No money in the budget for a Netflix subscription? Or Amazon Prime? Fear not: As long as you have an internet connection, you can still enjoy movie night. Granted, you may not be able to stream Hollywood’s latest, but you can still enjoy gems such as Lady Bird, the first four Rocky movies, The Grand Budapest Hotel and plenty of classics, all without spending an extra penny.
Here are nine services offering totally free — and totally legal — movies you can watch online. Just be prepared to sit through commercials, because that’s how many of these services stay in business. (One quick note: Selections change regularly, so not all the titles listed here may still be available.)
Sony’s Crackle is an ad-supported streaming service, one that offers both movies and TV shows — including some original content. It’s available on a wide variety of devices and doesn’t even require you to set up an account, though doing so enables you to save favorites, get recommendations and resume playback if you switch between devices.
What you can watch: Crackle’s selection continues to expand, with around 200 movies available at any given time. (The selection changes periodically). At this writing, you’ll find gems like A Few Good Men, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Jerry Maguire and the first two Lethal Weapon movies. They’re all older films, to be sure, but there’s still plenty of quality stuff to watch. Just plan on sitting through the occasional commercial interruption.
Where you can watch: Crackle’s list of supported devices is extensive. The service offers apps for all mobile platforms, game consoles and major streaming devices, and it’s even baked into many smart TVs. It does not offer the option to download movies for offline viewing.
Got a library card? Check to see if your library has partnered with Hoopla. This digital-media service allows you to check out all kinds of stuff — including movies. When you “borrow” a movie, you have 72 hours in which to watch it. Your library determines the total number of movies you can borrow each month.
What you can watch: It’s hard to get a bead on how many movies Hoopla has available at any given time, but you can browse a huge range of genres — everything from animation to westerns. There’s also a generous selection of family friendly content. Some noteworthy picks available at this writing: A Fish Called Wanda, Chinatown, No Country for Old Men, The Commitments and Scream.
Where you can watch: Hoopla content can be viewed on your PC in a browser, or on Android or iOS devices. The service now supports most streaming devices as well, including current-generation Apple TV, Fire TV and Roku devices. Surprisingly, Hoopla’s mobile apps offer not only streaming, but also a download option for offline viewing.
The Internet Archive is home to all things public-domain, including thousands of feature-length movies. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s no cost to use the service, nor do you need an account (though you can create one if you want to mark favorites and such).
What you can watch: “Public domain” is code for “old” or “mostly black-and-white,” making this the place for folks interested strictly in classic films. Thus you’ll find the likes of His Girl Friday, Plan 9 from Outer Space and Gulliver’s Travels.
Where you can watch: The Internet Archive exists solely on the web, so you’ll need a browser to access it. However, most mobile browsers (including Safari on iOS) can stream the content.
If your library doesn’t offer Hoopla, maybe it has Kanopy? This commercial-free (yay!) service, which began life in Australia, has made its way to thousands of college campuses worldwide and, more recently, various US libraries. Check the website to see if your library has it — and ask for it if it doesn’t….Read More>>>