500 Free Movies of Various Genres to Watch Online

Thanks to my hubby who sent this to me the other day. It’s too awesome not to share.

Open Culture just released this list of 500 movies you can watch FREE online. Yep, you got it, five hundred of them broken down by genres: from Film Noir, Westerns, Silent Films, even Animation. Most of them are classic films, but they also have a few from the 90s and even 200s, such as these two documentaries: Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive (2006) and one I’m sure my hubby is interested in, Steve Jobs – Billion Dollar Hippy (2011), both from BBC.

Apparently there is a movie called Shame in 1962, produced by Roger Corman and starring William Shatner, which is a mystery film about a man sent into a southern town to stir up race riots. So it’s NOT the original version of the sex drama starring Michael Fassbender πŸ™‚ Besides, do you even want to see Shatner go full frontal?? I think not.

Here are just fifteen I might get to first:

  • A Farewell to Arms (1932)
  • Charade (1963)
  • Great Expectations (1946)
  • It Happened One Night (1934)
  • Moby Dick (1956)
  • Meet John Doe (1941)
  • Pygmalion (1938)
  • Sid and Nancy (1968)
  • Solaris (1972)
  • The Great Dictator (1940)
  • War & Peace (1969)
  • The Lady from Shanghai (1947)
  • City Lights (1931)
  • Metropolis (1927)
  • The Birth of a Nation (1915)

Soooo many great documentaries I still need to see, on top of the two I’ve mentioned above. These are the top five I want to see first:

  • George Eastman House: Picture Perfect
  • Nuremberg Trials
  • Philip K. Dick: A Day in the Afterlife
  • Why Man Creates
  • The James Dean Story

Btw, I saw Triumph of the Will (1935) which documents the Nazi propaganda work by Leni Riefenstahl back in college. It’s definitely worth a watch, fascinating and chilling at the same time.

At the end of that post, there’s also a list of free movie sites you can check out.Β  There are a bunch I’ve never even heard of. Worth a look for any cinephiles, surely.


So which movies from the immense list are you most interested in seeing right away?

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51 thoughts on “500 Free Movies of Various Genres to Watch Online

  1. Wow thanks for this Ruth! I’m going to start with…

    M, Night and Fog, Sid and Nancy, Driller Killer, Stage Coach, Battleship Potemkin, The Gold Rush, The Kid, The Fog of War, The Times of Harvey Milk, Triumph of the Will!

    This is pure awesomeness.

    1. We must’ve left this comment at the exact same time, I just came back from yours, ahah. There are sooo many good ones to see, some of the quality aren’t very good though, but still!

  2. Ted S.

    I like free stuff as much as the next person but the picture quality of online movies is not even close to Blu-ray or even DVD. I refuse to watch anything with poor picture quality, I know I’m an HD snob.

    But it’s nice these are available for free so anyone can watch them.

    1. I hear ya Ted, but sometimes with old BW Classic movies I don’t mind ’em so much. Well if I have a home theater system I’d probably be an HD snob too, ahah.

  3. Marvellous! Particularly interested in seeing the Philip K. Dick documentary. I’ve been a masons fan of his books since I was young.

    It Happened One Night and Solaris are at least two that have been on my list also.

    Nice one Ruth!

    1. Yeah, I’m curious about Philip K Dick’s life too, I mean his books have been made into sooo many movies, for better or worse.

      1. I know at the very least that Dick was addicted to amphetamines and had a massive drug habit. This was what added to his recurrent themes of paranoia and made for some of the best and most intelligent science fiction ever written. In a big fan! I can’t praise the man enough and one novel that is most deserving of an adaptation is “Ubik”. I don’t know how they would do it but Mark my words! It will happen eventually. (in fact, Richard Linklater was looking into it but decided on “A Scanner Darkly” instead.

        1. Ah so THAT is the secret to be a great sci-fi writer πŸ˜‰ Just kidding, I’m sure he is truly brilliant, I think some of these great writers tend to have obsession or addictive issues, like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, etc. they all have so much personal problems. Hope ‘Ubik’ does get made one day Mark!

      1. Oh, sorry – Cyrano de Bergerac. I remember watching clips back in an English class from high school and finding it hilarious and entertaining. I’d love to watch it from the beginning. There are quite a few you mentioned that I would like to check out as well! Thanks for posting this — how cool! Oh, and hey, you should email me a picture sometime soon πŸ™‚

  4. impsndcnma

    I think I’m interested in checking a few of these out. Of course they’ll probably remind me enough to see if they’re on Netflix first. There’s something about being able to navigate from your couch.

  5. I’ve always been aware of OpenCulture, but this is eye-opening. I’ll definitely be sure to check them out. Of the ones you listed, my favourites are Solaris and City Lights, but there are a few I haven’t seen, such as The Great Dictator and Great Expectations. Thanks for the tip, Ruth!

  6. Thanks for this, I have some movies to get through (although my Netflix Watch Instantly queue is laying abandoned). Thanks for making me think of a full-frontal Shatner! I’m going to have to watch my Shame blu-ray and look at Fassbender to get that out of my mind!

    1. Ahah, sorry about that, I just thought I’d mention it so people won’t confuse the two ‘SHAME’ film πŸ˜‰ Hey you just need an excuse to watch Fassy’s bits, ahah.

  7. Thanks for sharing this, Ruth! Lots of great movies in there, and quite a few I want to see. Of the ones you listed, I highly recommend Charade. It’s a really fun movie that I think you would dig.

    1. Yeah, I figure these online sites would be beneficial for people outside of the US where the films aren’t readily available. Enjoy!

  8. sanclementejedi

    Damn, some good films on that list worth checking out. I had assumed it was going to be filled with all hogwash. Thanks for the share Ruth

  9. It is indeed a great news…but not for me as my internet conection is so lame, it takes forever just for youtube video to finish playing.

    1. Bummer, Nov. It can’t be fun to watch anything on a slow connection, well hopefully when you get that figured out, this list would be useful to you πŸ˜€

      1. I use internet modem and it is terribly slow lately…even to post something takes forever 😦

        I just have to rely on rental or pirate

  10. Hey Ruth, thanks for this info. I only knew about archive.org who have movies which fell into public domain licensing, but haven’t looked in a few years.

    I have actually seen 1962’s “Shame” at an arthouse cinema — although not in 1962 πŸ˜‰ It’s a good movie about how demagogue’s gain power by playing into people’s fears. I had no idea William Shatner was in it before I went, so that was a surprise. I’ve been wanting to see it again. It’s worth watching.

    1. Hi Marcus! So you didn’t know Shatner was Capt. Kirk before you saw the movie or you just didn’t recognize him in the film? That’s cool that you saw it on the big screen.

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