You've cut the cord. But streaming services have gotten too expensive, so you've cut back on them, too. You don't believe in piracy. Yet you still want to watch movies and TV shows. What is a person to do?
Stream for free! There is a bevy of free streaming sites out there that offer an impressive collection of films and television. Granted, you won't find the newest blockbusters (or even older blockbusters), but these free movie streaming sites are a great way to fill in the gaps in your film history, or discover unique, underground, "hidden gems" that will make you the coolest kid at the party.
So pop that popcorn, relax, and check out these great streaming sites that offer free movies online. Most of them can be viewed in a web browser or a dedicated app.
Youtube is, of course, the king of free streaming original content online and they're also hosting their own paid subscription service YouTube Red, but hidden away in the weeds of their rental platform is a pretty robust library of ad-supported movies you can stream for free. Current highlights include the original Child's Play, the Sylvester Stallone arm-wrestling drama Over the Top, Bloodsport, But I’m a Cheerleader, The King’s Speech, and Killer Klowns from Outer Space.
A huge selection of movies and TV shows that are always free, Tubi covers a wide range of genres - that is to say, all genres. You won't find new releases, but you will find some big hits from the last twenty years or so. Modern classics in their collection include Lord of War, Zero Dark Thirty, How to Train Your Dragon, Labyrinth, Drive, The Grandmaster, We Need to Talk About Kevin, and Whale Rider. The television collection mostly consists of older syndicated shows like Dead Like Me, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Carol Burnett Show, and Third Rock From the Sun.
Remember how exciting it was when libraries started offering movies and audio books for rent? Remember what a pain in the ass it was to go down to the library, only to discover their already meager selection was considerably depleted by other borrowers? Hoopla Digital is like a library you can browse from home. They offer movies, TV shows, audio books, comics, and music. The titles you can expect to find here are the same kind you can expect to find in a library, including The Girl with the Pearl Earring, P.S. I Love You, August Rush, the underrated Sam Elliott vehicle The Hero, the Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary RBG, the baffling but endlessly entertaining Winter’s Tale, and Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement's hilarious vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows, to name a few. The only downside is you have to have a library card to use the site... and the only place you can get a library card is to physically visit a library.
Similar to Hoopla Digital, Kanopy offers access to "quality, thoughtful entertainment" for free with your library card or through your university. Their focus seems to be on indie films, documentaries, and foreign films. The only downside is that not all libraries and universities have signed up to be part of Kanopy, so check their list. If you do have access, the service offers a pretty incredible selection of new and older titles alike (as well as tones of informative and educational content), including Lady Bird, Eighth Grade, Roshomon, First Reformed, and Memento. This one is of special note if you're an A24 fan since they feature a ton of their recent titles.
Vudu is best known as a place to buy and rent digital movies. You know when you buy a Blu-ray and there is a code offering you a free digital download? Frequently, that digital download is through Vudu. The service also offers thousands of movies and hundreds of TV series that are free with ads. You can find Sin City, The Boondocks Saints, Kate & Leopold, Gods Own Country, and more on Vudu.
IMDb isn't just the ultimate resource for film fans. They also have hundreds of free TV shows and movies streaming on their site, along with IMDb original productions (mostly interviews). Unlike most of the other services, IMDb TV is only available on Fire TV devices or on your computer (because duh, IMDb is owned by Amazon -- speaking of which, you can also the available IMDBtv titles through the Amazon Video player). Check out movies like Fury, Roxanne, Hot Rod, Tully, Red (and the sequel), Big Fish, Whiplash, Closer, The Brothers Bloom, and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer if you really want to mess up your day. In the television section, you can watch the breakout sensation Schitt's Creek, as well as a variety of popular series and syndicated titles like Lost, White Collar, Psych, Ugly Betty, and 3rd Rock from the Sun.
Hundreds of free movies, TV shows, and originals, all ad-supported. Unsurprisingly, everything is a Sony project, but they have a lot of good selections here: 99 Homes, 30 Days of Night, The Adventures of Tintin, Almost Famous, Black Book, Bronson, Election, Ginger Snaps, Paul Thomas Anderson's Hard Eight, Bong Joon Ho's The Host, Steven Spielberg's Minority Report, and if you're in the mood for a pair of spooky Christmas horror movies, check out Better Watch Out and Rare Exports. If you're looking for TV, you'll mostly find nostalgic favorites like 21 Jump Street, the animated Men in Black: The Series, Starsky and Hutch, T.J. Hooker, Zorro, Just Shoot Me, and if you're looking for an underrated curveball, check out the Elijah Wood FX drama Wilfred.
In addition to the standard collection of free, ad-supported movies and a handful of TV shows, Popcorn Flix also has a "viral video" section that is like a curated YouTube. They also offer original films (like Teacher of the Year starring Keegan Michael Key). Some movies to check out include Almost Famous, Train to Busan, We Need to Talk About Kevin, The Great Gatsby and Romeo and Juliet if you're in the mood for some classics, and Luz or Portals, if you're looking for some recent slept-on indie horror.
This is basically cable TV without the cable. It offers over 100 free streaming channels, including movies, sports, news, classic TV, and semi-recent reality television. There are channels devoted entirely to Doctor Who, Dora the Explorer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, anime, Comedy Central Roasts, Antiques Roadshow, and Mystery Science Theater 3000. If you want to watch on your own schedule, there is an On Demand section. And it does have some good flicks including Stargate, Coach Carter, a whole bunch of James Bond movies, and more. The only downside? There is no search feature.
I don't know much about anime, but I do know that CrunchyRoll.com is the place to stream anime online. With hundreds of anime series, and a few live-action Japanese dramas, you can stream lower-res, ad-supported videos for free, then chat about them in the community. Bonus points for the "random" button, which will randomly load up the first episode of a series.
Billed as a streaming service put together by "industry-leading producers and financiers," FilmRise.com seems to have films and TV shows that can be found on a lot of other free streaming services (Roseanne, 3rd Rock, Midsomer Murders). The movies can only be viewed on their app - not on your web browser. In addition, their search feature on the website doesn't work. On the upside, their site is clean and easy to navigate and current highlights include Prom Night, Big Fan, and Whale Rider.
Comet is a broadcast TV channel that focuses on science-fiction, including titles like Bubba Ho-Tep, Fido, several Star Trek Movies, Earth Girls Are Easy, and in the realm of TV, there's a curated selection of genre classics including the original Battlestar Galactica series, The Outer Limits, and The Ray Bradbury Theater. They don't have an On Demand option, but you can catch these titles and more at their scheduled times.
From the same people who run Comet comes Charge, which is dedicated to action programming. Like Comet, it is all streaming. Some of their films include Survivor starring Pierce Brosnan and Milla Jovovich, Stolen starring Nicholas Cage, and for Charles Brosnan fans, they've got Love and Bullets and Borderline.
Curated by director Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, The Neon Demon), By NWR features three films per month. Each are handpicked by Refn, fully restored, and are joined by essays by a variety of film critics and historians. The films are mostly grindhouse flicks: nudie-cuties, horror, crime, "hicksploitation," and other obscure exploitation subgenres. If titles like Satan in High Heels, She-Man: A Story of Fixation, and Cottonpickin' Chickenpickers don't pique your interest, you may be dead inside.
The Internet Archive is a non-profit collection that includes over four million videos. They are largely public domain films; short films uploaded by their creators; TV news reels; movie trailers; and stock footage. Some highlights: George Romero's Night of the Living Dead; Ed Wood's Plan 9 From Outer Space; The Sheik starring Rudolf Valentino; several Charlie Chaplin classics; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; episodes of The Three Stooges; vintage cartoons like Woody Woodpecker and Popeye; and my personal favorite, mental hygiene films.
CW Seed has a couple-dozen TV series you can watch, in their entirety, for free. This includes the complete run of CW shows like The Secret Circle, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, and Hellcats; off-network shows like House of Cards (UK), Pushing Daisies, and Schitt's Creek; and original animations like Supernatural: The Anime Series and Constantine: City of Demons.
Most networks have a handful of episodes of their current shows to stream. ABC.com offers this, but also full runs of a handful of canceled shows, including classics like My So-Called Life and Felicity; newer treats like Ugly Betty and The Muppets reboot; and a couple genre favorites of mine: Reaper and The River.
If you are familiar with Shout Factory, then their streaming selection will satisfy your viewing needs. Digging in to the vast Shout Factory catalogue of cult, underground, foreign, and generally weird films, every genre is represented here: horror, sci-fi, comedy, drama, martial arts, western, action, and documentaries. The standouts here are collections of the original Mystery Science Theater 3000 films, Riff Trax, and Elvira's Movie Macabre. Most of the films come from the 1980s or earlier, so if you are looking for a new release, it's not here.
Thor and Star-Lord may be off the hook.