12 of the Best Places to Watch Free Movies Online

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Best Places to Watch Free Movies Online
Image Credit: Clark.com

Whether you enjoy comedies, mysteries, documentaries or something else entirely, you can find a great selection of movies online for free. 

In this article, I’ll take a look at 12 of the best websites and resources for watching free movies. I’ve visited each of the websites listed below, and I’ve tested a few videos from each to ensure quality, check for ads and see what’s available at no charge.

Where to Watch Free Movies Online

When you start looking for free movies online, it won’t be long before you start coming across less-than-reputable websites. Some may actually require paid memberships or subscriptions while others provide access to pirated content. Still, there are several websites, apps and streaming services that you can use to watch movies and TV shows legally and completely free. Among them are Crackle, The Roku Channel, IMDb TV, Tubi, Vudu and more. 

If you’re looking for a full list of free ways to watch movies that you’d normally have to pay for, you probably won’t find it on this list. Instead, I’ve compiled 12 completely legal and free ways to watch movies online — most of which are ad-supported. Note that “Ad Pain” is rated from low to high based on the length and frequency of disruptive advertisements.

If you’re looking for an entirely ad-free experience, be sure to check out Kanopy or Hoopla, which are powered by educational institutions.

Streaming ServiceBest ForPowered ByAd Pain
KanopyDocumentaries and Educational ContentLibraries and UniversitiesNone
HooplaTop Hollywood Hits; Offline ViewingLibrariesNone
CrackleClassic Shows, Comedy Movies, Star-Studded FavoritesAdvertisementsHigh
IMDb TVHit TV Shows and Top Hollywood HitsAdvertisementsAverage
Pluto TVLive TVAdvertisementsAverage
The Roku ChannelReality and Live TVAdvertisementsAverage
TubiReality TV and Kid ShowsAdvertisementsLow
YouTubeFamily and Kid ShowsAdvertisementsAverage
PopcornflixIndependent FilmsAdvertisementsHigh
VuduHidden GemsAdvertisementsAverage
CrunchyrollAnimeAdvertisementsLow
YidioVarietyOther Websites (Aggregator)Varies

When you visit one of these websites or download the apps, you may have to create a free account to continue. Still, you shouldn’t have to download anything or enter any payment information to gain access to the free content. At most, you might have to disable your ad blocker if you’re watching online. 

Below, you’ll find detailed information on 12 different places where you can legally stream free movies and TV shows.

Kanopy

Kanopy home screen featuring popular free online movies from your library

Genres: Classic Cinema, Comedies, Drama, Documentaries, Independent Films, World Cinema
Best For: Documentaries and educational content
Platforms: App (phone/tablet), Computer (website), TV (app/casting)

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Kanopy partners with thousands of public libraries and universities to provide ad-free shows and movies. You can use your library card or school email address access content on your TV, mobile phone, tablet or online. I entered my library card number and then used my name and email address to create a Kanopy account. 

Once you’re signed in, you can watch up to five films per month. In the top-right corner of the screen, you’ll see a number indicating how many “credits” you have remaining for the month or how many programs you can watch. You can enjoy unlimited plays in the Kanopy Kids section.

In addition to movies, Kanopy also provides access to documentaries on culture, the arts, business, education, global studies, health and more. As I scrolled through the selection, I didn’t see many titles I recognized. Still, the vast selection of indie movies, documentaries and world cinema was enough to keep me browsing through several pages of interesting titles. 

Once you’ve found a film you’d like to watch, you can click on the title for additional information, related titles and comments, which can often include helpful recommendations. Most videos also include ratings, subtitles and transcripts.

Kanopy video player

Kanopy is available as a mobile app on iOS, Android and Amazon Fire devices. You can also access the TV app via Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Samsung Smart TV, Roku, Telstra TV or Chromecast. If you don’t have access to any of these devices, you can also connect your computer to your television using an HDMI cable to watch Kanopy on your TV.

For more information on how to get started and what’s available, be sure to check out our Kanopy Review.

Pros: Cons:
  • No advertisements
  • Wide variety of topics, especially if you’re looking for documentaries or educational films
  • Limited to five videos monthly
  • Content is not downloadable
  • You’ll have to log in or create an account to stream

Hoopla

Hoopla home screen featuring popular free online movies

Major Genres: Action & Adventure, Children’s, Comedy, Documentary, Family, Romance, Sci-Fi, Thrillers
Best For: No advertisements, offline viewing
Platforms: App (phone/tablet), Computer (website), TV (app/casting)

Hoopla is the digital service of Midwest Tape, which is a leading provider of entertainment and media to public libraries across North America. You’ll find digital videos (movies and TV shows) as well as music, audiobooks, ebooks and more from more than 1,500 libraries.

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Hoopla works just like a public library, which means you can instantly borrow digital movies at any time using your library card. If you don’t already have an account, you sign up for free online. You will need to log in to be able to “borrow” anything.

Once you’re logged in, you can see featured titles, anything you have currently borrowed, recommendations based on what you’ve previously borrowed, what’s popular and anything you’ve added to your favorites. You can also click “browse” at the top of the screen or search for titles using the search bar. 

After you find a title you’re interested in, you can see the movie details and description as well as ratings from other Hoopla users. When you’re ready to check something out, just click “borrow.” You’ll see a message letting you know how long you’ll have access to the title (typically 2-3 days) and whether it’s available for streaming, downloading or both. The title will be automatically “returned” when it’s due back.

Hoopla video rental from local libraries

Once you’ve borrowed a movie or show, you can watch it at any time without advertisements. Subtitles are also typically available. In addition to movies and TV shows, Hoopla also provides access to audiobooks, ebooks, music and more

You can access Hoopla on any web browser or Apple/Android devices. You can also stream content via your Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast or Roku device.

Pros: Cons:
  • No advertisements during TV shows and movies you’ve borrowed
  • Some content is downloadable once checked out
  • Wide variety of content and media
  • You have to log in using your library card or create a free account to check out films
  • You can check out only five titles each month

Crackle

Crackle home screen featuring popular free online movies

Major Genres: Action, Classics, Comedy, Drama, Thriller, Reality, Original, Documentary
Best For: Classic shows, comedy movies, star-studded favorites
Platforms: App (phone/tablet), Computer (website) and TV (TV app/casting).

Owned by Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment and Sony Pictures Television, Crackle is a streaming service that features original content as well as TV shows and movies acquired from other companies. 

You’ll find both old and new shows/movies in a wide variety of genres that feature hidden talent as well as famous names. As I scrolled through the featured categories, I recognized The Rock, John Travolta, Ashton Kutcher, Steve Carell, Gene Wilder, Chase Elliott and more. There’s something for everyone at Crackle with plenty of featured categories including “Automobiles, Trains and Planes,” “Summer Kickback,” “Home School,” “Documentary” and “Classic.”

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This free-to-use entertainment network is available on many popular platforms including web browsers, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Chromecast, Roku, Android and Apple devices. For a full list of supported devices, visit the website

With Crackle, you don’t have to create an account to start streaming. But if you want to save any films to watch later, you will have to log in. Creating an account is easy and free; simply click “sign in” on the homepage to get started.

Whether you create a free account or start watching right away, you’ll still have to sit through a few advertisements. That means you will have to disable any ad blockers before streaming online. According to the website, running commercials with available programming allows Crackle to ensure that the service remains free in the U.S. and Australia.

Crackle video player

Before a movie begins, you’ll see a couple of ads. After it starts, you’ll have periodic commercial breaks throughout the film. The video in the screenshot above is one hour and 40 minutes long, and you can see that there are eight advertisement breaks after it begins. During the ad breaks, I had the option to choose whether I wanted to interact with an ad for 30 seconds or watch regular ads for a normal break (around 2.5 minutes). 

On your screen below the film, you’ll see options to add it to a watch later list (if you’re logged in to a free account), share it on social media, see details about the film and check out similar recommended films. In addition to the details and description, you’ll also see “Why it Crackles,” which is a short blurb about what Crackle thinks makes the film great. 

Pros: Cons:
  • Excellent variety and streaming quality
  • You can choose how long ads are
  • You don’t have to create an account to stream
  • Some movies and shows are only available for a limited time due to agreements with programming providers
  • Content can’t be viewed offline

IMDb TV

IMDb TV home screen featuring free online movies

Major Genres: Comedies, Chills & Thrills, Action & Adventure, Romance, Documentaries, Sci-Fi, Family, Drama
Best For: Hit TV shows and top Hollywood hits
Platforms: App (phone/tablet), Computer (website), TV (app/casting)

Owned by Amazon, IMDb TV is another free, ad-supported streaming video resource. You can access content on the IMDb app, the IMDb website, the Amazon Prime Video app and Amazon Fire TV devices

You’ll have to log in to access free IMDb TV content, but you can create an account for free. Alternatively, you can log in using your Amazon, Facebook, Google or Apple account to access the content. Once you’re logged in, you’ll be able to stream available movies and shows, add videos to a watchlist and save your place if you need to pause the video and resume watching at a different time or on a different device.

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No matter how you choose to log in or which device you use, know that videos on IMDb TV can’t be purchased or downloaded to be watched offline. That means you will have to watch a few advertisements. In the video pictured below, you can see that there are six ads in this 90-minute movie. 

IMDb TV video player

As you’re watching a show or movie, you have the option to enable the “X-Ray” feature. This shows small pop-ups in the corner of the screen with interesting facts relevant to the scene you’re watching. On the other side of the screen, you can choose to adjust closed captions, video quality, audio and screen size.

When I visited IMDb TV, I found several popular titles in the “Recently Added” section including “Shrek,” “Eat Pray Love” and “Seabiscuit.” Other popular titles included “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” “Life of Pi” and “3rd Rock From the Sun.” In addition to hit TV shows and top Hollywood releases, you’ll also find IMDb TV originals and a whole section of “Hidden Gems.” 

Pros: Cons:
  • Popular titles and hidden gems
  • Adjustable video quality (up to HD)
  • You can choose to see interesting facts throughout films with the “X-Ray” feature
  • Limited selection
  • Content is not downloadable
  • You’ll have to log in or create an account to stream

Pluto TV

Pluto TV on demand options for free online movies

Genres: Comfort Movies, Sitcoms, TV Dramas, Action, Comedy, Drama, Family, Indies
Best For: Live TV
Platforms: App (phone/tablet), Computer (website), TV (app/casting)

On Pluto TV, you’ll find hundreds of free TV channels and thousands of free movies. The internet television service offers free, ad-supported content that includes both live TV and on-demand titles.

You can access Pluto TV online using your computer, iOS or Android device. You can also stream Pluto TV on Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, PlayStation, Roku, Samsung and Vizio devices. I used my computer to visit the website online. 

When I first got to the website, I clicked “Watch Free Now” to get started. From there, I was able to choose from “Live TV” or “On Demand” at the top of the screen. “On Demand” features several categories including the genres listed above in addition to popular movies, top TV series, new movies and more. If you’re looking for live TV, you’ll find a huge selection of free channels.

Pluto TV Live TV channel guide

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You can browse live channels by category including featured, movies, news, reality, comedy, classic, sports, kids and more. You’ll see hundreds of popular television networks including TV Land, MTV, CSI and Comedy Central. 

With both the live channels and on-demand titles, you’ll see periodic advertisements in the same way that you would with traditional TV. In my experience, ads tended to pop up around every eight minutes. 

You won’t need to create an account to begin streaming content, but it’s free to sign up for one if you want. An account allows you to keep track of your favorite movies and channels as well as receive updates on new content. 

Pros: Cons:
  • A wide variety of on-demand titles as well as live TV channels 
  • You don’t need an account to stream
  • Frequent ads
  • Content is not downloadable

The Roku Channel

The Roku Channel home screen featuring popular free movies

Genres: Family, Adventure, Drama, Reality, Anime, Sports, News
Best For: Reality and live TV
Platforms: App (phone/tablet), Computer (website), TV (app/casting)

The Roku Channel is another free ad-supported resource that provides access to streamable content including live TV and on-demand titles. 

You don’t have to have a Roku device in order to access The Roku Channel. It’s also available on a web browser as well as iOS, Android and Amazon Fire TV devices among others. 

I used the computer to access The Roku Channel’s website. I was immediately prompted to sign in or create an account to access premium subscriptions, continue watching movies where I left off, and get personalized recommendations. Still, an account isn’t required to stream content. I did have to disable my ad blocker before watching anything though. 

The Roku Channel video player

In the movie above, you can see that there are six advertisement breaks throughout the film (1 hour, 37 minutes), which means you can expect an ad about every 16 minutes. For most movies, closed captions are also available. 

At the time of writing, The Roku Channel included a few popular on-demand titles including the entire “Twilight” saga, “How to Train Your Dragon,” “Hairspray,” “Bewitched” and “Hoarders.” Live TV channels included Now This, Tastemade, DIY Daily, TMZ and USA Today among others. 

Pros: Cons:
  • You don’t have to create an account to stream content
  • On-demand titles and live TV
  • Relatively few ads compared to other free movie sites
  • Content is not downloadable
  • Premium subscriptions require paid memberships

Tubi

Tubi homescreen featuring popular free online movies

Genres: Action, Classics, Comedy, Documentary, Drama, Family Movies, Foreign Films/TV, Indie Films, Kids’ Shows
Best For: Reality TV and kids shows
Platforms: App (phone/tablet), Computer (website), TV (app/casting)

Tubi is an ad-supported streaming service that’s owned by Fox Corporation. You’ll find thousands of movies and TV shows that you can stream legally and free via Tubi. 

To get started, visit the website online or download the app using one of the following types of devices: Android, iOS, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Xfinity X1, Xbox, Samsung Smart TV, Sony Smart TV or PlayStation. For a full list of supported devices and how to stream Tubi, visit the website

In addition to on-demand movies, Tubi offers on-demand shows from TV channels including A&E, Fox, Lifetime and more. I found several popular reality shows including “The Bachelor” and “Dance Moms” as well as quite a few older films including “Ernest Goes to School,” “The Temptations” and more. 

When I checked out Tubi, I visited the website online. I didn’t have to create an account to begin streaming. Instead, I was able to choose a show and begin watching right away.

Tubi video player

When you find a movie or show you’d like to watch, you can click play to immediately begin streaming. I didn’t run into any ads on the videos I watched, but you can expect them to pop up a few times throughout the movie or show. You will have to disable your ad blocker to begin streaming. 

Beneath the film you’re watching, you’ll see a short description, production details and suggestions for titles you may also like. 

Pros: Cons:
  • You don’t need an account to stream content
  • Adjustable video quality up to HD
  • Infrequent ads
  • Content is not downloadable
  • There isn’t a big selection of well-known movie titles

YouTube

YouTube free movies

Genres: Animated/Kids, Documentaries, Comedies, Action & Adventure, Romance, Classics, Horror, Drama
Best For: Family and kids programming
Platforms: App (phone/tablet), Computer (website), TV (app/casting)

If you can access YouTube, you can access free videos. In addition to original content uploaded directly by users, you can also check out a wide variety of movies available on YouTube. While YouTube TV requires a subscription, there are select titles that you can watch for free. 

To see the current selection of movies that are free to watch, visit this YouTube page. You’ll find several popular kids’ titles, documentaries and classic favorites. While you won’t have to create an account in order to browse or watch select free movies, you may have to sign in to verify your age if the title is rated R. 

Once you’ve chosen a movie to watch, simply click on it to begin streaming. The ads work just like they would on any other YouTube video, and the media player should also look pretty familiar. 

YouTube video player

You can adjust the closed captioning, quality and screen mode if you’re watching online. Below the movie, you’ll see a brief description including the production details and user comments. 

Pros: Cons:
  • You don’t need an account to stream content
  • Short, infrequent ads
  • Tons of choices for kids and family-friendly movies
  • Not all movies are free to watch, even with ads.
  • Limited selection
  • You can’t sort free movies by category

Popcornflix

Popcornflix homescreen featuring free online movies

Genres: Drama, Action, Horror, Thriller, Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi, Mystery, Family, Foreign Films, Documentaries
Best For: Independent films
Platforms: App (phone/tablet), Computer (website), TV (app/casting)

Popcornflix is a free ad-supported streaming service owned by Screen Media Ventures, which was bought by Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment in 2017. You’ll find movies, TV shows, web series and viral videos on Popcornflix.

The site mostly features independent films, which makes it a great place to look for hidden gems. Once you decide on a movie or show, you can begin streaming instantly after one or two previews. 

You won’t be required to create an account in order to stream media on Popcornflix, but you will have to pause or disable any ad blockers. The advertisements work more like an ad you would see while playing a game online, and you have the option to skip some ads after a brief preview. 

Popcornflix video player

Alongside the video you’re watching, you’ll see a sidebar of options that allow you to see what’s playing next, what others are saying about the video, GIFs created from the movie and additional information about the film. 

You can access Popcornflix using a web browser on your computer or with an Apple TV, iOS device, Android device, Roku device, Amazon device or XBox.

Pros: Cons:
  • Start streaming instantly with no account required
  • Read other users’ comments when they were originally left throughout the movie
  • You won’t find many well-known titles if you’re looking for popular movies/TV shows
  • Content is not downloadable

Vudu

Vudu homescreen featuring free online movies

Genres: Comedy, Horror, Family & Kids, Action, Adventure, Classic Films, Crime & Suspense, Drama, Documentaries
Best For: Hidden gems
Platforms: App (phone/tablet), Computer (website), TV (app/casting)

Formerly owned by Walmart, Vudu is now a digital video store and streaming service owned by Fandango Media. You can rent and buy films from Vudu, but you’ll also find a selection of free movies and TV shows that you can stream with ads. 

There are 27 categories to choose from that feature free movies and shows including the genres listed above. You’ll also find categories such as star-studded favorites, most-watched movies and hidden gems.

To begin watching videos on Vudu, you’ll need to create a free account using your name and email address. Once you’re logged in, you can instantly stream any title labeled “free with ads.” 

Vudu Video Player

When you select a movie or show you’re interested in, you’ll generally have to watch 2-3 advertisements before getting started. After that, you can expect advertisements to pop up periodically throughout the video. You can choose between SD and HDX video qualities, and most titles come with optional closed captions. 

Vudu is available on Roku, Android, Apple, PlayStation and Xbox devices as well as online via any web browser. 

Pros: Cons:
  • Wide variety of free movies and TV shows
  • “My Vudu” tab lets you keep track of what you’ve watched/want to watch
  • You’ll need an account to begin streaming
  • Content is not downloadable
  • Not all movies and TV shows are free

Crunchyroll

Crunchyroll home page featuring popular anime free online

Major Genres: Anime (action, adventure, comedy, drama, thriller, and more) and Drama (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and more)
Best For: Anime
Platforms: App (phone/tablet), Computer (website) and TV (TV app/casting)

Crunchyroll is a WarnerMedia company that streams anime in more than 200 countries and territories. If you’re a fan of anime, this is the free streaming resource for you. You’ll find both popular titles and Crunchyroll originals available for free.

Scrolling through popular anime shows, I saw over 1,100 episodes of “One Piece,” over 140 episodes of “Black Clover” and over 90 episodes of “My Hero Academia” at the time of writing. Other popular titles include “Attack on Titan,” “Naruto” and hundreds more. The majority of the content has Japanese voice acting with English subtitles, but there are a few shows that are dubbed in English.

While you don’t need to create an account in order to stream content via Crunchyroll, you will see advertisements prompting you to pay for a premium membership. The membership lets you watch unlimited ad-free shows, get access to new episodes an hour after they premiere and download shows for offline viewing. Still, you can stream online for free (with ads). Just note that the newest episodes may not be available immediately.

Crunchyroll video player

When you choose a video, you’ll be able to start streaming it online instantly without having to log in. If you want to add the video to a queue to watch later, you’ll need to create a free account. I didn’t have to disable my ad blocker to begin streaming, and ads appeared only a couple of times in a 25-minute episode. 

Pros: Cons:
  • Infrequent, short advertisements throughout videos
  • You don’t have to create an account to stream
  • Shows, manga and games are available in addition to movies
  • New releases are available only to premium members
  • Content can’t be downloaded unless you have a premium subscription

Yidio

Yidio Homescreen featuring free online movies

Genres: Drama, Romance, Comedy, Action, Adventure, Kids & Family, Horror, Crime, Mystery, Animation
Best For: Variety
Platforms: App (phone/tablet), Computer (website), TV (app/casting)

Unlike the other websites on this list, Yidio is a video aggregator that compiles links to videos and TV shows available on other streaming services

Instead of seeing a media player and watching a video directly on Yidio.com, you can instantly search for titles across a variety of other platforms including Tubi, Vudu, Crackle, The Roku Channel and over 100 more. 

While you will see videos from paid-only streaming services like Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, Netflix and others, you can filter your results by free movies or free TV shows.

For most of the video links on Yidio, you can watch online via any web browser, with your smartphone or tablet, using a streaming media player or on game consoles. For a quick reference of which streaming services are supported on which devices, check out this resource from Yidio.

You don’t need to create an account to use Yidio, but signing up for one is free if you’d like to keep track of your favorites. Once you’ve found a video you want to watch, simply click the title to see where it’s available for free. 

Yidio movie details including links to watch it online

For example, I clicked on “The Shining.” I can see that it’s available on some paid subscription services and for rent online at Amazon, Vudu and elsewhere. But it appears to be totally free through IMDb TV. Once I clicked the play symbol next to it, I was redirected to IMDb TV’s website to watch the movie for free. 

If you have a specific title in mind, Yidio is a great resource to check and see if it’s available for free online. 

Pros: Cons:
  • Thousands of movies from multiple sources, several of which are free
  • You don’t need an account to use Yidio
  • You’ll find links to movies as well as TV shows
  • No movies are available directly on Yidio, which means you’ll always have to visit a second website
  • Not all movies are available for free

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, any of these websites are worth checking out if you’re looking for free movies online.

If you’re looking for popular names in Hollywood and hit TV shows or movies, check out Crackle or IMDb TV. If you have a library card, you can visit Hoopla or Kanopy for a completely ad-free experience. Crunchyroll is a great resource for watching free anime shows and movies, while Tubi and YouTube provide access to a great selection of movies for families and kids.

For Live TV, check out Pluto TV and The Roku Channel. If you’re more interested in independent films and hidden gems, you might find something you’ll enjoy on Popcornflix or Vudu. Finally, if you have a specific title in mind, check Yidio to see if it’s available for free on any of these websites.

No matter where you decide to watch free movies online, just make sure you’re doing it legally and safely. While you may have to disable your ad blocker online or enter your email to create a free account, you shouldn’t have to download anything to your computer or enter any payment information.

What are your favorite websites for watching free movies? Let us know in the comments below!

More Ways to Find Free Entertainment: 

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