The best free movies on YouTube right now

Are you one of the few holdouts who doesn’t subscribe to a streaming service? The good news is that there’s still a place for you on YouTube. And it won’t even cost you a thing. For some reason, YouTube doesn’t do a very good job of advertising its monthly lineup of free movies and shows. These are more than just low-budget direct-to-video films, although there are definitely some of those. That said, there are also some terrific mainstream movies that would be right at home on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video. Instead, you can watch them at will if you consult our updated list of the best free movies on YouTube right now.

Looking for more stuff you can watch for free? Check out our guides to the best free shows on YouTube and the best sites for watching free movies online.

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) new

10 Cloverfield Lane
Genre Thriller, Science Fiction, Drama, Horror
Stars John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr.
Directed by Dan Trachtenberg
pg-13 104m
Technically, 10 Cloverfield Lane does have some connections to the original Cloverfield. However, the bulk of this story is a thriller starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Michelle, a woman who may be one of the few survivors left in the world. Howard Stambler (John Goodman) takes Michelle into his shelter alongside his friend, Emmett DeWitt (John Gallagher Jr.). While there is some evidence to suggest that Howard is telling the truth, Michelle also finds clues that his motives aren’t what they seem. Without obvious answers, Michelle must decide who she can trust before she can discover what happened to the outside world.

A Fistful of Dollars (1964) new

A Fistful of Dollars
Genre Western
Stars Clint Eastwood, Marianne Koch, Gian Maria Volonté
Directed by Sergio Leone
A Fistful of Dollars is the film that made Clint Eastwood a star. This magnificent spaghetti Western was the first of three movies directed by Sergio Leone with Eastwood in the lead as the Man with No Name. For his first appearance, the Man rides into a border town that is controlled by two rival crime families. The Man uses his superior shooting skills to impress members of both factions while simultaneously playing them against each other in increasingly deadly firefights. But when the Man drops his own agenda to help a woman in distress, his carefully crafted plans come crumbling down.

Noah (2014) new

Genre Drama, Adventure
Stars Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson
Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Director Darren Aronofsky’s Noah is one of the last true Biblical epics that Hollywood has made this century. Russell Crowe stars as Noah, a man who slowly comes to realize that he has been charged by God to prepare for a great flood. He also has to construct an ark to safeguard the animals. Jennifer Connelly co-stars as Noah’s wife, Naameh, with Logan Lerman, Leo McHugh Carroll, and Douglas Booth as Noah’s sons, Ham, Japheth, and Shem. While Noah and his family take in an orphan, Ila (Emma Watson), he is unsure whether humanity is also meant to be saved from the coming cataclysm.

Spaceballs (1987)

Genre Comedy, Science Fiction
Stars Bill Pullman, Rick Moranis, Mel Brooks
Directed by Mel Brooks
pg 96m
“Spaceballs?! Oh [bleep]. There goes the planet.” Critics didn’t love Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs, but Star Wars fans love it. This sci-fi farce embraces all of the tropes from the ’80s, including a hilarious riff on Alien late in the film. Bill Pullman stars as Lone Starr, a mercenary who is partnered with a man-dog hybrid called Barf (John Candy). After Lone Starr and Barf are hired to rescue Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga), they soon find themselves on the run from Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis), President Skroob (Brooks), and the entire Spaceballs empire.

Dear Mr. Watterson (2013)

Dear Mr. Watterson
Genre Documentary
Stars Seth Green, Berkeley Breathed, Stephan Pastis
Directed by Joel Allen Schroeder
If you’ve never read the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, then you’ve missed out on one of the all-time greats. Writer and artist Bill Watterson ended his incredible creation in 1995 and stepped away from a life in public. Nearly a quarter century later, documentarian Joel Allen Schroeder’s film Dear Mr. Watterson explores the ongoing impact of Calvin and Hobbes even years after its conclusion. Don’t expect any on-camera interviews with Watterson himself. He was quite serious about not wanting to be a public figure any longer. But several of Watterson’s colleagues and admirers do share their perspective on his seminal work.

Fanboys (2009)

Genre Adventure, Comedy
Stars Carrie Fisher, Christopher McDonald, Sam Huntington
Directed by Kyle Newman
pg-13 90m
Fanboys is both a love letter to Star Wars and a spoof of all things sci-fi and fandom. Chris Marquette stars as Linus, a diehard Star Wars fan who has only months to live due to cancer. Since Linus won’t live long enough to see Star Wars: Episode 1, his friends Windows (Jay Baruchel), Harold “Hutch” Hutchinson (Dan Fogler), Eric Bottler (Sam Huntington), and Zoe (Kristen Bell) hatch a plan to break into Lucasfilm Ranch and screen the film for Linus. Along the way, their friendships are tested, and several familiar faces show up in unexpected roles.

Romeo + Juliet (1996)

Romeo + Juliet
Genre Drama, Romance
Stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes, Jesse Bradford, Paul Rudd
Directed by Baz Luhrmann
pg-13 120m
William Shakespeare’s tragic story of star-crossed lovers from rival families gets a modern, gorgeously stylized update in this 1996 film co-written and directed by Baz Luhrmann. Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes, still early in their prolific careers, portray the story’s titular duo, respectively, and deliver a captivating performance that blends much of Shakespeare’s original dialogue with a story set in fair Verona Beach, where a pair of powerful families are engaged in a rivalry full of gunfights, lavish parties, and rising tension. A critical and commercial hit that introduced yet another generation to Romeo and Juliet’s tragic tale, the film is filled with lush sets and cleverly updated elements from the original play, as well as a star-packed supporting cast. John Leguizamo, Harold Perrineau, Brian Dennehy, Pete Postlethwaite, Paul Sorvino, Diane Venora, and Paul Rudd join DiCaprio and Danes in the familiar tale of love, loss, and the deadly cost of two powerful families’ feud.

Monsters (2010)

Genre Drama, Thriller, Science Fiction
Stars Scoot McNairy, Whitney Able, Mario Zuniga Benavides
Directed by Gareth Edwards
r 94m
Before he became the filmmaker on 2014’s monster reboot Godzilla and 2016’s Star Wars prequel Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Gareth Edwards did it all on Monsters, which he wrote and directed along with serving as cinematographer, production designer, and visual effects artist. Part creature feature, part travelogue, the 2010 film follows a photojournalist (Scoot McNairy) who’s recruited to escort his boss’ daughter (Whitney Able) back to the U.S. from Mexico. In order to do so, they’ll need to make their way through the quarantined zone of northern Mexico that was walled off after a falling space probe brought a host of extraterrestrial creatures to Earth. A truly independent film that manages to be as beautiful as it is terrifying at times, Monsters makes it clear why Edwards became one of Hollywood’s rising stars shortly after the film’s release.

Free to Play (2014)

Free to Play
Genre Documentary
Stars Benedict Lim, Danil Ishutin, Clinton Loomis
Directed by Valve Company
More than a year after the Overwatch League was founded, e-sports are still carving out a niche and establishing itself as a legitimate form of entertainment. Those who don’t game on a competitive level might not understand the level of dedication required for such endeavors, not to mention the physical and mental tolls placed on young players who train for hours on end each day. Free to Play, a documentary from game developer/distributor Valve Entertainment, focuses on two athletes and one coach who are competing in the 2011 International Defense of the Ancients (DotA) tournament. It explores the stresses the players are forced to deal with and deftly compares the struggles of e-sports athletes to those of traditional athletes.

Nosferatu (1922)

Genre Drama, Fantasy, Horror
Stars Max Schreck, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schröder
Directed by F.W. Murnau
This silent adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula is often regarded as one of the most influential films in the history of cinema. After failing to acquire the proper rights to Dracula, German film studio Prana Film rebranded the legendary vampire as Count Orlok, and resorted to calling vampires “Nosferatu.” While it won’t scare the pants off you, director F.W. Murnau perfectly tells the story, harnessing the haunting atmosphere associated with German Impressionist cinema to great effect (in Nosferatu, you can see the influences of such seminal works as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari). Production designer Albin Grau birthed the film’s concept after speaking with a Serbian farmer who believed his father was one of the undead.

The General (1926)

The General
Genre Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, War
Stars Buster Keaton, Marion Mack, Glen Cavender
Directed by Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman
While Charlie Chaplin remains a household name more than 40 years after his death, Buster Keaton is an oft-overlooked film pioneer, and one of the first true silent film stars. The General met mixed reviews and poor box office returns upon release in 1926 but has since become regarded as Keaton’s greatest film and an all-time classic. Adapted from Union soldier William Pittenger’s memoir, The Great Locomotive ChaseThe General follows a Confederate train engineer forced into action after the father of his love interest (Marion Mack) is wounded in battle. The film includes two train chase scenes that proved to be the most expensive stunts ever in a silent movie, and features some impressive historical detail, all things considered.

Kung Fury (2015)

Kung Fury
Genre Action, Comedy, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Stars David Sandberg, Jorma Taccone, Leopold Nilsson
Directed by David Sandberg
A rare example of a successful Kickstarter film, Kung Fury promised its backers a spectacular homage to ’80s action films, and it delivered. Director David Sandberg also plays the lead, Kung Fury, a detective who gained superhuman fighting abilities after being simultaneously struck by a bolt of lightning and bitten by a cobra. Kung Fury uses his supreme combat skills to clean up the filthy streets of Miami but faces his greatest challenge when no less a villain than Adolf Hitler (Jorma Taccone) arrives, intent on conquering all of time through his own mastery of kung fu. If it’s not apparent already, Kung Fury is a film that makes no attempts at seriousness. That’s not all, either; a full-length sequel is on its way, with Michael Fassbender, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and David Hasselhoff involved in varying capacities. Yeah.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Genre Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Stars Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rima Te Wiata
Directed by Taika Waititi
pg-13 101m
Taika Waititi’s Hunt for the Wilderpeople casts Sam Neill and Julian Dennison as an unlikely duo of foster father and foster child, respectively. A troublemaker from the city adopted by a rural family, Ricky (Dennison) struggles to settle in with his new family, leading to a series of events that sends him fleeing into the New Zealand wilderness. Ricky’s foster father, Hec (Neill), sets off to track the teenager down, only to end up in trouble himself. A national manhunt soon begins, bringing Ricky and Hec closer while showcasing both the fantastic chemistry of the film’s leads and Waititi’s wonderfully endearing, clever script.

Reefer Madness (Tell Your Children) (1936)

Reefer Madness (Tell Your Children)
Genre Crime, Drama
Stars Dorothy Short, Kenneth Craig, Lillian Miles
Directed by Louis J. Gasnier
pg 66m
If you’ve never heard of Reefer Madness, you might be living under a rock. No matter your views on marijuana use, this absurd 1936 movie was made to “educate” young Americans on the dangers of drug abuse, but it’s actually a propaganda film produced by a church group and distributed by notorious exploitation producer Dwain Esper. In the film, pot abuse drives several young adults to violence, murder, and (of course) madness. In the end, Dr. Alfred Carroll (Josef Forte) breaks the fourth wall (uh, spoilers?) to warn viewers that their children might die after consuming marijuana. After a sort of reappearance in the 1970s, Reefer Madness took on a new life as a parody film for supporters of drug reform and cannabis legalization.

With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story (2010)

With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story
Genre Documentary
Stars Stan Lee, Sean Astin, Kenneth Branagh
Directed by Terry Dougas, Nikki Frakes, Will Hess
With the recent passing of comics icon Stan Lee, there is ample reason to get reacquainted with the man who co-created Spider-Man, Iron Man, The Avengers, Hulk, the X-Men, and so many other world-famous superheroes and their supporting cast of colorful characters. This 2010 documentary chronicled the life and career of the man who helped make Marvel Comics a household name and changed the face of the comics world for generations. While the film offers an origin story of sorts for Stan “The Man” Lee, it also provides a touching look at his life away from all of the superheroes and larger-than-life adventures, as both doting husband and father..

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Night of the Living Dead
Genre Horror, Thriller
Stars Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea, Karl Hardman
Directed by George A. Romero
A seminal entry for American horror cinema, George A. Romero’s classic horror movie follows seven people who find themselves trapped 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 its influences can be seen in everything from 28 Days Later to Shaun of the Dead. Romero’s debut — he wrote, directed, edited, and acted in the film — made him into a superstar, quickly revolutionizing the genre on a budget of a mere $114,000.

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