How to Watch Classic Movies for Free Online

Once upon a time, movie night meant going out to rent a movie. Today, you can watch classic films anywhere you have an Internet connection – for free. Your favorite movie classics are on the the Warner Archive, Internet Archive, IMDB, YouTube, Crackle, Viki and some TV network websites.

With the Warner Archive, you can stream classic movies and made-for-TV movies.
The Warner Archive.

Warner Archive

With the Warner Archive you're able to "stream classic TV and hard to find movies." In fact, the Warner Archive has a section where you can find made-for-TV movies from yesteryear. Although the the Warner Archive has a monthly or annual subscription rate, new subscribers can try the service free for 30 days.

Internet Archive

If you’re looking for a wide selection of movie content, the Internet Archive is a good place to start. Its categories include Feature Films, Film Noir, Silent Films, Comedy Films and more. You can stream movies of all types. You’ll even find Ed Wood’s _Plan 9 From Outer Space_ and several Alfred Hitchcock movies that are in the public domain (for example, The Lodger). Classic movies -- or classic TV movies.


Although known mostly as a resource for movie and TV info, and trailers, The Internet Movie Data base, better known as IMDB, has streaming options, including Sci-Fi/Horror, Charlie Chaplin Festival and more. IMDB also hosts content from other sources. For example, Lost, while showing up in IMDB’s database, will take you to Other content might redirect you to Amazon Prime. Look for the Full Movie icon when searching for classic movies to view.


YouTube might be home to the viral video and movie trailers, but you can also find feature length movies on the site. Simply type in Free Movies in the search box and YouTube will provide a list of videos. You can also access the Movies tab, however, most of the movies found there are not free. You’ll have to scroll down to the Free Movies section. As with most Web services, the paid content usually displays first. You might have to do some exploring around the site to find what you’re looking for. Additionally, YouTube users frequently upload hard to find TV movies on the site. You'll have to subscribe to a YouTube users channel to stay up-to-date with any TV movie title that may have been added.


Hulu has gained a reputation for providing viewers with the latest TV episodes from networks such as NBC, ABC, the CW, CBS, Comedy Central and others; Hulu Plus offers full-length movies. A Hulu Plus account will give you access to several categories: Trailers, Documentaries, Genres, Hulu Movie Night, Staff Picks and Criterion. The Hulu Movie Night category frequently adds new content to view. Categories include The New Classics, Blockbusters, Comedies and Cult Films. The movies are free, but you pay a monthly fee of around $8 for Hulu Plus.


With shows such as the House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and Marvel’s Daredevil, Netflix is spending a lot of dollars on original content. However, you’ll still find commercial free classic films for your enjoyment. Search Netflix titles by genre, title or even by director’s name. Search an actor, and you’ll see exactly what’s in the Netflix library. Like Hulu, there’s no additional cost for the movies, but you do pay a flat rate of $7.99 per month.


Providing uncut movies, Crackle is a reliable source for classic movies ranging from action to documentaries. Crackle frequently changes the offerings, so you’ll always find something new to watch. Crackle’s categories include sci-fi, thriller, comedy, horror, action, drama, and occasionally, original movies. Crackle is free. Like traditional television, there are commercials, albeit the movie’s content remains uncut.


If you’re looking to explore more global content, Viki has many categories, including TV shows, movies and music videos. Viki works like a file sharing service on a wider scale. International movies, TV shows are available to stream. Like Crackle, Viki is ad supported. A premium account will get you ad-free viewing, HD options and exclusive content. Viki mostly features Korean drama, Anime, Telenovelas (soap operas) and Taiwanese drama.

TV Network Websites

Although the go-to spots for classic movies are Internet-based, you can find classic movies (and classic TV movies) on network websites, such as HBO, Showtime, FX, AMC and others. Most of these networks require a cable subscription. You’ll know if content is paid because you’ll be prompted to sign in with your cable provider’s info. Some locked content from premium (and network) channels are made available for a limited time.