We’re constantly on the look-out for good quality entertainment. Sadly, it’s not always economical. Nevertheless, if you are on a tight budget or just want to watch a movie at home at your convenience, we’ve brought to you this article in which we’ve listed and discussed the best legal sites to download movies from, for free. Read on to know more.
Its no news that the cable TV has been replaced as the primary source of entertainment in many households worldwide; especially in the U.S. While there are quite a few quality streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime to choose from, they all have their own unique selling points and target audiences. Therefore, they also offer different features and types of content.
Though it is very tempting to get a subscription for multiple services in order to access a variety of content, it may not always be practical. That’s because individually, these subscriptions charge a minimal monthly fee but when you opt for more than one of these services and also get add-ons, your monthly bill will quickly add up only to resemble a cable TV package.
Furthermore, we’ve all known of and even used torrent sites. Unfortunately, they’re illegal and involve too many risks to continue downloading files. There is also a horde of illegal streaming sites such as Fmovies and Movies 123. While these contain all the latest titles, they lack a good interface and again, pose a legal threat. These sites could also turn out to be malicious for your device. Recently, we also shared all kind of movie download sites in this article.
So what are your options?
There are a few websites which let you download movies for free, albeit, legally. We’ve sorted the best ones out for you. Check them out below.
Top 10 Legal Free Movie Download Sites 2018
The Internet Archive is perhaps the best source to download movies for free sans legal troubles. The only reason why The Internet Archive isn’t listed right on top of the list is the lack of a good web interface. In case you’re unaware, The Internet Archive is a nonprofit online library that offers free public access to various types of content including software apps, music, games, movies, videos, and e-books. In 2016, the site was reported to contain about 15 petabytes of data, that’s just insanely huge. However, it isn’t surprising since the site was launched way back in 1996; that’s more than two decades ago.
The site let’s people upload and download digitalized material but most of it is gathered by its web crawlers in order to preserve the public web as much as possible. If you dig through its categories, you’ll find a sub-category called feature films under which there are many genres like comedy, sci-fi, horror, and film noir. Just to give you a rough idea, you can get movies such as the Jungle Book, The Brother from Another Planet, Night of the Living Dead, and Iron Mask. Aside from this, it also features awesome documentaries and short educational films.
Using this website is fairly easy, especially if you’re used to downloading torrent files. Earlier, it provided direct links to the movies but the downloads weren’t successful due to large file sizes. But now, it provides torrent links (legal ones of course) so all you’ll need is an internet connection and a BitTorrent client. The best way to discover movies is by selecting “Movies” under media type, and then picking a subject/topic of your interest.
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YouTube is an excellent source of entertainment with an interface and streaming experience par excellence. Aside from beauty tutorials, product reviews, travel vlogs, and music videos, YouTube also hosts a ton of movies. The site has its own channel called YouTube movies, where you can rent or buy a title; but these come at a cost. However, if you search thoroughly, you’ll find that there are numerous channels which upload full-length movies.
One of the most well-received free movie channels include the Paramount Vault. Paramount Pictures have uploaded at least a 100 free movies on this channel (mostly classics). Apart from that, you’ll also find several short clips from movies ranging across genres like comedy, action, and horror. Other famous movie channels include Popcornflix, Public Domain Full Movies, and Maverick movies.
If you are looking for a specific title, just type that into the search bar and add the keywords “full movie” or “full-length” to it. Always check the length of the video to make sure that it really is the full movie. In case you’re not sure what to watch and want to know which movies are available on YouTube for free, you could again just type in the keywords “free full-length movies”. Don’t want to spend time browsing? You could simply search Google for all the movie titles which are available for free on YouTube.
Apart from classics and other feature films, you’ll also come across many YouTube Original titles which a few people have got their hands on for free. That said, still many of those titles are inaccessible as they’re exclusively offered to YouTube Red subscribers.
Crackle is another great video streaming and downloading service that is owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, one of the most well-reputed entertainment firms that has produced and distributed some of the biggest movie names in the industry. Earlier this year, the company rebranded Crackle to “Sony Crackle”.
Sony Crackle has an impressive list of content partners considering that the service is available for free. Few of them include Aniplex, FOX Digital, SnagFilms, The Walt Disney Company, Universal Studios, Lions Gate Entertainment, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Funimation, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, and Paramount Pictures. Besides that, Crackle also features content from Columbia Picturesm TriStar Pictures, Screen Gems, and of course, Sony Pictures Classics.
It also hosts Sony-distributed TV shows like The Shield, Damages, and Sienfeld. What’s more? Similar to paid services like Netflix, Crackle has also self-produced content. A few of the crackle originals are Sports Jeopardy, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and feature films like Joe Dirt 2, and Extraction. The content is updated on a monthly basis so you’ll find new titles being added at regular intervals.
Currently, Sony Crackle can be accessed in about 21 nations in three different languages, i.e. English, Spanish, and Portuguese. The best part? They’ve also developed a mobile app with an above-average interface so if you wish to download movies straight on your phone, you could just install the app instead of logging onto the website.
Open culture is a lot more specialized in terms of the type of movies it offers. You’ll find that majority of the titles are culture and education centric. Other than that, it also hosts most of the Oscar Winning Titles, classics, and short films. Also, if you’re a fan of Charlie Chaplin, this is the place to run to for your regular dose of laughter as Open Culture has separate section for those movies altogether. Currently, it has a repository of about 1,150 free movie titles. Apart from that, it also offers roughly 1300 free online courses, 700 audio books, 800 e-books, 200 textbooks, 300 language lessons, and about 150 Business books. To boot, you can also avail K-12 education at absolutely no cost.
Browsing is a breeze as the media is divided into 7 main categories in the form of navigation tabs at the very top of the homepage. To download movies, all you have to do is click on “Movies”, and scroll down the title index. Once you’ve picked a title, it’ll display the play window. What we loved about this website is that whatever little movie-related content is available, is available in high-quality with close to no issues in streaming/downloading.
As the name suggests, Public Domain Torrents contain movies whose copyrights aren’t assigned to any individual. Hence, downloading or sharing them is totally legal. The site works quite like any other torrent website so you need to make sure that you have a BitTorrent client installed on your device.
What stood out for us is that this website provides different formats of the movie file for various platforms such as PSP, iPod, and Google video. Other than that, you’ll also find the files available in Divx AVI (supported on mostly all video players). You could download and watch the content using your laptop, computer, and a couple of other streaming players.
When you open the site, you’ll notice that the content is well-organized under categories such as Top Twenty Seeded, Newest Twenty Added, Show All, and genres like Animation, Comedy, War, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Family. When you click on a title, it shows you a screencap of all the relevant information such as a plot brief and release year.
Perhaps the only thing we didn’t like about the site is that it mostly features classics and B-movies but that’s still awesome in exchange for nothing at all.
Retrovision has one of the most efficient content browsing system, thanks to the carefully curated genres which are shown right on top of the homepage. You can choose from Adventure to Comedy to Classic TV to Sci-Fi, the options are endless. These genres are further divided into sub-genres like Film Noir, Kung Fu, Godzilla, Vincent Price, Popeye Cartoons, Jack Benny, and Lucille Ball. Apart from this, you can also watch some classic TV shows like One Step Beyond, Federal Men, and Star Trek. If you want the entire list of movies, choose the “All movies list”
option. If you wish to remain updated about the latest additions or upcoming content, you could subscribe to their newsletter.
What’s more? Retrovision also boasts of an app called Classic UHF that allows you stream content on the move. However, this is only meant for Android users. Like most other sites on the list, this site also features mostly old and not-so-popular movies so if you’re okay with that, this is a must try service.
MoviesFoundOnline is our personal favorite by the sheer virtue of its extensive library. It not only offers full length movies but also other content like short films, documentaries, animated films, series, comedy specials, and viral videos. You may also browse through the content using sub-categories such as Most Viewed Videos, Recent Full Movies, Latest Short Films, Latest Animations, Latest Documentaries, and Latest Series/Shows.
MoviesFoundOnline does not host any content on its own server. Instead, it pulls up links from various public domain sources and enables you to download content. That said, it takes off any title that is found to violate copyright laws.
If you are into indie films, stand-up comedy, or documentaries, this site is worth checking out.
Classic Cinema Online caters to a very niche audience; that which prefers classic movies such as Moby’s Dick, Lone Ranger, Mutiny, Bye Bye Birdie, Pygmalion, and The Mark of Zorro. If you want a narrowed search result, you could use the site’s sub-genres like Animated, Comedy, Documentary, Drama, Holiday, Sci-Fi, Musical, and Western, under the “Movie Billboards” tab. To boot, Classic Cinema Online also has a “Silent Films” section with genres like Action, Adventure, Romance, and Mystery.
The site has a very premium look and feel to it that is completely in sync with what it has to offer; i.e. retro cinema. If movies released in the black and white era are up your alley, this could be your top pick. Just to add, this service has a sister website called the Classic Television Online so if you’re interested in black & white TV serials, do give it a try.
Owned by Screen Media Ventures, Popcornflix is essentially an over-the-top service that offers streaming as well as downloading movies and webisodes, albeit, interrupted by short advertisements. It sports a very simple, yet functional design and interface with the latest or trending titles shown in a slider-format on the homepage. As you scroll down further, you’ll find several genres such as Action, Comedy, Drama, Horror, and Thriller. So if you are looking for something specific, you could choose from any of the aforementioned genres. You may also select titles with the help of categories like Popular movies, Staff Picks, and Foreign Films. Aside from movies, Popcornflix also features TV shows/web series such as Maison Close, Inspected Gadget, Prison Families, and Mysterious Island.
It would be worth mentioning that this site features National Geographic movie and show releases as well as other nature-centric content so if you’re into that, do check it out.
Presently, the service can be availed only in certain countries including the U.S. and Canada. You could enjoy the content across a host of platform such as Roku, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Windows 10, Windows 10 mobile, and Popcornflix.com using your phone or laptop/desktop.
If you haven’t already figured out from the name itself, Top Documentary Films offers a wide array of quality documentaries, ranging across genres such as 9/11, Art and Artists, Nature, Mystery, Comedy, Drugs, Crime, Conspiracy, Biography, Religion, Science, History, Military/War, Sports, and Technology. You can find these categories towards the right side of the homepage.
Under categories, you’ll also see the “Recently Added”, “Highly Rated”, “Most Voted”, and “Most Shared” sections. This is especially useful if you’re indecisive about what to pick. They also have a “Top 100 Documentary” list if you want to watch the most popular titles. If documentaries are right up your alley, this is a must-visit site.
The above mentioned sites mostly contain movies that fall under the public domain category, i.e. ones without any copyrights. Hence, you’ll notice that many of the latest or popular titles are missing. But still, it is definitely a nice option to have. Its also important to keep in mind that are expected to add more titles to their catalogue in years to come. Personally, we’d suggest that you use these sites as a supplement to a paid subscription-based service such as Netflix.
A few other free movie downloading sites are Vimeo, WatchDocumentary.org, TubiTV, etc. However, we didn’t mention them because they still have a lot of room for improvement. Nevertheless, there’s no harm in checking them out.
Think we’ve missed out any? Please do fill us in on the same in the comment section down below.