Netflix remains the most-used streaming platform in 2023. Still, there are many options as the list of premium, and free service companies that provide free movies online grows, reshaping the streaming landscape for those wanting to save money.
Around 85% of US households have at least one paid subscription to a video streaming service. According to the Deloitte Digital Media Trends study, US users have an average of four streaming service subscriptions.
If you enjoy watching free movies and TV shows and don’t mind ads, we have several streaming websites to recommend to you.
They represent a more frugal option for those who want more content but are tired of shelling out for monthly subscriptions that add up and hurt our budget, especially with high inflation using more of our dollars.
More households are using FAST services, short for free, ad-supported streaming TV and movie providers. US homes using these services have more than doubled from 8% in 2020 to 18% in 2021.
Some premium providers, including Netflix, are considering cheaper subscriptions with ads, despite rising prices.
Before we go over our list of legitimate ways to get free movies and TV shows online, we wanted to explain some of the terms you may run across when searching the streaming landscape.
Live TV sometimes refers to a sports event, but it also means any program you watch or record as a show or series being shown simultaneously in real-time without delay or time gap.
Video-on-demand (VOD) streaming is not live streaming; you can download or watch that program anytime. Advertised video-on-demand (AVOD) has ads.
An over-the-top (OTT) media service offered directly to viewers via the Internet rather than dedicated cable or fiber lines.
We avoided many popular free streaming companies that don’t appear to have distribution rights to the content or may have pirated content.
Numerous sizable, well-known media outlets support or own the apps in our recommendations, or they have agreements to deliver reputable content.
Any binge-watcher would be delighted with free HD streaming of movies, large collections of the top titles, obscure old films that are hard to discover, sci-fi, comedies, horror, documentaries, British, Bollywood, and other foreign films, free TV shows, sports, and news.
Table of Contents
Most of our picks are:
- Free ad-supported movies and TV shows available on sites and apps
- Legitimate streaming companies with distribution rights
- Have support from prominent recognizable companies
- No sign up required for most.
- Most devices can support it.
We also added another category of free movies and other content available through public libraries, universities, and the public domain.
While you can get a free or cheaper Netflix subscription, these companies are already ahead of the game to have the extra money in your pockets.
Legitimate Free Movies Online
We have these organized by the top 5 free movie apps and then the best of the rest.
Top 5 Best Free Movie Applications
Crackle is a free online movie streaming platform with a vast library of well-categorizing films depending on genre.
The user interface is top-notch. On the downside, the service is region-locked and only available in the United States and its territories.
You can search for a movie without confusion because the user interface (UI) allows for a straightforward process. Newly released titles appear on the home page; you can hover over them to see their information.
Crackle has more than 1,000 movies and over 70 shows to choose from. Its native player has a max resolution of 1080p. Creating an account on Crackle will enable you to list movies and shows you can watch later.
Crackle Sign-Up Process
The signup process is relatively simple. First, you need to click the Register button, leading you to the signup page. Then, enter your information, create a password, and that’s it!
You also have the option to register with your Facebook account or other social accounts. Once registered, you can log in using the same email and password and start watching free movies online.
Crackle Pros and Cons
Since Crackle is an ad-supported streaming service, you will encounter pop-ups and ads while watching.
This unwelcome intrusion can be bothersome as you don’t want to see an advertisement in the middle of the movie or while browsing for one. On the other hand, you do get to watch movies for free.
- Excellent native player
- Captions available for every title
- Well developed UI
- Lots of movies and shows are available
- You can watch movies without making an account
- You will encounter a fair amount of ads and pop-ups
- Max resolution of 1080p
Tubi TV has over 35,000 movies and shows to choose from. Its simple website layout makes it easy to use. Its mobile application is also very well designed, making it easy to choose what you want to watch.
The great thing about Tubi is that it is 100% legal. Tubi partners with MGM, Lionsgate, Paramount, etc.
All the available content is legal and free; the platform makes money through ads. It has a dedicated section for children, and you can program it to recommend movies and shows based on your liking.
The registration process is simple. You can register with your Google or Facebook account or through email.
Enter your information and click on Register to create your account. Making an account is unnecessary, but doing so will enable you to track your progress; for example, you can resume watching a movie from where you left off.
Moreover, it has network channels available such as NBC, Fox News, etc., that you can watch. Unfortunately, it only has a maximum resolution of 720p.
Tubi Pros and Cons
Tubi TV is only available in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Australia.
- Network channels available
- Massive library of movies and shows
- Section for children
- Can keep track of the content you’re watching
- Good user interface
- Resolution maxes out at 720p
With all the big names jumping on the online streaming bandwagon, Walmart decided to do the same. So it launched Vudu as a video-on-demand service currently available in the US and Mexico.
Vudu has a catalog of over 10,000 free movies and TV episodes. You can watch these online with Vudu in 4K and 3D if you can put up with the ads.
Alternatively, Vudu has an online rental service called Fandango. You can rent new movies or wait for early movie release access. Moreover, you can also purchase films or series to watch.
The service currently has over 200,000 movies and 800 TV shows; more are added as the platform grows. This movie streaming site is straightforward to navigate.
Sign-Up Process for Vudu
Vudu’s signup process follows the same steps as other platforms. You can register with your social media account or with your email. Enter your information to create your account. An account isn’t required to watch movies for free, but it does enable you to rent and purchase them.
Vudu Pros and Cons
- 3D and 4K resolution
- Easy-to-navigate app and website
- Early access to new releases
- Great options to filter from
- Free movies and shows are limited
Let’s start with the best feature of PopcornFlix: It immediately offers you the option to select between movies and TV series. After that, you can browse for what you want to watch.
A massive amount of movies and shows are available through PopcornFlix. Moreover, some content is exclusive to this platform.
All of the content available comes with subtitles. In addition, it has a good filter that you can use to search for specific movies. This free movie app’s occasional ads and pop-ups usually aren’t long.
It has a growing library of international movies and is one of the best platforms to watch movies online. PopcornFlix has the edge over other free streaming services because of its availability in 60 countries outside the US.
You don’t need to make an account to watch free full movies on PopcornFlix, but if you decide to create an account, the registration process is straightforward. Sign up with your email or other social accounts, and voila! That’s it.
PopcornFlix Pros and Cons
While all its features are excellent, one crucial thing is missing from PopcornFlix’s arsenal. You can’t change the quality of the movie you’re watching. It will automatically be set depending on your bandwidth.
- Subtitles available
- Option to choose between movies and TV shows
- Has a good amount of famous movies available
- No control over the resolution
- Lack of different genres
PlutoTV has a comprehensive list of channels that stream movies online for free, with over 1,000 movies from different genres. You can access them from your browser or your mobile phone.
There is abundant Spanish content on PlutoTV, ranging from all kinds of films to series.
Outside of the United States, Pluto TV and its apps are currently available in parts of the rest of the Americas (north and south) and parts of Europe (Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, and Spain).
Making an account is not necessary, but in this case, if you make one, it’ll make navigating through the movies and channels much easier since it’ll give you the option to resume watching from where you left off, advanced search options, and the option to favorite movies and channels.
Pros and Cons of PlutoTV
PlutoTV has 4K streaming which is a huge plus point. It also offers network channels such as CBS News, etc. The frequency of ads shown on PlutoTV can be on the high side.
- Live streaming
- 4K resolution
- Sleek design
- Content is not regularly updated, specifically TV shows
Best Of The Rest: Top Free Movie Apps
A group of University of California, Berkeley graduates founded in 2006, Sony acquired Crunchyroll in 2006. The company caters to anime fans with an expansive library with 1,300 series and many simulcast shows. They also offer TV drama shows online.
They offer four tiers, including the free ad-supported tier, which doesn’t get all of the anime content, and three paid levels ranging from $7.99 to $14.99 monthly.
Launched as a free ad-supported video channel by Amazon-owned online database IMDb in January 2019 as IMDb Freevee, became IMDb TV, and rebranded as Freevee in April 2022.
You don’t have to subscribe to Amazon Prime to watch streaming original and licensed programming, accessible in US, US territories, UK, and Germany. Their ads were not very intrusive to us.
Some of the new streaming content on Amazon Freevee are associated with programs that were on Amazon Prime, including Bosch Legacy and Judy Justice.
We thought the ads were relatively short compared to some of the other companies. Freevee boasts thousands of hit movies, Freevee originals, and live 24/7 entertainment channels.
Amazon Freevee recently signed new deals with Warner Bros, SONY, and Amazon-owned MGM. You don’t need to subscribe to the service, though signing in is a plus to save your viewing progress between devices.
We use FreeVee almost every day. But it’s usually for older shows like Mythbusters.
Peacock is an American over-the-top ((OTT) video streaming service owned and operated by NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast. It launched its on-demand streaming service in July 2020.
As of April 2022, its monthly service reached 28 million active accounts, and 13 million paid active accounts. Its service is available in the US, UK, Ireland, Austria, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland.
Their extensive library has over 80,000 hours of recent hit movies, TV shows, NBCUniversal shows, Peacock Originals, and live TV, including sports and news.
They have three subscription plans:
The basic plan is free with ads and has over 13,000 hours of select film, like Gone Girl, TV shows and franchises like The Real Housewives, Peacock Originals and series, and a small selection of live sports and news.
The service requires you to register for the free service.
The premium plan, normally $4.99 per month, is currently $1.99 for a limited time. This paid plan is less selective though it is still ad-supported.
You’ll get more live sports like Sunday Football, Harry Potter, and the Jurassic series.
The premium plus plan is $9.99 monthly and provides Peacock’s entire library no ads, and you may download content offline.
Plex began as a hobby in 2007 but evolved through the years and is an exciting choice for geeks.
In December 2019, it became an ad-supported video-on-demand provider of TV shows and movies available globally to free Plex accounts from media publishers, including Warner Bros, MGM, Lionsgate, and more.
They have more than 25 million global users. Users can access their features without creating an account.
Plex provides for free :
- 200+ free live TV channels
- 50K free movies and TV shows on demand
- 30-second previews of songs from TIDAL
As a unique feature, Plex offers a free media player system for users to download and organize their content in a library.
Plex Pro is their premium plan, Plex Pass, for $4.99 monthly. It offers members-only features, including downloads of Plex content, advanced user controls, free activation of iOs and Android ($5 fee for free accounts), trailers, extra content, music lyrics, and more.
The Roku Channel
The Roku Channel is an American OTT video streaming company that launched a free ad-supported streaming channel in September 2017 for its digital media player, Roku.
They show high-quality movies, including relatively recent ones, TV shows, and live TV. Roku TV is one of our go to channels. But it’s usually just for the types of shows you watch the background.
They have licensing agreements with major studios and content from existing Roku channel partners like American Classics, FilmRise, Popcornflix, and other content providers.
Through the strategic acquisition of defunct Quibi, they now show Roku Originals.
They have the typical genres, and you can search through categories such as Bingeworthy or 90-minute movies, which can be helpful when making a choice.
You’ll need to create an account for the free service, which consists of:
- 150+ live channels.
- Over 40,000 on-demand movies and TV shows with a wide range of content, including The Walking Dead and Hell’s Kitchen.
- Access Comedy Central, Pluto TV, FilmRise, and Tubi.
We used to have Sling Free, then we paid for it. We ended up canceling.
Founded in 2011, Comcast now owns Xumo TV.
They offer free ad-supported content, including movies, TV shows, live TV, and on-demand with 190 channels to stream, including popular digital and television networks including PBS, Hallmark Channel, food, live news, sports, QVC, and Red Carpet at the Oscars.
Xumo appears to have less content than other providers and no original content.
Their content is free to watch and stream with commercials and ad breaks from every platform. It is available on iOS and Android in the US, Latin America, Brazil, and Western European countries.
Established in 2009, Indonesian-based Yidio is a video aggregator consolidating streaming content from free ad-supported sites and paid services.
You don’t have to create an account to watch content. However, Yidio sends alerts of new movies and TV shows to those who do.
Yidio has been accessible worldwide through its website and app since 2013, available to Android and iPhone users.
You can get a free trial through its website and sign up for all the extensive paid subscription services, notably Netflix, Apple TV+, Hulu, Paramount+, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, and Disney+.
YouTube is among the most recognizable names to most of us. It is an American video-sharing social media platform launched in 2005 and owned by Google after its acquisition in October 2006.
YouTube has over 2.5 billion monthly users who collectively watch over a billion videos daily. It’s the second most visited website after Google Search.
This site is the best place to learn how to do just about anything, including listening to music and concerts.
With ads, YouTube has over 1,500 HD movies and 4K episodes of our favorite TV shows for free. YouTube has a paid subscription of $11.99 per month if you want to avoid ads and download content.
Free Services Without Ads From The Public Domain
The Internet Archive is an American digital library with the mission of “universal access to all knowledge.”
It provides free public access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, software applications/games, music, movies/videos, moving images, and millions of books, including free textbooks for college students.
As of May 7, 2022, the Internet Archive holds over 35 million books and texts, 7.9 million movies, videos, and TV shows, 842 thousand software programs, 14 million audio files, 4 million images, 2.4 million TV clips, 237 thousand concerts, and over 682 billion web pages in the Wayback Machine.
While its quality is not the highest resolution, the Archive has:
- 15,000+ feature films, predominantly classics
- 3,000 short films
- 400+ SciFi/Horror films
- 3,500+ Silent Films
- 700 Film Noir
Launched in 1986, OverDrive is a digital distributor of eBooks, audiobooks, magazines, and streaming video titles.
The current owner of OverDrive is KKR, which purchased the company from Rakuten, a Japanese retailer and e-commerce company.
It provides publishers, libraries, schools, corporations, and book retailers digital rights. OverDrive highlights Kanopy, Libby (eBooks and audiobooks), and a few other apps on its site.
Kanopy is an on-demand streaming video platform for libraries and universities with thousands of movies to stream for free.
The content is available on the Kanopy app for Amazon Fire table and Fire Stick, iOS, Android, and Roku. You can start watching movies with your library card or university login information.
Hoopla is similar to Kanopy, with movies only a portion of their library from Disney, Lionsgate, and Warner Bros. They have free audiobooks, comics, ebooks, movies, music, and TV for patrons of participating libraries.
They claim to have 500K content titles across multiple formats.
Tips for Watching Movies Using Free Apps
Watching movies using free apps is safe for the most part, but you can never be too sure. As such, you should be aware of a few safety precautions.
- First, use a VPN to hide your IP address and remove trackers looking to steal your data or behavioral pattern.
- Second, use an ad blocker to stop the pop-ups. These pop-ups can sometimes be a pain to close or automatically show ads. It’s better to stop them dead in their tracks.
- Third, keep your antivirus or windows defender up-to-date to protect your system, even if a file is automatically downloaded. It will scan it for known viruses and notify you if there’s something to be concerned about.
Free Movie Apps: The Piracy Question
While you can get paid to watch Netflix, many prefer free movie apps over paid services. However, popular free movie streaming apps are often not licensed or regulated. (These are apps that we have not mentioned in this post!)
The content they upload is often illegally acquired from movie studios or production houses. Viewers who stream movies from those sites can get fined a minimum of $750.
Popular free movie apps with unlicensed content continue to shut down because of court rulings. But the sites manage to resurrect under different names and continue operations.
It’s the same with free movie apps with region-restricted content. Tech-savvy users use VPNs to get around these restrictions.
For some people, free movie streaming sites are much-appreciated money-savers. However, the producers and studios that work hard on their projects are not fond of such sites putting their work out for free.
Piracy is like digital theft; no one wants their services or products stolen. While some platforms have pirated content, there are legitimate and safe movie apps that you can use without the risk of being penalized.
Through these platforms, you can watch free online movies that are legal since they are in partnership with studios to whom they pay fees.
It’s like illegal side hustles; if you know better, you should do better.
More Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Free Movie Apps
How Can I Watch Full Movies for Free?
You can watch full movies on websites such as Crackle, Tubi TV, Vudu, PopcornFlix, and PlutoTV across different devices and platforms. While many sites are location-restricted, you can use VPNs to unlock a region.
What App Is Like Netflix but Free?
Applications like Crackle, Tubi TV, Vudu, PopcornFlix, and PlutoTV are excellent, free Netflix alternatives.
They provide a huge catalog of licensed movies and TV shows for safe and legal viewing. Like Netflix, these apps feature original content, including film school originals and web series.
What Is the Safest App for Downloading Movies?
The free movie apps mentioned above provide the safety you need to download movies. Standard precautions apply, such as installing your gadget’s own antivirus and VPN and web blockers for content filtering in the case of children viewers.
What Is the Best Free Movie App for Android Devices?
Some point to Vudu as the best free movie app for your Android device because of the clarity and sound quality of the streaming movies.
Tubi TV is also notable for its video’s high definition quality. Regarding ease of use, Crackle is an app with easy navigating tools and user-friendly controls that allows you to stream movies without any complications.
Conclusion: Free Movie Apps
Gone are the days when watching movies at home entailed going to the corner video store and renting VHS tapes or DVDs.
Many competing platforms now enable video streaming so that you can watch movies for free anytime, anywhere. Explore each platform’s features to determine which works best for you and your devices.
Watching movies in these free apps is a unique way to watch your favorite series.