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
    + 123
    - 21


    Max Schreck, John Gottowt, Alexander Granach

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 141
    - 30


    George A. Romero, Duane Jones, Bill Hinzman

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 109
    - 28


    Oliver Hardy, Larry Semon, Josef Swickard

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 137
    - 24

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

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 108
    - 15


    Peter Lorre, Theo Lingen, Georg John

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 78
    - 12


    Conrad Veidt, Lil Dagover, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 60
    - 19

    most listed
    Vincent Price, Richard Long, Alan Marshal

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 83
    - 8

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

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 68
    - 14


    Vincent Price, Franca Bettoia, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 52
    - 9


    Lon Chaney, Norman Kerry, Mary Philbin

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 49
    - 8


    Judith Anderson, Walter Huston, Barry Fitzgerald

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 52
    - 10


    Lon Chaney, Ernest Torrence, Raymond Hatton

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 40
    - 10


    Emil Jannings, William Dieterle, Gösta Ekman

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 67
    - 11


    Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 66
    - 30

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

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 55
    - 24


    Jack Nicholson, Dick Miller, Jackie Joseph

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 65
    - 12

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

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 43
    - 19

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

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 58
    - 11

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

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 29
    - 10

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

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 56
    - 11


    Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Aleksandrov, Aleksandr Antonov

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 49
    - 10


    Reza Badiyi, Herk Harvey, Art Ellison

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 47
    - 10


    Buster Keaton, Boris Karloff, Glen Cavender

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 56
    - 10


    Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Coburn

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 26
    - 7


    Mary Pickford, ZaSu Pitts, Theodore Roberts

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 31
    - 11


    Arthur Conan Doyle, Wallace Beery, Bessie Love

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 46
    - 8

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

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 24
    - 9


    Lillian Gish, Douglas Fairbanks, Erich von Stroheim

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 24
    - 9


    William S. Burroughs, Benjamin Christensen, Elith Pio

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 18
    - 4
    ) open
  31. 31
    + 18
    - 8

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Lillian Gish, Joseph Schildkraut, Dorothy Gish

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 38
    - 7

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

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 29
    - 4

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

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 25
    - 16

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

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 37
    - 8

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

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 22
    - 12

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

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 33
    - 7


    Patrick Magee, William Campbell, Luana Anders

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 37
    - 10

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

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 15
    - 7


    Lillian Gish, Donald Crisp, Kid McCoy

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 19
    - 14


    Dean Jagger, George Cleveland, Mantan Moreland

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 22
    - 16


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

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 29
    - 7

    ranked low on reranks
    Mae Questel, Jack Mercer

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 19
    - 14

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

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 34
    - 12

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

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 8
    - 2

    often listed
    Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Lowell Sherman

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 29
    - 9


    Bela Lugosi, Clarence Muse, Madge Bellamy

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 28
    - 9


    John Qualen, Sabu Dastagir, Rosemary DeCamp

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 11
    - 4

    often listed
    Jane Russell, Walter Huston, Thomas Mitchell

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 26
    - 8


    Elizabeth Taylor, Spencer Tracy, Joan Bennett

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 27
    - 5


    Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve

    ) open
285 +

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