Best Free Public Domain Movie Sites
Public domain is a designation for content that is not protected by any copyright law or other restriction and may be freely copied, shared, altered and republished by anyone. The designation means, essentially, that the content belongs to the community at large. Copyright restrictions vary among types of content and different countries.
Content in the public domain is usually there because either the copyright or restriction has expired or because it was never protected, often because the content owner has purposely placed it in the public domain. Early silent films, for example, are usually in the public domain because their copyrights have expired. Musicians sometimes release works directly into the public domain so that it may be freely accessed.
Music, films, literature, images, software, patents and mathematical formulas are among the wide variety of intellectual property that may be in the public domain.
Public domain movies can be freely and legally downloaded. In just a few clicks, you could be watching some brilliant films.
Downloading a film for free from a website doesn’t always have to involve some form of piracy.
Public domain movies can be downloaded legally and freely, and these aren’t unwatchable B-movies, either. In just a few clicks, you can download and watch some of the most legendary movies ever produced.
A non-copyright movie may precede copyright law as it exists today; films like this also fall into the public domain because they were never truly copyrighted in the first place. Many silent or black and white public domain films are available online for this reason exactly. Some no-copyright movies are in the public domain because the creator declined to copyright their work at all.
Aside from free copyright movies, you can find TV shows, music, and even free stock images to enjoy in the public domain. Software created before 1974 slides into this category, but you’ll still want to be careful when downloading. Occasionally, copyright status changes, so always double-check before streaming a public domain download.
With royalty-free movies, some genres outshine others. Public domain horror movies, for example, are plentiful and readily available. George A. Romero’s genre-defining Night of the Living Dead and the Vincent Price hit The House on Haunted Hill are both on our list of the best public domain movies.
You’ll also find a metric ton of solid sci-fi copyright-free movies. A Boy and His Dog, Gamera the Invincible, and Kong Island are all public domain movies that you’ll be able to find on these sites. Granted, many of these royalty-free movies will feel charmingly dated, but that’s half the fun of watching movies copyright-free.
Best Free Public Domain Movie Sites
1. Public Domain Torrents
Included in this collection are copyright-free movies and public domain cartoons. Download any copyright-free movie that you want, totally free.
As the name suggests, Public Domain Torrents offers torrents of public domain movies and shows. This treasure trove of copyright-free movies and shows includes tons of cult classics.
Although many reputable sites allow you to download public domain movies, Public Domain Torrents remains one of the top sources. On the left-hand sidebar, there’s a fantastic public domain movie database. It’s organized by category; you’ll find genres including action/adventure, animation, sci-fi/fantasy, and westerns. Everything on their no-copyright movies list is available in AVI, iPod MP4, and PlayStation Portable MP4.
We love copyright-free movies. You can download tons of them on Archive.org.
Over on Archive.org, you’ll find a thriving catalog of public domain downloads. You can sort its public domain movies list by genre, year, and more. Unlike Public Domain Torrents, copyright-free movies are available as either a direct download or as a torrent. The format options available to you will depend on the title in question.
While Archive.org boasts a tremendous catalog, you will find it ridden with multiple copies of the same movies. In the best-case scenario, this means that you might find a free copyright movie at a higher resolution than you were expecting if you’re willing to slough through the duplicates.
Still, it’s an incredible source for TV shows, public domain music, and movies, copyright-free and ready to rumble. Whereas Public Domain Torrents only hosts downloads, you can stream straight from the Archive.org website.
3. Public Domain Movies
A movie without copyright is a lot like a dog without a leash. Public Domain Movies and other sites like it help keep license-free films in line.
Public Domain Movies is another very impressive public domain movie database, packed with quality films like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. You can stream royalty-free movies without downloading them, but there are download options available, as well.
Public Domain Movies provides a substantive synopsis and cast list for most of the copyright-free Hollywood movies that it offers. Though the user interface is aesthetically pleasing, one unfortunate drawback is that there is no search feature.
Nevertheless, sorting through this list of free copyright movies by genre will help you navigate their extensive collection of copyright-free movies. You can also go through Google if you’ve got something specific that you want to watch—a search like “site:publicdomainmovies.net charlie chaplin” (without quotes) through Google itself should do the trick.
4. Public Domain Flix
If a public domain download is what you’re after, you may want to inquire elsewhere.
Though Public Domain Flix appears to deal mainly in embedded YouTube videos, it’s still a nifty resource if you’ve got a copyright-free movie in mind that you would like to indulge in. You can stream thousands of public domain movies, all aggregated here for your convenience. Site navigation is simple thanks to a robust search feature.
There’s also a brief synopsis of each no-copyright movie included.
The only thing that Public Domain Flix is missing is some sort of download function. Despite this, its excellent layout and plot descriptions still make it a phenomenal public domain movies site.
5. Classic Cinema Online
Even on YouTube, non-copyright movies are never in short supply.
Classic Cinema Online hosts many classics, including plenty of public domain cartoon movies available for your perusal. You’ll also find public domain television shows, syndicated for you digitally from here until the end of time.
This is another glorified list of copyright-free movies hosted on YouTube, but we can’t complain. Aggregators like these make coordinating movie night a cinch. We watched Gulliver’s Travels in HD without paying a single cent. It was awesome.
The Best Public Domain Sites for Movies
Although you’re unlikely to cancel your Netflix subscription based on the public domain movies available online, they’re a great alternative option when you need something to watch. Whichever site you choose to use, you’ll find hours of movies in the public domain, online, completely free.
Grab a mug of something warm and curl up with any of these flicks; we’re here to make sure that your home is prepared with a healthy cache of movies in the public domain. 2021 just got a whole lot cozier. We’re all about it.
Best Free Public Domain Movie Sites