Whether you are a cord-cutter or simply love freebies, the idea of streaming movies for free might sound alluring.
However, some of the popular streaming services are likely to burn a hole in your pocket. Other sites offer free services stream pirated content, which is illegal and can come with dire consequences. Also, many of them are full of adware, malware and viruses, posing a threat to your privacy and safety.
Is it possible to get streaming services without breaking the bank and without having to worry about cyber threats? The answer is a resounding yes! If you know where to look, free movie streaming is completely feasible. Read on below to find out how.
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Best Free Movie Streaming Sites
1. Sony Crackle – Best for Movie Quality
Before Sony Picture acquired Crackle, it went by the name Grouper. Since the acquisition, it has become one of the best free streaming sites and as you may expect, everything on this site is from Sony Pictures.
The best part about this is that it has full-length movies and shows in the hundreds, which means plenty of options. These movies not only have top-notch quality but also big-name titles featuring globally-renowned stars. Aside from films, you will also find TV shows and high-quality original programming.
You do not need a membership to use the service, but if you choose to sign up for a free account, you will have the ability to pick up a movie from where you left off. One downside is that during a feature-length movie, you will have to sit through a handful of commercials as expected from a free site.
Some of the most popular titles here include Look Who’s Talking Now, Starship Troopers, Hell’s Kitchen, All in the Family and plenty of others.
- High quality videos
- Plenty of video player options
- Highly intuitive mobile app
- Has a higher than average number of ads
2. Pluto TV – Most Organized
Pluto TV differs from most in the sense that it organizes its content into hundreds of channels. Think about it as cable TV but without the cable itself and the cost associated to it. Like traditional cable, it has a Live TV section where it is possible to switch between the channels.
On the left side, you will find a Movies section that takes you to the channels that only show movies. Due to its unique design, you may at times find movies are halfway through as they would be on TV, but there is also an On-Demand section where you can stream at your own pace.
You have an option to stream movies on your web browser or using the desktop or mobile app after downloading their software. Apps are available for most operating systems including Android and iOS.
Channels offer a wide range of programming options including web series, documentaries, original content, independent films and broadcast network TV shows. No sign-in is required.
- Includes a wide array of programming options
- Has an interesting feel comparable to cable TV channels
- Offers live broadcasting and on-demand videos
- Exclusive movie channels are only about a dozen
- You cannot replay a live-streamed movie on demand
3. Vudu – Best Filter Options
Vudu offers thousands of movie titles for free as well as some for purchase and rent. It specifically targets users in the US and Canada.
Under the free content section, you will find a vast assortment of classic movies and sitcoms as well as modern films from Hollywood. Watching free content comes with a catch. You will have to put up with ads. On the bright side, these are mostly short and infrequent.
A major highlight of Vudu is its well-organized interface. Content is organized by genre and you can also pick the most recently added movies from the New page. Under the genre section, some of the categories include family and kids, comedy, romance, action and crime among others.
The site also prides itself for high-quality videos, as you can find free movies at resolutions as high as 1080p. To use the service, you need to register an account, which you will need to activate to be able to use the service.
- Choosing a movie is a breeze thanks to multiple filter options
- A majority of the movies are popular
- High resolution for great quality movies
- You must create an account and log in to use the service
- Movies are uncut and include ads while some should be paid
4. Popcornflix – Best for Multiple Platforms
Launched in 2011, Popcornflix is only available to users in North America. Unlike most others, it doesn't only work on web browsers and computing devices, it also works on gaming consoles and a host of other platforms.
A majority of its original content consists of independent productions and web series. Recently, it also introduced A-list Hollywood movies including I'm Still Here and Staying Alive, old cartoons and TV shows.
Its content is ad-supported, which means you have to watch some commercials to stream a full-length movie. On the bright side, it always has new content flowing in from Screen Media ventures. At the moment, its collection consists of over 1,500 movies.
In order to streamline your selection process, it organizes content based on new arrivals, popular movies, genres and staff picks.
Popcornflix is among the sites that host its movies via YouTube, so you don't have to create an account to stream movies here.
- You can use scenes to make GIFs
- No need for account creation to access content
- Movies play on large video players and can work on multiple platforms
- Features ad-supported films
- Subpar video quality
5. IMDb TV – Best Resource for Movie Information
Owned by Amazon, IMDb (Internet Movie Database) is highly reputed for its comprehensive movie information database and its wealth of trailers. More importantly, it has a vast library of TV shows and movies. To stream a movie from this source, you can use filters such as genre, recently added, originals, top-rated and most popular.
It has a full-featured video player where you can change video quality, switch screen modes, turn on subtitles and adjust the way movies appear on your screen. However, its streaming services are only accessible on Fire TV and online.
Though it is an ad-supported service, Amazon limits them, making it one of the least annoying options as far as ad-supported sites go. Even though IMDb is a massive repository of movie information, its interface seems cluttered and is difficult to navigate.
- High-definition viewing
- A hub of movie information
- Multiple filtering options
- Requires user account creation
- Cluttered look
- Supports ads, some of which are long
6. Yidio – Best for Variety of Content
Unlike a majority of other free streaming sites, Yidio is a content aggregator site that links to content on other websites. By virtue of that, it has the most massive variety of movies and TV shows, which is over a million.
When you click on a movie on the site, it redirects you to third-party host sites like Netflix, Amazon Prime and others. With this being the case, some of its shows may require a subscription to those hosting the movie, so in order to find free shows here, use the Free filter.
The top advantage of using this service is that it spares you the hassle of searching for content from individual sites. Finding movies here is super easy as it allows you to sort them by rating as well as by genre.
Some of the genres include Family with the likes of Stuart Little available to stream for free, Classics such as Child's Play, Animation including The Smurfs, Musicals such as Grease2, Indie films like The Final and Thrillers such as Basic Instincts among others. On the home screen, you can choose from its collection of recent shows and new movie releases. Like most other free streaming sites, it is ad-supported.
- Has a dedicated app for free movies
- Account creation is not mandatory
- Multiple options for movie filtering
- Not all movies in the Free section are free
- Shows DVD quality movies
- Ad-supported site
Best Subscription-Based Movie Streaming Sites with Free Trials
1. Netflix – Best for Original Movies
As the most frequently used streaming service, Netflix prides itself in offering a wide variety of movies as well as TV shows. It is a video-on-demand platform that works on Mac, Windows, smart handheld devices, smart TVs and all gaming consoles.
Considering its vast catalogue of Netflix original movies such as Ghost Stories, To All The Boys and Wine Country and cult classics such as Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Reservoir Dogs and Groundhog Day, it is no wonder that the service is currently a front-runner in the niche. The content here is of top-notch 4K quality and it offers highly intuitive user interfaces across the different platforms.
There are no commercials during any of the movies which gives viewers a lot more viewing pleasure as there are no disturbances as with a lot of the free streaming sites.
However, what you watch today might not be available tomorrow, making it rather unpredictable as Netflix do change what's available on the regular. Its basic package starts at $8.99, the standard package at $12.99 and the premium package starts at $15.99, and its catalogue changes constantly. Fortunately, though, you can get a free trial period of 30 days to try it out.
- Ad-free movies that are accessible on multiple platforms
- User-friendly interface
- Offers offline downloads for mobile users
- No HD on the basic subscription
2. Disney+ - Best for Multiple Device Streaming
In its more than a century of existence, Disney has produced hundreds of movies and TV shows that have become houselhold favourites. All of these are now available for streaming on their new service, Disney+.
It brings together top titles from Disney as well as Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, National Geographic and other subsidiaries. Plenty of Disney+ originals and some titles from newly acquired 20th Century Fox add to its astonishing variety of movies. At its launch in March 2020, it had over 500 movies and 7,500 TV shows.
Currently available in the US, UK, Canada and a number of countries in Europe, the service hopes to rival Netflix and Amazon. Some of its alluring features include offline downloads, 4K streaming and personalized recommendations.
Downloads from the service are unlimited, available for download on up to 10 devices and do not expire. The interface is easy to navigate and thanks to its intuitive design, finding a title is relatively hassle-free.
Even though it comes with a free trial, it only lasts 7 days, but to purchase it's £5.99 a month or £59.99 a year in the UK or $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year in the US.
- Vast catalogue of movies and TV shows
- High quality programming (4K, Dolby Vision/Atmos and HDR10)
- Intuitive interface
- Misses some content from Disney, Marvel and Fox
- Limited parental controls
- Free trial period is limited to 7 days
3. Hulu – Best for Low Prices
Another top choice among movie streaming services, Hulu offers a wide variety of classic, new and live TV shows and movies. The Hulu on-demand library does have a primary focus on TV shows, but it does have a wide offering of movies online too.
Like its competitors, Hulu offers original content as well, but this is not its strongest suit. Its better-known for its library of movies as its lot more competitive and it has hundreds of anime titles. Most of the shows are however not available in 4K resolution, at this time.
Hulu’s lowest-priced on-demand plan that is priced at $5.99, the lowest on the market, includes ad support so users will need to pay $11.99 for ad-free streaming. To test the service out, you can subscribe to the 30-day free trial period.
- Competitive base price plan at $5.99
- Plenty of original shows and film options
- Accessible on multiple platforms
- Service only available in the US
- Limits users to a single stream
4. Amazon Prime Video – Best for 4K and HD Streaming
Prime Video offers amazing variety in its top-tier streaming services with great technical capabilities. Its library of quality content is constantly growing and consists of classic popular movies such as The Avengers, The Great Escape and Sherlock Holmes, original content including Jack Ryan, and top TV shows.
Its video library is one of the largest, with 14,210 titles, which is more than Hulu and Netflix combined. In addition to streaming, users can opt to buy or rent various titles.
Another great aspect of the service is that most of its movies and shows are in 4K HDR which most competitors don't offer. Also, you can have up to 25 titles downloaded to your device at any given time.
Available movie titles here keep rotating and some users do mention that finding content is tough because of its busy user interface. The search tool could be more user friendly as when you search for a title, you get a long list of options and have to check carefully to find out if it is included in the Amazon Prime package or not.
To get a feel of things, you may want to try out the 30-day free trial plan first. After your trial expires Amazon Prime Video is $8.99 a month or included in your package if you are an Amazon Prime member; $12.99 a month or $119 a year.
- Bundled with Amazon Prime subscription
- Supports 3 simultaneous streams
- Genuinely commercial-free and movies run on multiple platforms
- User interface could be more friendly
- Does not work on Chromecast
5. HBO Now – Best for On-Air Originals
Widely renowned for such popular TV shows as Game of Thrones and Euphoria, HBO Now is a highly compelling movie streaming service. It features an impressive collection of on-demand movies and shows as well as on-air originals.
The service has plenty of popular classic films across various genres including Die Hard, Armageddon and Fight Club as well as lots of recent mainstream movies including The Zookeeper’s Wife, Due Date and It: Chapter 2. At present, the total number of titles is a little above 550 and ever-growing.
Its performance features are striking and its offerings are completely ad-free. Despite of being priced comparatively higher than most competitors at $14.99 a month after a 30-day free trial period, it does not offer 4K or HDR content. It also does not support offline downloads.
- Offers support across multiple platforms
- Excellent user interfaces and no commercials
- Remarkable collection of original shows
- No support for offline viewing
- Does not support 4k or HDR content
- Limited library collection
Understanding Free Movie Streaming Sites
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, you may be wondering how free streaming sites work. How do they make their money? Are they legal or do they breach copyright laws? Below is all the information you need to put your mind at ease.
There are a lot of free movies that are totally legal to be streamed online. These are usually public domain videos. In many cases, they have either crossed the bridge into a common property or at times, lapsed in ownership.
Sometimes, free movie streaming sites also include amateur films and original content. As such, free streaming sites are legally allowed to host such treasures. And these movies will typically be anywhere from a few months to a number of years old. This does not necessarily mean that the movies available for free streaming are subpar. More often than not, you will find plenty of top-tier releases as well. These are mostly ad-supported and will at times be present in an uncut form. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Think of it as watching a movie on TV, where you have to endure some commercials.
Other free streaming sites will give you access to the latest content but find a way to avoid getting into legal trouble. They do this by never hosting their own content. Rather, they act like search engines with content embedded from secondary sites. When you click on a link on such a site, it will request the file from the secondary site. Accessing such streamed content is legal for you as a user.
With regards on how they make money, they use two types of ads; there are video ads streamed during films and the second way is through website ads visible on their web pages.
Features to Look for When Choosing a Movie Streaming Site
Some free streaming sites are known to stream pirated content, which can get you into legal trouble. Apart from the prospects of getting into trouble with the law, such sites also have a bad reputation for spreading malware and viruses.
Always ensure that you only access services from sites that operate legally. You can find information from the About Us page on where a site gets its movies.
Variety of Content
Getting to stream free content legally is not a walk in the park. You will find significant differences in the variety of content available on different sites.
The best free streaming sites strive to provide an abundance of choices to meet all its viewers’ needs.
As mentioned above, some of the free streaming sites make their money through ad-supported content. If you do not mind sitting through commercials, there is nothing to worry about, but if that ruins your movie experience, you would be better off going for an ad-free site.
Furthermore, not all ad-supported sites show the same amount of ads. Some have longer, more overwhelming ads that can take all the fun out of the streaming experience.
Just because it is free, does not mean you have to sacrifice quality. Take time to compare the quality of video offered by the different streaming sites to get the best movie quality. While some offer high-definition videos, others only support DVD quality.
Whether you are in the mood for some golden Hollywood oldies or simply want to cut costs and get entertained, free movie streaming sites are the way to go. As mentioned above, getting access to free movies on these sites is not as complicated as it looks.
Evidently, there is plenty of free movie streaming content on a lot of movie streaming sites, for as long as you know where to find them. There are some hurdles to jump such as illicit sites, cyber threats and geo-blocking, but by choosing your site carefully and using a VPN, you can discover lots of binge-worthy movies.
Am I breaking any laws by watching content from geo-blocked sites using a VPN?
No, watching content from any legitimate site is legal, even when using a VPN. However, there are some countries that do not allow the use of VPNs, but in most countries, it is perfectly legal.
Is it possible to stream TV series online for free?
Yes, there are a number of sites that offer TV series for streaming. However, most of these are in breach of copyright laws, making it illegal. To comply with the law, you should only use a compliant video streaming service.
Can I get viruses when streaming movies online?
Yes, this will usually happen when you stream from illicit sources. They can offer dubious links and ads redirecting you to malicious websites. If you end up on such sites, you can get your device infected with malware.
What else can I do with a VPN apart from streaming movies?
A VPN can protect your identity and privacy online by masking your IP address. It makes it difficult for third parties to log your data and track activities.
Are free streaming sites legal?
There are both legal and illegal streaming sites. Always use a legal site to stream movies to avoid legal trouble and cyber threats.