The best films online that won’t cost you a dime
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Stop me if you’ve heard this one. It’s Friday night, you’ve already burned through the latest episode of that new show you’ve been following and you’re looking for something to watch. You peek a glance at this week’s VOD releases, but nothing piques your interest. What are you going to watch tonight?
While Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, and more offer a constant replenishing stream of new movies to watch every week, if not every day, that doesn’t leave a whole lot of options for audiences who don’t have the disposable income to subscribe to several different streaming services. You may be wondering then, what are the best movies to stream online for free? While the majority of movies free to stream are the kind of knock-off fodder you’d otherwise find at the bottom of a bargain bin, there’s a surprising amount of quality films to watch for those willing to do a bit of digging. Don’t have the time to dig? No worries, we got you.
We’ve compiled a list of a few of the best movies available to stream for free at home. No subscription, no limited trials, no strings attached. Whether you’re in the mood for comedy, horror, action, anime, or something else, there’s a movie here for you. Here are our picks for the 10 best free movies to stream this weekend.
Reggie (Audrey Hepburn) has been unknowingly living off the profits from a heist pulled off by her husband. When he is suddenly murdered, she realizes she didn’t really know anything about him — or, for that matter, the new man in her life, Peter Joshua (Cary Grant). To make matters worse, the remaining money is missing, and a lot of terrible people think Reggie knows where it is. As more people are pulled into the orbit of the money, it becomes less clear who, if anyone, Reggie can trust.
Hepburn and Grant, two famously talented and charming stars, are at their most charming and talented in Charade. In the span of a single scene, Hepburn might move from pragmatic to seductive to fearful with believable ease. Grant’s initial discomfort with their age gap — 25 years, a still not uncommon chasm in Hollywood — resulted in rewrites to the script to make clear that Reggie was pursuing him; it remains one of the few movies in which the gap is acknowledged and dealt with believably, rather than taken for granted. Their chemistry is immediate and undeniable; it’s key in carrying off the film’s snappy dialogue and mixture of flirtatious comedy, captivating mystery, and genuine thriller. It’s His Girl Friday by way of Hitchcock. —Jenna Stoeber
Charade is available to stream for free with ads on Vudu, Tubi, and Pluto TV.
Michael Mann’s 1995 crime-thriller stars Al Pacino as Vincent Hanna, an eccentric and hyper-competent police detective caught in a tense cat-and-mouse struggle, and Robert De Niro as Neil McCauley, a career criminal. It’s a film made of moments and set-pieces that could comprise an entire third-act finale in a lesser movie. Here, they exist in a triumphant assemblage of carefully interlocking components; working in concert with the precision of a Swiss timepiece.
Pacino and De Niro deliver two of their greatest performances as a pair of obsessive workaholics whose razor sharp proficiency at their trades comes at the cost of all they otherwise love or hold dear. Dante Spinotti’s cinematography transforms the vast cityscape of Los Angeles into a shimmering expanse of lights strobing across the surface a sea of pitch darkness, a den of moral inequity from which no soul emerges wholly clean or unscathed. —Toussaint Egan
Heat is available to watch for free with ads on Pluto TV.
A near-hallucinatory experience investigating the very nature of performance, Leos Carax’s 2012 movie follows a mysterious person (Denis Lavant) who seems to move from life to life and role to role over the course of 24 hours. An unforgettable cinematic experience that revels in stretching Lavant’s talent to its limits, Holy Motors defies description and categorization. —Pete Volk
Holy Motors is available to stream for free with ads on The Roku Channel, Vudu, Tubi, and Pluto TV.
Hot Fuzz may not have been the follow-up that audiences were expecting (or wanted) of Edgar Wright coming off the success of his 2004 breakout Shaun of the Dead, but it certainly ranks as one of the director’s best. Featuring the return of Wright’s frequent collaborators Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, the film is a loving pastiche of police action crime dramas from Lethal Weapon to Hard-Boiled and more, following the story of a hyper-vigilant cop who uncovers a bizarre conspiracy when reassigned to the sleepy countryside town of Sandford. Hot Fuzz has one of the tightest scripts of any of Wright’s films, with references, double-entendres, brick jokes, and memorable quips packed into every conceivable space of its two-hour runtime. —TE
Hot Fuzz is available to stream with ads for free with Tubi.
Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s 2001 Japanese horror classic Pulse is one of the most terrifying films I’ve ever watched. Set near the turn of the century, Kurosawa’s film follows a group of Japanese teenagers who, in the wake of their friend’s inexplicable suicide, begin to experience strange visions and unsettling encounters linked to a mysterious floppy disk their friend was investigating prior to his death. Pulse is widely championed as one of the definitive works in the canon of Japanese horror, with several critics and fans citing it as the definitive internet horror film of the 21st century. Be sure to have all the lights off for this one … and something to cover your eyes when you get too freaked out (trust me— you will). —TE
Pulse is available to stream for free with ads on Vudu.
Takeshi Koike’s 2009 sci-fi racing film Redline is one of the most visually exhilarating works of Japanese animation of its era. The story follows “Sweet” JP, a daredevil driver with a ridiculous corkscrew pompadour and a rockabilly jumpsuit, who qualifies to compete in this year’s Redline, the most competitive (and dangerous) illegal racing tournament in the galaxy. If you’re looking for brazenly absurd and stylish action fare with fast cars, eccentric characters, and preposterously huge explosions, Redline is an absolute must-see. —TE
Redline is available to stream for free on Plex and free to stream with ads on Tubi, Vudu, and IMDb TV.
Movies don’t get much better than Stop Making Sense. Take it from me, a man who has never listened to a single Talking Heads album front to back in his life, when I say that Jonathan Demme’s 1984 documentary concert film is one of the most electrifying, unique, and essential cinematic experiences of the late 20th century. Where else are you going to see David Byrne noodle-dancing in a gigantic oversized suit before belting out infectiously euphoric rock anthems guaranteed to get you out of your seat? Eat your heart out, James Murphy. —TE
Stop Making Sense is available to stream for free on Plex and free to stream with ads on The Roku Channel.
Lee Jeong-beom’s 2010 action thriller The Man From Nowhere stars Won Bin as Cha Tae-sik, a laconic widower who forms an unlikely bond with a young girl (Kim Sae-ron) who lives in his apartment complex. When the girl and her mother are kidnapped by a gang of human traffickers attempting to track down a missing package of heroin, Tae-sik sheds his guise as a lowly pawnshop keeper and draws from his experience as a special forces agent in his efforts to rescue her. Filled with intense performances, deft cinematography, amazing fight choreography, and an excellent score by Oldboy composer Shim Hyun-jung, The Man From Nowhere is a film for the discerning action aficionado, a gripping and explosive drama rendered in dark blue hues and awash in an aura of effortless cool. —TE
The Man From Nowhere is available to stream for free with ads on Vudu, Crackle, Tubi, and Pluto TV.
Imagine if, instead of eating cockroaches and warding off ax-wielding thugs on their way to the 1-percenter front carriage, the passengers aboard the Snowpiercer train warded off zombies. OK, OK, stop imagining: Train to Busan is better than anything you’ll come up with. Propulsive, bloody and glimmering with the dark whimsy particular to Korean cinema, animator-turned-live-action-director Yeon Sang-ho’s take on the zombie apocalypse wears its heart on its sleeve … until the flesh-eating undead tear the heart to shreds. It’s a father-daughter story. It’s a husband-wife story. It’s a who-deserves-to-live-and-die survivor narrative. It’s a people story trapped in a high-speed rail train, where the only hope of escape is a well-timed leap into the baggage shelf. It’s a hell of a movie. —Matt Patches
Train to Busan is available to stream for free with ads on Vudu, Tubi, The Roku Channel, and Crackle.
Few creative teams have ever managed the consistent level of excellence that Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, and Yuen Biao did with their Hong Kong martial arts action comedies in the 1980s, and Wheels on Meals is one of the best of an outrageously good group of movies (and my personal favorite). Set and shot in Barcelona, the movie centers on Thomas (Chan) and David (Yuen), a pair of cousins who run a food truck (with skateboarding tricks to boot) and find themselves enamored with a local woman (Lola Forner). When they run into a somewhat incompetent private investigator (Sammo Hung) who is also looking for the woman, the group bands together to save her when she is suddenly kidnapped.
Wheels on Meals features some of the very best fight scenes of Chan’s prolific filmography, as he squares off against legendary kickboxer Benny Urquidez (the two would later fight again in Dragons Forever), who at the time was among the most prominent and successful fighters in the world. The whole movie is worth your time, but if you want to just find their six-minute marathon fight session on YouTube, there are few things better in this world.
If you like this, you should also check out Project A, which came out a year before and features one of the most daring and jaw-dropping stunts of Chan’s prolific career. —PV
Wheels on Meals is available to stream for free with ads on Plex.
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10 great free movies to watch online – Polygon