Websites Where You Can Watch Films For Free

Over the past few years, we’ve seen an explosion in movie streaming sites. Many of them are at least $5 per month and, if you are subscribed to a lot of them, that money can add up quickly.

However, there is a way to watch quality art house, classic, and independent films for free. Below is a list of all the free sites that I know of. I wanted to compile this list in case it’s helpful to other people. I’ve used most of them myself, and I provide some recommendations in case you’re wondering where to start.

Happy streaming!

 

PBS

Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is a nonprofit channel in the United States that is free to the public. Each state has its own local PBS station that airs both national and local programs. PBS airs many shows, including American Masters, American Experience, Nova, Independent Lens, POV, and more. Right now, shows air live on television and are available to stream for free on the PBS website and app, usually for around 30 days. PBS has introduced the Passport service that is similar to an additional paid subscription that gives you exclusive access to the vast PBS catalog. You have to donate around $60 per year to get Passport. You can even break that up into monthly $5 payments.

My recommendations: The Independent Lens and POV programs are my favorites, often airing documentaries that address urgent social issues, like mass incarceration, racism, and sexism

 

TUBI TV

Tubi TV is a site that offers a huge array of films. It’s an ad-supported site. So, commercials do play during the videos. You’ll find everything on here, from television movies to art house cinema. It’s one of my favorite sites because of that diversity.

My recommendations: Check out the documentary LIGHT YEARS, which is about the making of Lucrecia Martel’s ZAMA or explore Sarah Polley’s  STORIES WE TELL or watch Jessica Hausner’s  AMOUR FOU. Give the foreign language category a good look. You might also like Dick Cavett’s interviews with famous directors, including Ingmar Bergman. You’ll find those interviews in Season 12. You also shouldn’t miss Hou Hsiao-hsien’s MILLENNIUM MAMBO.

 

LE CINEMA CLUB 

Le Cinema Club has one film available to stream for free for one week. The site spotlights both short and feature films, and primarily focuses on art house.

 

MOSFILM ON YOUTUBE

Mosfilm is a legendary Russian film studio that’s been around since 1920! Many of its films are available on its Youtube channel and do include English subtitles.

 

RVISION ON YOUTUBE

This is a great resource for lovers of old Russian and Soviet cinema. Many of the films have English subtitles.

 

KOREAN FILM ARCHIVE ON YOUTUBE

With Bong Joon-ho’s recent wins at the Oscars, people are even more interested in Korean cinema. The Korean Film Archive has made over 100 films available for free on YouTube, and many of them have English subtitles.

 

FESTIVAL SCOPE

Festival Scope is a site that offers access to film festivals online. Often, the films are free and available for a set period of time.

 

VUDU

Vudu is a video on demand site created by Wal-Mart. Films are available for purchase and rent. In addition, they have a section of free films that you can stream with commercials.

My Recommendations: Check out two films I’ve covered on the podcast: Nancy Savoca’s DOGFIGHT and Jonathan Glazer’s BIRTH. Or check out Kelly Reichardt’s MEEK’S CUTOFF and Ray Lawrence’s LANTANA.

 

IMDB TV

IMDB TV is a service provided by the popular Internet Database website. All the films are free with ads. You can also search for the titles on Amazon Prime and add them to your wishlist there, or you can create an IMDB account to watch the films. They change the films each month, and also offer television shows. The films tend to be more commercial and mainstream, but you never know what you might find.

My recommendation: Check out Niki Caro’s WHALE RIDER

 

THE ROKU CHANNEL

You don’t have to use the Roku app in order to watch the films and shows on The Roku Channel. It’s a stand-alone website that allows you to stream things for free with commercials.

My recommendations: Check out Ang Lee’s EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN or Agnieszka Holland’s THE SECRET GARDEN.

 

CRACKLE

Crackle has been around for a while. It offers both movies and television shows, many of which are mainstream, Hollywood hits. The selection usually changes every month.

My recommendations: Check out Campbell Scott and Stanley Tucci’s BIG NIGHT or Penny Marshall’s AWAKENINGS.

 

NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA

Many films on the website of The National Film Board of Canada are available to residents in the United States. I urge anyone to take advantage of this and explore the NFB’s vast catalog of documentaries, feature films, and shorts. NFB also has the films on its YouTube channel.

My recommendations: Check out THE LOST GARDEN: THE LIFE AND CINEMA OF ALICE GUY-BLACHE or  MARGARET ATWOOD: ONCE IN AUGUST

 

POPCORN FLIX

Popcorn Flix has a selection of films and shows that you can watch for free with commercials. The content is not always the highest quality but occasionally you can find some hidden gems.

My recommendations: Check out Thomas Vinterberg’s THE HUNT or Anna Biller’s THE LOVE WITCH or Gilles Bourdos’s RENOIR

 

SNAG FILMS

Snag Films has a large catalog. Many of the films tend to be documentaries that focus on social issues and people’s lives around the world. I think if you like documentaries, this is an excellent site for you to explore.

My recommendation: Heddy Honigmann’s FOREVER

 

ARTE IN ENGLISH

I’d give anything for the regular Arte channel to be available here in the United States. They do offer a version of it in English with some free programs. There isn’t a huge selection and many of the items are short, but it’s worth a look.

 

INTERNET ARCHIVE

Most people know about the Internet Archive. It’s been around for a long time. You can often find films on there that are in the public domain.

My recommendations: Check out Charlie Chaplin’s THE IMMIGRANT or watch Buster Keaton in THE GENERAL.

 

UBU WEB

If experimental film is more your thing, Ubu Web has a good variety of short films and documentaries, often focusing on artists and writers.

My recommendations: Check out Bas Jan Ader’s Selected Works or Hiroshi Teshigahara’s ANTONIO GAUDI or some short films by Agnes Varda as well as her interview with Susan Sontag.

 

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS ON YOUTUBE

The Library of Congress has a YouTube channel where you can find some old films, including many short silent films.

My recommendations: Check out this playlistof selections from the National Film Registry or these early Thomas Edison films.

 

MIDNIGHT PULP

Midnight Pulp has both a free and paid version. Look for “Pulp+” in the top left corner of the thumbnails to know which films you have to subscribe to see. The site has a surprisingly good selection of art house movies.

My recommendations: Check out Joshua Oppenheimer’s THE LOOK OF SILENCE or a documentary on Jean Genet or Ermanno Olmi’s THE LEGEND OF THE HOLY DRINKER.

 

ASIAN CRUSH

Asian Crush is very similar to Midnight Pulp. They share an almost identical website design, but obviously Asian Crush focuses on films from across Asia. There are free films on the site while others can only be accessed by purchasing a subscription. There is an “A+” in the top left corner of a film’s thumbnail to indicate that it’s only for subscribers. The films include English subtitles.

My recommendations: Check out MY LOVE, DON’T CROSS THAT RIVER or the documentary about New Taiwanese Cinema FLOWERS OF TAIPEI. There is also Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s HAPPY HOUR and Anthony Chen’s ILO ILO, as well as Hou Hsiao-hsien’s THE TIME TO LIVE AND THE TIME TO DIE and DUST IN THE WIND.

 

YUYU TV

YuYu TV has a similar layout as Asian Crush and Midnight Pulp. It too has films for subscribers and films that are free. The “YY+” in the top left hand corner indicates which films are exclusively for subscribers.

My recommendations: Check out Maïwenn’s MY KING or Ann Hui’s A SIMPLE LIFE. There is also a collection of Francois Ozon’s early short films.

 

KINET

Kinet is a website that offers free access to experimental and avant-garde cinema. Filmmakers can also submit their films to the site.

 

 

Disclaimer: The catalogs on these websites are subject to change. Many of them replenish and replace their offerings on a monthly basis. What is available today might expire tomorrow. I will recommend a film or two from each site, but by the time you read this post those films might not be available anymore. Also, I am located in the United States. I don’t know if these sites are free outside of my own country. Some of the sites require you to create an account using your email address, others do not. None of them require your credit card or any other financial information. Some of these sites do contain ads and commercials.

 

 

Have I left out a website? Let me know in the comments.

 

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