There are thousands of movies available at your fingertips, but it is more difficult when it comes to classic movies than it should be. Netflix has barely anything available from before the 21st Century, and it feels like Amazon Prime Video should give you an award when you finally find a classic in its difficult-to-navigate library. HBO Max is much better at this than either of them, thanks to its Turner Classic Movies section. This isn't perfect, and there are definitely holes in the group, but it makes HBO Max much better than its rivals.
HBO Max's "Classics Curated by TCM" section has movies worldwide, including a limited selection of foreign-language classics through a partnership with the Criterion Collection. There are also movies dating back to the 1920s on the platform, with MGM musicals, Warner Bros. gangster pictures, and historical dramas that will keep you watching for hours.
But where do you start? There's a lot for HBO Max subscribers to go through, and some of the oddball movies included in the TCM section could confuse anyone. (Yes, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is great, but we're not sure it should be in the TCM section.) So without any further rambling, here's a look at 10 great movies you can find in the TCM section on HBO Max. We're going to look at some of the more obscure ones since no one really needs to be told again they need to see Seven Samurai, 2001: A Space Odyssey, or Casablanca.
The only one of Charlie Chaplin's talking pictures that remain really well-known today is The Great Dictator, which is unfortunate. Limelight is one of Chaplin's most personal works, a touching tribute to the industry that made him a star. Yes, the film is overly sentimental, but so are all of Chaplin's movies. The movie is also a bit on the long side, running 137 minutes. But it's all worth it, especially Chaplin's unforgettable scene with Buster Keaton.prevnext
Long before My Fair Lady took the Broadway stage by storm, there was the film adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion. Released in 1938 this version sees Wendy Hiller as Eliza Doolittle and Leslie Howard as Professor Henry Higgins. Although the film has a different ending, it is a very close adaptation of the original Shaw play. It's also a great introduction for those who may only know about Howard through Gone With The Wind.prevnext
Martin Scorsese's trippy After Hours (1985) has often been considered his most underrated movie, but it is one of the master's best. It stars Griffin Dunne as the constantly exasperated Paul Hackett, who spends all night just trying to get home. The supporting cast gives a dizzying number of great performances from Rosanna Arquette, Cheech and Chong, Teri Garr, and even Catherine O'Hara. Sure, this movie might not traditionally belong under the TCM banner, but it's an absolute treat for anyone who hasn't seen it.prevnext
Long before David Lean became known for epics like Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia, he directed Brief Encounter (1945), based on a Noel Coward play. The delicate romantic masterpiece stars Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson as a couple married to other people who all in love with each other. It is considered one of the best British films ever made, a title it has lived up to all these years later.prevnext
'The Red Shoes'
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's The Red Shoes (1948) is an incredible movie that more people need to see. The film is all about the tension between art and romance, with a beautiful ballerina, played by the enchanting Moria Shearer, caught in between. At the center of the film is a dazzling ballet sequence that puts the one in An American in Paris to shame.prevnext
Some very recent movies are included under the TCM section, including Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette (2006). It is a visually sumptuous movie, anchored by Kirsten Dunst's amazing performance in the title role. The movie is an incredibly stylized retelling of Marie Antoinette's life, with a satirical wit usually missing from historical dramas. It won the Oscar for its costume design, but there is much more to see here than just the costumes.prevnext
'The Earrings of Madame De...'
Among the many foreign-language classics you can find in the TCM section is the exquisite masterpiece The Earrings of Madame De... (1953), directed by the French filmmaker Max Ophüls. This French movie is filled with dizzying camera movements and wonderful acting by its leads, Danielle Darieux, Vittorio De Sica and Charles Boyer. It tells the story of a Paris aristocratic woman whose decision to sell her earrings sets off a surprising chain of events.prevnext
'The Adventures of Robin Hood'
The action movie is as old as cinema itself, with plenty of swashbucklers during the silent days. One of the best from the 1930s is the Technicolor masterpiece The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), directed by Michael Curtiz and William Keighley. It is the quintessential Errol Flynn picture, capturing everything about him that made him a star. You can also find his equally wonderful Captain Blood on HBO Max. Both films co-star Olivia de Havilland.prevnext
'Sunday in New York'
Before Jane Fonda was known for her serious roles, she was often cast in the kind of romantic comedies that do not get made by the major studios today. One of those is the incredibly charming Sunday in New York (1963), based on a play by Norman Krasna. The cast also features Cliff Robertson as her brother and Rod Taylor as the man she ends up with.prevnext
'War and Peace'
If you think Zack Snyder's Justice League is long, you haven't seen anything until you've seen the Soviet adaptation of War and Peace. Released in four parts between 1966 and 1967, the Russian War and Peace won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. The whole thing combined runs 431 minutes, but the four parts are available to watch separately. It is estimated to be one of the most expensive movies ever made, and every ruble spent ends up on the screen. Directed by Sergei Bondarchuk, it is something that must be seen to be believed.prev