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What can be more fun than watching an old classic like Some Like It Hot with a loved one on a weekend?

Some will argue that when you watch a movie like that the setting, timing, or company for that matter is insignificant, but to each his own.

If there is one thing better than watching classic movies, it’s watching your all-time favorites online, and for free! Of course, today there’s no shortage of diversity in ways to watch a film 7 Legal Ways To Watch Movies Online For Free 7 Legal Ways To Watch Movies Online For Free With the advent of the Internet, media delivery has become so easy and so convenient for us. It started with music but quickly moved to include TV shows and feature-length films, and in the wake... Read More . Cable TV, Netflix, online streaming services — caught in the middle of all that we forget that there’s a free option called public domain movies.

What Is a Public Domain Film?

old movie film
Image Credit: Bupu via Shutterstock

Public domain films are simply movies that don’t have any form of licenses or copyrights Confused About Copyright Law? These Online Resources Can Help Confused About Copyright Law? These Online Resources Can Help It's a confusing subject, yes, but it's important that you wrap your head around it. If you're involved in any sort of creative work, these resources will help you do just that. Read More  attached to them. It could be a film released to public domain by its author, or a film with expired copyright.

As these movies are public property, they can be freely shared. In the U.S., all motion pictures made and exhibited before 1923 are in the public domain. For any work made after that date, see the list of films in the public domain in the United States.

Where to Stream Public Domain Movies

Now that you have the names of the public domain movies in the US you can search for any of those films and find where to download them or stream online.

However, we decided to make your life easier with a list of some of the best web resources where you can find your favorite timely classics and watch them online for free.

Old Movie Time

Old Movie Time

This platform presents to you a large collection of “the highest rated old movies” available to watch online for free, as well as some of the most iconic old TV series.

Old Movie Time lets you choose your movie by genre (action, western, comedy, war etc.) and provides a little intro and IMDb score for each film. The content itself is embedded from YouTube.

You can also browse through the complete list of the films available on the website, sorted by year (1931 to 1969) and IMDb rating.

Classic Movies EZ

classic movies ez

If Old Movie Time covers a little over 30 years of cinematography, this website offers a much broader film selection from a bigger period.

Also, sorted by genre, Classic Movies EZ makes it truly easy for you to search for public domain movies that have already become classics but aren’t exactly that old yet. That way you can find films from 80s, 90s, and even early 2000s on the platform.

Snag Films

Snag Films

Even though classic movies is only a category on this website, it has plenty of motion pictures to start you off on your cinematographic journey through time. There are a little over 70 movies presented on this resource, but they are the crème de la crème of the old classics that will make you want to come back for more. Because who doesn’t like watching

There are a little over 70 movies presented on this resource, but they are crème de la crème of the old classics that will make you want to come back for more. Because who doesn’t like watching Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant run around Paris hunting for her husband’s stolen fortune?

Free Classic Movies From Jimbo Berkey

free classic movies from jimbo berkey

Meet Jimbo Berkey, a guy with “a passion for the first recorded media of the modern era”. His mission is to collect and preserve on his website any media samples recorded from 1895 to 1970. On his Free Classic Movies website, you’ll find public domain films that you can search by title, name of actor, or year. Under the “Star Stories” category you’ll find memories of and about movie actors shared by their relatives and fans.

However, public domain films aren’t all the website’s author is collecting. Two of Jimbo’s other websites are Free Classic Radio Shows and Free Classic Music.

Uncle Earl’s Classic Television Channel

uncle earl classic tv

Uncle Earl’s Classic Television Channel is a public library that features free classic television programs and movies collected by “hundreds of contributors”. The library consists of over 25,000 titles and is managed by the librarian, Earl Oliver.

You can search the Uncle Earl’s movie library by title, genre, and even by actor’s name.

Public Domain Comedy

public domain comedy

According to the website, on Public Domain Comedy you can find not everything, but “the best public domain comedy video”. Devoted to all things in the comedy genre, the platform has a variety of sections. It allows you to search your videos by title, type, and theme (Halloween, winter, or a curious section called “unintentionally funny”).

The resource is perfect for the fans of classic comedy everything: from video clips to feature movies, to cartoons and radio shows. And don’t forget to check out their impressive Silent Movies section.

Big Five Glories

big five glories

Our last pick is Big Five Glories. A website for those who prefer doing their movie search in style. Any classic lover is guaranteed to enjoy the platform’s retro-style design and easy to use structure.

You can search the site’s content by titles, user rating, genre, as well as the year it was made. There’s also a special section for silent and color movies.

Honorable Mentions

We have previously written about other resources that you can use to watch your favorite classic movies online The 3 Best Sites To Watch Your Favorite Classic TV Movies For Free The 3 Best Sites To Watch Your Favorite Classic TV Movies For Free Read More , such as Internet ArchiveClassic Cinema OnlineBlack and White Movies Bnwmovies: Watch Classic Old Movies Online Bnwmovies: Watch Classic Old Movies Online Read More , and Movies Found Online MoviesFoundOnline: Public Domain Movies and Documentaries MoviesFoundOnline: Public Domain Movies and Documentaries Read More .

Aside from those, classic movies can also be found on Vimeo and YouTube. You can watch over 100 public domain movies for free on YouTube Watch 100+ Free Public Domain Movies on YouTube Now Watch 100+ Free Public Domain Movies on YouTube Now Itching to watch old movies from decades ago? It's a great way to get hit with a potent dose of nostalgia. Well, this YouTube channel has hundreds of films you can watch! Read More . The numbers are similar on Vimeo: you can search your favorite old movies by titles or under the tag “classic movies”.

What Else Is There?

Several of the websites mentioned on this list focus on more than one type of public domain media. Some of them cover movies and radio shows, others are centered around films and music. Truth is, there is a lot more out there.

watch free movies open culture

Open Culture is a web hub dedicated to free media related to culture and education. You can not only find old classic movies but also enjoy free audio books, ebooks, online courses and other stuff.

If you want to explore the world of public domain media a little further or are looking to find free media pieces, check out these sources for public domain music The 5 Best Sources For Exploring The World Of Public Domain Music The 5 Best Sources For Exploring The World Of Public Domain Music In the midst of streaming music services and (unfortunately) pirated music, we tend to forget that there’s a type called public domain music too. Public domain music quite simply is music and musical works which... Read More , websites for free images and stock photos 6 Free Websites For Public Domain Images & Free Stock Photos 6 Free Websites For Public Domain Images & Free Stock Photos Public Domain refers to material that is 'publicly available' and not covered by intellectual property or copyrights. In today's media, where visual art is abundant, there is a high demand for images, for example for... Read More , as well as this site for free public domain audiobooks This Site Has Thousands of Free Public Domain Audiobooks This Site Has Thousands of Free Public Domain Audiobooks Audiobooks can be expensive. Why not relieve some of the pressure on your wallet by listening to these free public domain audiobooks instead? Read More .

Find and Watch Your Favorites

Now that we’ve enabled you with this knowledge and diversity of options, it’s time for you to go back… to the past and dive into the world of retro cinematography.

Which film will you begin with? What’s your favorite genre when it comes to old classics? Do you ever browse your movies by actor names? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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  1. Mike
    April 27, 2017 at 9:48 am

    how about myretroflix.com? They have a huge selection of classic and retro movies and tv for FREE!

    • Anya Zhukova
      April 27, 2017 at 11:12 am

      Thank you for the addition, Mike!
      Myretroflix definitely belongs on this list.