As great as it is to have a zillion video-streaming options (Netflix! Hulu! Seeso!), subscription fees for all those different platforms add up. So it's our duty to point out one you're likely overlooking that won't cost you a cent -- as long as you already have an internet connection and a device capable of connecting to it, that is.
YouTube isn't just for Vine compilations and viral videos anymore. The OG streaming platform hosts an insane number of movies you can watch at no cost -- some more legal than others, admittedly. In addition, the site has a section for movies you can buy or rent. But we know you're trying to be budget-conscious these days, so we weeded through pages of random, obscure videos to find all the free movies actually worth your time.
Movies in the public domain
When a film's copyright expires, it enters the public domain -- meaning you can watch it legally for free, no strings attached. Many of the films below were made before copyright renewals were a thing, and for more under-seen old-school classics and B-movies, check out the curated selections on accounts like Times Classic Entertainment.
This YouTube channel is made possible by Screen Media Ventures, which is ad-supported and acquires the rights to various movies and TV shows. Some have Spanish-language subtitles, so watching them can double as an educational endeavor.
Mystery Science Theater 3000
The specialty of the cult Comedy Central and Sci-Fi Channel series MST3K is riffing over ridiculous B-movies. If you're a fan of its shtick -- which is tantamount to saying that you like to laugh -- follow along as these guys crack wise over full movies like these:
Alien From L.A.
Beginning of the End
The Brain That Wouldn't Die
The Crawling Eye
The Final Sacrifice
Manos: The Hands of Fate
Master Ninja II
Outlaw (of Gor)
Samson vs. the Vampire Women
Time of the Apes
The Touch of Satan
Okay, these aren't technically movies, but what they lack in self-contained run times, they make up for with incredible writing and production value. Amazon Original Series pilots ranging from young adult to very grown-up are all available on YouTube -- though if you want to watch past the first episode, which you totally will, you're going to have to subscribe to Prime. If you're not sure whether you want to make that commitment, this is a great place to try out some new prestige shows.
Many other movies are available to stream for free on YouTube, but we can't fully recommend them to you because they're in violation of copyright laws. We can, however, point you to the intrepid Redditors who discover these not-entirely-legal movies before they're taken down. Browse responsibly.
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