The Best Free Movies You Can Watch Online Legally

By Rick Gonzales | 7 months ago

Don’t want to pay for a streaming service? For those of us who need to hold on to our dollars, there are choices. You don’t have to pay. Streaming services that provide movies for free do exist. They host great free movies and they are totally legal to watch. A mix of newer films and iconic classics, there are plenty of movies to choose from. Here they are, the very best free movies available online.

The Terminator

Free movie The Terminator
  • Critical Consensus: 100% Positive

Conan the Barbarian may have opened eyes when it came to Arnold Schwarzenegger, but 1984s The Terminator put him on the map as one of the biggest action stars to fill the silver screen. James Cameron (Avatar, Titanic) cast Arnie as our favorite cyborg, on a mission from the future to kill Sarah Connor, mother of a future leader. Thankfully, Kyle Reese has also been sent back from the future to protect her.

Paul Attanasio from the Washington Post says of The Terminator, “A slickly made, shoot-’em-up sci-fi fantasia, it stands for the proposition that, inside the most staid local theater, there is a drive-in yearning to be free.”


The Last Picture Show

Last Picture Show online
  • Critical Consensus: 100% Positive

Director Peter Bogdanovich brought life to a small Texas town, set in 1951, as it followed high school seniors, portrayed by Timothy Bottoms (The Paper Chase) and Jeff Bridges (The Big Lebowski, Tron), as they played football, hung out at the local pool hall and went to the movies at the local movie theater. This free movie is a slice of life as the boys move into adulthood and is marked by the film debut of Cybill Shepherd (Moonlighting).

Simon Miraudo from Quickflix said, “The Last Picture Show is indeed one of the greatest movies ever made…”


Chinatown

Chinatown free
  • Critical Consensus: 99% Positive

This sordid Roman Polanski classic set in the late ‘30s involves murder, incest, Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. Nicholson stars as Jake Gittes, a private detective pulled into an adultery case that turns into more than even he bargained for. Gittes is threatened with legal action if he doesn’t drop the case that has turned into a conspiracy involving the LA Department of Water and Power and who controls the water rights.

C.J. Prince of Way Too Indie has this to say about the now free to watch movie classic Chinatown, “Lauded for its brilliant structure and build-up to a – you guessed it – shocking finale that still leaves me jaw-dropped after countless repeat viewings.”


Shaun The Sheep            

Shaun the Sheep movie free online
  • Critical Consensus: 99% Positive

This highly-touted and highly rated stop motion animation movie balances wit and heart. Shaun finds himself in a bit of trouble when he decides to have some fun, taking the day off. But his plans go awry when his trick to get the farmer to go back to bed backfires and the farmer ends up rolling away into the city. Shaun now has to follow, unknowingly with the rest of the flock following. It is up to Shaun to help save the farmer and get the flock safely back to the farm.

In one of the many positive reviews, Liz Braun of the Toronto Sun said, “Shaun The Sheep is suitable entertainment for anyone who likes to laugh out loud.”


Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now movie poster
  • Critical Consensus: 98% Positive

Francis Ford Coppola followed up his brilliant mafioso study, The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II, with Apocalypse Now, a movie based on Heart of Darkness, a novella by Joseph Conrad. This free movie is the story of the Vietnam War about an Army captain (Martin Sheen) who is assigned to track down and deal with an Army Colonel (Marlin Brando) who has gone AWOL and set up shop in the middle of the Cambodian jungle as their local leader. It is a slow descent into madness and not just in front of the camera but behind the camera. Brando was thoroughly unprepared for his role and massively overweight, Sheen was dealing with drinking problems and had a heart attack on the set and Coppola threatened suicide a couple of times during the production. A 6-month shoot turned into sixteen so it’s quite astonishing the final product was a masterpiece.

Kathleen Carroll from the New York Daily News said, “Certainly, no movie in history has ever presented stronger proof that war is living hell.”


Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb           

Kubrick's movie free
  • Critical Consensus: 98% Positive

Stanley Kubrick (The Shining) puts Peter Sellers to good use (three roles, in fact) in his 1964 political black satire about a deranged US Air Force general who orders a nuclear strike on the Soviet Union. The President of the United States and his staff then try to recall the bombers in hopes of preventing a nuclear holocaust. Kubrick co-wrote this movie that is ranked number 3 on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs list in addition to ranking near the top of our best free movies online list.

Variety’s Dave Kaufman on Dr. Strangelove, “Nothing would seem to be farther apart than nuclear war and comedy, yet Kubrick’s caper eloquently tackles a Fail-Safe subject with a light touch.”


The Conversation

Gene Hackman movie
  • Critical Consensus: 98% Positive

Another free Francis Ford Coppola movie, this one filmed in between Godfather and Godfather: Part II. This one stars Gene Hackman (The Poseidon Adventure, French Connection) as a surveillance expert hired to bug a conversation between a couple as they walk through the crowded Union Square in San Francisco. As he does this, along with a few of his associates, he hears the couple’s conversation as they talk about their fear that they are being watched. As Hackman puts together the pieces of the conversation, one part begins to nag at him; “He’d kill us if he got the chance.” John Cazale (Godfather), Cindy Williams (Laverne and Shirley) and Harrison Ford (Star Wars) also star in this thriller.

Michael Sragow of the New Yorker had this to say about The Conversation, “Thanks to Walter Murch’s keen, intuitive sound montage and Hackman’s clammy, subtle performance, the movie captures [an] elusive and universal fear-that of losing the power to respond, emotionally and morally, to the evidence of one’s own senses.”


It Happened One Night

Clark Gable online
  • Critical Consensus: 98% Positive

This free movie one goes in the way back machine. 1934 to be exact and the screwball comedy stars Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. Frank Capra directed this rom-com about a spoiled heiress who married a scheming man, much to her father’s dismay. The father attempts to take her away from her new husband by his yacht but she jumps ship, swimming to the shore. There she falls in with a newspaper reporter who makes a deal with her. If she gives him an exclusive story, he will help her reunite with her husband. Sparks fly.

Christy Lemire via her own website says of this classic, “It’s all about the snappy dialogue and simmering tension between these hugely charismatic stars.”


Lawrence of Arabia

Free Award Winning Movie
  • Critical Consensus: 98% Positive

One of the most epice free movies online, Peter O’Toole toplines the film that made him a star. In it, he plays British Lieutenant T.E. Lawrence and follows him in World War I to Arabia as a liaison between the British and the Arabs and their fight against the Turks. This movie is based on the real-life story of T.E. Lawrence and boasts a running time of over three and a half hours.

William Thomas of Empire said this about the epic film, “Sweeping, epic, majestic, awesome, sumptuous, you name the grandiose superlative and you’ll be right, with amazing performances and gorgeous visuals, although very, very long.”


On the Waterfront

On the Waterfront Poster
  • Critical Consensus: 98% Positive

Marlon Brando shines in this free to watch movie with his Academy Award performance as washed-up boxer Terry Malloy, a dock worker dealing the extreme mob influence on the docks. Malloy picks up an errand-boy job from the influence of his crooked lawyer brother and ends up witnessing a murder by the mob-connected union boss. What is Malloy to do when no one else will speak up? Elia Kazan directed this classic that was nominated for 12 Academy Awards, winning eight.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Jack Moffitt raved over the movie. “This brutal, violently realistic drama, set against the sordid background of the New York waterfront, packs a terrific wallop that results in topflight entertainment.”


Roman Holiday

Roman Holiday movie free
  • Critical Consensus: 98% Positive

Another wonderful, and totally free to watch classic (are you sensing a theme here?), this one stars Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. Hepburn plays a European Princess whose touring schedule is overwhelming her. So she decides to take off a night in Rome. To ease herself, she takes a sedative her doctor gave her and she ends up falling asleep on a park bench. Enter Peck, who finds the sleeping princess and takes her back to his apartment for her safety. It isn’t until the next morning at work that Peck finds out who she actually is, where he bets his editor he can get an exclusive interview. Cupid then comes a calling.

David Parkinson of Empire had this to say, “Timeless, exuberant classic, with Hepburn’s naïve sense of fun and perfectly charming performance matched equally by Peck’s lauche and charismatic worldly American.”


Being Evel

Sundance Movie
  • Critical Consensus: 97% Positive

Nope, that is not a misspelling. This free movie is the story of Evel Knievel, the 1970s motorcycle daredevil. The movie takes viewers on a ride behind the scenes of a career that saw Knievel make 75 ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps that also saw him break every single bone in his body. The film is unflinching as it also looks at the man himself, and just what type of a man he was under his cape.

Tom Long of the Detroit News says it all in his review, “’Being Evel’ treads a fine line, making it clear that its subject was a heroic symbol of his times and a clear sports innovator while also acknowledging – and there’s no getting around this – that the guy was a huge jerk.”


Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Zombie movie
  • Critical Consensus: 97% Positive

George Romero started our love affair with zombies in his 1968 classic, Night of the Living Dead. The movie didn’t have any big-name stars and was shot on a tiny budget and in black and white that saw Romero not only directed, but co-write, shoot and edit the film. The film tells the story of a group of survivors hiding in a farmhouse and fighting off a horde of zombies. It’s a gruesome film for its time and the black and white only adds to the horror. It is a cult classic and while it may not carry the gore factor of today’s films, it is quite an effective piece of filmmaking and it’s free online.

Steve Rose of the Guardian is one of the films many admirers. “Romero conjures moments of eeriness and dread throughout, keeping the lighting low and the special effects to a minimum, though there will be blood, fire, cannibalism and a great deal of death.”


Spotlight

Free Movie Spotlight
  • Critical Consensus: 97%

This free movie is the true story of how the Boston Globe and their “Spotlight” team uncovered the abuse in the Catholic Church and their decades-long cover-up. The investigation centered around priest John Geoghan and the allegations of him molesting more than 80 boys. Geoghan was moved from parish to parish in the church’s attempt to hide him but the Spotlight team was finally able to provide the proof needed to uncover the sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church. Mark Ruffalo (Avengers), Michael Keaton (Beetlejuice) and Rachel McAdams (Wedding Crashers) star.

Zach Schonfeld of Newsweek had this to say, “Spotlight manages the seemingly impossible task of wooing journalists with authenticity while still elevating reporters to hero status, as they battle a formidable and corrupt institution with righteous determination.”


Taxi Driver

Taxi Driver movie poster
  • Critical Consensus: 97% Positive

This free movie is a DeNiro classic, though he does have a few. Martin Scorsese directed this Paul Schrader script to perfection. DeNiro plays ex-marine Travis Bickle, a disturbed loner who is slowly losing touch with reality. He takes a job as a New York cabbie, driving the streets at night. He meets a campaign worker, played by Cybill Shepherd, then directs his attention toward rescuing a 12-year-old prostitute, played by Jodie Foster. It’s a descent into madness, portrayed wonderfully by DeNiro.

Empire’s William Thomas summed it up this way, “The blend of Schrader’s script, Scorsese’s direction, and De Niro’s performance are both riveting and unnerving. A film that will stay with you forever.”


All the King’s Men (1949)

Original All The Kings Men Online
  • Critical Consensus: 97% Positive

One of the real classics on our free movie list, this 1949 feature took home Best Picture for the story about the rise and dramatic fall of a southern governor. Broderick Crawford portrays the corrupt governor Willie Stark, who promises his way to the top but learns his power and vanity are his ultimate downfall. Robert Penn Warren wrote the 1946 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel on which the movie is based.

Kate Cameron of the New York Daily News had this to say, “It is one of the most vital and honest films to come out of Hollywood in a long time.”


Citizenfour

Documentary Movie Free
  • Critical Consensus: 96% Positive

This documentary finds director Laura Poitras several years into making a film about surveillance post 9/11. She started receiving emails from someone calling himself “citizen four” who explained he was ready to blow the whistle on NSA and other intelligence agencies massive covert surveillance programs. She flew out to Hong Kong to meet this whistleblower who turned out to be Edward Snowden. She had her camera with her when they met.

Joe Williams of the St. Louis Post Dispatch was right to the point in his review, “The message of the movie is as clear as Siberian ice: Whether you’re a Tea Partier, an Occupier or just an ordinary Joe, you might be the next citizen who’s stranded in limbo.”


The Dish

The Dish poster
  • Critical Consensus: 96% Positive

This free movie is based on the true story of a group of scientists who are responsible for manning a satellite that will receive historic images of man’s first steps on the moon. The problem? The satellite dish is located on a remote Australian sheep farm and the Aussie scientists are quite eccentric themselves. This comedy stars Sam Neill (Jurassic Park).

Cole Smithey of ColeSmithey.com said this about The Dish, “A satellite dish sitting in the middle of an Australian sheep farm might not sound like the most compelling subject to base a story around, but there are hidden charms in this graceful film that add up to something quite out of the ordinary.”


In The Line Of Fire

Free Clint Eastwood Movie Online
  • Critical Consensus: 96% Positive

Clint Eastwood joins our list of free movies online in one of his better performances as secret service agent Frank Horrigan assigned to protect the president. But Horrigan has a troubled past as he was hand-picked by John F. Kennedy and became one of the few secret service agents to lose a president to an assassination. Now, his past is catching up as another madman is stalking the current president.

Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times relished Eastwood’s role, “Every part of this film trades so heavily on Eastwood’s presence that it is impossible to imagine it with anyone else in the starring role.”


Groundhog Day

Free Bill Murray Classic movie
  • Critical Consensus: 96% Positive

Bill Murray plays Phil, in this Harold Ramis (Ghostbusters, Stripes) directed comedy about starting over again and again and again. Phil is a weatherman assigned to a story he loathes; will Punxsutawney Pete see his shadow. In front of the camera, Phil is a fun guy full of charm and wit but off-camera he becomes a crass, self-centered jerk. Somehow, Phil begins to relive his day again and again, trying to correct the mistakes he’s made, changing his life and those around him in the process.

Kenneth Turan, again of the Los Angeles Times, said this about the collaboration between Ramis and Murray, “Groundhog Day may not be the funniest collaboration between Bill Murray and director Harold Ramis…Yet this gentle, small-scale effort is easily the most endearing film of both men’s careers, a sweet and amusing surprise package.”

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