Let’s be honest, it’s a weird time out there in the world of streaming movies. As the major streamers continue to mess around with their apps and libraries, adding ad-tiers or changing their names to nonsense words that have nothing to do with the brand, they’re also charging more for less. As Netflix, Max, and Amazon Prime decrease in value, free streaming services become a better deal.
But just because you’re not shelling out any cash doesn’t mean that you want a terrible experience. If you know where to look, you can find hundreds of movies available online, completely for free. And no, I’m not referring to those sketchy sites you used to visit in college. I’m talking about services that let you watch full-length movies completely for free. Sure, you’ll need to watch a few ads to get the movies, but that’s a small price to pay for a world of entertainment brought directly to your computer, tv, or phone.
So here are the ten best free movie apps, whether you’re watching on iOS, Android, or your desktop.
One of the oldest free streaming services on the internet, Crackle was launched as Grouper in 2004, a year before even YouTube hit cyberspace. Even after Crackle’s association with Sony has ended, the service still boasts a robust library from a wide range of genres. On Crackle, you can watch the Tobe Hooper animal attack movie Crocodile and the slasher classic Black Christmas, Boon Joon-Ho’s excellent crime drama Mother, and the inexplicable Sam Raimi/Coen Brothers collaboration Crimewave. Fans of tv will find equally varied fare, ranging from cult classics like Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In and NewsRadio to originals such as Playing With Power: The Nintendo Story and wrestling show Heroes Of Lucha Libre. And all that it costs you is time to watch a few ads.
Libraries! They aren’t just for nerds anymore! Actually, public libraries have long been one of the bastions of making cinema available to everyone, regardless of income. And with streaming moving into the mainstream, libraries have followed suit, thanks to programs such as Kanopy. With just a library card from either your local public library or your university, you can get access to some of the finest cinema of all time, including Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai and Wong Kar-Wai’s In the Mood for Love, as well as modern classics Moonlight and The Florida Project. Unlike other options on this list, Kanopy does not require you to sit through ads. However, the selection can change, depending on what your library makes available.
Yes, Peacock is the Office streamer of the NBC network, designed to charge users $20 a year to rewatch The Office. But the service also includes a surprisingly full movie library from Universal Pictures, available for free with ads. As you’d expect, this library includes some of Universal’s greatest entries, including Jurassic Park and Casino. But Peacock also includes new movies, available only on Peacock. Mere months after its theatrical release, the Nic Cage Dracula comedy Renfield has been added to the service, as is M. Night Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin, and the animated hit Puss-in-Boots: The Last Wish. The one catch? Even free users must sign up for an account to access the movies. But that’s not nearly as difficult as navigating the modern cineplex.
Pluto TV bills itself as a throwback to the heyday of cable television, when we would press the “channel up” button for hours, jumping in and out of shows and movies already in progress. The service features over 100 channels, devoted to particular genres or even tv shows. If you want an impromptu marathon of random movies from the 2000s? Tune into 00s Replay and relive flicks like Uptown Girls and Imagine That. But the service doesn’t cheat you out of great on-demand offerings, including Titanic and the Indiana Jones franchise (take that, Disney!). But the best thing on Pluto TV? The Mystery Science Theatre 3000 channel, to turn your home into a Satellite of Love.
Look, there’s no way to get around this. Free movie streaming services need to have cheap content to license, which means that those looking for blockbuster studio movies will likely be disappointed. But if you love low-budget, b-movie trash, then you’ll be happy as a pig in the mud on services such as Popcornflix. The service has a huge library, mostly consisting of wonderfully weird genre fare, including the mind-bending Scott Adkins vehicle Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning, killer unicorn horror movie CarousHell, and so many Steven Seagal flicks. Sure, you’ll sometimes get a classier entry, like Leigh Janiak’s thoughtful horror movie Honeymoon, but Popcornflix is really the place to get all the goofy genre goodness you could want.
“Meet your TV concierge” declares Plex’s homepage. Sure, sites love making grandiose claims like that, but with Plex, they might be right. Plex started as a way to stream media saved on your computer, and while that’s still a big part of the service, it’s expanded into a quality free movie service. Unlike most of the free services, Plex makes its Hollywood movies easy to find, giving you direct access to Paul Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct, Kathryn Bigelow’s war drama The Hurt Locker, and Bill Murray’s spy comedy The Man Who Knew Too Little. Plex doesn’t scrimp on the foreign and indie movies either, with access to the excellent A24 drama The Farewell and great Korean horror movie The Wailing. All this comes commercial-free, making Plex one of the best options on this list.
If you want to watch the absurd biopic Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, you can only go to one place: the Roku Channel. Yes, you read that right — Roku isn’t just a device you plug into your tv to access streaming services. It’s a quality service in its own right. At first glance, the Roku Channel emphasizes tv shows, offering full series of the original Quantum Leap and Babylon 5. But if you look a little closer, you’ll find a robust library of free to watch movies, including the aforementioned Weird Al biopic starring Daniel Radcliffe. Offerings include 1979’s The Amityville Horror, the 2007 teen comedy Superbad, and Spike Lee’s classic Do the Right Thing. The Roku Channel takes a bit more dexterity to navigate, but it’s definitely worth it to watch these great movies for free.
While most streaming services are charging you more to give you less, Tubi continues to build one of the best libraries on the internet. Want to watch last year’s indie gorefest hit Terrifier 2? You can find it on Tubi! Want to relive the 80s with The Karate Kid? You can watch it on Tubi! From John Wick and Inglorious Basterds to John Waters’s Cry Baby and the Tina Turner biopic What’s Love Got to Do With It?, Tubi puts most paid streaming services to shame. Sure, Tubi does require you to watch a few ads, but they’re integrated better than most free streaming apps, making for an easy viewing experience. Between its rich library and great functionality, Tubi is quickly becoming one of the best services on the internet, outdoing most of its paid competitors.
Most of us know Vudu as one of the primary video-on-demand services, the site to rent or purchase new movies such as Fast X or The Super Mario Bros. Movie. But Vudu also boasts a robust free-with-ads service, complete with a fantastic library of options. Sure, you’ll find the usual suspects on any free service, but what about weirdos like the Ken Loach adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Lair of the White Worm, starring a young Hugh Grant and Peter Capaldi, or the animated fantasy film The Last Unicorn? Vudu even has an A24 collection, with great films such as After Yang and The Green Knight available for free. With free movies like these, Vudu is one of the best film sites on the internet.
Okay, you probably know that you can find clips of movies on YouTube, often of dubious quality. And you might know that you can rent or purchase digital copies of movies on YouTube, in very high quality. But did you know that YouTube regularly has full-length, high-quality movies, completely free and legal? The library rotates more frequently than those of other services, but that allows them to have some of the more exciting offerings on the internet. Current free with ads movies include the Wachowskis’ underrated sci-fi fantasy Jupiter Ascending, fun kid’s horror flick Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and the guilty pleasure G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra. If you’re going to YouTube just to watch gaming videos, you’re really missing out.