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How to find hundreds of free movies on YouTube
Here’s your free crash course in classic cinema.
If you want to watch full movies on YouTube, we’ve already done the hard work for you. We’ve curated a list of 45 free movies on YouTube you can watch anytime, anywhere—and we update it monthly, so there’s always something new to watch. The best part? Because the movies are in the public domain, you don’t have to worry about getting into any trouble either. It’s a crash course in classic cinema, and it’s entirely free.
But there’s plenty more still to discover. If you want to find more full-length movies on YouTube, we’ll show you where you to look and what to keep an eye out for. If you need more ideas, we recommend checking out Crackle, an ad-supported streaming service with a deep catalog of free movies refreshed monthly, and our list of the best movie streaming sites of 2018. It’s also worth noting that you can rent YouTube movies. The services offers new and old movies for a comparable price to what you find on Amazon Prime or elsewhere.
But if you’re broke and bored, here’s how to find full movies on YouTube.
How to find full movies on YouTube
Movies Found Online is your one-stop shop for full movies on YouTube, and it also boasts an oddball assortment of short films, documentaries, and viral videos—basically anything that’s floating around online. There are some categories like “cult classic” and “black and white” that you can narrow your searches by, but it’s probably safest if you just scroll through its full movies page and scroll until you find something you like. At a quick glance, we found The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, The Birds, and A Fistful of Dollars—plus some full-length movies on YouTube that will probably disappear soon, like 2007’s Death Proof and the Vince Vaughn comedy Delivery Man.
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Launched in 1993, Off Beat Cinema is a late-night movie show on the retroTV Network that screens “the good, the bad and the foreign” from a beatnik coffee shop in Buffalo, New York. More recently, the show has moved online, and its channel of the same name hosts an assortment of top-notch full-length movies on YouTube. You’ll find absolute masterpieces, like Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, as well as more obscure rarities, including a full series on The Last Man on Earth, the 1964 thriller starring Vincent Price.
If you’re looking for the best collection of full movies on YouTube, you’ll want to bookmark this subreddit, which, unlike the other services listed here, updates multiple times per day. There’s no telling what you might find. From international revenge thrillers like Old Boy to Cocaine and Blue Eyes, a TV movie from 1983 starring O.J. Simpson, there’s something here that will surprise and delight you, and if not—just check back in a week. There’s a catch: Many of these full movies on YouTube aren’t in the public domain, so there’s no telling how long they’ll actually stick around.
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This YouTube channel hasn’t uploaded any new movies in the last year, but that hardly matters. Dig in and you’ll find more than 80 full-length movies on YouTube, many of which are absolute classics (as highlighted in our list below. The user says he found most of these old movies on the Internet Archive, and while he can’t guarantee they’re the highest quality versions of the films online, they’ll work in a pinch.
Full movies on YouTube: 10 old movies everyone should see
1) The Birds
Of course, you’ve seen a couple of the iconic scenes from The Birds, but have you actually ever watched Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 horror classic? The movie was selected for preservation in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry in 2016, but thankfully, it’s also preserved on YouTube in its entirety—in full HD no less.
One of the funniest, fastest movies ever made, His Girl Friday is to dialogue what Gravity was to special effects—an utter miracle. If you’re a fan of the fast-talking dames on Gilmore Girls, test yourself by trying to keep up with the motor-mouthed wit of Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, playing star-crossed news reporters. Speaking in the movie’s trademark overlapping dialogue, the two share some of the sharpest barbs ever written. Take this exchange: Hildy (Russell) is explaining to Walter (Grant) why she’s marrying another man. She says, “He treats me like a woman.” Walter Burns: “Oh, he does, does he? How did I treat you? Like a water buffalo?” When they say they don’t make ’em like this anymore, His Girl Friday is what they mean. —Nico Lang
If you had to put a gun to my head and ask me what my favorite comedy is, this is probably what I would blurt out first. The inimitable Carole Lombard is daffy perfection as Irene Bullock, a spoiled socialite who adopts a hapless homeless man (William Powell) as her pet projection—and hires him as the family butler. There’s a certain Wodehousesque weightlessness to the whole thing, as if the movie could float away at any time, but don’t let that distract you from how dense this movie is—with mad screwball humor, with fully realized characters, and with life itself. —Nico Lang
Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon is the best kind of film homework. It’s a film works you over emotionally and tests the audience’s ability to piece together stories and see through misdirection. It’s about a group of people all telling their versions of a murder, all while trying to uncover the truth. The story grows more complex and rich with each iteration. It’s a fascinating use of perspective and editing, and watching a master like Kurosawa work is always a treat. —Eddie Strait
Frank Capra made his name on films like It Happened One Night and It’s a Wonderful Life—buoyant films about the goodness of the human spirit. But it is one of the great director’s bleakest works that resonates most powerfully today. Jaded newspaper reporter Ann Mitchell (Barbara Stanwyck) invents a character, the eponymous John Doe, who symbolizes the forgotten working man, fed up with modern society. In an open letter, John Doe implores Americans to be kinder and more gracious to each other. He’s such a hit that the paper hires an out-of-work baseball player (Gary Cooper) to portray him, until John Doe’s popularity is exploited by political demagogues. It’s a bleak satire with uncanny echoes of Donald Trump, a must-see for anyone terrified about the next four years. —Nico Lang
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While Victor Halperin’s White Zombie is widely credited as the first zombie movie, Walking Dead fans have George Romero to thank for starting the modern zombie craze with this landmark 1968 horror film. The low-budget indie was filmed for just $114,000 and grossed $12 million in the U.S., making it one of the most profitable movies ever made, never mind an enduringly influential cult classic. Night of the Living Dead was a critique of discourses of race and social taboos, as well one of few movies in the era to cast a black actor in a lead role. While Romero’s film would launch a successful film franchise for the director (last seen in 2009’s Survival of the Dead), this will forever be remembered as the maestro’s finest hour. —Nico Lang
Nosferatu is, for my money, still the most chilling horror film to grace the big screen. For F.W. Murnau’s considerable gifts as a director—he also filmed Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, the first movie to ever win Best Picture—the movie lives and dies on Max Schreck’s utterly incredible performance as the titular bloodsucker. Here’s the ultimate indication of just how good Schreck is here: Shadow of the Vampire, a 2000 film starring Willem Dafoe and John Malkovich, suggested that Max Schreck was an actual vampire. That film is, of course, a work of fiction, but let’s just say this: I would never have wanted to be alone in a dark alley with Schreck to find out. —Nico Lang
This George Stevens-directed film is melodrama done right. Julie (Irene Dunne) and Roger (Cary Grant) star as a young married couple doing their best to handle whatever life has in store for them. It’s a hell of a life. The couple fights over money, they struggle to balance professional and personal advancement, and they struggle to have a family. Penny Struggle may be over 75 years old, but modern audiences will have no trouble relating to Julie and Roger’s adversity. —Eddie Strait
The movie is about the hunt for a German serial. Peter Lorre stars as the murderer Hans Beckert in one of his first roles. While the movie works as a thriller, the technical experimentation by Lang is one of M’s hallmarks. Lang made is first foray into sound with M, using music in ways that nobody had seen (or heard) before. The German master’s M is a history of cinema class in two hours. —Nico Lang
10) The General
Like many future landmarks, Buster Keaton’s The General was a financial flop and received poor reviews from critics after it initially debuted in theaters. However, The General went on to be known as the finest work in its director’s distinguished career, and Citizen Kane director Orson Welles emphatically claimed it was the greatest movie ever made. It’s easy to see why: The General offers some of the cinema’s most nimble physical comedy (Keaton did all of his iconic stunts for the film, which includes jogging on top of a moving train), as well as its star’s trademark deadpan charm. If you’re a fan of Charlie Chaplin or the Marx Brothers, you can’t miss it. —Nico Lang
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.