12 Free, LEGAL Ways to Watch Movies Without Breaking the

free ways to watch movies

I love the excitement of the movies, the escapism, I even love the smell of that fake popcorn butter that is poured out of what appears to be a gallon jug of butter. Yes, the butter comes out of a gallon jug. (Never watch that part.)

But what I don’t love about the movies is the cost of a ticket. At a nationwide average of $8.38 per ticket, a spontaneous jaunt to the movies is out of my budgetary reach. Luckily, there’s a ton of legitimate resources out on the web to get my movie fix. And I don’t even have to put on pants to leave the house or break the law.

12 Free, Completely Legit Ways to Watch Movies Without Breaking the Law…

1. Can I Stream It 

Before you jump into the wide world of legitimate online movies, I’d like to suggest Can I Stream It. Can I Stream it is a free service that enables users to search across well-known streaming, rental and purchase services to check if a movie is available online. Can I Stream It searches sites such as Hulu and Redbox Instant, among others. So beware, not all movies will be free. Can I Stream It also has an email feature if the movie you are looking for isn’t available. When the movie becomes available, you’ll get an email and be on your merry, watching way.

2. Amazon Instant Video

Amazon Instant Video offers movie and television streaming on a variety of devices. The free movies on Amazon Instant are limited, but can be purchased individually for a (insert used car dealership voice) low, low price. If you’ve made the investment to be an Amazon Prime member, ($79 per year) you’ll have a lot more choices.

3. Hulu

If you haven’t heard of Hulu, you probably just crawled out from under a rock and please let me know if you need medical attention. Hulu works with major networks so you can stream TV and movies online for free. Unless you have a Hulu Plus account you will have to wait a week before the most recent episode will show up. Hulu plus will put you back $7.99 per month.

4. The Internet Archive – Moving Image Archive

The Moving Image Archive, an aspect of the Internet Archive, houses digital movies uploaded by Archive users. Most of the movies are older, but the choices contain a wide variety of classic full-length films, daily alternative news broadcasts, cartoons, concerts and so much more.

5. PBS

PBS constantly amazes me with it’s quality of programming and now you don’t even need a television to stream their content. Many PBS shows (including Downton Abbey!) are available to watch right through your computer for the low, low price of FREE! You can’t beat it.

6. Classic Cinema Online

If you’re more into classic cinema, this website is going to be right up your alley. Classic Cinema Online features classic movies like Bye Bye Birdie, That Darn Cat (one of my childhood favorites!) and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. Pop some popcorn over the stove and let these classic movies take you back to a more wholesome time.

7. My Lifetime

Everyone’s favorite guilty pleasure network offers a limited amount of their movies online. A few of the classics include: Too Young to Marry, The Stranger I Married and Honeymoon with Mom. The titles pretty much speak for themselves.

8. Crackle

Crackle has such a selection of recent movies that it’s hard to believe it is legal. Crackle is owned by Sony and therefore has mostly Sony offerings. On Crackle you can find movies such as Big Daddy, Run Lola Run and Rachel Getting Married. Some content on Crackle does have time limit, so be aware the movie “expiration dates.”

9. YouTube Movies

YouTube, the king of online video clips, has a collection of seemingly random, free online movies uploaded legally. (My guess is that they are movies that have fallen out of copyright.) Admittedly, I haven’t heard of most of the movies featured on the site, although I did manage to find Shopgirl, Charlie Chaplin’s Pay Day and the cult classic, Plan 9 from Outerspace.

10. Popcorn Flix

Popcorn Flix is a movie-streaming service created with the indie-loving viewer in mind. The videos do feature ads, but the site streams recent indies such as Cake Lovers, Craigslist Joe and Meet Bill.

11. Indie Flix

Speaking of independent movies, Indie Flix is an addictive site chock full of full-length and short independent movies. Films range from the quirky to the heartwarming to the thought-provoking. But be careful, it’s easy to fall through the rabbit hole on this site and end up losing hours of your life.

12. Your Local Library

Your local library is amazing, I guarantee it. Most public libraries carry a selection of educational and popular DVDs. The library may even offer a free movie night. Just ask your local librarian for more details!

There are so many choices out there for free, legitimate movies, so get to watchin’! (And if you do decide to venture out to the movie theater before you go check out The Ultimate Guide to Saving Money at the Movies – 45 Tips!)


Do you know of any ways to watch movies for free that weren’t mentioned? If so, we’d love to hear about it!

By day, Melanie is a librarian. By night, she blogs about her DIY projects and living small in an Airstream trailer. You can read more about Melanie’s adventures on her blog, Love Library.