Thu. Jun 13th, 2024


The landscape of free movie streaming sites has massively expanded in recent years, with more sites popping up all the time. If you’re looking to watch free movies online, here are our picks for the best options.


Tubi

Tubi
Tubi

It’s hard to argue with the vastness of Tubi’s library of free movies online, which includes everything from well-known classics and box-office hits to cult movies that sometimes are unavailable to stream anywhere else. Tubi provides an unprecedented opportunity for independent filmmakers to share their work, which means you can find a variety of micro-budget movies that otherwise might never be seen. Tubi has also branched out into original productions, although the quality of those films vary.

Since selections on free movie streaming sites change frequently, it’s helpful that Tubi has dedicated sections both for movies that are newly added and movies that are leaving soon. The sheer volume of content can be a bit overwhelming, but Tubi breaks down selections by genre and into specialty collections that make the experience more manageable. The ad breaks are not excessive, and the countdown to each one makes it less jarring when the movie you’re watching is interrupted.

Tubi
Pros

  • Huge selection of movies and TV shows
  • Lesser-known films not available anywhere else
  • Useful warnings about ad breaks
Cons

  • Sheer volume of content can be overwhelming

Pluto TV

Pluto TV logo.
Pluto TV

Pluto TV is a pioneer in the popular free ad-supported TV (FAST) space, offering up a range of linear-style channels. That means you don’t have to scroll through a library of titles if you just want to sit back and watch TV. Put on a channel devoted to a movie genre like drama or horror, or a niche interest like Godzilla movies or Hallmark, and Pluto will offer up an endless supply of programming. There are on-demand options, too, and if something on a FAST channel catches your interest, you can pause or start from the beginning.

Thanks to Pluto’s Paramount Global corporate ownership, there’s often premium content from Paramount Pictures, Paramount+, CBS, and Showtime cycling through the service’s offerings, along with news from local CBS affiliates. The on-demand library is a little tougher to navigate than the live channels, and Pluto’s interface always has some video auto-playing, which means you can change or mute the channel, but you can’t turn it off while you browse.

Pluto TV
Pros

  • Wide selection of live channels
  • Content from Paramount Global brands
  • Large on-demand library

Freevee

Amazon Freevee logo
Amazon Freevee

Previously known as IMDb TV, Freevee is Amazon’s home for watching free movies online. That means it’s fully integrated into Amazon Prime Video, so if you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber searching for something to watch, you’ll find Freevee offerings alongside Prime Video’s library. That can be convenient because it expands the selection of what’s available, but it can also be frustrating when Prime Video users click on a movie or show only to discover that it features ad breaks.

For users who aren’t Amazon Prime subscribers, though, Freevee offers a convenient way to watch free movies, including some Prime Video original programming that’s offered through Freevee on a limited basis. Freevee has also delved into original programming with movies like the romantic comedy Love Accidentally and series like crime drama Bosch: Legacy and Emmy-nominated reality/scripted hybrid comedy Jury Duty. With the resources of Amazon behind it, Freevee has become one of the most prominent free movie websites.

Amazon Freevee
Pros

  • Integration with Amazon Prime Video
  • Large selection of content
  • Original programming including popular titles
Cons

  • Can be confusing to distinguish from Prime Video selections

Hoopla

Hoopla

Hoopla is one of two major free movie websites available to anyone with a library card from many libraries across the country. Depending on the individual library’s policies, cardholders can stream a limited number of free movies online every month, without subscription fees or ads. Hoopla’s film library includes an assortment of classics as well as many of the same fare available on free ad-supported streaming sites. It can sometimes be tough to find new releases, but Hoopla often carries movies that have just been released for VOD rental and aren’t available on any other ad-supported or subscription-based streaming services yet.

Hoopla’s borrowing limits also apply to its other available formats, including e-books, graphic novels, music, and audiobooks, so it can be tricky for dedicated library patrons to balance those different types of media. Hoopla sometimes offers “bonus borrows” of content that doesn’t count toward monthly limits, and it also offers BingePass, with unlimited access to similar content like Hallmark programming or Curiosity Stream documentaries for a set period of time.

Hoopla
Pros

  • Completely free with no ads
  • Selection of movies including exclusive new releases
  • Available to anyone with a library card
Cons

  • Limited number of streams per month
  • Movies and TV counted along with other media borrows

Kanopy

Kanopy
Kanopy

Like Hoopla, Kanopy is a way to watch free movies online for patrons of many libraries, as well as for university students. While there’s plenty of overlap between selections on both Hoopla and Kanopy, Kanopy is more focused on foreign films, documentaries, and arthouse releases. Like Hoopla, Kanopy offers a limited number of free movies online depending on the individual institution that provides access. Unlike Hoopla, Kanopy is entirely devoted to movies and TV, so users don’t have to split their credits among different types of media.

Selections on Kanopy may differ depending on licensing agreements for each sponsoring institution, so not every movie is available for every user. In general, Kanopy features a wide range of vintage and modern films, including movies from popular indie distributors like A24, which signed a long-term deal to provide content to Kanopy. That gives Kanopy a more diverse lineup of films than many subscription streaming services.

Kanopy
Pros

  • Completely free with no ads
  • Available to anyone with a library card
  • Impressive selection of arthouse and foreign films
Cons

  • Limited number of streams per month
  • Selections differ depending on the sponsoring institution

The Roku Channel

Roku

No, you don’t need to own a Roku device in order to watch the Roku Channel. That common misconception may have kept some people away from one of the most reliable free movie websites. While the Roku Channel is integrated into Roku streaming devices and Roku TVs, it’s also available as a standalone app on other streaming devices and as a website, where it features a selection of free ad-supported movies.

The Roku Channel also offers more than 350 live FAST channels, from cable brands like Ion and Court TV and franchises like The Walking Dead and Power Rangers. The Roku Channel has also delved into original programming, picking up all the shows from short-lived streaming service Quibi and producing original movies like Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. Ad breaks are relatively unobtrusive and usually cluster toward the first two-thirds or so of a movie, so the most involving part can run uninterrupted.

The Roku Channel
Pros

  • Available without a Roku device
  • Hundreds of live channels
  • Popular original programming
Cons

  • Roku integration limits usefulness elsewhere

Crackle

Crackle
Crackle

Initially launched in 2004, Crackle is one of the oldest free movie streaming sites, and it’s undergone various changes in ownership and content over the years. One thing that’s remained consistent is its position as a go-to site to watch free movies online, and its current ownership under Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment gives it access to a shared library of content with corporate sibling Redbox. You can find many of the same movies on both sites, with a range of genres, from classics to modern blockbusters, along with TV series including anime and British imports.

Crackle also hosts original content, including numerous romance and action movies, and TV shows like Chosen starring Milo Ventimiglia and the series adaptation of Guy Ritchie’s Snatch. Although its original productions aren’t as elaborate as they’ve been in the past, it’s still a reliable destination for on-demand ad-supported movies, just as it’s been for nearly two decades.

Crackle
Pros

  • Longtime destination for free content
  • Robust library of movies and TV series
Cons

  • Scaled back original content

Vudu

Free movies at Vudu
Vudu

Although Vudu is mainly known as an outlet for digital purchases and rentals, it’s also a destination for watching free movies online. Vudu’s selections include certain movies that are available to stream for free with ads, alongside movies for rental or purchase. That can make things a bit confusing, especially when a movie’s page lists both a rental price and a free option, but if you know what you are looking for, you can find plenty of options to watch free movies on Vudu.

There’s a dedicated section on Vudu’s site for free movies, so users don’t have to sort through paid content in order to find something to watch for free. Vudu’s free selections include movies and TV series in a variety of genres. Browsing through genres pulls up both free and paid offerings, so users can find something to watch for free as an alternative to a rental or purchase. It provides a good balance as long as you pay attention to how each selection is labeled.

Vudu
Pros

  • Free content integrated with rentals and purcahses
  • Dedicated section for free offerings
Cons

  • Can be difficult to differentiate free and paid selections

Redbox

Free movies at Redbox
Redbox

People may be more familiar with Redbox for its physical kiosks outside places like grocery stores and drugstores, which offer DVDs for rent, but the Redbox website is a destination for digital purchases and rentals as well as a place to watch free movies online. There’s a much wider selection of movies at Redbox online than at the kiosk, although info about movies available for physical rental comes up in search results alongside digital availability. That’s handy for finding all options to see a particular movie you want to watch, including the option to watch for free with ads.

You can also browse only the free selections, although they’re a little buried on the site’s home page. In addition to on-demand selections, Redbox also features FAST channels for a variety of movie genres and TV series, as well as news, music videos, and more. It’s not as extensive as the FAST selections on some other sites, but it offers a decent sampling of what Redbox has to offer.

Redbox
Pros

  • Wider selection of movies than Redbox kiosks
  • Extensive lineup of live channels
  • Free offerings integrated with paid rentals
Cons

  • Free section is somewhat difficult to navigate

Plex

Plex app icon on an Apple TV
Justin Duino / How-To Geek

Plex is so much more than just a place to watch free movies online, although it has plenty of free options available if that’s what you’re looking for. It’s designed as a one-stop destination for all your movie-watching needs, so you can organize your personal collection of digital movies or build watch lists for various subscription streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Alongside those functions, Plex also includes plenty of movies to watch free with ads, which can be integrated with the rest of your movie library.

If you’d rather not sign up for an account, you can still easily just stream movies and TV shows for free with ads, and Plex features a similar range of selections as other sites that focus solely on free offerings, with more than 20,000 titles available. Plex also offers various FAST channels to complement its free on-demand lineup.

Plex
Pros

  • Integrated service for digital movie library and watchlist
  • On-demand selections and free live channels
Cons

  • Free selections only a small part of the service

Shout TV

Shout TV
Shout TV

The free movie streaming site for boutique film distributor Shout Factory, Shout TV focuses on genre fare and cult classics, along with a range of other free selections. It’s home to FAST channels for cult favorites like Mystery Science Theater 3000 and ALF, as well as on-demand episodes of those and other offbeat TV series. The movie selection is heavy on horror, martial arts, sci-fi, and other cult genres. While Shout may not offer the breadth of other free movie websites, it’s more expertly curated.

One thing available on Shout that even most subscription streaming services don’t offer is commentary tracks, which are now mostly found only on DVD and Blu-ray releases. If you want to hear director John Carpenter talk about his horror anthology Body Bags, director Larry Cohen talk about cult monster movie Q: The Winged Serpent, or other filmmakers and actors comment on their work, then Shout is the free movie website to check out.

Shout Factory TV
Pros

  • Curated focus on cult and genre fare
  • Commentary tracks
Cons

  • Smaller selection than other services

YouTube

Jason Montoya / How-To Geek

Everyone knows YouTube as the top place for video content online, with literally hundreds of millions of user-uploaded videos of every type. But YouTube also functions as a free movie streaming site, with an official selection of movies available to watch with ads. Given YouTube’s sometimes chaotic free-for-all of content, it may be tough to find a particular movie to stream for free. It’s possible to browse a list of YouTube’s free movies online, but that listing isn’t easy to locate from YouTube’s home page.

YouTube’s official free offerings are far from the only free movies available on the site, though, and there are dozens of legal YouTube channels that offer free movies, from public-domain selections to small independent films looking to find an audience. If you can wade through the reams of content and wrangle your way through YouTube’s algorithm, it’s possible to find plenty of hidden gems along with the more popular free selections.

YouTube
Pros

  • Free mainstream movies with ads
  • Public domain and indie films uploaded by users
Cons

  • Volume of non-movie content makes curation difficult



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By John P.

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