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Free Movies Online
Crackle is owned by Sony, so it features a robust lineup of movies and TV shows in Flash format from Sony Pictures Entertainment. In the collection of full-length movies, you’ll find a good number of blockbuster hits along with a generous smattering of obscure B-movies. There’s a diverse library of freebies, but rather than keeping movies on the site indefinitely, Crackle cycles through them, posting titles online for a limited period. Crackle is a great resource, although the constant interruptions from advertisers can get old pretty quickly.
This one is really a no-brainer. Everyone knows that YouTube is the biggest video-hosting service in town, after all, and you probably already use the site for silly cat videos and footage of people getting hit with exercise balls. But you might not know that YouTube has a sizable collection of feature-length movies as well. Granted, the majority of these are B-list novelties, but there are a few quality flicks hiding in there — you just have to do a bit of digging.
In addition to the free, Google-curated movies, there are thousands of films on the site that won’t show up unless you search directly for them. If you’re looking for a particular flick, especially an older one, it’s worth performing a quick search on YouTube to see if someone has posted it. These aren’t always uploaded by the film’s rights holders, and many of them are divided into episodes and playlists, but as they say, beggars can’t be choosers.
YouTube might be the biggest video-hosting site, but Vimeo is probably the best. Yeah, them’s fighting words, but Vimeo has the muscle to back ’em up. The site dons a clean layout that’s devoid of ads and benefits from an active user community that’s widely considered more professional and constructive than YouTube’s. From this community emerges a lot of great original short and feature-length films. Vimeo also has an On-Demand section where users can purchase full-length movies and television shows. The majority of these are independently produced by Vimeo users, but some offerings are produced by major studios as well. Either way, Vimeo is a great place to find free, high-quality movies.
Chances are, you’re reading this article because you’re looking for a place to watch newly released movies online. While there’s nothing wrong with that, you definitely shouldn’t ignore all of the fantastic older films the internet has to offer. Archive.org offers a veritable treasure trove of old movies you’ve probably never heard of, as well as a handful that you’ll recognize.
The Archive — which is also the home of the famous Wayback Machine that shows you how the internet used to be — has silent films, black-and-white horror flicks, obscure sci-fi movies, and an assortment of other movies. It might not have all the fancy CGI you’ve grown so accustomed to, but we’ve found that the occasional throwback is a great way to mix things up.
Big Five Glories
Big Five Glories received a stylistic overhaul in the last year or two, and it looks great. If the name seems kind of corny, that’s because the folks behind the project spent their time compiling hundreds of free movies from the ’20s to the ’50s — aka the “Golden Age” of Hollywood — instead of coming up with a hip and edgy name. (If you’re curious, it’s a reference to the big five movie houses: 20th Century Fox, RKO Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.) If your idea of a fun weekend is kicking back and watching Turner Classic Movies, then you’ll dig Big Five Glories.
Open Culture is designed to be your one-stop shop for all things free and cultured. The site offers hundreds of free online classes to enroll in, thousands of free ebooks to read, and hours upon hours of lectures from prominent figures such as Carl Sagan and Leonard Bernstein. It also offers a ton of free movies. Here, you’ll find everything from silent and Hitchcock-helmed projects to Westerns and film noir. The site even houses some early shorts by legends like Quentin Tarantino and Stanley Kubrick. Open Culture may be difficult to navigate, but with more than 1,150 free movies available, it’s definitely worth the slog.
Retrovision is another public domain site that features hundreds of classic movies from several different eras. The word “classic” might be up for interpretation — there are some films here that were made as recently as last year, and not all of Retrovision’s movies are high-quality — but semantics are semantics. Retrovision is still a well-designed site that allows users to filter based on genre. It’s also not limited to feature-length movies, either, as there’s a robust collection of classic TV shows to choose from (see: Popeye and Star Trek).
Shocker Internet Drive-In
Shocker Internet Drive-In is a bit niche, but it’s a great website. The site is updated weekly with “featured” horror classics, which are then made available for free download as .WMV files at the website’s “Snack Bar.” The site is a fun little blast from the past, with the weekly showings framed in a digital drive-in. Users can also purchase DVD copies of any film on the website for a mere $3.
Snagfilms is a video-on demand site that sports a selection of films you can’t find anywhere else on the web. Founded in 2008, it’s amassed around 10,000 independent documentaries and narrative films. There are plenty of rare gems to watch here, and since the founders have worked to establish dozens of partnerships, there are also plenty of different streaming devices which support free SnagFilms; The service is currently available as a free app for iOS and Android, but it’s also compatible with various Roku devices, Kindles, and a host of other streaming devices. The main website is also a breeze to navigate.
Love documentaries? So do we. After all, there’s something about real life that’s almost more fascinating than fiction. The apt-titled TopDocumentaryFilms is, hands down, the best site to go to for documentaries. Not every selection is full-length, but a good documentary doesn’t have to be long — some of the best are under the 60-minute mark. Boasting a library of over 3,000 films, the site also has a simple and straightforward layout and categorizes all of its films based on subject matter, making it really easy to find something you’re interested in right away.
Kanopy is one of the largest collections of films in the world, with 50,000+ films from thousands of leading producers such as Criterion Collection, Kino Lorber, and PBS. The collection includes classic and international cinema, as well as documentaries, educational and training videos on a wide range of arts, humanities, science, business and social science topics.
To find the current list of movies and links to watch, please contact DeAnn Jordan for information and login.