The best free movies on YouTube

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What are the best free movies on YouTube? It’s fitting that YouTube was launched on Valentine’s Day 2005 as the whole world fell in love with the video streaming service. Don’t believe us? Well, YouTube is the second most visited website on the internet with over a billion monthly users watching millions and millions of hours of content every day.

From channels dedicated to documenting the details of daily life, educational videos dedicated to educating the masses, and fully scripted sketch shows, there’s something for everyone on YouTube. I’m even led to believe that there are cat videos out there if you can imagine such a thing.

As fun as seeing a cat scared of a cucumber, the best thing about YouTube is the free movies. Now, we’re not talking about the dodgy genre filmed in a theater over someone’s shoulder. We mean legitimately downloaded movies that have been forever kept in the digital amber of the YouTube algorithm. There are classic horror movies, clever thrillers, and even one of the best zombie movies to watch, so without further ado, here are the best free movies on YouTube.

The best free movies on YouTube

  • Nosferatus
  • night of the living dead
  • Rebecca
  • the stranger
  • Heaven can wait
  • gas lamp
  • Witch Seeker General

Nosferatus (1922)

An unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Nosferatu entered the public domain in 2019 and as such is completely free to watch on YouTube.

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Watching it now might be tricky due to its age (silent German Expressionist cinema isn’t exactly a date genre), but if you’re willing to give Nosferatu your time, you’ll be treated to a movie of vampire stripped of the cliché and tired tropes you know like the back of your hand. Moody, weird and influential, modern horror owes a lot to Max Schreck’s Count Orlok.

Watch it here.

Best free movies on YouTube: Night of the Living Dead

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Directed by the one and only George Romero, Night of the Living Dead arguably gave birth to the modern zombie movie genre and served as a blueprint for everything that followed. A mistake by its original distributor caused Night of the Living Dead to fall into the public domain almost immediately, and as such can be found freely on YouTube.

Night of the Living Dead was widely criticized for its gore and violence on release, which may seem absurd by today’s gruesome standards, but for its time its effects were truly groundbreaking. While the film may lack the overt satire of Romero’s later forays into the zombie genre, it does lack bite, and the true horror of the film lies not in the cannibalistic ghouls outside, but in the cruel nature and self-sabotage of humanity.

Watch it here.

Best free movies on YouTube: Rebecca

Rebecca (1940)

Like the despicable and obsessive housekeeper Mrs. Danvers, we’re obsessed with Rebecca and less enchanted by the pretenders to her throne, namely Netflix’s Despicable Remake. A dark and engrossing psychological thriller Rebecca was Hitchcock’s first film in America and served as a harbinger of the master of suspense’s talent for shocking audiences.

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Laurence Olivier stars as lonely widower Maxim De Winter who charms and marries the second Mrs. De Winter (Joan Fontaine). Taking her home to Manderley, his new wife finds herself tormented by the governess Mrs Danvers who will not let Maxim forget his first wife, the titular Rebecca.

Watch it here.

Best free movies on YouTube: The Stranger

The Stranger (1946)

Orson Welle’s third film and first Hollywood film to show documentary footage of the Holocaust, The Stranger tells the story of Mr. Wilson as he investigates Nazi war crimes and the fugitive Franz Kindler.

Welle’s only real box office hit, The Stranger, is a well-written, gripping thriller that manages to capture the horror of Nazi war crimes. Despite its critical and commercial success, the film fell into the public domain and, as such, is available for viewing on YouTube.

Watch it here.

Best Free Movies on YouTube: Heaven Can Wait

Heaven Can Wait (1943)

It’s unusual to see a character claiming they belong in hell and not heaven, but that’s the premise of the charmingly watchable comedy Heaven Can Wait. Don Ameche stars as Henry van Cleve, a recently deceased tycoon who must try to convince the devil that his hedonism and debauched life have earned him a place in eternal damnation.

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Ironically, given the subject matter, Heaven Can Wait is full of life and was rightfully recognized at the 16th Academy Awards, earning a nomination for Best Picture, the category that preceded Best Picture.

Watch it here.

Best free movies on YouTube: Gaslight

Gas lamp (1940)

Gaslight is the psychological thriller from which we derive the term gaslighting. As you can probably guess, it’s about a husband manipulating his wife into thinking she’s going crazy.

Extremely chilling and incredibly gripping, Gaslight is a truly traumatic thriller that deals with ever-present themes.

Watch it here.

Best free movies on YouTube: Witchfinder General

General Witchfinder (1968)

Torn apart by critics upon release, Witchfinder General has garnered a cult following over the years, thanks in part to a critical reassessment of the horror film’s direction and performance.

The film tells the story of murderous witch hunter Matthew Hopkins (Vincent Price), who claims to have been appointed by Parliament as the Witch Hunter General during the English Civil War. Intense and mature Witchfinder General is not an easy but rewarding watch for fans of the most macabre genre.

Watch it here.

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