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
    Up 102
    Down 17

    Max Schreck, John Gottowt, Alexander Granach

    open
  2. 2
    Up 116
    Down 23

    George A. Romero, Duane Jones, Bill Hinzman

    open
  3. 3
    Up 119
    Down 18

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

    open
  4. 4
    Up 86
    Down 21

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

    open
  5. 5
    Up 65
    Down 7

    Conrad Veidt, Lil Dagover, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski

    open
  6. 6
    Up 89
    Down 13

    Peter Lorre, Theo Lingen, Georg John

    open
  7. 7
    Up 52
    Down 14

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

    open
  8. 8
    Up 60
    Down 10

    Vincent Price, Franca Bettoia, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart

    open
  9. 9
    Up 64
    Down 6

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

    open
  10. 10
    Up 45
    Down 6

    Lon Chaney, Ernest Torrence, Raymond Hatton

    open
  11. 11
    Up 44
    Down 6

    Lon Chaney, Norman Kerry, Mary Philbin

    open
  12. 12
    Up 40
    Down 6

    Judith Anderson, Walter Huston, Barry Fitzgerald

    open
  13. 13
    Up 36
    Down 8

    Emil Jannings, William Dieterle, Gösta Ekman

    open
  14. 14
    Up 57
    Down 9

    Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy

    open
  15. 15
    Up 47
    Down 19

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

    open
  16. 16
    Up 53
    Down 25

    Bunny Breckinridge, Joanna Lee, Maila Nurmi

    open
  17. 17
    Up 54
    Down 9

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

    open
  18. 18
    Up 27
    Down 7

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

    open
  19. 19
    Up 54
    Down 10

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

    open
  20. 20
    Up 37
    Down 17

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

    open
  21. 21
    Up 48
    Down 9

    Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Aleksandrov, Aleksandr Antonov

    open
  22. 22
    Up 41
    Down 8

    Reza Badiyi, Herk Harvey, Art Ellison

    open
  23. 23
    Up 39
    Down 8

    Buster Keaton, Boris Karloff, Glen Cavender

    open
  24. 24
    Up 25
    Down 4

    Mary Pickford, ZaSu Pitts, Theodore Roberts

    open
  25. 25
    Up 51
    Down 8

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

    open
  26. 26
    Up 26
    Down 9

    Arthur Conan Doyle, Wallace Beery, Bessie Love

    open
  27. 27
    Up 21
    Down 8

    Lillian Gish, Douglas Fairbanks, Erich von Stroheim

    open
  28. 28
    Up 17
    Down 3

    open
  29. 29
    Up 38
    Down 7

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

    open
  30. 30
    Up 17
    Down 7

    Lillian Gish, Joseph Schildkraut, Dorothy Gish

    open
  31. 31
    Up 19
    Down 8

    William S. Burroughs, Benjamin Christensen, Elith Pio

    open
  32. 32
    Up 24
    Down 15

    Robert Towne, Betsy Jones-Moreland, Sonia Noemí

    open
  33. 33
    Up 22
    Down 11

    Buster Crabbe, Charles Middleton, Anne Gwynne

    open
  34. 34
    Up 15
    Down 7

    Lillian Gish, Donald Crisp, Kid McCoy

    open
  35. 35
    Up 21
    Down 15

    William Bryan Jennings, Harold P. Warren, Jackey Neyman Jones

    open
  36. 36
    Up 17
    Down 11

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

    open
  37. 37
    Up 17
    Down 13

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

    open
  38. 38
    Up 31
    Down 8

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

    open
  39. 39
    Up 33
    Down 11

    ranked low on reranks Gary Cooper, Helen Hayes, Adolphe Menjou

    open
  40. 40
    Up 28
    Down 7

    Patrick Magee, William Campbell, Luana Anders

    open
  41. 41
    Up 25
    Down 4

    Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Jean Parker

    open
  42. 42
    Up 29
    Down 7

    Edmond O'Brien, Beverly Garland, Neville Brand

    open
  43. 43
    Up 8
    Down 2

    often listed Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Lowell Sherman

    open
  44. 44
    Up 25
    Down 6

    Mae Questel, Jack Mercer

    open
  45. 45
    Up 27
    Down 8

    John Qualen, Sabu Dastagir, Rosemary DeCamp

    open
  46. 46
    Up 30
    Down 10

    Bob Hope, Humphrey Bogart, Bing Crosby

    open
  47. 47
    Up 26
    Down 7

    Elizabeth Taylor, Spencer Tracy, Joan Bennett

    open
  48. 48
    Up 25
    Down 9

    Lon Chaney, Jr., Sid Haig, Mantan Moreland

    open
  49. 49
    Up 24
    Down 8

    Bela Lugosi, Clarence Muse, Madge Bellamy

    open
  50. 50
    Up 28
    Down 13

    John Travolta, Robert Reed, Ralph Bellamy

    open
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