You don’t need a Netflix subscription to enjoy great movies. There are plenty of films you can watch online for free without breaking the law. Some don’t even force you to watch ads!
The 5 best ways to watch free movies
1. Sony Crackle
Sony Crackle is one of the easiest ways to classic entertainment and original programming for free. From critically-acclaimed shows like “Seinfeld” and “The Shield,” to hit movies like “Inception” and “Pineapple Express,” Crackle delivers quality content without the premium price tag.
It’s available on smartphones, tablets, computers, smart TVs, and consoles – and the app is really easy to use. Just search for a title or browse the categories until you find something that suits your mood. Just be prepared for ads interrupting playback now and again – your cue for a drink refill or a screen break.
Hoopla is a digital media streaming service available through your public library membership. To sign up, you download the app, add your library card details, and then you’ll have access to a catalog of movies, TV shows, music, and audiobooks. It’s premium stuff, too – including movies like “Knocked Up,” “Liar Liar,” and “Scarface” – with new titles added every week.
Hoopla categorizes content by genre and recent additions, making it easy to browse, and you don’t need to worry about late fees – as it’s digital, access to borrowed titles ends after three days. Given that each episode of a season counts as one title, Hoopla is better for movies than a marathon binge session. But with no ads, it’s an excellent option.
Libby is very similar to Hoopla. It’s a library service that streams content via an app, and then restricts access after borrowing time has elapsed so you don’t get charged fees. Also, no ads here!
Libby’s catalog is newer, but you might have to wait a day or two for the latest releases. Unlike Hoopla, which charges libraries each time you borrow, Libby libraries must buy individual titles. That means the library can only lend the same number of copies as it has bought, which can make popular titles a little harder to get hold of.
4. Pluto TV
Pluto TV is a free-to-watch online TV network. It’s another ad-supported service, so if you hate interruptions this might take some getting used to. Interestingly, there’s no search function – instead, you browse the 100+ channels to find something you enjoy, whether it’s sports, comedy, or news.
Pluto is available on all devices, and offers a good range of premium and classic content. Movies like “Rain Man,” “Moonstruck,” and “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” are available for free. Sports fans are well catered for, with everything from kickboxing to football available to stream all day. There are cartoons, gaming channels, and even a channel dedicated to dog videos, too.
It’s also one of the few free streaming services to offer content in HD and 4K.
PopcornFlix also earns money through ad breaks, but they’re a little less bothersome here, and generally of shorter duration. The movie selection is typical of a free service: there are a few gems (“Battle Royale,” for example) buried among niche or lesser known content.
Like Crackle, you won’t find anything in HD, but this isn’t an issue if you’re watching on a tablet or smaller device, and makes for stable streaming.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch, as the saying goes, but if you can handle a few ads or if you have a library card, there is such a thing as a free movie. So why not see if you can cut the cord without breaking the bank?