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The best feature-length movies on YouTube, free or otherwise

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Movies Available for Rent/Purchase

The bulk of the feature-length films on YouTube fall into this category, and while Google’s selection can’t quite compare to what’s available on iTunes or Amazon, it does boast a pretty solid library of new and old releases. It was tough narrowing it down to just ten, so we highly recommend browsing through YouTube’s full collection on your own. That being said, here are our favorites.

Magic Mike XXL

Slightly silly, self aware, and scantily clad, Magic Mike XXL is a film that knows perfectly well what it’s doing (totally objectifying men for a primarily female audience) and does it in a fresh and interesting way, injecting humor and humanity into a movie about male strippers that easily could be terrible but somehow manages not to be. And, just because we feel it would be unfair not to mention them: those abs, though. Those abs.

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Youtube

Spy

Melissa McCarthy reunites with Bridesmaids and The Heat director Paul Feig in this 2015 spy comedy. Susan Cooper (McCarthy) is a desk-bound CIA analyst — the brains behind the agency’s top brawn. When a list of all the agency’s spies is leaked to a villain with a briefcase bomb for sale, Cooper is the only one who can save the day, much to her antagonizing co-worker Special Agent Ford’s dismay. McCarthy is brilliant and much of the humor in the film comes from turning stereotypes of beauty and confidence on their head — a refreshing take on screwball comedy.

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Youtube

Love and Mercy

Remember John Cusack? 2014 was apparently his year for playing lead roles in actually good films again, the best of which was the Brian Wilson biopic, Love and Mercy. The film follows Wilson’s creative process behind Pet Sounds, focusing on that period of his life, his eventual breakdown, and his therapist’s abusive relationship with him in the ’80s. Paul Dano plays young Wilson, emphasizing the shift in Wilson’s personality between the ’60s and the ’80s.

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Youtube

Mad Max: Fury Road

An assault of action from the beginning to the end credits, Fury Road, the fourth installment of the Mad Max franchise, is relentlessly fast-paced and includes the added bonus of a grown man in a red onesie, strapped to a war truck, playing sludge metal on a double necked flame-throwing guitar, named the Doof Warrior. Despite the controversy this is bound to stir up, we’re going to go ahead and say that Tom Hardy is the better Max Rockatansky — sorry Mel Gibson fans.

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Youtube

Warm Bodies

A zombie with a heart meets a pretty girl whose boyfriend’s brains he’s just eaten — it’s not the most conventional version of love at first sight, but breaking conventions is what makes Warm Bodies stand out in an era of media inundated with zombies. Equal parts funny, romantic, and thoughtful, Warm Bodies considers what it means to be human and just how much of that is dependent on our capacity to feel for others.

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Youtube

Inglourious Basterds

Quentin Tarantino directs this epic five-act film about a band of Jewish mercenaries who make their way through Germany on a mission to assassinate Adolf Hitler. It’s one of Tarantino’s best, featuring a star-studded cast which includes Brad Pitt and Cristoph Waltz, with the former commanding the screen as the leader of the mercenaries. Nonetheless, Waltz won an Academy Award for his remarkable portrayal of Colonel Hans Landa, aka the notorious “Jew Hunter.”

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Youtube

Inherent Vice

Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice casts Joaquin Phoenix as a stoner private eye living in Southern California in the 1970s. After an ex-girlfriend of his shows back up in his life claiming her boyfriend is at risk of being abducted, Phoenix goes down a rabbit hole of politics, drugs, and prostitution. As he attempts to unravel the conspiracy, he runs into a colorful cast of characters played by Maya Rudolph, Benicio Del Toro, and Michael K. Williams. Based off the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name, Inherent Vice is a psychedelic journey through ’70s Los Angeles’ criminal underbelly.

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Youtube

Drive

Ryan Gosling plays a stunt driver who moonlights as a wheelman for the mob in this stunning film directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. The cinematography alone will have you glued to the screen — never mind the intense car chase scenes. For anyone that is grieving the loss of Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston is featured as Gosling’s boss who organizes the crimes they commit. When they get involved with the members of the Jewish mob, things take a dark turn.

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Youtube

The Theory of Everything

Eddie Redmayne’s brilliant performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything rightfully won him the Academy Award for Best Actor, and ranks among the best character performances of all time. The film follows Hawking as a student at Cambridge in the 1960s and chronicles his relationship with fellow student Jane Wilde, his diagnosis and battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease, and his massive impact on theoretical physics and cosmology. Expert direction and superb acting make The Theory of Everything an absolute joy to watch, even if it does provoke a tear, or four.

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Youtube

Back to the Future

Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) is accidentally sent back in time to the 50s in a plutonium-powered Delorean, built by his friend Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd). Upon arrival in the past, Marty runs into his 16-year-old mother who ends up falling in love with him. Marty realizes he has to set up his parents or risk never being born. It was the most successful film of ’85, and Fox’s entire career, exhibiting an impeccable balance between seriousness, sci-fi, and humor.

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Youtube

This article was originally published on December 11, 2016, and updated on May 19, 2016, by Will Nicol to include Primer, Kung Fury, and three other titles.

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