Watch Classic Movies for Free Online

Ahhh.... watch these grainy but lovely old classic movies, now fallen into the Public Domain, on your laptop
Ahhh.... watch these grainy but lovely old classic movies, now fallen into the Public Domain, on your laptop

Classic Movies in Public Domain

Dreaming backwards to those old Classic Movies of yesteryear?  Well, I'm happy to say that there are a ton of movies made before 1964 (for most of us boomers, those were our teen years-- classics like "Beach Blanket Bingo" and all those gorgeous Audrey Hepburn flicks and Hayley Mills and Gidget and Gigi and "South Pacific" and Elvis and on and on (*sigh*)that have likely all "fallen into" the Public Domain now). That means that we can watch them on our laptops in bed... sort of like the old drive-in movie experience, but closer up.  With no awkward girl-boy stuff. Free. Streaming.  You don't have to sign up with any of those rip-off online sites that promise more than they deliver... or who deliver a pile of viruses in lieu of your classic movies. 

So I Can Watch Any Classic Movie Made Before 1964?

Well, unfortunately, not necessarily.  Films have slightly more complex rights than other media (such as books, paintings, etc.)  Films, the category in which classic films belong, are actually a "package" of copyrights made up of cinematography, drama, literature, art, musical score, and even something as esoteric as 'trademark'.  So, while the book that the film was based on might have 'fallen into' public domain, perhaps there are copyrights made later than 1964 on the screenplay or some music that was inserted at the last minute in the production.  And, of course, there is the inevitable adversarial legal system with its hand in the matter-- disagreeing legal counsel is not obliged to do as the public would wish them to.  

So where do I go to watch Full-length Classic Movies?

There are no exhaustive lists of actual available movies at this time, but there are a number of 'lists' of possibly available movies on sites online, some more reliable than others. Some of these sites -- maybe most-- are looking to harvest your contact information for the privilege of downloading the movie from what looks like a park on their site... when the movie is likely stored on another site altogether. Researcher-reviewer Wendy Boswell from lists the following as her picks for the Top Ten sites to download full-length classic movies. While I really appreciate this review, I am disappointed that because of certain governmental laws and regulations, many of the sites on the top end of the review (like HULU) can only be streamed into the United States. There will be challenges to finding the movie-offering sites with the full-length classic movies you want to view, but you WILL find many so just hang in there! (Get your grandchild or a neighbor child to help you if need be lol). There are lots of Zombie movies, of course. If that was a genre you enjoyed as a teenager, you might want to revisit them.



HULU and GOOGLE are supposed to be incompatible, which means you are not supposed to be able to watch HULU videos on GOOGLE TV (and remember that Google is the Boss), but apparently with a few little adjustments you are able to do that... it likely won't last long, may already be gone (let me know it that is the case, okay?)  Go here to read about the micro-adjustments you make (a matter of seconds for real techs).

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Comments 11 comments

Andy Webb profile image

Andy Webb 6 years ago

I must admit I prefer to watch movies on a proper TV, rather than streaming but I do like the fact that some older movies which are no longer broadcast can be found to watch for free - legally. One site I discovered whilst looking for info on "Penny Serenade" is the internet archive which has a lot of old fims available to watch -

techygran profile image

techygran 6 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada Author

thanks Andy-- I hear ya re preferring to watch movies on TV but there is also something so sort of sweet about the grainy old classic movies up close and personal on the laptop. Thank you so much for your lead to "Penny Serenade" and the link! Cheers!

Mary Dicerni 6 years ago

Thank you so much. I have been looking for these old movies on safe sites. I enjoy munching on my dried apple slices while watching them. Ketch-ya later...

techygran profile image

techygran 6 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada Author

You're very welcome Mary! Hope you find some old favourites to enjoy with your dried apples :-) ~Cynthia

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

I am going to look up some of your suggestions. I have found some on Amazon free with my Prime membership and some on Netflix which we pay $8 a month to watch. But I cannot find The Unfinished Dance which is a beloved favorite since I was little. Thanks for the ideas and tips.

techygran profile image

techygran 4 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada Author

Hi Hypenbird! Best of luck! I have some 'obscure' favourites from my childhood as well to look up... you've inspired me!

Insightful Tiger profile image

Insightful Tiger 3 years ago

I love classic movies. It reminds me of watching them with my mom. I will be checking some out soon thanks to your hub. Thanks for sharing!

techygran profile image

techygran 3 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada Author

You're welcome Insightful Tiger... this hub was done quite a while ago so if you find that the sites mentioned here are no longer up, please let me know! (so lazy, sorry) And yes, our mothers are our movie touchstones, I believe! There certainly used to be more movies that one was not embarrassed to watch with one's mom...

Insightful Tiger profile image

Insightful Tiger 3 years ago

You are so right about that! Many movies and shows today add many things that are unnecessary to the plot.

Jojoy 2 years ago

From the article I can tell you know what your tankilg about. Thank you for sharing this quality information. Please post some other articles on the same topic.

techygran profile image

techygran 2 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada Author

Thank you Jojoy for your comment and suggestion that I post some other similar articles-- I might just take you up on that! (Perhaps you would like to write a hub about something similar-- this is a wonderfully nurturing community and your input would be much appreciated!)

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