Best Movies on Tubi to Watch Right Now

Tubi is secretly the best streaming service on the market, as demonstrated by these seven cinematic greats.

Daniel Kaluuya as Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah
Photo: Warner Bros. / HBO Max

Let’s face it, streaming services have lost a lot of their appeal. Between their ever shifting libraries, their kneecapping of theaters, and their tendency to overwhelm viewers with substandard garbage, it’s hard to be excited about our streaming present. Heck, most services now play the same couple of ads over and over, even for paying customers!

With every annoying insurance ad and every movie suddenly shoved from a service you bought to a different service you don’t have, Tubi looks better and better. Tubi is one of many free streaming services available online. Like most other services, free or otherwise, Tubi interrupts the programming with occasional ads.

But Tubi also has an outstanding library, one that rivals Max, with its oft-threatened TCM and Ghibli channels. Still, Tubi can be overwhelming to some users, who can’t always see the gems alongside stinkers such as Big Stan (starring Rob Schneider!) or Steven Seagal’s latest embarrassment. So, here are seven of the best offerings available for free on Tubi right now that are sure to please any cinephile.

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

Robin Hood remains one of the most popular figures in Western culture, and with good reason. We still need heroes who steal from the rich and give to the poor, and archery always looks cool. However, sometime around the 1970s, filmmakers have assumed that dark and gritty is the way to go for the legendary thief and his assembled merry men, making earlier takes look silly and dated.

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It takes only a few minutes for The Adventures of Robin Hood to destroy that assumption. Yes, Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone wear tights and lavish costumes as Robin Hood and as Guy of Gisbourne, respectively. And yes, Flynn’s laughing take on the hero clashes with modern sensibilities. But all of that falls away with the drama ably shot by director Michael Curtiz and the still-stunning action scenes directed by William Keighley. The Adventures of Robin Hood sets the standard for all adventure movies, making it a timeless watch beyond the folk tale’s core themes.

Blacula (1972)

The Blaxploitation subgenre came about because of racist restrictions in Hollywood. Producers wanted to protect guys like Victor Mature, despite his inability to play anything other than a block of wood, shoving all the great Black performers off to other productions. Few movies demonstrate the foolishness of these racist producers and audiences like Blacula, a cheesy vampire flick grounded by a monumental performance by William Marshall.

Directed by Black filmmaker William Crain, Blacula begins with African Prince Mamuwalde visiting Count Dracula (Charles Macaulay), hoping to enlist the Transylvanian nobleman’s help ending the Slave Trade. Super-racist as well as a blood sucker, Dracula resists and instead turns Mamuwalde, dubbing him “Blacula.” Williams nails the dignity and tragedy of his character, who reawakens in 1970s America to pursue a woman (Vonetta McGee) who looks like his lost love. Crain throws in some truly effective scares, including a haunting shot of one of Blacula’s enthralled running down a hallway.

Near Dark (1987)

Movie geeks of the 1980s fall into two camps when it comes to vampire movies. Some prefer the glorious cheese of The Lost Boys, while others want the bleakness of Near Dark, both released in 1987. Near Dark comes from Kathryn Bigelow, who went on to become the first woman to win Best Director. Co-written by Bigelow and Eric Red, Near Dark follows a group of vampires traveling across the American Southwest, and the young man (Adrian Pasdar) who becomes one of their number.

Bigelow brings all the style and cool that would later define her career, as well as an interest in masculinity and youth. The proceedings lag when too focused on Pasdar’s character due to the actor’s bland performance. However, the film becomes terrifying and compelling whenever it goes back to the main vampire pack, played by James Cameron‘s faves Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, and Jenette Goldstein.

Drunken Master (1978)

It’s not just his mastery of kung fu that makes Jackie Chan one of the world’s greatest movie stars. It’s also his sense of humor, and his ability to bring Buster Keaton-esque gags to the martial arts genres. That special talent is on full display in Drunken Master, Chan’s breakout and still one of his most influential films.

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Directed by Hong Kong legend Yuen Woo-ping, Drunken Master features Chan as the rebellious but talented Wong Fei-hung. Sick of his son’s antics, Wong’s father sends the boy to train with Su Hua Chi aka Beggar So (Yuen Siu-Tin), known for his cruel method. The clashes between Wong and Beggar So show off the blazing speed of both performers. But they’re also rich with comedy, setting Chan on a path to worldwide fame.

Basket Case (1982)

When most people think of low-budget horror schlock from the 1980s, they think of Troma and entries such as The Toxic Avenger and Surf Nazis Must Die. Where Troma films existed only to offend, the movies of Frank Henenlotter offended and provoked, working interesting ideas into all of the onscreen grotesquery. Henenlotter’s unique approach has been there since the beginning, in his debut feature Basket Case.

Basket Case stars the achingly earnest Kevin Van Hentenryck as Duane Bradley, a man wandering through New York slums with a basket. Anyone unfortunate enough to look inside the basket discovers Belial, a living hunk of flesh that was Duane’s deformed conjoined brother, forcibly removed by unscrupulous doctors. Duane and Belial cut their way through New York on a mission of vengeance, which Henenlotter portrays with stomach churning grossness and genuine pathos.

UHF (1989)

Weird Al Yankovic made his name with fantastic parodies, taking the glitz and glamor out of pop stars with songs about sitcoms and Spam. Yankovic took that sense of humor to Hollywood just once, with the fantastic comedy UHF. Co-written by Yankovic and director Jay Levy, UHF has a loose plot about starry-eyed George Newman (Yankovic), who finds his calling when he and his best pal Bob (David Bowe) take over a failing UHF station.

Really, the plot just exists as an excuse for Yankovic to parody TV like he does music. Stand-out sequences involve Newman opening Al Capone’s glove box on a raucous Maury Povich-style talk show, his janitor Stanley Spadowski (Michael Richards) blasting children with a fire hose, or commercials for stores such as Spatula City or Plots ‘R Us.

Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)

Directed by Shaka King, who co-wrote the screenplay with Will Berson, Judas and the Black Messiah might be the most forgotten Oscar winner in recent memory. Even though the story of Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton being betrayed by informant William O’Neal earned six nominations, including Best Picture and Supporting Actor for LaKeith Stanfield as O’Neal and Daniel Kaluuya as Hampton (who took home the hardware), COVID forced Judas and the Black Messiah to go straight to Max, where it got lost in the shuffle.

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Thanks to its inclusion on Tubi, Judas and the Black Messiah has a chance to reach a larger audience. Powered by Hampton’s empathetic message of justice for all and anchored by some outstanding performances, which also include Dominique Fishback as Hampton’s girlfriend and Jesse Plemons as O’Neal’s FBI handler, Judas and the Black Messiah has an urgency most Oscar movies lack.