What should I watch? This question plagues us, no matter how we watch TV. Once we’ve binged our favorite series, seen all the recommended shows and movies, and browsed every genre we could find, we still hit a wall. What’s left? we think, as we impatiently await the third season of “Westworld.”
You may even be tempted to cancel a service that seems barren. Tap or click here for five things to know before canceling.
While some streaming services aren’t as popular as Netflix or Hulu, their archives are vast – and better yet, they’re free. These platforms are often robust and full of surprises, sort of like rummaging through a secondhand store.
Because they’re streaming, they’re about as easy to access as anything on the internet, although some may require a little extra gear, like a Roku or Amazon Fire TV stick. If you have a Fire TV Stick or Cube, tap or click for 10 features you might not know about using your Amazon streaming gadgets.
Here are 10 of the best sites for watching movies free. Make sure to bookmark your favorites so nights at home can be just as amazing as going out to the movies. Just remember, like all streaming services, content changes periodically.
If you love art house or classic movies, Kanopy is the best site for free streaming. With entries from the Criterion Collection as well as contemporary indies, Kanopy shows high-quality and critically acclaimed cinema, all at no cost to its users.
To use Kanopy, your local library, university or college needs to be connected to it. With a library card or your college email login, you can access Kanopy’s catalog at any time. Tap or click here to check if your library is connected.
Movies playing now: “Ladybird,” “Moonlight” and Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis.”
For those who prefer more mainstream movies, Popcornflix perfectly fits its name. The ad-supported service accesses tons of movies and TV shows. You can stream through the web, but you can also download the app on Roku, Apple TV, Google Play, Amazon and Xbox if you’d like to watch on a TV screen.
We’ve recommended Popcornflix before, and we stand by that recommendation now. Tap or click here to test Popcornflix on your smartphone.
Movies playing now: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “The Firm” and “Roman Holiday.”
Vimeo is a video platform like YouTube, allowing users to upload their own movies and clips to share in HD quality. You have to pay to watch some movies on the site, but many are free – particularly short films.
Bonus: It’s a great alternative if you’re not into the idea of Google knowing what you’re watching. Tap or click here for other Google alternatives for just about everything you do on the web.
Vimeo exists as a website and as an iOS and Android app. You can watch movies by streaming directly or downloading them for when you’re not on Wi-Fi.
Movies playing now: “Staff Pick Premieres,” a channel of “the best short films on the internet.”
4. Internet Archive
Do you love classic movies? Many golden age films are now live at internet Archive, a site that captures all public domain media. Most copyright-free titles date back to the 1920s and 1930s. For classic movie buffs, it’s a treasure trove.
I interviewed internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle about digital time travel.
Movies playing now: “Plan 9 from Outer Space,” “The Three Stooges” and the Charlie Chaplin collection.
5. Sony Crackle
Sony Crackle, formerly known as Crackle, is another great site that supports itself with ads. If you really like action and thriller movies, and some older TV shows that are hard to find on other platforms, Sony Crackle is worth the occasional interruptions.
Movies playing now: “Black Mass,” “Concussion” and the “Friday the 13th” series.
Though primarily a platform for buying movies and TV episodes, Vudu also has free content – once again, thanks to ads. Vudu has a diverse catalog and reports how long movies will remain free.
You can get Vudu on your computer, game consoles, streaming devices, smart TVs, Blu-ray players, phones and tablets. You just have to sign up for a free Vudu account to use the apps and site.
Movies playing now: “La La Land,” Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist” and “Batman Forever.”
Working through IMDb.com or Amazon Fire products, IMDb TV is a way to watch critically acclaimed films free from the comfort of your home. As with most of these streaming sites, this one is ad-supported, but if you have Amazon Prime, you can watch movies free through Prime on IMDb TV without ads.
Fun fact: Amazon owns IMDb. Tap or click for a full list of companies you didn’t know the tech giant owns.
To watch movies, you need an IMDb or an Amazon account, and you can watch to your heart’s content. IMDb TV isn’t the easiest to navigate or search through, but their “Top Rated” category allows you to find movies other users love.
Movies playing now: “A Few Good Men,” “Memento” and “My So-Called Life.”
Libraries offer tons of amazing services. Your library card can get you access to hoopla as well. hoopla is the digital service of Midwest Tape, a company that provides media products and services like DVDs, CDs and audiobooks to libraries.
Just sign up for hoopla with your email and library card, and you’ll have access to tons of movies and TV show seasons, plus the ability to use the hoopla app on your phone, tablet, Amazon Fire device, Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV and Android TV devices.
hoopla doesn’t work with every library system, so make sure to ask the next time you’re at the library.
Movies playing now: Varies by local library systems.
9. The Roku Channel
If you have a Roku, you have access to The Roku Channel, which gets you free movie and TV content. You can stream live shows on the Roku channel, as well as watch an ever-changing catalog of movies and TV shows, all at no cost.
If you use a Roku at home, it’s time to go beyond the instruction manual. Tap or click here for 8 pro tricks.
You can add your premium subscriptions to the Roku Channel, so you can watch things like HBO and Showtime all on your Roku – but free content is available even without them, though you may find similar options on Popcornflix, FilmRise, Vidmark, American Classics and YuYu.
Movies playing now: “The Joy Luck Club,” “Tombstone” and “Indecent Proposal.”
YouTube has its share of feature-length films uploaded illegally, and those tend to disappear quickly thanks to YouTube’s algorithms. But the service also has a good number of licensed films you can watch for free.
To see what’s available, just go to the Movies & Shows channel, available from the YouTube homepage, and click “View All” next to the “Free to watch” category. Quality varies, but there are a few gems, plus tons of kid-friendly content.