Best Max movies: the 28 finest films to stream in June 2024

Paul Atreides, played by Timothee Chalamet, stares directly into the camera in Dune: Part Two one of the best Max movies.
Dune: Part Two has finally made its way onto Max. (Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

The best Max movies include some of the most incredible films ever made and the good news is Max is always expanding its vast library. The streaming service is owned by Warner Bros. Discovery, which explains why Max is packed with the impressive century-spanning back catalogue of one of the most successful studios in Hollywood history. You'll find all-time greats here, including Casablanca and Some Like it Hot, through to the latest big blockbusters, like Barbie and Dune: Part Two.

New titles are added regularly (take a look at our guide to new Max movies to see the freshest films), so it's clear why Max is one of the best streaming services on the planet, less than a year after it took the place of HBO Max. In our guide below you'll find our selection of the best Max movies you can watch right now. It's an exciting list filled with both timeless classics and recent smash hits, all picked by our resident film experts. 

The Wizard of Oz

Release date: 1939
Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%
Age rating: PG
Director: Victor Fleming

It’s hard to imagine how far away Kansas must have felt when 1939 audiences first watched Judy Garland step into the Technicolor world of Oz. 

Over 80 years later, The Wizard of Oz remains a technical marvel, set in a bizarre fantasy world populated by witches (good and bad), scary flying monkeys, and a wizard who may not be all he’s cracked up to be. But the real reason the story has been absorbed into our collective cultural memory is the memorable songs, a group of easy-to-love heroes, and that long-standing Hollywood staple – a story of good triumphing over evil.


Release date: 1942
Rotten Tomatoes score: 99%
Age rating: PG
Director: Michael Curtiz

It’s no accident that Casablanca regularly features on lists of the greatest movies of all time, because this wartime classic is proof that they really don’t make them like they used to. 

Humphrey Bogart is the bar owner whose life is turned upside down when an old flame (played by Ingrid Bergman) arrives in town with her new husband (Paul Henreid), a key figure in the resistance in Europe. Both a love story for the ages and a cunning piece of 1940s propaganda – the importance of sacrifice in wartime is a major theme – Casablanca is much imitated but never bettered. Endlessly quotable and exquisitely acted, if you haven’t seen it you must remember this: put it on your best Max movies watchlist immediately.

2001: A Space Odyssey

Release date: 1968
Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%
Age rating: G
Director: Stanley Kubrick

Nearly a decade ahead of Star Wars – and a year before humans walked on the Moon – Stanley Kubrick expanded the possibilities of big-screen space travel. Where science fiction had traditionally been the preserve of schlocky B-movies, the legendary director assembled a spectacular vision of a future where beautiful ships glide elegantly through space to a score of classical music – and, at key moments, dead silence. 

But beyond the hardware, this big-screen riff on Arthur C Clarke's short story ‘The Sentinel’ asks huge philosophical questions about the origins of our species, and where we might be going next. Just don't ask us to ever remove 2001: A Space Odyssey from our best Max movies guide. In the words of HAL 9000: we're afraid we can't do that.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Release date: 1982
Rotten Tomatoes score: 87%
Age rating: PG
Director: Nicholas Meyer

Star Trek's big-screen debut, The Motion Picture, may have looked spectacular, but its ponderous plotting and over-serious tone made it difficult to love. All those problems were remedied three years later with the arrival of The Wrath of Khan, the high watermark against which all subsequent Trek is judged.

Bringing back original series bad guy Khan Noonien Singh (a scenery-chewing Ricardo Montalban) proves a masterstroke, but this revenge-driven story is also a thrilling game of cat-and-mouse among the stars. Between the memorable space battles, director Nicholas Meyer relishes the opportunity to explore themes of ageing, death and the no-win scenario, giving Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy) their finest moments in the process. More than a great Star Trek movie, The Wrath of Khan is simply a great movie. Period.

All 10 Trek movies featuring the original and Next Generation casts are available on Max. Find out more in our guide to how to watch Star Trek in order.


Release date: 1986
Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%
Age rating: R
Director: James Cameron

The greatest sequel ever made? Along with The Empire Strikes Back and The Godfather: Part II, James Cameron's follow-up to Ridley Scott's Alien undoubtedly deserves a place at that top table. 

Cameron's smartest move is using Scott's genre-defining sci-fi horror as a jumping off point, before launching the story in an exciting, new, action-heavy direction with Aliens. From the ruthlessly efficient, muscular set-pieces to the expansion of the Xenomorph mythology – there's loads of them and they have a Queen! – the writer/director set the blueprint for every sci-fi action movie that followed. And as reluctant hero Ellen Ripley, an Oscar-nominated Sigourney Weaver delivers the most iconic performance of her career. 


Release date: 1987
Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%
Age rating: R
Director: Paul Verhoeven 

The 1980s was Hollywood’s ultimate era of violence and excess, and mainstream cinema doesn’t come more violent and excessive than RoboCop. Director Paul Verhoeven’s first US film is also a state-of-the-art sci-fi classic, a super-smart satire on capitalism and 20th century America masquerading as a big, dumb action movie.

Peter Weller plays the ordinary cop who, after being fatally wounded by a sadistic gang, is transformed into the eponymous cyborg police officer. What follows is a classic tale of revenge wrapped up in witty one-liners, memorable villains, and lots and lots of blood.

The less fun 2014 reboot, starring Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton and Samuel L. Jackson, is available on Max, too. It’s also worth checking out epic behind-the-scenes documentary RoboDoc, available now on Prime Video.

Pulp Fiction

Release date: 1994
Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%
Age rating: R
Director: Quentin Tarantino

Plenty of directors have announced their arrival with a zeitgeist-grabbing debut, but not so many live up to the hype with that difficult second movie. Quentin Tarantino didn’t just match Reservoir Dogs with Pulp Fiction, he surpassed it with a violent, foul-mouthed and multi-layered crime opus that remains the standout film of his glittering career. 

With its multiple narratives and overlapping timelines, it’s a storytelling tour de force from a writer/director in total command of his material. Every member of the stellar ensemble cast (including Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis and Ving Rhames) makes the most of their role, but the undoubted star is the perennially quotable dialogue, as Tarantino makes seemingly mundane conversations the most exciting thing in the world. Watch Pulp Fiction again and ask yourself how Forrest Gump beat it to the Oscar for Best Picture.


Release date: 1996
Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%
Age rating: R
Director: Joel and Ethan Coen

By the mid-’90s, Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Miller’s Crossing and Barton Fink had earned the Coen brothers both critical acclaim and cult appeal. It was this snowy 1996 crime drama, however, that made the rest of the world take notice of Joel and Ethan’s unique talents, winning two Oscars (for Best Screenplay, and for Frances McDormand’s performance as police chief Marge Gunderson) in the process.

Setting the story in their native Midwest, the Coens bring a tale of double-crossing, murder, extreme incompetence and snow to the unsuspecting small town of Brainerd, Minnesota. A memorable ensemble cast including William H Macy, Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare make the most of the brothers’ witty, twisty script, but McDormand is the undoubted standout as the brilliant, eternally upbeat and very pregnant Marge.

The movie has also spawned five (at present) seasons of the brilliant Fargo TV spin-off, one of the best Hulu TV shows.

Spirited Away

Release date: 2001
Rotten Tomatoes score: 96%
Age rating: PG
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

One of the best things about subscribing to Max is that you have access to the peerless Studio Ghibli back catalogue, meaning the wonders of My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke and Howl’s Moving Castle are never further away than the push of a button. This Oscar-winning 2001 classic is arguably the best of the bunch.

The work of the legendary Hayao Miyazaki (who came out of retirement for last year's The Boy and the Heron), Spirited Away tells the story of a 10-year-old girl forced to work in a magical bath house after her parents are turned into pigs. With a wicked witch, plenty of magic and a population of bizarre characters, the film’s constructed from familiar fairytale building blocks, but Miyazaki’s elegant storytelling lifts Spirited Away to another level. Indeed, at a time when Pixar and DreamWorks had started to turn CG into the dominant form of animation in Hollywood, this cartoon classic proved there’s still a place for beautiful hand-drawn artistry.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy 

Release date: 2001-2003
Rotten Tomatoes score: 91% (The Fellowship of the Ring), 95% (The Two Towers), 94% (The Return of the King)
Age rating: PG-13
Director: Peter Jackson

The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of those rare movie series where everything – and everyone – came together in the right place at the right time. How different history could have been had New Line not trusted director Peter Jackson’s vision, and allowed him to film all three movies back-to-back in his native New Zealand – the perfect real-world stand-in for J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth. 

In Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, Jackson found the ideal co-writers to translate J.R.R. Tolkien’s sprawling novels to the screen, while the visual effects geniuses at Weta discovered many groundbreaking ways to make a magical world feel real. Jackson also found the right performers for every iconic role, from Gandalf to Gollum, Elrond to Eowyn. Without The Lord of the Rings, there’d be no The Witcher, no Game of Thrones, and certainly no The Rings of Power, which will forever be judged against what Jackson achieved two decades ago.

The Dark Knight trilogy 

Release date: 2005-2012
Rotten Tomatoes score: 85% (Batman Begins), 87% (The Dark Knight Rises), 94% (The Dark Knight)
Age rating: PG-13
Director: Christopher Nolan

After the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) became widely accepted as the benchmark for superhero movies, many people forgot how radical – and brilliant – Christopher Nolan’s bat-trilogy was. Crafting a dark-and-moody Gotham City nearly two decades before Robert Pattinson got soaked in The Batman, Nolan’s decision to ground the Caped Crusader in a believable world proved a masterstroke. 

Always a mainstay on our list of the best Max movies, Batman Begins remains one of cinema’s great origin stories, while follow-up The Dark Knight is an ambitious crime thriller that would probably have won numerous major awards if its protagonist didn’t dress up as a giant bat. The Dark Knight Rises isn’t quite the closer the trilogy deserves, but the series still stands up as the pinnacle of DC storytelling on the big screen. See where each film placed in our Christopher Nolan movies ranked piece.

Behind the Candelabra

Release date: 2013
Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%
Age rating: PG-13
Director: Steven Soderbergh

Although Michael Douglas spent much of the ’80s and ’90s in chiselled leading man mode, the 21st century has seen him morph into one of Hollywood’s finest character actors. His multi-award-winning performance as legendary pianist Liberace – a man who didn’t believe in understatement – in Behind the Candelabra is one of the undoubted highlights of his long career. 

The star gets A-list support from Matt Damon as Liberace’s boyfriend, a younger man who finds himself trapped in a bizarre, acrimonious hell when the musician tries to mould him in his own image. Douglas’s Traffic director Steven Soderbergh tells the story in typically accomplished style.

The Normal Heart

Release date: 2014
Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%
Age rating: TV-MA
Ryan Murphy

Ryan Murphy, the prolific brain behind TV shows as diverse as Nip/Tuck, Glee, American Horror Story, Ratched and Pose, turns his attentions to New York’s early-’80s HIV/AIDS crisis with hard-hitting drama The Normal Heart.

Directing from Larry Kramer’s screenplay based on his own 1985 stage play, Murphy pulls no punches in telling the powerful story of gay activist Ned Weeks (a character Kramer based on himself) as he tries to convince the world to take the lethal virus seriously. The ever-brilliant Mark Ruffalo leads the cast as Weeks, with memorable support from Jim Parsons, Julia Roberts, Matt Bomer, and Taylor Kitsch.

Mad Max: Fury Road

Release date: 2015
Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%
Age rating: R
George Miller

While action blockbusters aren’t traditionally regarded as art, the ingeniously choreographed stuntwork of Fury Road ensured even the most highbrow critics had to give the fourth Mad Max movie its due. 

After a lengthy and troubled production (excellently documented in author Kyle Buchanan’s Blood, Sweat & Chrome), director George Miller built an entire movie around a single madcap chase across a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Although the movie bears the character’s name, Tom Hardy’s Max is relegated to a monosyllabic supporting player, leaving a magnificent Charlize Theron to take the lead as the heroic Imperator Furiosa. 

Anya Taylor-Joy will take on the role in upcoming prequel Furiosa. Co-starring Chris Hemsworth, it drives (at full throttle) into theaters in May 2024 – check out the all-action Furiosa trailer.

Wonder Woman

Release date: 2017
Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%
Age rating: PG-13
Patty Jenkins

Although the superhero landscape of the 2010s was ruled by the all-powerful MCU, Wonder Woman was the breath of fresh air that proved DC hadn’t forgotten how to have fun and play Marvel at their own game. 

Far more playful than dour DCEU predecessors Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Patty Jenkins’ movie is a thoroughly entertaining journey from Wonder Woman’s origins on the magical island of Themyscira, to the battlefields of World War I. 

As Christopher Reeve did in Superman: The Movie, breakout star Gal Gadot finds the joy and inherent decency in a god walking among humans, without ever allowing Diana to become one-note or predictable. It’s just a shame that lightning didn’t strike a second time in so-so sequel Wonder Woman 1984

Find out more about Wonder Woman and other DCEU flicks in our guide to how to watch the DC movies in order.


Release date: 2018
Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%
Age rating: R
Director: Ari Aster

While The Conjuring recycled plenty of old tricks to unleash its cacophony of frights, Hereditary always felt like a genuinely groundbreaking addition to the horror genre. Debut writer/director Ari Aster keeps the focus extremely tight, as an ordinary family deal with the death of a matriarch, bringing family demons – both figurative and supernatural – painfully to the fore.

It's an intense, unrelenting watch, as Aster ensures his cast (led by Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne) bare plenty of emotions on screen. It’s also a masterclass in delivering powerful scares, packed with moments that – once seen – can’t be unseen.   


Release date: 2019
Rotten Tomatoes score: 69%
Age rating: R
Director: Todd Phillips

Barry Keoghan must have been chomping at the bit to play the Joker at the end of The Batman – Gotham’s Clown Prince of Crime tends to bring out the best in every actor lucky enough to win the role. For all Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger’s exuberance as Batman’s most famous foe, however, they never had to go to places quite as dark as an Oscar-winning Joaquin Phoenix does here. 

Indeed, with Bruce Wayne still a kid, director Todd Phillips’ bleak, retro drama owes as much to Martin Scorsese crime dramas (most notably The King of Comedy) as traditional comic-book movies. Its brutal, nihilistic take on a city gone to hell may not be to everyone’s tastes, but Joker shows how far DC can push the envelope when they’re not trying to ape Marvel. And they're about to go even further in musical, Lady Gaga-starring sequel Folie à Deux.

Find out where we placed Joker in our best superhero movies list.


Release date: 2019
Rotten Tomatoes score: 99%
Age rating: R
Director: Bong Joon-ho

There were few arguments when Parasite won Best Picture at the 2020 Oscars. After all, the South Korean movie – the first ever non-English language winner of the prestigious prize – is the sort of film that sears itself onto your brain from the first time you see it.

On one level it’s the story of a down-on-their-luck family who con their way into working for a rich household, but there’s much more to it than that. Writer/director Bong Joon-ho (The Host, Snowpiercer, Okja) crafts an ingenious social satire about the haves and the have-nots in modern society, and keeps your sympathies shifting as you try to decide who the real parasites are. It also manages to be extremely funny while packing an emotional punch when it needs to.


Release date: 2021
Rotten Tomatoes score: 75%
Age rating: TV-MA
Bartlett Sher

An adaptation of a three-hour stage play about early ’90s diplomacy may not initially sound like one of the best movies on Max, but the brilliantly told drama of Oslo makes it a must-watch. 

With a screenplay from original playwright J.T. Rogers, the film tells the based-on-real-life story of the 1993 Oslo peace talks, secret negotiations between Israel’s prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation. His Dark Materials stars Ruth Wilson and Sherlock’s Andrew Scott play the married Norwegian diplomats who were pivotal to events that remain extremely relevant today. A reminder that movies made for TV can be every bit the equal of their big-screen counterparts. 

The Suicide Squad

Release date: 2021
Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%
Age rating: R
Director: James Gunn

When Marvel and Disney briefly removed James Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy 3, DC swooped in and gave him a writing/directing gig on this quasi-sequel to 2016’s mediocre Suicide Squad. Confusingly, it was titled The Suicide Squad but in this case the definite article was entirely justified.

Given free rein to keep or discard characters and continuity as he pleased, Gunn shaped a hilariously funny, frequently rude tale of memorably amoral supervillains on a mission to eliminate a giant pink starfish. DC were so impressed that they allowed Gunn to make spin-off series Peacemaker (one of the best Max shows), and then hired him to co-manage all their future movie and TV output. Read more about his ambitious plans in our guide to DCU Chapter One: Gods and Monsters.

Dune: Part One

Release date: 2021
Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%
Age rating: TV-PG
Director: Denis Villeneuve

David Lynch’s 1984 movie was a noble but flawed attempt at adapting Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel, so it was always ripe for a remake. Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve turned out to be the ideal man for the job, successfully navigating the author's dense text to create an incredibly faithful world of vast deserts, spectacular ornithopters and fearsome sand worms. 

The huge ensemble cast (featuring Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin and Rebecca Ferguson) invest fully in the material, while the decision to split the story over two films proves a masterstroke. The sequel, Dune: Part Two, was released in 2024 and is also one of the best movies on Max.

The Batman

Release date: 2022
Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%
Age rating: PG-13
Matt Reeves

Not even Spider-Man can compete with the Caped Crusader when it comes to big screen reinventions. The latest – from Dawn of/War for the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves – doubles down on the Dark Knight’s reputation as the World’s Greatest Detective, with a labyrinthine, noir-ish mystery that borrows as much from Seven as the Dark Knight's previous screen outings. 

Robert Pattinson is a suitably angsty Bruce Wayne, while Paul Dano’s chilling reinvention of classic villain the Riddler adds extra edge. Read up on where we placed it in our Batman movies ranked article.


Release date: 2023
Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%
Age rating: PG-13
Greta Gerwig

From Transformers and GI Joe toThe Lego Movie and Battleship, Hollywood has been taking inspiration from kids’ toyboxes for years. Never, however, have we seen anything quite like Barbie, a movie that’s simultaneously a multi-million-dollar commercial for a doll, and a witty, sophisticated examination of 21st century feminism.

Margot Robbie is brilliant as the classic, stereotypical Barbie who goes through something of an existential crisis when she realizes she’s actually a child's plaything. Desperate to get her life back on track she takes a trip to the real world but – unfortunately for her – longtime boyfriend Ken (a similarly excellent Ryan Gosling) also hitches a ride, becoming a plastic embodiment of toxic masculinity along the way.

Director Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird, Little Women) navigates the movie’s many tonal shifts with fun, style and a smart satirical eye. Indeed, having dominated the global box-office in 2023, the impressively self-aware Barbie is destined to be the subject of academic essays for years to come.


Release date: 2023
Rotten Tomatoes score: 84%
Age rating: R
Director: Sofia Coppola

The ideal companion piece to Elvis, this biopic (from Lost in Translation and Marie Antoinette director Sofia Coppola) shifts the focus to Presley’s wife, Priscilla. Based on Priscilla Presley’s memoir Elvis and Me, the movie follows her journey from a teen besotted with a much older guy (who just happens to be the most famous man in the world), through their difficult marriage and painful divorce.

Cailee Spaeny (soon to be seen in Alien: Romulus) delivers a star-making turn as Priscilla, who finds that living with the king of rock 'n' roll is not all it’s cracked up to be. Meanwhile, Euphoria and Saltburn's Jacob Elordi shows the darker sides of Elvis in a similarly excellent performance as Priscilla’s famous husband.

Dream Scenario

Release date: 2023
Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%
Age rating: R
Kristoffer Borgli

Hot off the back of the entertaining The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, Nicolas Cage continues his mission to explore the places other actors can’t reach with this suitably weird journey into the world of the human subconscious. He plays a scientist who inexplicably starts appearing in other people’s dreams, lifting him to an unparalleled – and unwanted – new level of celebrity.  

Director Kristoffer Borgli fully embraces the surrealness of the premise, navigating the dreamscapes with the wit and invention of Spike Jonze or Michel Gondry. But ultimately this is 100% a Cage movie, and fans of Hollywood’s most idiosyncratic leading man will lap it up.


Release date: 2023
Rotten Tomatoes score: 82%
Age rating: PG
Paul King

Few were calling out for Roald Dahl’s legendary chocolatier to be given his own origin story musical, but the creative team behind the brilliant Paddington movies conjured up a suitably tasty concoction. While not quite as endearing as the Peruvian bear’s adventures in London, Wonka uses similar feelgood ingredients to explain how the eponymous hero went from idealistic dreamer to the most famous candyman in the world.

Dune star Timothée Chalamet is excellent as Willy Wonka, delivering the witty songs (written by the Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon) in style, while finding the right levels of wide-eyed wonder. A-list support comes from Olivia Colman as the villainous owner of a boarding house, and Hugh Grant as a very cynical Oompa-Loompa.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Release date: 2023
Rotten Tomatoes score: 34%
Age rating: PG-13
James Wan

The old iteration of the DCEU swims off into the sunset with Arthur Curry’s second headline adventure. In truth it’s not quite as memorable or fun as the first Aquaman but returning director James Wan and star Jason Momoa capture enough of the original movie’s magic to prevent this sequel becoming a damp squib.

Second time out, Arthur’s trying to balance ruling Atlantis with being a dad when a vengeful Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) uses a magical trident to unleash a bid for world domination. Aquaman’s then forced to team up with estranged half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson) to save the day, and the film has plenty of fun with the bickering siblings dynamic. Just don’t expect the derivative plot to change the world – either above or below the water.

Dune: Part Two

Release date: 2024
Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%
Age rating: PG-13
Director: Denis Villeneuve

The highly-anticipated sequel to the 2021 movie Dune: Part One is now streaming on Max. It's the second of the two-part adaptation of Frank Herbert's 1965 sci-fi novel Dune. Dune: Part Two continues right where the first movie left off and follows the story of Paul Atreides who joins the Fremen people to fight against the evil House Harkonnen.

Denis Villeneuve has done incredible things with his adaptation of Herbert's epic story. The cinematography is truly stunning, the atmosphere sinister, dramatic and filled with wonder and the script should keep fans of the book very happy. Performances from all of the cast are incredible too, especially Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides, Zendaya as Chani, a Fremen warrior, and Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica, Paul's Bene Gesserit mother. 

Whether you're already a fan of Dune or you're new to the sprawling sci-fi saga, movie lovers are going to enjoy Dune: Part Two immensely. It's a long way off, but if you love the sequel, you'll be glad to hear that a prequel series about the Bene Gesserit called Dune: Prophecy is set to arrive on Max.

For more Max-based coverage, read our guides on the best Max shows, The Last of Us season 2, and House of the Dragon season 2.

Richard Edwards

Richard is a freelance journalist specialising in movies and TV, primarily of the sci-fi and fantasy variety. An early encounter with a certain galaxy far, far away started a lifelong love affair with outer space, and these days Richard's happiest geeking out about Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel and other long-running pop culture franchises. In a previous life he was editor of legendary sci-fi and fantasy magazine SFX, where he got to interview many of the biggest names in the business – though he'll always have a soft spot for Jeff Goldblum who (somewhat bizarrely) thought Richard's name was Winter.

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