Best Sci-Fi Movies on HBO Max Right Now [2022 Updated]

best sci fi movies on hbo max

Are you looking for the best Sci-Fi Movies on HBO Max (2022)? One of the most serious “issues” in the age of streaming platforms that have dominated the entertainment business is an overabundance of movies and TV shows to pick from. People can get lost for hours scrolling through the vast libraries of films offered by the service they’re currently using, unable to select the best Sci-Fi movie which one is more valuable for their time. 

HBO Max, being among the main platforms, clearly matches that criteria. Sci-Fi enthusiasts should be pleased to discover an abundance of options, ranging from blockbuster movies to overlooked gems that slipped under the radar at the time of release. There is a vast variety of best Sci-Fi movies on HBO Max right now, for their streaming service users.

Narrowing down the best Sci-Fi movies on HBO Max is a big undertaking, but it surely simplifies the decision of what to watch on any ‌evening. So, if you’re having trouble deciding what to watch on HBO Max, our team has shortlisted the best Sci-Fi movies on HBO Max right now. Here is the list of the best Sci-Fi movies on HBO Max for each type of science fiction, presented in descending order. HBO Max Canada is an excellent alternative to HBO Max when it cannot be accessed in your country.

Related: Best Horror Movies On HBO Max 


25. Sky High (2005)

Year: 2005

Director: Mike Mitchell

Stars: Kurt Russell, Kelly Preston, Michael Angarano, Danielle Panabaker, Christopher Wynne

Rating: PG

Runtime: 100 minutes

There was a time when Disney wasn’t making superhero movies. Sky High, a young coming-of-age comedy that parodies innumerable comic book cliches, was Disney’s big superhero movie push, i.e. a unique sci-fi movie approach in 2005. Starring Will Stronghold, son of two superheroes, Sky High follows Will as he enters high school.

While filmmaker Mike Mitchell’s original trilogy plan was scuttled when Disney acquired Marvel, Sky High stands on its own thanks to a stellar cast that includes Kurt Russell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jim Rash, and even a teenage Nicholas Braun (Cousin Greg in HBO’s Succession). Sky High’s writing is very strong. It’s got comic book stakes and peril, but also heart and puns.


24. Blade Runner 2049 (1982)

Year: 1982

Director: Ridley Scott

Stars: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edgar James Olmos

Rating: R

Runtime: 117 minutes

Like The Road Warrior, Ridley Scott’s dark, rainy, and overcrowded Blade Runner set the bar for depicting pre-apocalyptic dystopias. This Philip K. Dick-inspired sci-fi movie of an aging replicant cop has Harrison Ford, Sean Young, and Rutger Hauer among the characters.

The long-awaited sequel to 1982’s Blade Runner is a cyberpunk fan’s dream. Many consider the first film a genre-defining effort, and Blade Runner 2049 is a fitting successor. It’s also a must-see for fans of classic crime dramas, with a futuristic twist.

Blade Runner Rick Deckard is summoned from retirement to kill a quartet of replicants who have escaped to Earth in search of a way to extend their limited lifespans in the smog-choked dystopian Los Angeles of 2019.


23. Tenet (2020)

Year: 2020

Directors: Christopher Nolan

Stars: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Kenneth Branagh

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 150 minutes

Incomprehensible has been a common criticism of Christopher Nolan’s latest film, which has divided moviegoers and critics alike. Even though the time-traveling thriller is difficult to follow and has a lot of plot twists, it is one of the best sci-fi movies in recent memory.

There is an extensive on-screen explanation of the underlying concept. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. Even from the beginning of Christopher Nolan’s films, the Protagonist (John David Washington) and the audience are unsure of what is happening.

The protagonist (John David Washington) will prevent an attack on humanity’s very existence. The grandfather paradox and the second law of thermodynamics are just a few of the intriguing time travel and physics themes that Tenet explores.


22. Inception (2010)

Year: 2010

Director: Christopher Nolan

Stars: Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Tom Berenger, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Elliot Page, Dileep Rao, Cillian Murphy, Ken Watanabe, Leonardo DiCaprio, 

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 148 minutes

One of the best Sci-Fi movies that will keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat the entire time, Inception is another one of those films that will have you trying to figure out what is happening on screen. The intriguing premise has made it a modern classic among genre fans. The star-studded cast, which includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Elliot Page, and Tom Hardy, helps.

A thief who infiltrates his victims’ dreams in order to get information is the focus of the story. Having been promised that they will clear his criminal record for planting a thought in the mind of a potential victim, he sets out to put together the crew. On paper, it appears straightforward, but things become a little wacky as the movie progresses through Cobb’s several “dream levels” in order to reach his goal.

Inception, a bracing and high-octane work of sci-fi drama by director Christopher Nolan is not simply a plot device, but the entire story itself. There is an almost obsessive level of attention to detail in the film’s plot and aesthetics, especially in the work of Nolan mainstay Wally Pfister, whose stunning on-location cinematography spans the world. 

With each new detail added, the film grows into a colossal whole that’s impossible to put down. As with Inception, Nolan’s filmmaking aims to provide us with a simulation that challenges our preconceived beliefs of reality.


21. Jurassic Park (1993)

Year: 1994

Director: Steven Spielberg

Stars: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Samuel L. Jackson, BD Wong, Wayne Knight

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 126 minutes

The original Jurassic Park, which is still considered the best entry in the series to this day. Despite being nearly 20 years old, Steven Spielberg’s action-packed picture is still a lot of fun to watch.

Jurassic Park’s status as a technical landmark in cinematic storytelling isn’t solely due to its innovative use of computer-generated imagery at the time: the special effects appear as remarkable and seamless now as they did 25 years ago. 

The film’s ability to bring dinosaurs to life because of Spielberg’s skill in approaching special effects on a shot-by-shot basis, combining each segment with dependable miniature and animatronic work, and making the connective tissue between these feats as undetectable as possible.

Jurassic Park won an Academy Award for best special effects in 1994, but the images in this film are still stunning in 2022. The custom-built, life-size dinosaur models and animatronics work that went into making this film outperformed most expensive CGI-filled films.


20. Contact (1997)

Year: 1997

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Stars: Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Skeritt, James Woods, John Hurt, William Fichtner

Rating: PG

Runtime: 126 minutes

With elements of a science fiction story and elements of a materialist philosophy on the conflict between religion and science, Robert Zemeckis’ Contact is an underappreciated gem that has never received the critical attention it deserves, even though it stars Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey as the main characters. 

Fans of science fiction films who are tired of seeing CGI used excessively to depict stories about aliens and humanity’s response to discovering them will undoubtedly enjoy “Contact” for its delicate approach to the subject of aliens and humanity’s reaction to encountering them.


19. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Year: 2015

Director: George Miller

Stars: Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rose Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Kough, Abbey Lee

Rating: R

Runtime: 120 minutes

George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road action is a marvel of beauty, poetry, rhythm, intricacy, and movement. The picture is full of action—it knows the geography and the ballet of everything. It implements its craft excruciatingly with a lot of actual pictures of real cars and actors and brave, courageous stunt performers doing crazy things for real cameras, which experienced cinematographer John Seale directs to dizzy heights. 

The unholy crusade of such an endeavor spills fuel hopes and real buckets of sweat into the engine of the film’s final cut, finely calibrated by editor Margaret Sixel.

Despite disappointing at the box office, Mad Max: Fury Road won six Academy Awards and is hailed as one of the best action films of all time. The performances of Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron as Max Rockatansky and Imperator Furiosa, respectively, have indeed contributed significantly to the film’s critical success.

Besides being a terrific film, Fury Road was complemented by an incredible Mad Max video game that exceeded everyone’s expectations for a film-based game.


18. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Year: 1971

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Stars: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Adrienne Corri, Miriam Karlin

Rating: R

Runtime: 136 minutes

Stanley Kubrick is regarded as a forerunner of modern science fiction cinema. Even decades after their initial execution, his unique concepts are being utilized in current cinematography. A Clockwork Orange may not have been groundbreaking in terms of visual effects, but it did push the frontiers of the type of stories that could be told in the science fiction genre.

Several elements from Anthony Burgess’ novel A Clockwork Orange are remixed in this movie. A Clockwork Orange, a brutal crime story and distressing reflection on harsh psychiatry procedures, was initially prohibited in various nations, including the United Kingdom, where the action took place. Despite the initial setbacks, it developed a cult following and was recently selected for preservation in the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry.


17. The Matrix (1999)

Year: 1999

Director: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski, Bruce Hunt

Stars: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving

Rating: R

Runtime: 136 minutes

When The Matrix was first released in 1999, it surprised both viewers and critics. The amazing effects in the film were far ahead of their time, and the dystopian scenario it followed hit a little too close to home.

As for the movie that elevated Keanu Reeves to the status of a respectable American kung fu icon and made martial arts films a mainstream cultural phenomenon outside of Asia, there isn’t much more to say.

The Matrix is the story of a computer hacker who awakens to the reality that everything he knows is an illusion built to placate humanity under the reign of a super-race of robot squids, is what proved to a new generation that martial arts films were worth their scrutiny, and in that reputation is bred college classes, heroes’ journeys, and impossible expectations for special effects. 

Even now, we can thank this picture for so much of what we love about modern kinetic cinema, about how adaptable, creative science fiction can be, and about how deeply we can connect to mythmaking—to the religiosity of civilization’s symbols.

In the year 2022, The Matrix is more relevant than ever. With our culture increasingly migrating into the digital realm and prominent tech corporations experimenting with the concept of virtual realities, revisiting The Matrix now is not for the faint of heart.


16. Independence Day (1996)

Year: 1996

Director: Roland Emmerich

Stars: Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Vivica A. Fox, Mary McDonnell, Judd Hirsch, Harvey Fierstein

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 145 minutes

Action films like Independence Day are hardly ever created nowadays, though anyone who saw Independence Day: Resurgence will tell you that’s probably for the best.

Regardless, there is a certain sheen to this unique style of FX-driven pre-2000s disaster blockbuster, an eloquence of conviction in aspects of well-defined characters like Jeff Goldblum’s “David Levinson”—call it an eagerness to believe that the audience will be 100% behind a protagonist from the start, rather than questioning his methods. 

The rest of the cast is a who’s who of ’90s delights, whether it’s a rising, wisecracking Will Smith—one year before Men in Black solidified him as a starring man—or Bill Pullman as the flyboy American president poised to make one of cinema’s finest jingoistic addresses. 

Independence Day does not shy away from its pulp origins (in terms of alien intentions, it could just as easily be a remake of Earth vs. The Flying Saucers), but it dresses up its Saturday morning cartoon plot with unquestionably grandiose spectacle, even 20 years later.

On July 2, a massive alien mother ship reaches Earth’s orbit and unleashes several dozen saucer-shaped ‘destroyer’ spacecraft that immediately wreak havoc on the planet’s major cities. On July 3, the US launched a synchronized counterattack that was unsuccessful. On July 4, a scheme is created to obtain entry to the alien mother ship’s innards and plant a nuclear weapon.


15. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

Year: 1984

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Stars: Alison Lohman, Patrick Stewart, Shia LaBeouf, Uma Thurman, Chris Sarandon, Edward James Olmos

Rating: PG

Runtime: 117 minutes

Simply put, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is the film that gave birth to Studio Ghibli. It not only marked Miyazaki’s emergence as one of anime’s top filmmakers, but it also prompted the formation of an animation studio whose artistic talent would dominate the genre for future decades. 

Following the premiere of Miyazaki’s bizarre Lupin III adventure, The Castle of Cagliostro, the director was commissioned by his producer and potential long-term colleague Toshio Suzuki to write a manga in order to successfully pitch a potential picture to his superiors at Animage. 

Nausicaä is a fantasy-sci-fi epic influenced by the novels of Ursula K. Le Guin and Jean “Moebius” Giraud, featuring a brave warrior princess attempting to heal a schism between humanity and natural forces while soaring over a post-apocalyptic wilderness.

Nausicaä was the movie that also introduced the world to motifs and themes that Miyazaki might become famous for a courageous female protagonist who is unaware of and unafraid of gender norms, the transcendent power of compassion, and environmental advocacy, and unwavering love and fascination with the phenomenon of flight.

14. Fantastic Planet (1984)

Year: 1984

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Stars: Alison Lohman, Patrick Stewart, Shia LaBeouf, Uma Thurman, Chris Sarandon, Edward James Olmos

Rating: PG

Runtime: 117 minutes

You’re missing out on René Laloux’s films. Start with Fantastic Planet. Time travel and humanity’s precarious position at the top of the food chain are among the themes explored in a trilogy of hallucinogenic sci-fi films directed by French animator and director Jean-Pierre Melville.

Every viewing of René Laloux’s brilliant, wacky Fantastic Planet feels different, whether you’re high or sober. There’s nothing else like it. Missing out on this masterpiece of 1970s psychedelia meets social commentary? There isn’t anything in animated cinema that compares to it. 

The closest is Terry Gilliam’s paper strip animation in Monty Python’s Flying Circus or Eiji Yamamoto’s Belladonna of Sadness. But neither of these matches Fantastic Planet’s visual style, which adds to its uniqueness. A species of blue giant aliens captured humans and kept them as pets in Fantastic Planet.


13. Gravity (2013)

Year: 2013

Director: Alfonso Cuarón

Stars: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 91 minutes

Gravity is a breathtaking, revelatory cinematic experience. Cuarón has proven to be one of our most successful and versatile filmmakers, creating a ‌sensitive erotic drama in Y Tu Mamá También, a genuinely dark sci-fi thriller in Children of Men, and the strongest entry of the Harry Potter franchise (Prisoner of Azkaban). 

His ability to blend accessibility with personal vision has been constantly satisfying and exciting, and he once again blends robust mainstream cinema with a poetic sensibility for most of Gravity. Gravity is a new high watermark for effect-driven movies, being claustrophobic, transporting, and brutally tense.


12. The Animatrix (2003)

Year: 2003

Director: Various

Stars: Hedy Burress, Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, James Arnold Taylor, Clayton Watson, Julia Fletcher, Kevin Michael Richardson, Pamela Adlon

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 102 minutes

This film is without a doubt the most significant development in the Matrix film franchise since the first film was released in 1999. While The Matrix was at its peak of popularity between the production of The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, the Wachowskis enlisted the help of seven of the most accomplished anime directors working today in order to co-create an anthology of nine short films set within and around The Wachowskis’ Matrix universe. 

Everyone’s favorite visual cliches are in place: the mirrored backgrounds, the Kung Fu maneuvers, the pulsing shower of digital Japanese characters, and more. The greatest strength of the Animatrix anthology, however, was its ability to refract the Wachowskis’ single vision into a kaleidoscope of visual and intellectual possibilities within the series’ fundamental concept that had hitherto gone undiscovered.


11. The Blob (1956)

Year: 1956

Director: Irvin Yeaworth

Stars: Steve McQueen, Aneta Corsaut, Earl Rowe, Olin Howland

Rating: NR

Runtime: 86 minutes

The Blob (1958) fits easily into the age of atomic monster creature pictures that began roughly with 1954’s Them!. It has been described as either a parable on creeping Communism or simply an excellent excuse for some necking at the drive-in. 

It foreshadows future “us vs. them” counterculture flicks, with its “teen” characters (Steve McQueen was 27 at the time) being the immediate suspects of civil unrest according to local law enforcement, rather than the gelatinous alien blob slithering through town. 

It was developed on a shoestring budget, but the visual effects are still impressive today, particularly in the iconic sequence in which The Blob attacks a “Midnight Spook Show” theater packed with the target demographic. 

Still, until Chuck Russell’s sleek 1988 remake imbued it with a whole new level of gross-out brutal violence, the picture was likely best recognized for inspiring Burt Bacharach’s novelty hit “Beware the Blob.”


10. Ready Player One (2018)

Year: 2018

Director: Steven Spielberg

Stars:  Mark Rylance,  T.J. Miller, Olivia Cooke, Tye Sheridan, Ben Mendelsohn, Simon Pegg

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 140 minutes

OASIS is a vast virtual reality environment established by James Halliday that provides people with a safe haven in the year 2045 when the world is on the verge of anarchy and collapse. 

When Halliday passes away, he makes a promise to the first person who finds a digital Easter egg that has been buried somewhere in the OASIS that he would receive his enormous fortune. The contest draws in a young boy named Wade Watts, who finds himself thrust into the role of an unlikely hero in a reality-defying treasure hunt through a fantasy realm filled with intrigue, discovery, and peril. 

When the founder of a popular video gaming system passes away, they launch a virtual contest in which people can compete for their share of the riches.


9. I Am Legend (2018)

Year: 2018

Director: Francis Lawrence

Stars:  Will Smith; Alice Braga; Charlie Tahan; Dash Mihok

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 101 minutes

Robert Neville is a scientist who was unable to stop the spread of a dreadful virus that was both incurable and man-made. Robert Neville is the protagonist of the story. Neville is now the lone human survivor in what is left of New York City, and potentially the entire world, thanks to his immunity. 

For the past three years, Neville has diligently broadcast daily radio broadcasts in an attempt to locate any other survivors who might still be alive out in the wilderness. However, he is not alone.


8. Time Bandits (1981)

Year: 1981

Director: Terry Gilliam

Stars: Ralph Richardson, Michael Palin, Shelley Duvall, Sean Connery, Ian Holm, John Cleese, Katherine Helmond

Rating: PG

Runtime: 116 minutes

Kevin, a young history enthusiast, can hardly believe his eyes when six dwarfs appear out of his closet one night. They are former employees of the Supreme Being who has stolen a map depicting all the gaps in the fabric of time, which they are utilizing to steal valuables from various historical periods around the world. 

They visit Napoleon, Robin Hood, and King Agamemnon, among other places, before being apprehended by the Supreme Being. Kevin is with them during the journey.


7. Scanners (1981)

Year: 1981

Director: Christian Duguay, David Cronenberg

Stars: Darryl Revok, Cameron Vale, Dr. Paul Ruth

Rating: R

Runtime: 103 minutes

An extraordinary and terrifyingly destructive telepathic ability is discovered by a man after he is apprehended by agents from an unknown rogue corporation. 

He discovers that he is far from the only possessor of such strange powers and that some of the other so-called “scanners” have their sights set on world dominance, while others are working to prevent this from happening.


6. Solaris (1972)

Year: 1972

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky

Stars: Natalya Bondarchuk, Hari Kelvinas Hari Kelvin, Donatas Banionis, Kris Kelvinas Kris Kelvin, Jüri Järvet, Doctor Snaut

Rating: PG

Runtime: 167 minutes

A psychologist is dispatched to a space station orbiting a planet known as Solaris in order to investigate the death of a doctor on board the station as well as the mental health of the station’s cosmonauts. As he continues his investigation, he discovers that the water on the planet functions as a form of brain, bringing forth repressed memories and obsessions.


5. Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)

Year: 1964

Director: Ishirō Honda

Stars: Hiroshi Koizumi, Yuriko Hoshi, The Peanuts, Akira Takarada, 

Rating: NR

Runtime: 89 minutes

With ‌the atomic era, pop culture had a field day, and nowhere is this more clear than in Japan. Mothra vs. Godzilla, the fourth entry of the world’s longest-running film franchise, is an excellent place for newbies to the kaiju genre to get their feet wet. It has a fast pace, possibly the best Godzilla design ever (those eyebrows!), and two gloriously over-the-top set-piece battles to keep things interesting.

It is also the last of the Showa Era (1926-1989) films to depict Godzilla solely as a villain hell-bent on destroying cities and blasting everything in his path with his atomic breath. Mothra vs. Godzilla is also the last of the Showa Era (1926-1989) films to depict Godzilla solely as a villain hell-bent on destroying cities and blasting everything in his path with his atomic breath.


4. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)

Year: 1974

Director: Jun Fukuda

Stars: Hiroshi Koizumi, Akihito Hirata, Kazuya Aoyama, Masaaki Daimon

Rating: PG

Runtime: 84 minutes

Mechagodzilla’s initial appearance in Godzilla’s Showa series is still the best. I have such good recollections of this movie, and it truly embodies the pinnacle of the Godzilla franchise’s early years. Mechagodzilla is portrayed as an immensely lethal opponent with talents that outclass Godzilla in every manner, and he defeats Godzilla within an inch of his life during their first combat. 

My favorite part, however, is the appearance of a Godzilla ally named “King Caesar,” a strange lion-dog hybrid that must be awoken from a long slumber by singing Japanese adult current music. After all of that, he gets WRECKED by Mechagodzilla in a scenario that plays like a wonderful, accidental comedy.


3. Gremlins (1984)

Year: 1984

Director: Joe Dante

Stars: Zach Galligan

Rating: PG

Runtime: 107 minutes

Even if you haven’t seen Chris Columbus’ oft-parodied ’80s horror-comedy, you’ve probably heard of it. A father goes to a Chinatown curio shop looking for a gift for his son and buys a mogwai, which appears to be a cute tiny fuzzball. (Fun fact: “devil” in Cantonese.) 

There are three regulations to owning a mogwai: do not expose it to light or water, and do not feed it after midnight. After a few blunders, a horde of the little buggers is spreading havoc all over Anytown, USA.

Gremlins are far funnier than the chittering puppets would lead you to believe. It’s also a little bloodier than you may imagine.


2. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Year: 1939

Director: Victor Fleming

Stars: Frank Morgan, Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton,  Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Billie Burke, Ray Bolger

Rating: G

Runtime: 112 minutes

There’s a reason why The Wizard of Oz is ‌one of the best movies of all time. The 1939 musical, based on L. Frank Baum’s novel, follows Judy Garland’s Dorothy Gale as she travels someplace over the rainbow to the wonderful kingdom of Oz.

The Wizard of Oz still holds up remarkably well over a century later. The film is filled with awe, breathtaking vistas, and great musical sequences, as well as an exploration of friendship and devotion in the face of power and fear. 

All the characters appear to be missing something — brains, a heart, courage, or a house — and assume that gaining that thing will complete them. The video shows that, despite their perceived shortcomings, they are all deserving.


1. A Space Odyssey (2001)

Year: 1968

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Stars: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, Douglas Rain, William Sylvester

Rating: G

Runtime: 139 minutes

We, these insignificant voyagers, sail through it all, striving to change it, uncertain if we’ve changed anything. In 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kubrick, and Arthur C. Clarke create a god-like fifth-dimensional space fetus that spins above our planet, seemingly all-knowing and hopefully benevolent. 

Although the film’s scope is enormous, Kubrick’s work is filled with intimate human moments: the loss of great intellect; the shock of cold-blooded murder; the mundane and boredom of daily life; the struggle and awe of encountering something we can’t explain; the silent need to survive, never questioned because it will never be answered. 

More than a theoretical document about humans conquering the Solar System, 2001 asks why we do what we do, why do we push outward, past the margins of everything we know, all we ever need to know? Amid long takes of bodies moving through space and vessels and cosmonauts floating silently through the unknown, Kubrick finds grace, aided by an epic classical soundtrack we can no longer separate from Kubrick’s indelible images. In grace, he finds purpose: If we can transcend our terrestrial roots with curiosity and fearlessness, we should.