The Absolute Best Sci-Fi Movies to Watch on HBO Max (2023)

Forget the HBO Max headlines. The cancellations. The popularization of the term "un-renewal."

As the home of HBO, Warner Bros. and DC Comics, HBO Max is chock full of movies. Sci-fi movies have a healthy presence under this streaming roof. Something has to.

This is HBO Max's (best) sci-fi movie catalogue as of Jan. 24.

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Les films du losange

Melancholia (2011)

If you're in the mood for something different, this Lars von Trier arthouse apocalyptic drama just about slots onto the sci-fi shelf. As if weddings weren't stressful enough, a bride learns a rogue planet named Melancholia will soon collide with Earth. Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg play sisters whose already strained relationship is squeezed to pulping point. Dunst won best actress at the Cannes Film Festival for her immense performance.

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Touchstone Pictures

Signs (2002)

An M. Night Shyamalan sci-fi horror starring Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix and Abigail Breslin. A priest stumbles on a series of crop circles in his cornfield, created by extraterrestrial life. It's no Sixth Sense, more of an exercise in building suspense than delivering a eureka moment twist, but still worth a dip if you're after a sci-fi horror chill.

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Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

Predator (1987)

A classic action flick starring Arnie, Predator follows an elite paramilitary rescue team stalked by a technologically advanced alien.

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United Artists

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

Remakes are rarely better than the original, but sometimes there comes a remarkable exception. The 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers builds on the already excellent 1956 sci-fi horror, telling the story of a health inspector and his colleague who realize the people of San Francisco are slowly being replaced by drone-like replicas. Creating a dread and paranoia-infused atmosphere, with Donald Sutherland in the lead, Invasion of the Body Snatchers has been hailed as one of the best sci-fis of all time.

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Total Recall (1990)

Arnie stars in this sci-fi actioner based on a Philip K. Dick short story. A construction worker receives an implanted memory of an exhilarating adventure on Mars. Things get more and more wild from there in this ambitious sci-fi classic.

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20th Century Fox

Strange Days (1995)

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A cyberpunk thriller from Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker). Strange Days stars Ralph Fiennes as a former LAPD officer who uses an illegal technology involving memory to solve the murder of a prostitute. Some would say this is an underrated sci-fi gem of the '90s. Now that it's back on streaming, give it a fresh go.

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Warner Bros.

Tenet (2020)

Love it or hate it -- get it or find its "science" baffling -- Tenet is eye-popping entertainment. Best advice: Don't question Tenet, submit to the Tenet experience.

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Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

The Maze Runner (2014)

Based on James Dashner's young adult dystopian sci-fi novel, The Maze Runner kicked off an entertaining film franchise. Dylan O'Brien stars as Thomas, a 16-year-old who wakes up in the middle of a ginormous, intricate maze, joined only by a group of other boys. This intriguing setup provides a solidly entertaining adventure -- the best of the trilogy.

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Warner Bros. Pictures

The Matrix (1999)

If you haven't seen The Matrix, and somehow don't know its major plot points, well done for avoiding spoilers for 23 years. The sequels Reloaded, Revolutions and Resurrections are also on HBO Max.

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Voltage Pictures/YouTube/Screenshot

Colossal (2016)

Colossal might look like a romantic comedy on the surface, but it has surprisingly dark layers underneath. This black comedy stars Anne Hathaway as an alcoholic out-of-work journalist who moves back home to New Hampshire after her suave British boyfriend (Dan Stevens) dumps her. What happens next is both hugely unexpected and a massive metaphor: She discovers she has a connection with a colossal Kaiju monster destroying Seoul, in South Korea. Yes, Colossal has a ton of soul, a standout performance from Jason Sudeikis and an imaginative, at times thrilling story.

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Photo by 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images

The Fly (1986)

An '80s classic, The Fly is a remake of the 1958 film of the same name, just with added gore and Jeff Goldblum. The David Cronenberg film has become a classic in its own right.

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Paramount Pictures

The Dead Zone (1983)

A David Cronenberg sci-fi thriller based on a Stephen King novel -- what more do you need to entice you to watch The Dead Zone? A plot, maybe? Christopher Walken stars as a school teacher who awakens from a coma to discover he has psychic powers. What he uses them for: Preventing a certain politician from becoming president. Yes, The Dead Zone is an '80s horror referenced by Stranger Things. It's also one of the better Stephen King adaptations out there.

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Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

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2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

"Alexa, play 2001: A Space Odyssey."

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Warner Bros./YouTube/CNET Screenshot

Reminiscence (2021)

This sci-fi mystery from one half of the duo that created Westworld (Lisa Joy) is pure mind boggle, but the interesting ideas are worth a gander. Reminiscence follows Hugh Jackman's Nick Bannister, who uses a machine that can see into people's memories.

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Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

The best Terminator movie? Make your judgment by watching The Terminator sequel.

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Katalyst/CNET Screenshot

The Butterfly Effect (2004)

An enjoyable B-movie, The Butterfly Effect sees college student Evan Treborn (Ashton Kutcher) tinker with the past and discover how each change affects the present.

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District 9 (2009)

The sci-fi actioner that put director Neill Blomkamp on the map. The hybrid found footage flick takes you right into the intense action of an alternative 1982, when an alien spaceship appears over Johannesburg, Africa. A unique, exciting and slightly political classic.

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Warner Bros.

Gravity (2013)

Gravity is the ultimate scary and stomach-lurching space movie, featuring a total of zero aliens. It follows Sandra Bullock's Dr. Ryan Stone, an astronaut stranded in space, as she attempts a seemingly impossible return to Earth.

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Mosfilm/YouTube/CNET Screenshot

Stalker (1979)

Make it through Stalker's slow start and you'll be able to say you've watched an existential masterpiece of Russian cinema.

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Photo by LMPC via Getty Images

Solaris (1972)

Before Stalker, Andrei Tarkovsky made huge leaps for sci-fi cinema, with his complex, character-driven piece about astronauts having wild hallucinations that may or may not be real. The 2002 American remake of Solaris is also on HBO Max, with added George Clooney romance.

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Sony Pictures

Moon (2009)

This immense low-budget sci-fi starring Sam Rockwell has everything. It has Sam Rockwell. A Clint Mansell score. A claustrophobic retro set and gorgeously moody moonscapes. Hard sci-fi ideas. The basic premise: A man coming to the end of a three-year solitary stint on the far side of the moon suffers a personal crisis. A must-watch.

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20th Century Fox/YouTube/CNET Screenshot

I, Robot (2004)

A routine blockbuster for reliable entertainment.

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Manson International

Scanners (1981)

A warning for the body horror-averse before hitting play on this David Cronenberg sci-fi. Scanners follows people with special abilities, including telepathic and telekinetic powers. Not the first in this list to become a cult classic after a lukewarm initial response, Scanners left a lasting impression, not least because of a memorable scene involving a head explosion.

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Warner Bros

Don't Worry Darling (2022)

This tentative entry to a sci-fi movies list makes the cut because it includes elements of sci-fi thrillers. Set in a utopian company town in what appears to be the '50s, a housewife (Florence Pugh) begins to suspect the founder (Chris Pine) of the place is hiding a dark secret. It might not be a 10 out of 10 movie, but Don't Worry Darling is an absorbing mystery in more ways than one.

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Pandora Cinema

Donnie Darko (2001)

Rabbits have never been scarier. Donnie Darko is as dark as its title suggests, starring Jake Gyllenhaal as the titular high schooler whose sleepwalking sees him inadvertently escape a fatal accident. Donnie has visions of Frank, a creepy figure wearing a rabbit outfit who tells him the world will end in 28 days. Manipulated by Frank, Donnie begins to commit crimes.

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Miramax/YouTube/CNET Screenshot

The Faculty (1998)

Robert Rodriguezisn't the most popular among Star Wars fans at the moment, mainly for making a character do a pointless ballerina twirl in the divisive The Book of Boba Fett finale. The Faculty, directed by Rodriguez, isn't great, but it isn't bad either, following teens who investigate mysterious happenings at their high school.

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Warner Bros.

Dune (2021)

Denis Villeneuve's sci-fi blockbuster is back on HBO Max. The epic based on Frank Herbert's novel recently scored a host of Oscars, including best original score and cinematography. Catch the sprawling story of the Atreides family, who find themselves at war on the deadly planet Arrakis. Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya and more stack out a hugely impressive ensemble cast.

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Ex Machina (2014)

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One of the best Alex Garland films featuring one of the best robot dance scenes.

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A24/YouTube

Under the Skin (2013)

Prepare to be both deeply unsettled and riveted by this unique sci-fi horror. Scarlett Johansson plays an alien roaming the streets of Scotland, preying on unsuspecting men. With amateur actors, unscripted sequences shot with hidden cameras and a lens capturing the alien's perspective, this mesmerizing flick is unique in more ways than one.

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Universal Pictures

Jurassic Park (1993)

A new Jurassic Park movie hit theaters this year, so catch up on the (superior) original now. 1993's Jurassic Park kicked off the franchise, based on the novel of the same name by Michael Crichton. Spoiler: Original cast members Laura Dern, Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum make a return in the2022 flick.

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Warner Bros. Pictures

Pacific Rim (2013)

Its sequel didn't reach the same lofty heights, so watch the first monster epic in the Pacific Rim franchise. 2013's Pacific Rim is helmed by Guillermo Del Toro, so expect a strong brush of visual artistry over the monster mayhem.

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Reiner Bajo

Moonfall (2022)

The box office of this Roland Emmerich disaster flick bombed harder than the falling moon at its center. Yet, as a cheesy B-movie, Moonfall isn't a total disaster. Astronauts, conspiracy theories and a falling moon are just some of what you can expect from a story that follows a mission to save humanity.

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Summit Entertainment

Source Code (2011)

This smart, tightly packaged sci-fi thriller might have a slightly preposterous setup, but its gripping storytelling quickly shuts off your cynicism. Jake Gyllenhaal is Captain Colter Stevens, an ex-army pilot who wakes up on a train in the body of another man. If you haven't seen Source Code yet, it's best to let it carry you along its exhilarating ride, careening down many twists and turns toward a satisfying, emotionally impactful final destination.

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Free Guy (2021)

A light action-comedy starring Ryan Reynolds isn't always going to hit the spot, but sometimes that's what you need of an evening. Free Guy follows a bank teller named Guy who discovers he's a non-player character in a massively multiplayer online game.

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FAQs

What is the top 10 movies on HBO Max? ›

The Best Movies on HBO Max Right Now
  • No Country for Old Men. Miramax Films/Paramount Vantage. ...
  • Citizen Kane. RKO. ...
  • Mad Max: Fury Road. Warner Bros. ...
  • Jurassic Park. Universal Pictures. ...
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey. MGM. ...
  • The Matrix Trilogy. Warner Bros. ...
  • Inside Man. Universal Pictures. ...
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. New Line Cinema.

What's a good sci fi movie to watch tonight? ›

The best sci-fi movies on Netflix right now
  • Minority Report (2002) new. 80 % 7.7/10. ...
  • Life (2017) new. 54 % r 104m. ...
  • Warriors of Future (2022) pg-13 101m. Genre Drama, Action, Science Fiction. ...
  • Spiderhead (2022) 54 % r 106m. ...
  • Oblivion (2013) 54 % 7.0/10. ...
  • Morbius (2022) 35 % ...
  • Resident Evil (2002) 33 % ...
  • Battle: Los Angeles (2011) 37 %
Jan 9, 2023

What are some good movies out HBO Max? ›

The 50 best movies on HBO Max right now (January 2023)
  • The Dark Knight (2008) 152m. Genre Drama, Action, Crime, Thriller. ...
  • Batman Begins (2005) 140m. ...
  • Hook (1991) 52 % ...
  • Burn After Reading (2008) 63 % ...
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) 71 % ...
  • Neighbors (2014) 68 % ...
  • Barbarian (2022) new. 78 % ...
  • Beetlejuice (1988) 70 %
Jan 2, 2023

Which movie has 9.5 rating? ›

💯 #Kantara is already winning hearts with 9.5 IMDB rating and has become India's highest-rated... Out of 9999999 reasons, here are the top 4 reasons why you should watch #Pathaan! Tell us your excitement level on a... #Pathaan is all set to rule the box office!

What movie has a 100% rating? ›

To date, Leave No Trace holds the site's record, with a rating of 100% and 251 positive reviews.

What is unique to HBO Max? ›

The biggest Max exclusives include Peacemaker, The White Lotus, Hacks and the Gossip Girl reboot. But unlike Netflix, it will typically drop its originals once per week, the way regular cable HBO does. Our Flag Means Death is one of HBO Max's original shows.

Is HBO Max still getting new movies? ›

New HBO Max movies and shows drop on a regular basis, and the January 2023 HBO Max schedule is serving up top titles all month long, with brand new premieres of original and recent releases like series The Last of Us: Series Premiere and dark comedy-horror film The Menu.

Where is the trick to HBO Max? ›

If you connect to an American server using Unlocator VPN, that's exactly what you'll be getting. Once you establish a connection, you'll be able to watch HBO Max wherever you may be.

What is better than HBO Max? ›

As people weigh which streaming service is the best, it boils down to content, cost and your viewing needs. Disney Plus, Hulu, Paramount Plus and Peacock are all competitors to HBO Max, but its chief rival is Netflix.

Which is better Netflix or HBO Max? ›

Streaming quality: Netflix offers more 4K options than HBO Max, but you can only stream in 4K if you pay for an ads-free plan. Device availability: You can play Netflix on nearly any device. HBO Max is a little more limited, but you shouldn't have any trouble getting it on your main devices.

Do PG 13 movies get 1 F word? ›

One of the group's rules, for instance, says the F-bomb can be used as an expletive just once in a film rated PG-13, which means suitable for people 13 and older.

What is the most inappropriate movie rating? ›

Rated G: General audiences – All ages admitted. Rated PG: Parental guidance suggested – Some material may not be suitable for pre-teenagers. Rated R: Restricted – Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Rated X: No one under 17 admitted.

What was the first R rated movie? ›

MPAA instituted ratings on November 1st, 1968, and the first R-rated movie was released on November 4, 1968. It was The Split, starring Jim Brown and Gene Hackman.

What is a 5 star rated movie? ›

Star classification is a type of rating scale utilizing a star glyph or similar typographical symbol. It is used by reviewers for ranking things such as films, TV shows, restaurants, and hotels. For example, a system of one to five stars is commonly used in hotel ratings, with five stars being the highest rating.

Which movie is highly rated? ›

1 'Top Gun: Maverick' (2022) — 8.4/10.

What is coming to HBO Max in August 2022? ›

As for original series, a few returning shows come back this August, including the “Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Detroit Lions” and “Industry.” Notable library titles coming to HBO and HBO Max this month include Academy Award Winner “Belfast,” “Ex Machina,” “Love & Basketball,” and “The Notebook.”

What is the number 1 rated movie ever? ›

1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

What's coming to HBO Max October 2022? ›

But if you're looking for something new, then line up right behind us for the premiere of The White Lotus Season 2, which will be released on Sunday, Oct. 30. Beyond that, it's looking pretty light, with the second part of the NXIVM cult docuseries The Vow (Oct. 17) and the Season 1 finale of House of the Dragon (Oct.

Why is HBO Max removing movies? ›

In an attempt to cut costs on projects deemed unsuitable for the brand, the new CEO David Zaslav has led HBO Max to cancel many upcoming shows and films that were close to, or even in the middle of production.

What's coming to HBO Max September 2022? ›

Several of your favorite comfort shows will be making their way to HBO Max this September, including all eight seasons of The Vampire Diaries, all five seasons of Living Single, all five seasons of Gotham, and new seasons of Impractical Jokers and Young Sheldon.

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