22 Tricks Sneaky Movie Buffs Use To Watch Movies For Free (Legally)

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The first motion picture movie theater opened in 1905 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and a single admission ticket only cost a nickel.

Going to the movies on a Friday night has been an American pastime ever since, but with tickets costing as much as $9 per person, many families can’t afford to go to the theater on a regular basis.

Thankfully, free movie websites make watching your favorite movies possible by saving you some dough too!

 

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You may still want hit up the theater for the opening night to watch the next Star Wars or comic book hero installment, but you can also watch movies from the comfort of your house most weeks of the year. Since you probably have a flat screen TV at home, high speed internet, and a stash of snacks in the pantry, the viewing experience may just be more enjoyable at your very own “private” theater.

Finally, you should consider these free movie websites if you need a break from the Netflix or Hulu catalogs which are extensive, but don’t have everything.

Try These Free Movie Websites First

Most “free movie websites” are scams or illegal. You’re going to want to stay away from sites like BitTorrent that download small packets of data from various users so you eventually download the entire video for free.

This technology isn’t new, if you want to learn a lesson in Internet History 101, research the history of Napster which was the pioneer of free media sharing sites.

The sites we’re going to mention in this list are legal and you don’t have to worry about getting scammed or breaking the law.

Most of the sites offer classic movies that belong in the public domain but you can still watch new movies for free too. For the best selection of newer movies, visit one of the movie websites listed here first.

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1. Crackle

If you own a Roku Express device, you already have a few apps pre-installed that you can use to stream content directly from your computer. One of the free streaming apps that you should check out first is Crackle, which contains the Sony Pictures TV and movies catalog.

You can watch newer releases like Fury or Zookeeper, or classics that you watched as a child including Look Who’s Talking or the original Karate Kid.

When you don’t want to watch a full feature film, you can also watch classic and current TV series such as:

  • All in the Family
  • Who’s the Boss?
  • Community
  • Dr. Ken

Get the Crackle Apps Here:

2. TubiTV

With more than 7,439 movie and TV titles from Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, MGM and other large motion pictures studios, tubiTV is definitely worth a look. You can also watch these titles on virtually any device with the downloadable app that helps give tubiTV two thumbs up! Or does that rating system only apply to movies themselves?

Because tubiTV has so many titles you could call it the “Netflix of free movie sites.” It features new releases, old classics, and movies or TV shows that never blipped on your radar before.

You can quickly sort movies by genre, new releases, recently added, or going away soon.

How does tubiTV offer so many movies for free? You have to watch ads in between. While this can be a small nuisance, the movie is free and it’s still better than watching it on live cable TV when you have to sit through the entire three to five-minute commercial break.

Get the tubiTV Apps Here:

3. Vudu

Vudu offers free movies and TV shows with advertisements. Once again, these ads might be a hassle but it’s the cost of being able to watch newer movies for free before they enter the public domain. And, these ad-supported streaming platforms also offer apps that let you watch a movie directly on your TV or mobile device in full screen.

Not every movie on Vudu is free, however. Click their “Movies on Us” tab to navigate the free movies section. If there’s a movie you want to see without in-movie ads, you can see how much it costs to rent or own.

Get the Vudu Apps Here:

4. Pluto TV

Pluto TV offers 75 channels for live TV, movies, and internet videos. You can watch live TV for free without creating an account, but you’ll have to register to watch movies for free. If you’re looking to cut the cord, Pluto can be an option worth considering to watch those specialized channels that you might only get with a premium cable package.

Regarding free movies, you’ll need to browse through the different channel lineups to see what you can watch with commercials. You won’t be able to watch content on-demand, so Pluto TV will feel a lot like flipping through the channels of your current cable TV or satellite provider as you scroll through the channel guide and click on the channel you want to watch.

It’s possible to stream Pluto TV on your computer, mobile device, or your TV when you use a streaming device that accesses the Pluto TV app.

Get the Pluto Apps Here:

5. Popcornflix

The mission statement of Popcornflix is “Great Movies. Free.”

Since they’re sponsored by the largest independent distributor of motion pictures with a catalog containing 1,500 movies, it’s safe to say that Popcornflix is doing a good job at living up to their goal of being a premier free movie website.

Popcornflix offers old and new movies in every genre and some of their most popular options include John Wayne’s Stagecoach, Clear and Present Danger starring Harrison Ford, and Steve Austin in Tactical Force.

You can stream Popcornflix online or with one of the following devices via the downloadable app:

  • Roku
  • Apple TV
  • Amazon
  • Xbox
  • Android and Apple mobile devices

Get the Popcornflix Apps Here:

6. MoviesFoundOnline.com

MoviesFoundOnline offers a surprisingly wide selection of movies that have been released since 1997. Don’t worry, classic movie fans will still find plenty of movies that are from the 1940s or earlier like Gulliver’s Travels (1939) or Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934).

Some of the feature films you might enjoy include Smokey and the Bandit or G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

Besides feature films, you might also enjoy some of the other digital content including:

  • Documentaries
  • TV series
  • Short films
  • Animations
  • Comedy
  • Viral videos

The one downside is that you must either stream the movie from your computer or download it as MoviesFoundOnline doesn’t have an app.

7. YouTube

YouTube is for more than watching the latest viral videos.

You can also watch a large collection of movies for free, the only catch is that the playback speed, audio or video quality, or an abridged runtime is used to avoid copyright infringement. If you want to watch the actual film, you can rent the movie for $2.99 in standard definition and $3.99 for high definition quality.

8. Classic Cinema Online

Patrons of Classic Cinema Online can enjoy movies from the 1960s and earlier. You may even decide to watch a silent film, just like the first moviegoers did at the Nickelodeon theater in 1905!

Classic Cinema Online doesn’t have the largest movie catalog, but it’s probably the most family-friendly of the free movie websites listed in this post. Browsing through the catalog, you’ll find movies starring the likes of John Wayne, Abbott and Costello, and Cary Grant.

You’ll have the best success watching the movies on your computer as most movies stream from an embedded YouTube screen.

9. Internet Archive

The Internet Archive has a wide collection of classic films that you might enjoy for the following categories:

  • Film noir
  • Charlie Chaplin
  • Three Stooges
  • Silent movies

There’s also a collection of short films, trailers, and TV shows–both old and recent–that you might like as well. You’ll have to sift through what’s good and what doesn’t interest you as there are some off-the-wall videos you probably won’t find anywhere else, or didn’t even know they existed.

Internet Archive has a few adult-only titles so you won’t want children browsing this site without parental supervision.

10. Retrovision

Retrovision offers classic movies and TV for most movie genres and a few hit TV shows including:

  • The Beverly Hillbillies
  • Bonanza
  • Dragnet
  • The Lucy Show

You can either stream online watching the movie within your internet browser or with the Android app on your mobile device.

Get the Retrovision App Here:

11. Open Culture

Open Culture offers 1,150 free movies with most being classic American films from the 1960s and earlier. There are also several foreign films available to watch too; Korean movies in particular.

If you’re looking to start a new hobby, you can also use Open Culture to learn a foreign language, learn a new skill with free online courses, and also listening to over 900 free audiobooks.

12. Top Documentary Films

Are you ready to learn something new? Top Documentary Films offers hundreds of documentary films on almost any topic, including many documentaries that have been produced in the last year.

If you want to brush up on history, health, conspiracy theories, and the performing arts–just to name a few of the possibilities–to help you learn while you’re entertained.

If you have children at home, you might even enjoy the National Geographic documentaries available here too.

13. Viewster

Viewster specializes in anime movies, but also offers a few other genres too including gaming and comedy. With such a focused movie catalog, Viewster might not be your first option if you want a full feature film. But, Viewster offers content that you won’t find at many of the other free movie websites that focus more on the public domain movie database that primarily consists of movies from the 1960s or before.

14. Overdrive

Your local library might partner with Overdrive, an online platform that lets you rent movies, ebooks, and audiobooks for free. The catalog isn’t the biggest and you might have to reserve a title and wait your turn, but it’s free and offers a selection of family-friendly content that you won’t find at some of the other places.

You can see visit your local library and ask if they offer free online movies, or you might find a link on their website too.

15. SnagFilms

Indie film lovers will enjoy Snagfilms for fictional movies and documentaries. You can also watch classic movies that belong in the public domain too.

If you want to try watching something different tonight, SnagFilms fits the bill because they offer many titles that you probably won’t see in many other places because most of these movies are produced by independent studios.

16. Veoh

Veoh lets you watch free movies from all over the world. You will need to create an account to begin watching movies to begin searching for something to watch tonight for almost any movie genre.

17. Vimeo

Vimeo offers a small free movie catalog with the “Staff Picks” section. Many of these videos are only five minutes or less and are very eclectic so you won’t be watching the next epic blockbuster that will redefine the way Hollywood produces movies for the next generation. But, you can watch short movies that can get your brain thinking and maybe seeing a video before it goes viral on social media.

18. Yidio

Yidio offers a free movie section, but it’s more like a movie streaming search engine to see where you can watch a title online for free or for a small fee. Using Yidio can help you save time looking for free movies instead of spending half the evening looking for the perfect title and then it’s too late to either start the movie or watch it in entirety.

Alternatives to Free Movie Sites (Besides Netflix)

You might decide that a free movie website isn’t going to fully replace going to the movie theater, but you’re tired of your current Netflix subscription. These movie websites cost money, but they still offer high-quality movies at affordable prices.

19. Hulu

Maybe you joined Hulu with Live TV to save money by streaming your cable TV over your high speed internet connection.

What you might not realize is that you also get access to the entire Hulu catalog to watch almost any TV show or movie on-demand. Because the various national TV networks–ABC, NBC, Fox–all own a portion of Hulu, you might find the most diverse movie catalog here. See, these three TV networks also produce full feature movies through their parent companies to captivate your mind on the flatscreen and silver screen.

20. Pureflix

Do you want to stream movies without worrying about the inappropriate content you don’t want your children to see?

Pureflix is one of the best streaming platforms to watch Christian and family-friendly movies, TV shows, and documentaries. You also get a free 30-day trial to test drive PureFlix before you must commit to a monthly or annual subscription plan as well.

21. Amazon Prime

Maybe you joined Amazon Prime for the free, two-day shipping. One of the other fringe benefits of Prime membership is free movies and TV shows.

Like Netflix and Hulu, Amazon is also creating their own exclusive content that you won’t find anywhere else including the movie store, theater, or premium cable TV channels like HBO or Starz.

22. Lifetime Movie Club

If you’re only keeping your cable plan because of Lifetime, you might be able to cancel it by joining the Lifetime Movie Club. For about four bucks a month, you can watch Lifetime movies on your TV, computer, or mobile device commercial-free whenever you want!

FAQs

Have you ever tried one of these free movie websites before?

To help answer some of your questions about streaming movies and to help you from getting scammed, definitely take anything that’s “free” on the internet with a grain of salt…well except for the free advice we provide on Money Peach of course! 😉

Are Free Movie Websites a Scam?

Before you try watching your first movie online for free, try looking around the site before you click play. There are dozens of websites that claim to offer free movies, but nothing happens when you click play.

Some websites are simply duds that no longer work. Others might put spyware on your computer, this is most likely the case if you’re trying to watch a new release that isn’t even on DVD yet. The only way to watch new movies for free is usually with periodic in-movie ads from one of the websites listed above.

There might be others that let you stream new movies for free which aren’t listed here, but do your homework to make sure the site is legit.

If you are on a free movie website that you’re unsure about, look for these clues:

  • Contact information
  • An About Us page
  • State how they offer the movies for free (public domain or permission from the studio)
  • Positive reviews from at least one third-party website

Yout might take your vetting process a step further and only join a website that has a free app. Most scam sites aren’t going to take the time to create an app. If they do, those who have been scammed will leave bad feedback in the app store so you can quickly discover the website doesn’t have the noblest of intentions.

Can You Stream Any Movie for Free?

Unfortunately not every movie can be streamed for free online; legally at least.

The answer isn’t as cut and dry thanks to the ins-and-outs of the Copyright Act of 1976, but essentially if the copyright isn’t renewed for a movie or TV show before the current copyright expires, the movie enters the public domain.

When the movie enters the public domain, it can be broadcast and streamed penalty-free. This is why most of the free movie websites have movies and TV shows from the 1960s and earlier that you can watch commercial-free.

New movies can also be part of the public domain at the producer’s discretion. But since these movies can still be broadcast and licensed for royalties, most producers won’t do this until they can no longer make a profit from the film.

You should also avoid sites that download movies via torrent. The legality of these websites are questionable, plus they can be a backdoor way to install spyware and viruses on your computer if you come into contact with a bad actor.

Can You Watch New Movies for Free?

Watching new movies for free isn’t as easy because they are still earning a profit for the studio and don’t belong in the public domain. That means you might only be able to watch the movie on one or two streaming sites instead of ten.

For example, Sony Pictures owns Crackle which might be the only movie website that lets you watch certain titles for free. You can watch these movies with limited ads which are worth the tradeoff of having to take the entire family to the theater to see it.

Are Free Movie Websites Legal?

The free movie websites listed above are legal because they either provide movies included in the public domain or they partner with the movie studio to legally show the movies for free.

They also play commercials to pay the streaming royalties to the studio that you must watch. You can click on the ads to help the streaming service earn a small commision so they can expand their catalog.

Can I Watch Free Movies with Roku?

Yes!

Several of the movie websites included here offer a free Roku app that works with your Roku Express or Roku Streaming Stick+ to seamlessly watch the free movies directly on your TV.

You will need to see which websites support Roku streaming, but these suggestions are already set up for Roku:

  • Crackle
  • Vudu
  • TubiTV
  • Popcornflix

Which Free Movie Website Is the Best?

That answer depends on what you want to watch and how you want to watch it. The most common viewing method is streaming directly on your personal laptop like you watch a YouTube video.

If you have a smart TV, Roku, or video game system that you want to watch videos with, you should consider one of the free movie apps listed above, Crackle and Vudu are probably the two most common apps but there are several to choose from.

Summary

When a movie ticket costs $9 a person, what do you have to lose by trying a free movie website?

If you enjoy old movies, you’ll now be able to watch them for free compared to keeping a cable or Netflix subscription. Even newer movies can be watched for free if you’re willing to sit through a few commercials.

Now choose your favorite site listed above, grab a bowl of popcorn, and sit back and enjoy the show!

 


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