entire DC comic book movie franchise or be a 4-hour disaster. Snyder had to quiet filming the original Justice League after the death of his daughter. Director Joss Whedon finished it. But, it was a box office bomb. Many fans have since begged Warner Bros. for an alternate cut that's more faithful to Snyder's original vision for the film, and they're finally getting it. This new version has updated visual effects, a new score, and new material.

02
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Godzilla vs. Kong (2021): Let Them Fight

Godzilla and King Kong fight in 'Godzilla vs. Kong'

Warner Bros.

IMDb rating: n/a

Genre: Action

Starring: Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall 

Director: Adam Wingard

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: n/a

Who doesn't love a good monster battle? Godzilla vs. Kong carries on the proud tradition of sticking two iconic Hollywood monsters into a movie and watching them duke it out while a bunch of hapless humans tries to survive it all. The hapless humans in this case include actors Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, and Rebecca Hall. This is pure popcorn flick material. Settle in and enjoy the mayhem.

03
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The King's Speech (2010): A Stylish Period Piece with Masterful Performances

Colin Firth in 'The King's Speech'

Momentum Pictures

IMDb rating: 8.0/10

Genre: Biography, Drama

Starring: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter 

Director: Tom Hooper

Rating: R

Runtime: 1 hour, 58 minutes

King George VI of England (Colin Firth) needs to deliver his first wartime radio broadcast after the country declares war on Germany in 1939, but he suffers from a debilitating stutter. So he secretly hires a speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) to help him. Logue's methods are a bit unorthodox, but the two manage to form an unlikely friendship. Firth, Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter were all heavily praised for their work in this film, which won numerous awards the year it released, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Original Screenplay.

04
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Judas and the Black Messiah (2021): Depicting a Turbulent Era of American History

Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield in 'Judas and the Black Messiah.'

Warner Bros.

IMDb rating: 7.7/10

Genre: Biography, Drama

Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, LaKeith Stanfield, Jesse Plemons 

Director: Shaka King

Rating: R

Runtime: 2 hours, 6 minutes

Judas and the Black Messiah is a biographical film about Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya), the chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party in the 1960s, and William O'Neal (LaKeith Stanfield), an FBI informant who infiltrated the party. As O'Neal gets to know his fellow revolutionaries, and even falls in love with one, his loyalties begin to waiver. Kaluuya and Stanfield are both excellent young actors, and the film promises to be a powerful glimpse at a turbulent time in American history.

Judas and the Black Messiah leaves HBO Max on March 14th

05
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Argo (2012): Best Thriller Based on an Unusual True Story

Ben Affleck in 'Argo'

Warner Bros.

IMDb rating: 7.7/10

Genre: Drama

Starring: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman

Director: Ben Affleck

Rating: R

Runtime: 2 hours

Ben Affleck directs and stars in this biographical thriller about a CIA agent tasked with rescuing six American hostages in Tehran in 1979. He goes undercover as a Hollywood producer filming a sci-fi flick and tries to smuggle the hostages out of the country as his production crew. Based on a true story, Argo is thrilling, darkly funny, and cathartic. It won three Oscars the year it released, for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing.

06
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The King of Staten Island (2020): Another Lovable Slacker Movie From Judd Apatow

Pete Davidson in "The King of Staten Island"

Universal Pictures

IMDb rating: 7.1/10

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Starring: Pete Davidson, Bel Powley, Ricky Velez 

Director: Judd Apatow

Rating: R

Runtime: 2 hours, 16 minutes

Director Judd Apatow is known for making funny movies about stoners, slackers, and man-children. His latest is The King of Staten Island. Starring Saturday Night Live's Pete Davidson, it's about an aimless loafer who dreams of becoming a tattoo artist. While it perhaps goes on a bit too long, critics call it a sweet coming of age story filled with sincere emotion and humor.

07
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Between The World And Me (2020): A Timely Adaptation of the Best-Selling Book

Artwork from the HBO documentary 'Between the World and Me.'

HBO 

IMDb rating: 7.4/10

Genre: Documentary

Starring: Mahershala Ali, Angela Bassett, Courtney B. Vance

Director: Kamilah Forbes

Rating: TV-14

Runtime: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Based on the critically-acclaimed best-selling book from Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me is a powerful look at what it's like growing up as a Black man in America. Coates frames his book as a letter to his teenage son, and it's as relevant now as it was when it was first published in 2015. The HBO film is part stage adaptation, part animation, and part documentary. It features appearances by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Mahershala Ali, Angela Bassett, Oprah Winfrey, and many more.

08
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Magic Mike (2012): Best Girls' Night Flick

Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez, and Channing Tatum in 'Magic Mike.'

 Warner Bros.

IMDb rating: 6.1/10

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Starring: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Olivia Munn

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Rating: R

Runtime: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Mike (Channing Tatum) is a handyman and roofer by day and a male stripper by night. But he secretly wants to start his own furniture-making business. He takes a 19-year-old kid, Adam (Alex Pettyfer) under his wing at the all-male revue he works for in Tampa, Florida. But, Adam's recklessness soon endangers Mike's ambitions and his relationship with the kid's sister.

OK, it sounds a bit hokey, but Magic Mike is a surprisingly fun film thanks to some spirited performances from its stars. Matthew McConaughey practically steals the picture alone. If you're looking for a good film to watch with your best girlfriends, this is a top choice.

09
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Cats (2019): Best Movie Train Wreck to Enjoy With Friends

Taylor Swift in 'Cats.'

Universal Pictures

 

IMDb rating: 2.8/10

Genre: Musical

Starring: James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo

Director: Tom Hooper

Rating: PG

Runtime: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Yes, the 2019 version of Cats is, by all accounts, a disaster. It swept the Razzies that year, "winning" a total of six awards, including Worst Picture, Worst Supporting Actor and Actress, Worst On-Screen Combo, Worst Screenplay, and Worst Director. There's allegedly a cut of the film in which all of the singings felines are anatomically correct. But, even a horrible film can be fun with the right attitude. Grab some friends and enjoy the fever dream visuals, unintentional creepiness, and overall outlandishness.

10
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John Lewis: Good Trouble (2020): A Worthy Tribute to an Inspiring Activist

John Lewis
Congressman John Lewis was a Freedom Rider. zflickr.com

IMDb rating: 7.1/10

Genre: Documentary

Starring: Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Director: Dawn Porter

Rating: PG

Runtime: 1 hour, 36 minutes

John Lewis, who died in 2020, was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Georgia's 5th congressional district for more than 30 years. He was one of the "Big Six" leaders who organized the 1963 March on Washington, and he led the first Selma march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Good Trouble is a worthy tribute to the activist, documenting his life and his struggles for equality.

11
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The Invisible Man (2020): Best New Horror Adaptation

Elizabeth Moss stars in 'The Invisible Man.'

Universal Pictures

 

IMDb rating: 7.1/10

Genre: Horror

Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Harriet Dyer 

Director: Leigh Whannell

Rating: R

Runtime: 2 hours, 4 minutes

Leigh Whannell's The Invisible Man is the latest film adaptation of H. G. Wells' classic novel. In the book, the Invisible Man is a scientist driven to insanity and violence by his experiments. He wants to start a "Reign of Terror" against all of England. In the film, the Invisible Man is still a scientist, but his goal is much smaller. He uses his newfound power to stalk his ex-girlfriend, Cecilia (Elizabeth Moss). The film's themes feel timely in the Me Too era, and Moss delivers a great performance, as always. If you're looking for a spooky popcorn flick, you could do a lot worse.

12
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Just Mercy (2020): Best Cathartic Courtroom Drama

Michael B. Jordan stars in 'Just Mercy.'

Warner Bros.

 

IMDb rating: 7.6/10

Genre: Drama

Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson 

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 2 hours, 17 minutes

Just Mercy is the biographical story of lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) and the historic case of Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx). McMillian was given a death sentence in 1987 for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a lack of evidence and a faulty witness. The film follows Bryan for years as he maneuvers the legal and political worlds to fight for justice for McMillian.

Both Jordan and Foxx are wonderful actors, and they give quietly engrossing performances. The courtroom scenes are tense and emotional, and the ending is cathartic.

13
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David Byrne’s American Utopia: Best Musical for '80s Fans

David Byrne performs in 'David Byrne's American Utopia.'

HBO

 

IMDb rating: 8.3/10

Genre: Documentary, Musical

Starring: David Byrne, Chris Giarmo, Jacqueline Acevedo

Director: Spike Lee

Rating: TV-14

Runtime: 1 hour, 45 minutes

American Utopia is an adaptation of the Broadway show and music album of the same name created by Talking Heads frontman David Byrne and Brian Eno. The show features songs from this latest album along with older hits like "Once in a Lifetime" and "Burning Down the House." After the Broadway show earned rave reviews, director Spike Lee decided to direct a film version, and it's a brainy, playful expression of art.

14
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Jojo Rabbit (2019): A Touching Comedy About ... Hitler?

Jojo and his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler, participate in a summer camp exercise in Jojo Rabbit.

Fox Searchlight

IMDb rating: 7.9/10

Genre: Comedy

Starring:  Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Scarlett Johansson

Director: Taika Waititi

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 1 hour, 48 minutes

Director Taika Waititi brings his usual blend of humor and pathos to Jojo Rabbit, a surprisingly touching World War II satire about a young boy named Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) and his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Waititi). Blindly loyal to the Third Reich, Jojo's childish zealotry is shaken when he discovers his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their home. Although the film is set in Nazi Germany, it's less of a war film and more a story about growing up, falling in love, and reexamining one's beliefs. And there are a few laughs (and tears) along the way.

15
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Hairspray (2007): A Charming Remake of a Campy Classic

John Travolta and Nikki Blonsky in 'Hairspray.'

 New Line Cinema

IMDb rating: 6.6/10

Genre: Musical

Starring: John Travolta, Queen Latifah, Nikki Blonsky

Director: Adam Shankman

Rating: PG

Runtime: 1 hour, 57 minutes

Hairspray is a star-studded remake of the 1988 John Waters film of the same name (it's also a hit Broadway musical). It chronicles the adventures of an overweight teen named Tracy Turnblad who dreams of being a dancer on a TV show during the 1960s. It's as charmingly campy as its source material, while also tackling serious social issues like segregation. Give this movie a chance if you're looking for a cheerful good time.

16
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Midnight Run (1988): An Underrated Comedy Classic

Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin in 'Midnight Run'

 Universal Pictures

IMDb rating: 7.5/10

Genre: Comedy, Action

Starring: Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin, Yaphet Kotto

Director: Martin Brest

Motion Picture Rating: R

Running Time: 2 hours, 6 minutes

Midnight Run is often overlooked when looking at the best comedies of the 1980s, but it's absolutely worth a watch. Robert De Niro plays burnt out bounty hunter Jack Walsh. Walsh is tasked with retrieving a former Mafia accountant, Jonathan "The Duke" Mardukas (Charles Grodin).

What's supposed to be a simple "midnight run" is anything but, as the Mafia, the FBI, and a rival bounty hunter all pursue the pair for their own agendas. As Walsh and Mardukas travel across the country, they even form a strange friendship. The chemistry and wordplay between De Niro and Grodin are wonderful in this film, and they help elevate it above the usual buddy action movie formula.

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