Back in 2011, Google quietly rolled out the YouTube.com/movies section. Over the past few years it has amassed a library of titles you can rent, purchase, or stream for free, and today, there’s more content in the movie section than you could watch in a lifetime — and that’s not even counting all the full-length films uploaded by users. So to help save you some time in your search for something to watch, we’ve sifted through all the movies Google has to offer — free, paid, legal, and not so legal — to bring you this list of the best full movies on YouTube. Also, check out our list of the best movies currently streaming on Netflix Instant and Hulu.
This article is continually updated to reflect new and removed movies. Last updated July 24, 2014. Drew Prindle and Brandon Widder contributed to this article.
Free Movies (legally uploaded)
YouTube has a pretty sizable list of movies you can stream for free, but truth be told, not many are worth watching. The overwhelming majority of them are obscure B-movies that’re so bad they make you want to gouge your eyeballs out with a hot grapefruit spoon. Movies so genuinely awful that, if you dare to watch them, you’ll find yourself awestruck by the idea that somebody actually took the time to shoot, edit, and distribute such garbage. That being said, however, there are a few freebies on here that we were pleasantly surprised to find, all of which we’ve listed below.
As the name denotes, this documentary looks at factors that led to world poverty and the forces that are pushing the wage gap further and further apart. Martin Sheen lends his voice to narrate the movie, examining the barrios of Latin America and slums of Africa, while showcasing interviews with historians, economists, and sociologists. It isn’t a particularly happy film, but it will change the way you look at people in poverty and might motivate you to examine your lifestyle.
An eccentric millionaire invites five people to a party at a mansion and tells them if they can stay the entire night, they will each get $10,000. However, this isn’t an ordinary house and the guests are uneasy when they are given a pistol at the door and the wife later warns them that her husband is psychotic. Things start to take a turn for the dangerous as they discover their host is hiding something and one guest turns up dead. Unfortunately, you likely won’t experience the original gimmicks that made the film a standout shown during it’s theatrical release.
When five friends rent a cabin in the woods, they unwittingly release flesh-hungry demons from the Book of the Dead. Carnage ensues as the friends try to recapture the evil that has descended upon them. A remake was made in 2013, but the original has a cult following of the original. Its incredibly campy, spliced with gore galore and notable black humor, rendering the cult film one of the few standouts among low-budget horror titles. The 2013 remake? Don’t even try to compare.
Not your typical zombie movie, Ahh! Zombies! is from the humorous perspective of the undead themselves. After drinking toxic beer, four teenagers believe everyone around them has a virus that makes them speed up. They soon come to find that they are the infected ones and have to figure out how to live after death. The oddball action-comedy is the definition of low-budget, teeming with B-list acting and effects, but the unique perspective gives it an appeal liken to Shaun of the Dead.
This documentary follows one of the founders of Greenpeace and a crew as they scour the Antarctic to stop Japanese whaling ships in the Ross Sea. A combination of lack of experience and equipment turns their attempt to uphold international law into a perilous and ill-fated journey, but the David and Goliath still story makes you think about the implications of putting your life on the line for something you believe in. Director Dan Stone also went on produce Whale Wars.
Back in 2010, producer Ridley Scott and director Kevin MacDonald started a project to gather a snapshot of life from people all over the globe, and after sifting through more than 80,000 YouTube submissions from 192 nations, the film was born. Life in a Day presents a microcosmic view of our daily experiences as a global society, focusing on a single Saturday following the the 2010 World Cup (July, 24, 2010). There’s even the like-minded Britain in a Day.
Snoop Dogg plays a militant writer in an abandoned tenement. If for some reason you need more information than that to watch, the movie also addresses issues of race and religion when a Jewish writer (Dylan McDermott) moves into the same building. While both try to document the human condition as they experience it, a tense friendship builds, especially when the two come to blows over Snoop’s girlfriend. The camera shots give it a vintage feel, though it was made in 2005.
A chilling adaption of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Nosferatu represents an eerie vampire movie in an era well before vampires were good looking. On a business trip to Transylvania, Thomas Hutter wakes up with two puncture wounds on his neck and his life is changed forever. He must defeat the terrifying Count Orlock, who is holding the city hostage. The black-and-white cinematography and the film’s adaptive elements are superb, even if they substantially deviate from the novel.
In perhaps one of his best roles, Cary Grant plays a newspaper editor who must use every trick in the book to keep his ace reporter/ex-wife from remarrying a boring business man. Grant gives his wife one last story to cover before she settles down in Albany, New York. She sets out to cover the execution of a convicted murderer. Grant makes sure the process is as drawn out as possible while he works to woo back his wife. The film has spurred both stage and radio plays, but as with the case with most things, the 1940 original remains the best.
Known as one of the original horror movies, George A. Romero’s classic follows seven people who find themselves trapped in a barn in Pennsylvania as the terrifying walking dead surround them. They have to try to survive without understanding the terror that lurks outside. The movie has been noted as the first zombie film and it’s influences can be seen in everything from 28 Days Later to Shaun of the Dead, quickly revolutionizing the horror genre on a budget of a mere $114,00.
Due to the fact that Google periodically adds/removes movies from this list, some of the films listed above may no longer be available. If you find that any of these links lead to movies that have been removed, let us know in the comments and we’ll swap it out for a new film.