20 Places to Watch Free Movies Online

Posted: 03/11/2009 in General, How to....


Where to watch free movies online? Here’s a list that will get you started. We’ve listed 20 sites that feature a wide range of films. Classics, international, film noir, documentaries, indies — they’re all here. Most of these films should be available in every geographic region. However, there will be some exceptions. This is just a start, and I’m really hoping that you (yes, you!) can add your favorites to the list and help it grow. The more you contribute, the more we all benefit. And, in the meantime, ShareThis

General Films/Movies

Internet Archive – Feature Films: This archive of feature films contains some important classics from the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s. We’ve featured ten good ones in a previous post. (You’ll find here films by Elia Kazan, John Huston, Fritz Lang, Howard Hawks and others.) We’ve also mentioned that the Archive hosts a nice collection of film noir flics. You can access the Archive’s full movie library here.

Australian Screen Archive: The Australian National Film and Sound Archive provides free and worldwide access to over 1,000 film and television titles – a treasure chest of down-under video 100 years in the making. Thanks Peter for that tip.

BestOnlineDocumentaries: As one reader previously told us, “This site is a bit out of date and some of the links are broken, but it’s still a great compilation of online documentaries.” For more documentaries, you should also see Snagfilms mentioned below.

Classic Cinema Online: This site nicely pulls together hundreds of classic films, ranging from Action to Westerns and even old cinema shorts and news reels. A good tip from Lifehacker.

Crackle.com: If you’re looking for mainstream movies, here you go. This is Sony’s online movie play. You get free films here. But my guess is that there’s some geo-blocking that comes with this. Can anyone verify? (Note: one of our readers has also suggested the UK-based Blinkbox, which seems to offer another platform for more mainstream films.)

Creative Commons: The folks who gave us the Creative Commons license host a wiki where you can find a good number of freely available films. Handy and worth keeping an eye on. I’d also suggest keeping tabs on CC’s Video blog.

Europa Film Treasures: Thanks to Europa Film Treasures, you can spend hours looking back through an archive of European film. Theses films range from “comedy to science fiction, from westerns to animation, from erotic to ethnological movies.” Highly recommended by our readers.

Film Annex: This site has one of the largest selections of online films for you to watch or download. See films from independent filmmakers and directors from all over the world, and download or stream to your PC, laptop or iPhone. The films are ad-supported. If you click here, you can watch Charlie Chaplin’s 1918 film, Shoulder Arms.

Free Documentaries Online: The name says it all.




Free Documentaries.Org: Specializes in showing provocative documentaries for free…

Hulu: Unfortunately Hulu limits its programming to a US audience  (a policy that really needs to change), but it’s the 800 pound gorilla in the US, and there are some decent films here (see some picks here), so I’m grudgingly listing it. Sorry in advance Stephen…

Legal Torrents: Pretty much what the name says. Legaltorrents.com hosts high quality open-licensed (Creative Commons) digital media and art. This link takes you to their movie section.

NFB.ca: NFB.ca is a web site where you can watch films produced by the National Film Board of Canada. It offers access to 100s of documentaries, animated films and trailers. You can also access this collection via a free iPhone app.

QuickSilverScreen: This site essentially puts torrents online and lets you watch films posted by other users, including many new films. It’s hard to believe that this site is entirely kosher, but it’s very popular (one of the top 3,000 sites on the web) and hardly a closely held secret.

SnagFilms: SnagFilms “finds the world’s most compelling documentaries, whether from established heavyweights or first-time filmmakers, and makes them available to a wide audience.” You can watch full-length documentary films for free. Currently includes over 550 films. And, as one reader notes, “The best part … is you can give back to the charitable foundations behind each one of the documentaries.”

Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive: This online catalog “provides access to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive. The Archive serves as a comprehensive informational and archival resource worldwide for moving image materials pertaining to the Holocaust and related aspects of World War II. ”

The Auteurs.com: Though this site typically offers arts films on a pay-per-view basis, it does feature a series of free films. Each month, a free film is featured (see example here). The site also hosts free international films restored by Martin Scorsese’s Word Cinema Foundation, mentioned right below. And you can find another set of free films here.

World Cinema Foundation: The WCF, created by Martin Scorsese in 2007, has restored a series of classic international films. You can watch them for free online.

YouTube Movies: YouTube hosts a series of full-length movies. Right now, they’re showcasing Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which you can watch here. There are likely some geo-restrictions here.

YouTube Screening Room: The Screening Room presents high quality, short independent films to YouTube users and promises to roll out four new films every two weeks. The collection includes some Academy-Award winners and other quality films. More info here.


Original post Open Culture

  1. Awesome topic. Thanks
    I enjoyed reading this. : )

  2. Joanne King says:

    Hey Just wanted to let you know your blog is showing up funny on the Opera browser. Great blog BTW 🙂

  3. Dorothy Lane says:

    Great looking Blog! Found it through Google. Just as an FYI, it didnt display right when I opened it in the Opera Interet Browser.

    • Alan Cain says:

      Thanks for the info I think it must be the CSS on the page that is doing it. I’d better change stuff around.
      Many thanks and keep coming back

  4. Watch Movies says:

    I’ve been using the Internet to watch, research and discuss movies for a long, long time and love it when blogs like your posts good import. Watch free movies Online At 4Films, I created it kind of like you did your blog and man, I’ve got 26,000 live movie links up so enjoy. Consider it my payback to people like you.

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