Updated January 24, 2020

The 6 Best Ways to Watch Movies Online for Free

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You can watch movies on a wide variety of sites, but even platforms like Netflix and Hulu have limited selections. It can be frustrating to pay a monthly fee and still not have access to the movies you want.

Fortunately, there are a number of free movie websites that provide movies without requiring a fee or, in some cases, even a subscription. This article will cover some of the best free movie sites currently online along with the pros and cons of each option.

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Crackle

  • Crackle - Best for Original Content
    • Basics: Crackle is a well-rounded service providing both existing shows and movies as well as original content. It offers an impressive selection and convenient features for registered users.
    • Pros: No account required, although signing up gives you access to additional tools. Crackle also has the best collection of original content among free movie websites.
    • Cons: Crackle doesn't offer any live TV, so you'll need to look elsewhere for sports and other live programming. While it does have a variety of shows and movies, the selection can't compete with services like Netflix.
    • Account Required

      No

    • Game Consoles Supported

      Yes

    • Original Content

      Yes

Basics

Crackle is a free streaming service offering movies in addition to a range of TV shows. Like many other free platforms, Crackle makes money through ads, so content is regularly interrupted by commercials. You can use Crackle through countless devices including computers, phones, streaming devices, and game consoles.

Currently, Crackle is completely free in both the United States and Australia. That said, you still need to create an account to access certain features. The website asks for basic personal information like your age and location along with an email address. You can also sign up with Facebook if you’d prefer.

While you can watch movies without a Crackle account, you won’t be able to do things like put movies on your watch list or save progress from past viewings. Considering it’s free, there’s virtually no reason to use Crackle without signing up.

Details

Crackle’s selection is impressive compared to many other free movie websites. It offers many popular movies and TV shows including both classics and newer releases. Of course, you should check the website if you want to look for specific shows or movies.

Crackle also emulates Netflix and similar platforms by producing its own original content in addition to streaming licensed movies and shows. Don’t forget to check out some Crackle originals after creating your account.  Yes, this is somewhat subjective, but I’ve found Crackle’s original content to be superior to other free platforms’ original platform.

On the other hand, Crackle doesn’t offer any live TV, which is available on other free sites. Crackle’s library is limited to existing shows and movies.

The downside to Crackle is a common problem for free movie websites. Since they don’t have as much money to acquire high-profile licenses, their libraries are necessarily limited relative to paid services. Whether or not additional content is worth the money depends on your budget and what you want to watch.

Pluto TV

  • Pluto TV - Best for Live TV
    • Basics: While Pluto TV gears more toward TV, it still has a decent set of movies. Unfortunately, there are a couple key downsides to Pluto TV that could negatively impact your experience.
    • Pros: Pluto TV provides a great selection of live TV covering a variety of genres. It has also started to invest more heavily in original content to compete with websites like Crackle.
    • Cons: Pluto TV doesn't yet offer an app on game consoles, which may prevent some people from using it. Furthermore, its original content doesn't stack up well to Crackle, although it may continue to catch up over time.
    • Account Required

      No

    • Game Consoles Supported

      No

    • Original Content

      Yes

Basics

Pluto TV’s model is broadly similar to that of Crackle, letting you watch TV without paying or creating an account. In addition to live TV, the service also provides a variety of on-demand content. Pluto TV makes money off of ads, and while you can register to save your progress and favorite channels, the same shows and movies are available to everyone.

While Pluto TV recently created original content for the first time, it’s still far behind services like Crackle, not to mention paid platforms such as Netflix and Hulu. Of course, its content creation efforts may expand as it becomes more popular over time.

Viacom owns Pluto TV, so the platform offers numerous Viacom shows and movies. They’ve also acquired some well-known programming such as Doctor Who and other BBC content. In general, Pluto TV’s functionality is similar to that of other free movie websites.

Like Crackle, Pluto TV has apps on numerous platforms including some of the most popular devices. You can download Pluto TV on Roku TV, Apple TV, Fire TV, Android TV, and Chromecast plus smart TVs, computers, mobile devices, and more. On the other hand, there still isn’t a Pluto TV app for consoles like PS4, Xbox One, or Switch.

As the name implies, Pluto TV focuses more on TV than movies. If you’re looking for a free movie service, you may find a better selection on another website. On the other hand, it may offer what you’re looking for depending on your preferences.

Details

Beyond its own content, Pluto TV primarily focuses on offering access to popular channels. This includes sports networks like Fox Sports and the NFL Channel, kids networks like Nickelodeon, plus a wide range of channels that mainly show movies.

Unfortunately, while Pluto TV supports more than 100 channels, most cable networks aren’t available. Furthermore, it doesn’t offer many on-demand options, and you’ll likely end up wishing you had Netflix or Hulu instead. That said, Pluto TV’s selection isn’t terrible considering it’s available at no charge.

Furthermore, local content such as affiliate news isn’t supported at all, so you’ll need to make other arrangements if you want to access broadcasts from your area. Pluto TV also offers a few channels of its own that broadcast content from other providers.

With so many channels available, regular users should consider creating an account in order to customize their display. Otherwise, you’ll have to scroll through a long list of live channels to find what you’re looking for.

As mentioned above, Pluto TV generates revenue through ads, which will frequently interrupt your content. They aren’t planning to add a premium subscription, so you’ll likely be stuck with ads for the foreseeable future. Those interested in ad-free content should look at paid sites, as most free movie websites use ads.

There’s no option to adjust streaming resolution, so you may have to watch low-quality content depending on your connection. All things considered, Pluto TV is far from perfect, but it’s a decent way to access TV and movies.

Vudu

  • Vudu - Best Overall
    • Basics: While you can use Vudu for free movies, it also offers premium content and features. All things considered, it's the most versatile and worthwhile item on this list.
    • Pros: If a given movie or show isn't free on Vudu, you can usually pay to rent or buy it. Users can also pay to remove ads, and there are more new releases than the majority of free movie websites offer.
    • Cons: Vudu doesn't support any live TV, and you have to create a (free) account to access its content. Like Pluto TV, Vudu is also relatively new to original programming.
    • Account Required

      Yes

    • Game Consoles Supported

      Yes

    • Original Content

      Yes

Basics

Vudu is an established free movie website owned by Walmart since 2004. Again, its interface and features generally align with Pluto TV and Crackle, although there are important differences. The most obvious distinction is that Vudu doesn’t provide any live TV.

You shouldn’t have any trouble accessing Vudu from most major devices. In contrast to Pluto TV, Vudu supports TV platforms like Roku TV and Chromecast as well as game consoles and other devices. Instead of live programming, Vudu offers a library of existing shows and movies from a variety of genres.

Although Vudu is free, you can’t access its content unless you create an account. You can register for Vudu using your email or by signing in through Walmart or Facebook. On the other hand, many other free movie websites let you watch movies and TV shows without an account.

Details

If you aren’t interested in live content, Vudu’s library could be extremely attractive. The platform offers a vast selection of both movies and TV shows spanning virtually every genre. You’ll see far more popular options compared to what services like Pluto TV offer.

While many of Vudu’s shows and movies are completely free, some content is locked behind a paywall. Fortunately, you can easily filter content depending on whether you’re interested in paid content or only free movies and shows. Vudu allows you to sort by release date, date added, or popularity, and there’s also a convenient search feature.

Vudu’s free content comes with ads, but you can pay extra to remove them. This is a helpful feature for people who aren’t interested in committing to an ongoing subscription but still want to watch individual items without ads. Prices can vary significantly between different movies or shows.

One of Vudu’s greatest competitive advantages is its library of early access titles that aren’t on most other free movie websites. For example, Zombieland Double Tap and Joker are available on Vudu for $20 each, although there isn’t a rental option.

Vudu also provides convenient information about the item you’ve selected. You’ll be able to view things like the cast, reviews, parental guidelines, and other similar titles. Vudu feels more like a premium service and less like a free movie website.

Overall, Vudu does a lot right, and its library is impressive relative to its competitors. If you aren’t interested in live content, Vudu is as good of an option as there is among free movie websites. Most of its downsides, including its ads and selection, are also problems for the other items on this list.

Tubi

  • Tubi - Best for Finding Movies
    • Basics: Tubi offers a decent library of shows and movies, but it doesn't provide any unique features that differentiate it from the top free movie websites. On the other hand, if you like its selection, there aren't any major downsides either.
    • Pros: Tubi doesn't require users to create an account, so you can start watching almost immediately. Tubi also makes it easier than most sites to find what you're looking for through search and filters.
    • Cons: There isn't any live TV or original content, and you won't find many movies and shows that aren't also available on competing sites. Tubi isn't bad, but there aren't many reasons to pick it over another option.
    • Account Required

      No

    • Game Consoles Supported

      Yes

    • Original Content

      No

Basics

Tubi was created in 2014, and it’s quickly become one of the most interesting free movie websites. There’s no sign-up requirement, so anyone can access the service and immediately start watching. Its business model is closer to Vudu’s in that there isn’t any support for live TV.

Similarly, Tubi’s list of devices will look familiar to anyone who’s used other free movie websites. You can create an account and stream content on essentially every popular streaming device. While registration isn’t mandatory, signing up gives you access to quality of life tools that may be helpful.

Given its similarity to other services, the key selling point for Tubi is its library. There’s no “best” streaming library among free movie sites, but Tubi’s selection is highly competitive. Of course, you should look elsewhere if you want live TV or access to ad-free content.

Details

Tubi makes it easy to find what you’re looking for with a search tool and filters. You can view the most popular content, new releases, items leaving the website soon, and more. You could start watching your first movie or show in just a few seconds.

One downside of Tubi compared to similar websites is that the platform hasn’t invested in original content. That said, it has a diverse collection of (relatively) new and classic movies. Tubi even has a category dedicated to content that isn’t available on Netflix.

Unfortunately, most new shows and movies take some time to eventually show up on Tubi. You shouldn’t count on it for recent releases, particularly among films. Tubi’s collection is a lot more competitive if you’re interested in TV shows.

In short, Tubi’s library makes it a great place to start among free movie websites, although it doesn’t offer the same paid selection as services like Vudu. It’s perfect for anyone interested in free shows and movies, provided you aren’t looking for live programming.

Popcornflix

  • Popcornflix - Best for Kids
    • Basics: Popcornflix comes with a decent selection and is easily accessible without an account. It's a solid service if you're using a supported device, but it's more limited than other websites in that respect.
    • Pros: Unlike other free movie websites, Popcornflix offers a separate service for kids along with a kids app. This helps you ensure that your child only has access to the right content. There are also some interesting features like creating GIFs from movies and shows or commenting at certain times.
    • Cons: Popcornflix isn't currently available on PS4 or Switch, although more devices may be added later on. Additionally, it doesn't offer any live or original content, giving it a restricted range of options.
    • Account Required

      No

    • Game Consoles Supported

      Xbox only

    • Original Content

      No

Basics

Popcornflix is a free movie website with a surprisingly interesting selection, and it doesn’t require users to create an account. Like some of the other services on this list, it focuses on existing movies and TV shows. You shouldn’t use Popcornflix if you’re expecting original or live content.

Unfortunately, Popcornflix isn’t as accessible as some of its competitors. You can currently only access the platform’s library through Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Xbox, iOS, or Android in addition to computers. Game consoles and certain other devices aren’t yet supported by Popcornflix.

Similarly, you can create a Popcornflix account if you use it often. The interface matches many other free and premium streaming sites and makes it easy to browse by category. There’s also a search function to help you find what you want to watch.

Details

The Popcornflix library holds up against some other free movie websites, but it focuses on specific genres. For example, there are over 100 horror movies, but only 20 options in comedy TV. Most of these shows are older, so Popcornflix is particularly good for those interested in retro content.

In addition to the Popcornflix website, there’s also a separate site designed specifically for kids. The same kids shows are available on the main site, so you can use either one to watch them. You can even download the Popcornflix Kids app for easier access.

Popcornflix also provides some unique features that aren’t on competing websites. For example, users have the option to add comments at specific times in a movie or show. These appear for other users when they reach that point, and you can even find conversations between multiple users.

In addition, Popcornflix simplifies the process of creating GIFs from your favorite shows and movies. GIFs can quickly be shared to either Facebook or Twitter. These tools may not affect your experience, but they’re unique perks compared to other services.

Popcornflix has a solid selection of content for a free service, and I was able to start watching within a few seconds. It should be one of the first places you look if you’re interested in free movies and shows.

Kanopy

  • Kanopy - Best Selection
    • Basics: Kanopy is slightly different from most other free movie websites, but it's excellent for what it is. If you have access through a library or university, there's no reason not to take advantage of Kanopy.
    • Pros: Simply put, Kanopy's collection of films is unmatched by any other free service. In addition to the Criterion collection, there's a wide range of films from different times and places.
    • Cons: You can't pay for Kanopy if you don't have access, so it's only available to students and people who live near a participating library. Kanopy is also one of the few services not to support game consoles.
    • Account Required

      Yes

    • Game Consoles Supported

      No

    • Original Content

      No

Basics

Kanopy functions somewhat differently from the other listed services, but it’s worth mentioning for a number of reasons. Its library offers a wide range of content that isn’t available with any other free movie website. This differentiates it from similar platforms and makes it worth considering for nearly anyone.

Rather than providing free access to anyone online, Kanopy is free to people who attend a participating university or have a card at a participating library. While this might sound like a high barrier to entry, library cards are free and very easy to get.

Once you’ve signed up, you’ll have access to countless movies of all kinds. Kanopy doesn’t offer any TV shows, but its movie collection is closer to that of a paid service. In addition to classic and international films, Kanopy often gets the rights to new releases.

You can access Kanopy on most devices, but the platform doesn’t currently support any game consoles. They’ve also released an app on both iOS and Android.

Details

Again, the key difference with Kanopy is that you’ll be able to watch a better selection of movies. For example, Lady Bird and Moonlight are both available, while you’d have to pay to watch them on most other platforms.

On the other hand, Kanopy probably isn’t the right choice if you’re looking for a service with live TV or episodes of existing shows. Having to get a library card is a slight downside. Of course, not every public library supports Kanopy, so you’ll probably need to contact your local library for more details.

Since the service is funded by participating institutions, movies on Kanopy don’t include any ads. This makes it one of the only free movie websites that doesn’t run on ad revenue.

With such a diverse collection of high-quality movies, Kanopy is the right choice for any film buff. Unfortunately, you can’t pay to create an account if you don’t have access through an institution, potentially cutting off access for people who don’t live near a participating library.

There are numerous illegal streaming sites online, but you can also find a wide range of reliable free movie websites. These are just a few of the top streaming sites to consider if you’re looking for free shows and movies.

Alex McOmie

Alex McOmie is a writer focused on providing insightful, actionable content that can truly change the way readers approach their finances. He joined the Money Done Right editorial team in summer 2019. Learn more about Alex.

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