Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain Films
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Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain

List Criteria: The best films whose copyrights have expired. Includes all films made before 1923 and films that failed to renew copyright

The best free movies in the public domain number among some of the best movies of all time, and since their copyrights have lapsed, they are free to watch, distribute, and remake. Many of these free films in the public domain were once high-grossing, Academy Award-winning movies that have since become open to public use. Classic movies like The Wizard of Oz, Metropolis, and Metropolis are now part of the general public experience.

What is the best film in the public domain? What Oscar winning films are now free to use? What are the greatest films whose copyrights have lapsed? Vote on the movies you think are the best available in the public domain. If you know of a movie that is now free to public use and not here on this list of the best films in the public domain, make sure to add it and vote it up so others can have a chance to find their new favorite movie in the public domain.
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  1. 1
    + 114
    - 19

    Max Schreck, John Gottowt, Alexander Granach

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 130
    - 27

    George A. Romero, Duane Jones, Bill Hinzman

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 96
    - 24

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Oliver Hardy, Larry Semon, Josef Swickard

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 128
    - 20

    the people's #1 Gustav Fröhlich, Theodor Loos, Brigitte Helm

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 98
    - 14

    Peter Lorre, Theo Lingen, Georg John

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 71
    - 9

    Conrad Veidt, Lil Dagover, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 56
    - 17

    most listed & ranked high on reranks Vincent Price, Richard Long, Alan Marshal

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 51
    - 6

    Lon Chaney, Ernest Torrence, Raymond Hatton

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 50
    - 6

    Lon Chaney, Norman Kerry, Mary Philbin

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 73
    - 7

    ranked low on reranks Alfred Hitchcock, Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 66
    - 13

    Vincent Price, Franca Bettoia, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 44
    - 7

    Judith Anderson, Walter Huston, Barry Fitzgerald

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 63
    - 9

    Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 39
    - 9

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Emil Jannings, William Dieterle, Gösta Ekman

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 61
    - 28

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Bunny Breckinridge, Joanna Lee, Maila Nurmi

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 52
    - 22

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Jack Nicholson, Dick Miller, Jackie Joseph

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 61
    - 10

    ranked low on reranks Elly Annie Schneider, Wallace Ford, Edward Brophy

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 58
    - 10

    ranked low on reranks Charlie Chaplin, Mack Swain, Henry Bergman

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 54
    - 9

    ranked low on reranks Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Aleksandrov, Aleksandr Antonov

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 41
    - 18

    often listed & ranked high on reranks John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Stefanie Powers

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 28
    - 8

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Dick Miller, Paul Horn, Bert Convy

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 46
    - 9

    Reza Badiyi, Herk Harvey, Art Ellison

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 45
    - 8

    ranked low on reranks Buster Keaton, Boris Karloff, Glen Cavender

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 26
    - 5

    ranked high on reranks Mary Pickford, ZaSu Pitts, Theodore Roberts

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 52
    - 9

    ranked low on reranks Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Coburn

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 29
    - 10

    Arthur Conan Doyle, Wallace Beery, Bessie Love

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 24
    - 8

    Lillian Gish, Douglas Fairbanks, Erich von Stroheim

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 42
    - 7

    ranked low on reranks Alfred Hitchcock, Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 23
    - 8

    William S. Burroughs, Benjamin Christensen, Elith Pio

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 18
    - 7

    Lillian Gish, Joseph Schildkraut, Dorothy Gish

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 18
    - 4
    ) open
  32. 32
    + 24
    - 16

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Robert Towne, Betsy Jones-Moreland, Sonia Noemí

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 22
    - 12

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Buster Crabbe, Charles Middleton, Anne Gwynne

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 35
    - 8

    ranked low on reranks Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 34
    - 7

    ranked low on reranks Edmond O'Brien, Beverly Garland, Neville Brand

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 27
    - 4

    ranked low on reranks Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Jean Parker

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 15
    - 7

    often listed Lillian Gish, Donald Crisp, Kid McCoy

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 31
    - 7

    Patrick Magee, William Campbell, Luana Anders

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 22
    - 16

    often listed & ranked high on reranks William Bryan Jennings, Harold P. Warren, Jackey Neyman Jones

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 34
    - 10

    ranked low on reranks Bob Hope, Humphrey Bogart, Bing Crosby

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 17
    - 12

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Bela Lugosi, Martin Garralaga, Sammy Petrillo

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 17
    - 14

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Dean Jagger, George Cleveland, Mantan Moreland

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 27
    - 6

    ranked low on reranks Mae Questel, Jack Mercer

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 8
    - 2

    often listed Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Lowell Sherman

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 33
    - 12

    Gary Cooper, Helen Hayes, Adolphe Menjou

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 27
    - 9

    John Qualen, Sabu Dastagir, Rosemary DeCamp

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 26
    - 8

    Elizabeth Taylor, Spencer Tracy, Joan Bennett

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 26
    - 9

    Bela Lugosi, Clarence Muse, Madge Bellamy

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 23
    - 7

    Mickey Rooney, Dolores Costello, C. Aubrey Smith

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 24
    - 4

    Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve

    ) open
285 +

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