The Absolute Best Free Movies You Can Watch On YouTube

The rise of the internet has brought with it both convenience and entertainment for people all over the world. There's more access to the news, to the greatest movies and TV shows, to job postings, and to hilarious memes to laugh at. But the internet has also made it nearly impossible to not be a member of a streaming service. And with so many different options out there, you basically have to pay as much as you would for just a cable subscription in monthly costs for all the different services.


With Netflix, Hulu, Max, Paramount+, Disney+, and more, it's almost impossible to keep up with all there is to watch (and to pay for). But there's one more service you might not have considered, and it's actually filled with the best free movies you can watch from anywhere: YouTube. This platform is home to more than just hilarious videos and vlogs from influencers — there are actually a ton of great films on there. In fact, some of the absolute best free movies you can watch on YouTube might surprise you, so keep reading to see what they are.

Ghost in the Shell

If you want to get a proper film education, then YouTube might actually be the best place to start. Between all the old classics and new, fun films, YouTube has plenty to keep you entertained. Specifically, 1996's "Ghost in the Shell" is available to stream for free on the website, and shouldn't be missed.


The plot of the movie is pretty intense, as it follows a cyborg policewoman who, along with her partner, tracks down a dark and mysterious hacker known as the "Puppet Master." So how did it do with audiences and critics? Famed critic Roger Ebert wrote that he still "enjoyed its visuals, its evocative soundtrack (including a suite for percussion and heavy breathing), and its ideas." "Ghost in the Shell" is an iconic anime film, and the fact that it's free on YouTube is kind of incredible, so definitely check it out. The film was later remade, rather controversially, as a live-action Hollywood production with Scarlett Johansson in the lead role.

The Kindness of Strangers

Starring Zoe Kazan, Tahar Rahim, Esben Smed, Caleb Landry Jones, and Oscar nominees Andrea Riseborough and Bill Nighy, "The Kindness of Strangers" follows the life of a mother fleeing from an abusive husband and struggling to protect her two kids while surviving through the deadly winter months in New York City. As the title suggests, the story explores how the destitute mother makes it out with the kindness of strangers, including a chef and a nurse. The film, which premiered at the 2019 Berlin International Film Festival, is now available to stream for free on YouTube


This is one of the movies that made this list because of the exceptional performance of the movie's cast. Kazan especially embodies the character of the mother with brutal honesty and is assisted well by the rest of the cast. As the movie's review in Variety reads, "She's an actress who can reliably be counted on to bring honest, unpredictable shading even to the most slightly conceived roles."

Mad Money

If you want a high-stakes, intriguing movie to watch on a Friday night, then "Mad Money" is where it's at. In the film, three women — played by Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, and Katie Holmes — work together to slowly steal cash from the Federal Reserve Bank where they all work demeaning jobs. While it borders on being funny at times and sadly poignant at others, "Mad Money" is highly entertaining, and it makes a great point about the state of financial stress so many people face in the United States.


According to The New York Times, the movie is a fun mix between "Fun With Dick & Jane" and "9 to 5," so, with that comparison, you might as well grab some popcorn and settle in — it's bound to be a fun ride! The movie is free on YouTube, and is definitely worth the watch if you haven't seen it before. After all, who doesn't want to watch three strong, independent women take some well-deserved cash for themselves? "Mad Money" is totally satisfying, as it sees several unsuspecting women bring down "the man."

The Reef

If you have kids or you just sometimes crave a light and fun animated flick, then YouTube has a great movie for you. "The Reef," which is actually called "Shark Bait" in other countries, is a sweet family film all about a young fish defending his home and his true love from a bully shark. "The Reef" is completely free to watch on YouTube, and while it might not be a cinematic masterpiece, it's safe to say that kids will love it.


According to Common Sense Media, the movie is totally appropriate for kids aged 6 and up to watch alongside their families, and though there is a slightly scary scene involving fish being captured by fishermen, it's no more intense than the opening scene in "Finding Nemo." And if that movie's beloved by your kids, then "The Reef" is sure to be another favorite, as well. As a bonus, stars like Freddie Prinze Jr. and Evan Rachel Wood provide voices.

Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London

While some movies on YouTube aren't exactly masterpieces, there are more than a few that are still a complete joy to watch, whether or not critics loved them. For some movies, being technically brilliant isn't the point, and that's definitely the case with "Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London," which is free on YouTube. In fact, it might just be the perfect flick for a family movie night.


Common Sense Media reported that the movie is appropriate for viewers aged 9 and up, and while there are a few moments that younger kids might not totally understand, it's a pretty fun movie for the whole family. The sequel to "Agent Cody Banks" (which is also free on YouTube), the film follows titular character Cody (Frankie Muniz) as he goes on a new assignment in London and is tasked to essentially save the world from an evil, controlling villain. "Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London" is light, fun, and easy to watch, which is sometimes all you want a movie to be.

The Illusionist

The 2006 film directed by Neil Burger is the best romantic mystery film available to stream for free on YouTube. Starring Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, Jessica Biel, Rufus Sewell, and Aaron Johnson, "The Illusionist" is based in late 19th century Vienna and has a strong 7.6 user rating on IMDb. The film, which is loosely based on the short story "Eisenheim the Illusionist" by Steven Millhauser, premiered to positive responses from both the audience and critics and follows the tragic story of Eisenheim, a magician in search of his childhood lover.


Magic doesn't always translate well to the screen. Oftentimes, it either confuses the audience beyond their understanding or falls short of delivering up to their expectations — in any case, it's often harder to impress audiences with magic on the screen as opposed to magic performed in person. "The Illusionist," on the other hand, is successful at keeping the audience hooked while also not coming off as too out of the ordinary. As noted by The New York Times, the cast "undiluted by obvious cinematographic embellishment, still produce a wow effect on the screen because they have an aesthetic elegance that transcends trickery."  While the movie is a must-watch, keep in mind that the film is PG-13 and has some sex scenes and strong language.


Super Size Me

"Super Size Me" is a documentary that follows one man's quest to see what happens when he eats nothing but McDonald's for an entire month. Luckily for documentary fans, "Super Size Me" is free to stream on YouTube.


The movie received pretty great reviews. It was even nominated for an Oscar in 2005! As Empire reported, it can be hard to watch the man behind the movie, Morgan Spurlock, stuff his face with McDonald's, but his humor throughout it all is highly entertaining. Not only does "Super Size Me" make an important point about health concerns regarding fast food, but it also shows just how easy it can be to get into the habit of only eating out.

So if you've wondered what really happens to someone's body when they only eat unhealthy fast food, then check on "Super Size Me," because it's wild.

Guys and Dolls

Some of the best free movies on YouTube are actually a lot older than you would imagine. Of the older films that are free on the site, one of the best is the musical "Guys and Dolls." The movie musical follows a known gambler, Nathan (Frank Sinatra), as he tries to get some cash by betting a friend, Sky (Marlon Brando), that he can't get good girl Sister Sarah (Jean Simmons) out on a date. And of course, there are plenty of complications and hilarious missteps along the way that make the movie super fun to watch.


The 1955 classic musical stars Sinatra, Brando, and Simmons alongside Vivian Blaine — all of whom are icons in Hollywood — so that alone is reason enough to check it out. And if you still need your Brando fix, some other films of his — among them "The Wild One," "One-Eyed Jacks," and "The Freshman" — are also available to stream on the site for free. As for "Guys and Dolls," it's one of his rare musical appearances, and the film features plenty of musical numbers (alongside gambling and romance) to keep anyone entertained. If that wasn't enough to persuade you to check it out, then maybe the film's Rotten Tomatoes score of 91% will. "Guys and Dolls" is one of the most beloved musicals ever made, and for good reason. Don't let this classic pass you by.



Believe it or not, but YouTube has quite a few old classics in its library that might surprise you. And one of those is a super old live-action version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" from 1965. The movie stars Ginger Rogers and Lesley Ann Warren, among others, and is seriously a must-see if you've never watched it.


While it might not be the animated Disney classic you're used to or the fun 1990s version starring Brandi, this "Cinderella" is still pure magic. In fact, you might recognize it from an elementary school music class — it's pretty pure, nostalgic fun. The 1965 version of "Cinderella" has a 74% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, so it's safe to say that the movie will definitely entertain you. And since it's free to watch on YouTube, you might as well check it out for yourself. If you still haven't gotten your Cinderella fix, consider the Drew Barrymore version, "Ever After: A Cinderella Story," also free on YouTube.

A Little Bit of Heaven

Sometimes you want to watch something that won't make you think too hard, something you won't have to read too much into, so it's great to have a list of movies that fits the bill. And as it turns out, some of those movies might just be free on YouTube — like "A Little Bit of Heaven". The plot? When good-time girl Marley, played by Kate Hudson, is diagnosed with cancer, she fights love with everything in her but is ultimately unable to fend off her feelings for her gorgeous doctor (Gael García Bernal).


"A Little Bit of Heaven" might just be the epitome of the "so bad it's good" film genre. Between Hudson's awkward and sometimes misguided attempts to make death funny and the strange plot points of the movie (there's a Peter Dinklage moment you wouldn't expect), "A Little Bit of Heaven" is more than a drama about finding love in the midst of death. Really, it's a comedy about finding light in the darkness, too. The movie is worth a watch, if only to laugh at the melodrama.

With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story

If you're a fan of Marvel comics or even the Marvel superhero movies, then you probably know just how influential Stan Lee, the creator of those comics, was. Lee was a huge part of the Marvel universe, and fans of his work will be thrilled to know that the documentary following his life, "With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story," is free to stream on YouTube.


IndieWire gave the documentary a pretty glowing review, making the important point that, while comic book lovers will know his work, they may not know his life's story. As The New York Times reported, Lee sadly passed away in 2018, but his legacy in comics and beyond will live on forever, partially due to "With Great Power." Even if you aren't a huge fan of comics or superheroes, the movie is still touching and is a little piece of history everyone can enjoy.

Mr. Church

Is there a person out there who doesn't enjoy the works of Eddie Murphy? Whether he's voicing an animated donkey in "Shrek," playing an overworked father in "The Haunted Mansion," or just cracking viewers up on "Saturday Night Live," Murphy has had quite an impressive career. And while he's known for his comedic acting, one of his more serious roles is in "Mr. Church," which is free to stream on YouTube. So if you want the full Murphy experience, definitely give it a go.


"Mr. Church" tells the endearing story of a man, played by Murphy, who is hired to cook for a single mother and her daughter after she received a devastating breast cancer diagnosis and doesn't expect to live past six months. The woman's daughter is apprehensive towards Murphy's character, Mr. Church, but soon warms up to him, and the movie really takes off. The Hollywood Reporter described "Mr. Church" as "captivating" and even noted that it truly shows just how talented of an actor Murphy is. So if you haven't seen it, what are you waiting for?

Troll Hunter

Because YouTube is full of free movies, there are bound to be some available on the website that you don't give much thought to. Whether you've never heard of it or don't recognize any of the actors, it's understandable that you might miss a film like "Troll Hunter." But since it's free on YouTube and is a lot more complex than it sounds, missing it would be a mistake.


Though it might sound like a strange, fantasy film, "Troll Hunter" is actually a lot more real and human than you first think. A group of young filmmakers meets an actual troll hunter for Norway's government, and then the real adventure begins. According to Paste, while "Troll Hunter" is obviously "ridiculous," that's what makes it so much fun to watch. It's so out of this world and strange that it actually feels realistic. Additionally, Common Sense Media reports that it's appropriate for kids 13 and up, so it might just make for the most interesting family movie night you've ever had.


One of the great things about the internet is it provides access to movies you might not have ever thought to watch before, especially foreign films or films set in foreign lands. Take, for instance, "Shaolin." "Shaolin" is free to stream on YouTube, and it's definitely the kind of movie you'll find yourself ignoring your cell phone for. "Shaolin" isn't the kind of movie you can just watch in the background while playing Candy Crush — it requires attention. The movie sees a young general who was betrayed by his brother and ends up having to hide out at a Shaolin temple where an eccentric cook, played by Jackie Chan, teaches him martial arts. The film's a remake of an oft-remade Chinese film, "Shaolin Temple," starring Jet Li. The original film is also available to watch on YouTube for free, as are some other martial arts gems, like "Martial Arts of Shaolin" and the early Jackie Chan film "Snake in the Eagle's Shadow."


According to Rotten Tomatoes, the film wasn't a huge hit in the United States, but it still deserves to be seen, as it has a 74% rating. If you love Jackie Chan, especially, then "Shaolin" will totally excite you. "Shaolin" is fascinating to watch, and with plenty of action, it's the kind of movie that everyone could get invested in.

Dirty 30

There's really nothing quite like a good comedy to make you forget about everything else in the world. They say laughter is the best medicine, so a raunchy and relatable comedy about turning 30 is something adults can enjoy, and that's exactly what you'll get with "Dirty 30," which is perfectly hilarious. And "Dirty 30" is luckily free to stream on YouTube, making it the best movie for a Friday night.


The movie, starring popular YouTubers Mamrie Hart, Grace Helbig, and Hannah Hart, follows a woman's adventures with her two best friends as she turns 30 and faces some pretty big fears, finding herself in hilarious situations. As the Los Angeles Times reported, "Each performer has individually achieved a massive online following with her chat-show-style YouTube channel, and 'Dirty 30' offers a loose story blueprint in which the three can showcase their rapid-fire, quippy personalities." The movie is every bit as hilarious as you would think it would be and is just a ton of fun to watch. So if you have a girls' night or just want to stay in alone and watch something light and funny with a glass of wine, then "Dirty 30" is the perfect choice. 


4 Minute Mile

Inspirational sports movies like "Remember the Titans" are beloved by wide audiences. Viewers love to see an underdog rise to the occasion, and there's nothing like a good ol' sports film to inspire hope and change in anyone. And for fans of motivational sports movies, YouTube is actually a great place to check out for your next movie night because "4 Minute Mile" is available to stream on the platform for free.


The movie is about a track coach who takes a chance on a teen with a tragic story and turns him into a champion. As The New York Times reported, the movie certainly follows a formulaic plot in terms of inspirational sports movies — "Boy struggles with adversity, boy meets trainer, boy finds inner strength through record times" — but, that said, the movie is still seriously inspirational. If you're any kind of sports fan, then this entertaining, motivational, and engaging movie is one to see.


As any parent knows, watching the same animated children's movie every day for a month can get exhausting. So, if you're sick of watching "Frozen" or "Tangled," then head over to YouTube because there's a hidden gem there that your kids will probably love: "Khumba," another great free movie on YouTube.


"Khumba," a New York Times Critic's Pick, is described as "a wondrous and slightly deranged story about oddballs embracing their differences," making it the perfect movie for children and adults alike. The titular character finds himself ostracized by his fellow zebras for only having half his stripes, so he goes out to find the truth about himself and meets plenty of friends along the way. After all, who doesn't need a reminder that being different is a good thing? The film also features musical numbers and some seriously stunning animation, making it a very underrated kids' movie. Of course, "Khumba" is also the kind of film that you could totally watch without a kid because even adults love it. If you're looking for more kids' entertainment, YouTube also offers animated films like "Cats Don't Dance" and "FernGully: The Last Rainforest" as well as family films like "Hoot."


Liberty Heights

"Liberty Heights" is a 1999 semi-autobiographical rendition of the film's director Barry Levinson's childhood and deals with the racial injustices faced by the Jewish and Black communities in Baltimore in the mid-1950s. The film, which users gave a positive 7.0 on IMDb, stars Adrien Brody, Bebe Neuwirth, and Joe Mantegna. The film is a must-watch and is available to stream on YouTube


The film follows the life of two teens after their school implemented the new integration law. "Liberty Heights" is the final film of Levinson's much-celebrated Baltimore films tetralogy, a series exploring his hometown in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. The other films are "Diner" (1982), "Tin Man" (1987), and "Avalon" (1990). As Stephen Bolden wrote in his New York Times review of the film, "Whenever this gifted filmmaker seems in danger of succumbing to Hollywood's schlockiest temptations, he dips back into the personal memory bank of his Baltimore boyhood and comes up with something sweet and heartfelt."

The merit of "Liberty Heights" is that it doesn't succumb to the usual pitfall of romanticizing an era during revisitation, especially when the filmmaker is nostalgic about his past. Levinson's strength lies in the fact that he's brutally faithful to the reality of the time he revisits.


Girl in Progress

Directed by Patricia Riggen, the 2012 film "Girl in Progress" marked the debut of Cierra Ramirez as a teenager inspired by the coming-of-age stories she read in her English class and impatient to grow up and be an adult. The movie stars Eva Mendes, Matthew Modine, Patricia Arquette, and Eugenio Derbez. What sets the movie apart from its peers is how the writers have brought the nuances of class and ethnicity to the heart of the story.


While this feel-good movie has its flaws in terms of tonal shifts and directional indifference, it is worth one watch considering that it is available to stream for free on YouTube. What sets "Girl in Progress" apart is its portrayal of the feeling of hope. Unlike her colleagues, Riggen doesn't try to sell hope as a pipeline dream that will magically set you free. She accepts that hope can at times seem like a luxury and that is what makes this movie a real feel-good movie — it takes the audience's feelings into consideration. It should be noted that "Girl in Progress" is rated PG-13.

The Road Within

"The Road Within," written and directed by Gren Wells, marked the filmmaker's feature directorial debut. The film premiered at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival and stars Robert Sheehan as a teenager with Tourette syndrome and Dev Patel as a teenager with obsessive-compulsive disorders. The film also stars Zoe Kravitz as a teenager recovering from anorexia nervosa. The movie, inspired by the 2010 German film "Vincent Want to Sea," follows the trio, freshly broken out from a behavioral facility on their journey to fulfill Sheehan's character's dream of spreading his mother's ashes in the ocean.


The movie's premise is centered on the theme of self-acceptance and deals with the issues presented with the utmost sensitivity. The cast clearly put in an incredible amount of hard work to maintain the authenticity of the roles they play. Kravitz had to lose 20 pounds and was at a mere 90 pounds while she shot the movie. "I struggled with an eating disorder in high school and into my early 20s. That's part of what actually attracted me to the role," Kravitz told Nylon about her time working on the film. She also said she recognized that it was not the healthiest for her to lose weight for the movie: "I tried to do it in a healthy way, but it's not a healthy thing to do — I would never tell anyone to lose that amount of weight and especially not that quickly."


While many critics were skeptical about the commercial success of the film, the reviews were unanimous in praising the talented young protagonists and we think you should stream this movie on YouTube, at least once.

If you need help with an eating disorder, or know someone who is, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).

Gracie's Choice: A Story of Love

"Gracie's Choice: A Story of Love" is one of the best Lifetime movies made for television. The movie stars Kristen Bell in the titular role of a 17-year-old struggling to keep her family together and take care of her brothers after her sister runs off and gets married following the arrest of their drug-addict mother. The movie scored an impressive 7.4 user rating on IMDb and is now available to stream for free on YouTube.


Apart from the strong script, the spectacular performance of the main cast makes this film a must-watch and a guaranteed tearjerker. Both Belle and Anne Heche have been praised for their performances in the film. "Bell is heartwarming and real (if too well dressed) as the teenager struggling against insane odds to keep her little family of different names and different dads together. She has a huge future," New York Post said of the would-be "The Good Place" and "Frozen" star. Heche, who played the drug-addict mother-slash-villain of the story, was nominated for a 2004 Emmy Award for her stellar performance in the supporting role.

Everything Must Go

Written and directed by Dan Rush, "Everything Must Go" is a comedy-drama starring Will Ferrell and Rebecca Hall. The movie is based on the 1978 short story "Why Don't You Dance?" written by Raymond Carver. The film follows the life of an alcoholic salesman who gets fired after an incident at his job. His wife leaves him due to this, and the audience sees how he navigates through his newfound hurdles. You can watch the movie on YouTube for free.


What makes the movie stellar is its thoughtful casting. We cannot think of anyone body better than Ferrell in the role of a middle-aged man who has somewhere forgotten how to act like a grown-up, and it's quite a joy to watch him tackle the obstacles in his way one at a time. Plus, it's one of Ferrell's more toned-down, sensitive roles, away from the antics of "Step Brothers" and "Anchorman." It should be noted that the movie is rated R and has a considerable amount of screentime featuring drinking and swearing.