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The best free movies on YouTube right now (May 2023)

With streaming services continually raising their prices, it’s harder than ever today to find quality content on a budget. Fortunately, YouTube remains free (at least partially). And no, it’s not just for short clips! YouTube has an under-appreciated library of ad-supported free movies and TV shows available to all users.

Sure, it’s not as good of a library as you’ll find on any of the paid streaming services, but there are still a few gems in the mix worth your time. We search the library every month to show you 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.

Recently added to YouTube
Arrival (2016) new
81 %
pg-13 116m
Genre Drama, Science Fiction, Mystery
Stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker
Directed by Denis Villeneuve

The rare hard sci-fi film that’s also a critical success, Arrival was nominated for eight Oscars for its innovative take on an alien “invasion.” As mysterious spacecraft touch down all over the world, an elite team is put together to investigate whether the interlopers mean peace or war.

Language expert Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is one of the first to enter a ship to serve as an intermediary between the creatures and the military. But what she discovers is far more complex than simply war and peace.

Crawl (2019) new
60 %
r 88m
Genre Thriller, Horror, Action
Stars Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Morfydd Clark
Directed by Alexandre Aja

A mix of ecological and creature horror, Crawl sees a massive hurricane hit a small Florida town. There, Haley (Kaya Scodelario) ignores evacuation orders to search for her missing father (Barry Pepper).

When she finds him injured in the crawl space of their home, they soon become trapped by the rising floodwaters. But that’s the least of their worries because the flood has swept a massive alligator into their house.

My Cousin Vinny (1992) new
My Cousin Vinny
68 %
r 120m
Genre Comedy
Stars Joe Pesci, Ralph Macchio, Marisa Tomei
Directed by Jonathan Lynn

A classic legal comedy, Joe Pesci stars as Vincent Gambini, the ultimate fish out of water when he travels from Brooklyn to rural Alabama to serve as the free counsel for his cousin Bill (Ralph Macchio) and his friend Stan (Mitchell Whitfield) after they’re mistakenly charged for murder.

Vinny just passed the bar on his sixth try and is determined to win his first case, even if he’s not remotely welcome in the Deep South. He and girlfriend Mona Lisa Vito (Marisa Tomei) navigate culture shock and the legal system to get Bill and Stan off the hook.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005) new
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
63 %
pg 109m
Genre Adventure, Comedy, Science Fiction
Stars Martin Freeman, Zooey Deschanel, Sam Rockwell
Directed by Garth Jennings
Based on the beloved book of the same name, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is Arthur Dent’s (Martin Freeman) wild ride off of Earth just seconds before it’s demolished by an alien construction crew. Turns out his friend Ford Prefect (Yasiin Bey) is a researcher penning a new edition of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and wants to bring his ordinary Earth friend along for the ride.
Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
Once Upon a Time in America
75 %
r 229m
Genre Drama, Crime
Stars Robert De Niro, James Woods, Elizabeth McGovern
Directed by Sergio Leone
Robert De Niro stars as David ‘Noodles’ Aaronson in Sergio Leone’s sprawling crime epic. Noodles was a Jewish gangster in the Lower East Side of Manhattan during Prohibition but has made a life beyond the criminal underworld. Thirty years later, however, he’s still confronting the ghosts of his past and the regrets of this previous life.
The Sisters Brothers (2018)
The Sisters Brothers
78 %
r 122m
Genre Comedy, Drama, Western
Stars John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal
Directed by Jacques Audiard
Based on Patrick Dewitt’s novel, The Sisters Brothers follows hired gunmen Eli and Charlie Sisters (John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix) as they track down a gold prospector who has stolen a profitable secret from their boss in 1851 Oregon. The genre-bending Western stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Riz Ahmed, and Rutger Hauer in supporting roles.
Skiptrace (2016)
50 %
pg-13 107m
Genre Action, Comedy, Thriller, Mystery
Stars Jackie Chan, Johnny Knoxville, Fan Bingbing
Directed by Renny Harlin
Jackie Chan stars as Hong Kong detective Benny Chan in this high-octane comedy thriller. For years, Chan has tried to work by the book, working within the system to avenge his partner’s murder. But when he learns that American gambler Connor Watts (Johnny Knoxville) has the evidence he needs to bring the murderer to justice, he might just bend the rules a little.
I Kill Giants (2018)
I Kill Giants
74 %
pg-13 106m
Genre Fantasy, Drama
Stars Madison Wolfe, Imogen Poots, Sydney Wade
Directed by Anders Walter
This fantasy film follows Barbara Thorson (Madison Wolfe), a young girl who finds solace from the realities of her difficult family life by retreating into a magical world where she is the greatest giant fighter the world has ever seen. But as the giants’ threat to her world becomes greater, Barbara finds help in the form of her new friend Sophia (Sydney Wade) and her school counselor, Mrs. Mollé (Zoe Saldana).
My Friend Dahmer (2017)
My Friend Dahmer
68 %
r 107m
Genre Drama, History, Crime
Stars Ross Lynch, Alex Wolff, Anne Heche
Directed by Marc Meyers

Someone at YouTube has very deftly picked up on the renewed interest in Jeffrey Dahmer by getting the rights to stream My Friend Dahmer. This is based upon the true story of John “Derf” Backderf (Alex Wolff), a cartoonist who was the closest friend that Jeffrey Dahmer (Ross Lynch) had in high school. In this adaptation of Backderf’s graphic novel, he and his fellow outcasts befriend Dahmer, but they aren’t blind to his bizarre behavior. However, they couldn’t have predicted that the awkward young man that they knew would go on to become one of the most infamous serial killers of the last century. It’s also a tragic tale, as no one notices how monstrous Dahmer has become until it’s far too late to stop him.

Train to Busan (2016)
Train to Busan
73 %
r 118m
Genre Action, Horror, Thriller
Stars Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-mi, Ma Dong-seok
Directed by Yeon Sang-ho
Train To Busan is a Korean action film that may be the best zombie movie of the last 10 years. An American remake is already in the works, with the less memorable title of The Last Train To New York. In the original film, Seok-woo (Gong Yoo) regrets his personal failures as a father, which is why he takes his daughter, Su-an (Kim Su-an), on a trip to Busan to see his estranged ex-wife, who is also Su-an’s mom, on her birthday. Wouldn’t you know it, but a zombie plague breaks out on the bullet train right at the same time it’s happening everywhere else. But inside the train, there’s less room to run. Seok-woo, Su-an, and the other passengers also come to realize that their fellow survivors may become threats as well.
The Illusionist (2006)
The Illusionist
68 %
pg-13 110m
Genre Fantasy, Drama, Thriller, Romance
Stars Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Biel
Directed by Neil Burger
The Illusionist beat the similarly themed film, The Prestige, to theaters by about two months, but Christopher Nolan’s movie is the superior of the two. Regardless, The Illusionist has its charms, largely in the core trio of Edward Norton, Jessica Biel, and Paul Giamatti. When they were young, Eduard Abramovich (Nortan) and Duchess Sophie Von Teschen (Biel) had a passion for each other that was forbidden by her parents. Upon adulthood, Edward reinvented himself as Eisenheim The Illusionist and reunited with Sophie before she could be married to the malevolent Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell). When Sophie is murdered, Chief Inspector Walter Uhl (Giamatti) is unnerved when Eisenheim appears to be able to summon Sophie’s spirit at will.
Dear Mr. Watterson (2013)
Dear Mr. Watterson
54 %
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)
45 %
pg-13 90m
Genre Adventure, Comedy
Stars Carrie Fisher, Christopher McDonald, Sam Huntington
Directed by Kyle Newman
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.
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.
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.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Night of the Living Dead
89 %
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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Nick Perry
Nick Perry is a freelance writer who bounced from Hollywood to Silicon Beach to pajama pants. His work has been featured on…
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