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10 best (HBO) Max movies to watch on the 4th of July weekend

Two men sit down at a table and look in a scene from The Hunt for Red October.
Paramount Pictures

The 4th of July weekend is here, which means some much-needed days to lay back, celebrate, eat, and rest. Perhaps you have exciting plans to celebrate with family, or maybe you’re going on a holiday trip. Then again, maybe you’re using this time to rest from the stresses of everyday life by watching a great movie. Lucky for you, there’s no shortage of streaming services out there, although few are better than Max.

Formerly known as HBO Max, Warner Bros. Discovery’s streaming service has everything you could ask for from both the big and small screens. HBO might be better known for its TV shows, but the service also has an impressive collection of movies for everyone to enjoy. The best movies on Max offer everything from action-packed adventures to hilarious comedies and tear-jerking dramas. So, if you’re planning to spend the holiday weekend at home, then what better way than with a great movie on Max? Check out these movies that you will surely enjoy.

Twister (1997)

Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton as Jo and Bill looking to the distance in Twister.
Warner Bros.

Oscar winner Helen Hunt and the late, great Bill Paxton star in Jan de Bont’s 1996 disaster action thriller Twister. The film centers on intrepid and tornado-obsessed meteorologist Jo Harding,  who reunites with her estranged husband, former storm chaser turned TV weatherman Bill Harding, to test a machine that could revolutionize tornado research.

Twister is a near-perfect action thriller. Rising on the strength of a spectacular cast and with impressive VFX, the film offers enough thrills, witty dialogue, and iconic moments — “Cow” — to ensure a great time for audiences. The upcoming release of Twisters, Lee Isaac Chung’s standalone sequel starring Hit Man‘s Glen Powell, should be reason enough to revisit this ’90s gem. However, if you need an additional one, just remember the decade is notorious for its gloriously over-the-top action flicks, and Twister is among the best.

Twister is available to stream on Max.

The Hunt for Red October (1990)

Two men stand in a submarine in The Hunt for Red October.

A movie filled with people talking that is nonetheless incredibly intense, The Hunt for Red October is the last great Cold War epic. The movie tells the story of a Russian submarine captain who decides to defect to the U.S. in a highly dangerous submarine.

Analyst Jack Ryan is brought in to help figure out exactly what is going on, and everything comes to a head as we learn exactly what the U.S. plans to do with this rogue submarine. It’s mostly just people talking in rooms, but The Hunt for Red October will cast its spell on you anyway. That shouldn’t be a surprise with legendary James Bond actor Sean Connery playing the rogue sub commander.

You can watch The Hunt for Red October on Max.

The New World (2005)

Colin Farrell and Q'Orianka Kilcher pressing their forheads together in The New World.
New Line Cinema

Terrence Malick is a remarkably introspective and soulful director whose restrained stories are enhanced by spectacular, often jaw-dropping visuals. Nowhere is this singular combo more apparent than in his severely underappreciated 2005 historical romantic drama The New World. Oscar nominee Colin Farrell stars as Captain John Smith, who enters into a passionate affair with Pocahontas (Q’orianka Kilcher) upon his arrival in 1607 Virginia.

Like many other Malick movies, The New World is a challenging watch, mainly because its length often feels unwarranted. However, if there’s one reason to watch this film, it’s the magnificence of the new world, beautifully captured by Malick’s precise camera. The director is a master of the stoic, and he reaches new levels of regal reservation here. It’s far from the best historical movie — in fact, it’s quite inaccurate, so if you’re looking for historical accuracy, you won’t find it here  — but as a portrayal of America as a majestic, uncharted land, it more than succeeds.

The New World is available to stream on Max.

American Sniper (2014)

Bradley Cooper aims a gun in American Sniper.
American Sniper Warner Bros.

While it’s been a decade since American Sniper first hit theaters, its story of what it’s like to wage war in America today remains as resonant as ever.

Director Clint Eastwood’s specialty, especially later in life, has been stories of men who act bravely, but are nevertheless destroyed by the world around them. Bradley Cooper delivers one of the best performances of his career as Chris Kyle, and the movie around him lives up to the hurt and pain that Kyle feels from minute one.

You can watch American Sniper on Max.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003)

Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
New Line Cinema

If you want to use the holiday weekend to catch up with one of cinema’s best trilogies, then Max has you covered. Peter Jackson’s masterful The Lord of the Rings trilogy adapts J. R. R. Tolkien’s seminal novels, deftly translating them onto the big screen and producing one of the best fantasy sagas in the medium’s history. The films follow the journey of the hobbit Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) as he braves to the perilous lands of Mordor to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom.

Each entry in the Lord of the Rings trilogy is among the best fantasy movies of all time. The production values are mesmerizing and inviting, the performances passionate and compelling, and the narrative is thrilling, challenging, and infinitely rewarding. The trilogy is perfect from beginning to end, offering a fantastical journey to a world beyond belief that remains as fresh and evocative as it was 20 years ago.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy is available to stream on Max.

The Iron Claw (2023)

The cast of The Iron Claw.

Like any holiday, the 4th of July is often a great opportunity to reconnect with family, and there has been no better portrayal of family in recent memory than Sean Durkin’s tragic sports drama The Iron Claw. A never-better Zac Efron leads an impressive cast in a dramatization of the famous Von Erich wrestling family, which experienced a series of personal tragedies throughout the 1980s and into the early ’90s.

Make no mistake, this is a tragic movie that will undoubtedly have you reaching out for the tissues. The Iron Claw is, first and foremost, an earnest and loving portrayal of brotherhood. Despite the admittedly brutal narrative, The Iron Claw remains a tender, raw, and poignant depiction of familial bonds that is as rewarding as it is emotionally devastating. A tough but rewarding watch, The Iron Claw is worth the tears.

The Iron Claw is available to stream on Max.

Gangs of New York (2002)

Two men stand next to each other and stare in. Gangs of New York.
Miramax Films

One of director Martin Scorsese’s most underrated movies, Gangs of New York tells the story of New York City long before it had become the relatively tame place it is today.

Set in an era when political corruption was rampant and Irish and Italian immigrants were often battling for supremacy, the film features one of Daniel Day Lewis’s all-time great performances as the central villain, as well as an extended opening sequence worth remembering. It’s not a pretty picture of American history, but it’s one that feels more and more interesting with each passing year.

You can watch Gangs of New York on Max.

Paris, Texas (1984)

Nastassja Kinski as Jane Henderson looking at the camera in Paris, Texas
Road Movies/Filmproduktion GmbH/Argos Films S.A.

Wim Wenders is a one-of-a-kind filmmaker with a singularly quirky filmography. His 1984 neo-Western drama/road film Paris, Texas is a riveting portrayal of 1980s Americana that is unique, funny, and ultimately profoundly revealing. It centers on Travis Henderson (Harry Dean Stanton), a recluse who reunites with his brother and son to seek out his estranged wife.

If someone were to ask, “What is the most American film out there?” chances are many people would answer, “Paris, Texas.” The film is delightfully and oddly humorous, a refreshing and lively portrayal of the American West fitting of a distinctively creative mind like Wenders. Like all the best neo-Westerns, Paris, Texas deconstructs and demystifies the American West, focusing on the visuals and the feeling rather than the action. The film is about a time, a place, and a people. It’s a cinematic postcard that evokes nostalgia for something that might have never existed.

Paris, Texas is available to stream on Max.

David Byrne’s American Utopia (2020)

David Byrne's American Utopia (Official Trailer) Universal Pictures

American Utopia is just a filmed version of David Byrne’s stage show of the same name, but don’t be fooled by how underwhelming that may sound.

As he performs a variety of Talking Heads songs, as well as some solo work, Byrne weaves a tapestry unlike any other you’re likely to see. It’s full of innovative visuals and brilliant digressions about the songs and his own life as an America. Thanks to sharp direction from Spike Lee, this filmed version only adds to the original appeal of the stage production.

You can watch American Utopia on Max.

Judas and the Black Messiah (2020)

Judas and the Black Messiah
Warner Bros.

Another honest reflection of America’s many flaws, Judas and the Black Messiah tells the true story of a Black man who was recruited by the FBI to infiltrate the Black Panther Party in Chicago.

Told from the dueling perspectives of the infiltrator and a leader inside the party, Judas and the Black Messiah is a reminder of the often very explicit ways that the American government has undermined Black people in America. Thanks to a brilliant central performance from Daniel Kaluuya, it’s also endlessly compelling.

You can watch Judas and the Black Messiah on Max.

David Caballero
David is a Mexican freelance writer with a deep appreciation for words. After three years in the cold world of Marketing…
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