20 Best Movies on HBO Max But Not on Netflix

Updated January 2, 2022 • Staff

If you have both Netflix and HBO Max, your streaming options are virtually endless. That doesn't make it easier to choose, on the opposite, it might make it more difficult. So we made this list of the best movies that are on HBO Max and not on Netflix, so it's a little easier to pick your next viewing.

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20.

Wristcutters – A Love Story (2006)

A dark and existential comedy, Wristcutters: A Love Story follows Zia (Patrick Fugit), a young man who commits suicide, only to find himself in a bleak afterlife filled with other suicide victims. He discovers that his former partner has just joined him in this dreary realm and sets out to find her. From there, the film transitions into a macabre road-trip film as Zia and several acquaintances strike out in a beat-up old car in the name of love and redemption. Based on a short story by award-winning Israeli writer Etgar Karet, Wristcutters is a stunningly original film that will haunt viewers forever.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Actor: Abraham Benrubi, Adam Gifford, Amy Seimetz, Azura Skye, Cameron Bowen, Chase Ellison, Clayne Crawford, John Hawkes, Leslie Bibb, Mark Boone Junior, Mary Pat Gleason, Nick Offerman, Patrick Fugit, Sarah Roemer, Shannyn Sossamon, Shea Whigham, Tom Waits, Will Arnett, Zia Harris
Director: Goran Dukić
Rating: R
Go to HBO Max
19.

A Hijacking (2012)

A Danish cargo ship is hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean. The pirates demand millions of dollars in ransom and from there on, a psychological drama between the pirates and the ship owner develops, as they negotiate the price for the ship and its crew. A really great thing about this film is the fact that it doesn't get tangled up in the weepy feelings of the families back home - but instead focuses on the shrinking hope of the ship's crew and the psychological consequences of the brutal negotiation, that drives the ship owner to the edge of madness. Inspired by a true story. Brilliantly acted.

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Actor: Abdihakin Asgar, Amalie Ihle Alstrup, Andre Royo, Clancy Brown, Dar Salim, Gary Skjoldmose Porter, Keith Pearson, Ole Dupont, Pilou Asbæk, Pilou Asbæk, Roland Møller, Roland Moller, Søren Malling, Søren Malling, Stephen Gevedon
Director: Tobias Lindholm
Rating: R
Go to HBO Max
18.

Night on Earth (1991)

An absolute delight of a gem starring a young Winona Ryder as well as an amazing cast. Arguably Jim Jarmusch's best film, it tells the story of 5 different places at night from the perspective of cab drivers and their passengers: Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Rome, and Helsinki. It's really hard to pick a favorite among the stories, from a messy tomboy having to deal with a busy businesswoman, to a blind woman in Paris making a frustrated driver from Ivory Coast go insane. But look out for Helmut and Yo-Yo, from the New York story. I've rarely seen anything in film as fun as their story.

Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Armin Mueller-Stahl, Béatrice Dalle, Emile Abossolo M'bo, Gena Rowlands, Giancarlo Esposito, Isaach De Bankolé, Jaakko Talaskivi, Kari Väänänen, Klaus Heydemann, Lisanne Falk, Matti Pellonpää, Paolo Bonacelli, Pascal N'Zonzi, Richard Boes, Roberto Benigni, Rosie Perez, Stéphane Boucher, Tomi Salmela, Winona Ryder
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Rating: R
Go to HBO Max
17.

The Square (2017)

The Square is a peculiar movie about a respected contemporary art museum curator as he goes through a few very specific events. He looses his wallet, his children fight, the art he oversees is does not make sense to an interviewer... Each one of these events would usually require a precise response but all they do is bring out his insecurities and his illusions about life. These reactions lead him to very unusual situations. A thought-provoking and incredibly intelligent film that's just a treat to watch. If you liked Force Majeure by the same director, The Square is even better!

Genre: Drama
Actor: Christopher Læssø, Christopher Laesso, Claes Bang, Daniel Hallberg, Dominic West, Elijandro Edouard, Elisabeth Moss, Julia Sporre, Lilianne Mardon, Lise Stephenson Engström, Madeleine Barwén Trollvik, Marina Schiptjenko, Martin Sooder, Sofie Hamilton, Stefan Godicke, Terry Notary
Director: Ruben Östlund
Rating: R
Go to HBO Max
16.

Porco Rosso (1992)

As impressive as Studio Ghibli’s collection of films are, I am still stubborn to believe that Porco Rosso is its most underrated film. Porco Rosso, directed by Hayao Miyazaki, is the story of a World War military aviator-turned-bounty hunter who has mysteriously been transformed into a pig. 

Bright with humor, heart, and flight (Miyazaki is largely influenced and inspired by the art of aviation), Porco Rosso manages to also acknowledge and reckon with the horrors of war. It also boasts one of, if not the greatest, line in any Ghibli film: I’d rather be a pig than a fascist.

Genre: Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Drama, Family
Actor: Akemi Okamura, Akio Otsuka, Bunshi Katsura Vi, Hiroko Seki, Mahito Tsujimura, Osamu Saka, Sanshi Katsura, Shûichirô Moriyama, Tokiko Kato, Tsunehiko Kamijo, Yoko Soumi, Yu Shimaka
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Rating: PG
Go to HBO Max
15.

The Wind Rises (2013)

In what was originally intended to be his final film, Hayao Miyazaki is at his most lucid with The Wind Rises. Fluid and luminous, it cleanly moves between a grounded, historical reality and an intuitive, imaginative dreamscape. Here Miyazaki reflects on the process of creation and what it means to be an artist, drawing parallels between his own meticulousness as a filmmaker with Horikoshi’s immutable passion for flight and efficient design.

But questions of responsibility and duty arise, as Horikoshi—and by extension, Miyazaki—must reckon with the reality that even things as beautiful as aeroplanes can be destructive, and that even dreams can be violent. This meditative film does not offer any easy answers but it provides solace in its prevailing sentiment: The wind is rising, we must try to live.

Genre: Animation, Drama, Family, History, Romance, War
Actor: Hayao Miyazaki, Hideaki Anno, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Jun Kunimura, Keiko Takeshita, Mansai Nomura, Masahiko Nishimura, Miori Takimoto, Mirai Shida, Morio Kazama, Shinobu Otake, Stephen Alpert
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Rating: PG-13
Go to HBO Max
14.

Only Yesterday (1991)

This beautiful, realistic, and nostalgic anime movie about childhood is one that almost anyone can relate to. Set in the year of 1982, twenty-seven-year-old Taeko Okajima is traveling to the countryside by train. Along her journey, she gets flashbacks of her childhood: mostly in elementary school, stealing glances at a boy, and navigating puberty. The movie goes back and forth between past and present, easily making one long for sun-filled summers of yesteryear and silly jokes between playfriends. As well as telling a story about Taeko's past, Only Yesterday also tells a story about her present, and the combined realism of the plotline with the beautiful animation grips you and doesn’t let go. Only Yesterday truly feels like home.

Genre: Animation, Drama, Romance
Actor: Chie Kitagawa, Ichirō Nagai, Issey Takahashi, Masahiro Ito, Mayumi Iizuka, Mayumi Izuka, Michie Terada, Miki Imai, Toshiro Yanagiba, Yoko Honna, Yorie Yamashita, Yuki Minowa
Director: Isao Takahata
Rating: PG
Go to HBO Max
13.

Broadcast News (1987)

A marvelous combination of perfect casting and a sizzling script. William Hurt, Albert Brooks, and Holly Hunter are such natural talents they could make reading a dictionary watchable, but seeing them weave through James L Brooks punchy dialogue is a delight to behold. The three form the foundation of this drama that is as much about journalistic ambition as it is about love.

Hunter and Brooks are principled workaholics at a news station juggling a platonic friendship that seems destined for more but lacks a driving spark. Enter Hurt, a charming though self-admittedly stupid news anchor, who Hunter at once resents and yet can’t help falling for. What seems like a ready-built rom-com plot, however, churns into something else entirely. It’s a delicious film crackling with wit and character and is as funny as it is astute. 

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Actor: Albert Brooks, Christian Clemenson, Ed Wheeler, Frank Doubleday, Holly Hunter, Jack Nicholson, Joan Cusack, John Cusack, Leo Burmester, Lois Chiles, Marc Shaiman, Marita Geraghty, Martha Smith, Robert Prosky, Robert Walsh, Stephen Mendillo, William Hurt
Director: James L. Brooks
Go to HBO Max
12.

The Way Way Back (2013)

A story filled with love, laughs, and feelings, "The Way Way Back" takes us back to innocent, coming of age years. With great writing and characters you will love and miss when the movie ends, "The Way Way Back" is 2013's "The Perks of Being A Wallflower." Following their Oscar win for best adapted screenplay for "The Descendants" Jim Rash and Nat Faxon follow with "The Way Way Back". Duncan, played by Liam James , is a 14 year old shy kid who can't stand his mom's new boyfriend, Trent. Duncan is forced to vacation at Trent's beach house and after a few days, he decides to explore the town and eventually comes across a water park where he befriends Owen.

Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Allison Janney, Amanda Peet, Andria Blackman, AnnaSophia Robb, Carsen Warner, Emily Petta, Jake Picking, Jim Rash, Liam James, Maya Rudolph, Nat Faxon, River Alexander, Rob Corddry, Robert Capron, Sam Rockwell, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Zoe Levin
Director: Jim Rash, Nat Faxon
Rating: PG-13
Go to HBO Max
11.

The Tale (2018)

Sometimes you can just tell a movie means way too much to the people who made it. That makes me want to watch it more than once, which is what I wanted to do with The Tale. But while I think it's such an amazing movie and everyone should watch it, I don't think I can stomach a second watch.. It is based on the director/writer Jennifer Fox's own story - recounting her first sexual experience at a very young age. It's about the stories we tell ourselves to deal with trauma, and in that sense, and with utmost honesty, it invites grief and closure for similar experiences. A powerful movie led by a powerful performance by Laura Dern as Jennifer.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Chelsea Alden, Common, Elizabeth Debicki, Ellen Burstyn, Frances Conroy, Gretchen Koerner, Isabelle Nélisse, Jaqueline Fleming, Jason Ritter, Jodi Long, John Heard, Katie Fairbanks, Laura Allen, Laura Dern, Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., Matthew Rauch, Noah Lomax, Paul Riley Fox, Pixie Hankins, Tina Parker, Vincent Washington
Director: Jennifer Fox
Rating: Not Rated
Go to HBO Max

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