Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain

8.4k votes 1k voters 246k views 329 items tags f p @

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
    + 240
    - 55
    Night of the Living Dead is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    George A. Romero, Duane Jones, Bill Hinzman

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  2. 2
    + 202
    - 41
    Wizard of Oz is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    Oliver Hardy, Larry Semon, Josef Swickard

    ;
  3. 3
    + 192
    - 40
    Nosferatu is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    Max Schreck, John Gottowt, Alexander Granach

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  4. 4
    + 197
    - 37
    Metropolis is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain

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

    ;
  5. 5
    + 149
    - 27
    M is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    Peter Lorre, Theo Lingen, Georg John

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  6. 6
    + 126
    - 18
    The 39 Steps is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    Alfred Hitchcock, Madeleine Carroll, Robert Donat

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  7. 7
    + 109
    - 15
    His Girl Friday is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy

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  8. 8
    + 84
    - 12
    The Phantom of the Opera is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    Lon Chaney, Norman Kerry, Mary Philbin

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  9. 9
    + 109
    - 21
    The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    Conrad Veidt, Lil Dagover, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski

    ;
  10. 10
    + 105
    - 19
    Freaks is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    Wallace Ford, Edward Brophy, Roscoe Ates

    ;
  11. 11
    + 89
    - 14
    Charade is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Coburn

    ;
  12. 12
    + 93
    - 22
    The Last Man on Earth is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    Vincent Price, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Umberto Raho

    ;
  13. 13
    + 70
    - 13
    The Hunchback of Notre Dame is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    Lon Chaney, Ernest Torrence, Raymond Hatton

    ;
  14. 14
    + 85
    - 27
    House on Haunted Hill is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    Vincent Price, Richard Long, Elisha Cook

    ;
  15. 15
    + 81
    - 19
    The Gold Rush is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    Charlie Chaplin, Mack Swain, Georgia Hale

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  16. 16
    + 67
    - 18
    And Then There Were None is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    Walter Huston, Judith Anderson, Barry Fitzgerald

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  17. 17
    + 63
    - 13


    Boris Karloff, Mike Donlin, Glen Cavender

    ;
  18. 18
    + 66
    - 15
    Battleship Potemkin is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Aleksandrov, Aleksandr Antonov

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  19. 19
    + 68
    - 13


    Alfred Hitchcock, Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas

    ;
  20. 20
    + 67
    - 19
    Carnival of Souls is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    Reza Badiyi, Herk Harvey, Candace Hilligoss

    ;
  21. 21
    + 79
    - 34
    The Little Shop of Horrors is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    Jack Nicholson, Dick Miller, Mel Welles

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  22. 22
    + 54
    - 11


    Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve

    ;
  23. 23
    + 48
    - 15
    Faust is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    William Dieterle, Emil Jannings, Yvette Guilbert

    ;
  24. 24
    + 65
    - 27
    McLintock! is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Stefanie Powers

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  25. 25
    + 51
    - 13


    Edmond O'Brien, Beverly Garland, Neville Brand

    ;
  26. 26
    + 84
    - 41
    Plan 9 from Outer Space is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    Tor Johnson, Bunny Breckinridge, Joanna Lee

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  27. 27
    + 47
    - 11


    Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan

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  28. 28
    + 40
    - 10
    Dementia 13 is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    Patrick Magee, William Campbell, Luana Anders

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  29. 29
    + 44
    - 14


    Arthur Conan Doyle, Bessie Love, Wallace Beery

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  30. 30
    + 42
    - 11
    Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindba... is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    Mae Questel, Jack Mercer, Gus Wickie

    ;
  31. 31
    + 35
    - 16
    A Bucket of Blood is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain

    most listed
    Dick Miller, Paul Horn, Bert Convy

    ;
  32. 32
    + 44
    - 14
    Road to Bali is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby

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  33. 33
    + 35
    - 8


    Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Jean Parker

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  34. 34
    + 42
    - 15
    A Farewell to Arms is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    Gary Cooper, Helen Hayes, Adolphe Menjou

    ;
  35. 35
    + 34
    - 13


    Mary Pickford, ZaSu Pitts, Theodore Roberts

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  36. 36
    + 34
    - 13


    William S. Burroughs, Benjamin Christensen, Elith Pio

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  37. 37
    + 31
    - 8


    Peter Lorre, Dorothy Lamour, Lon Chaney

    ;
  38. 38
    + 34
    - 5

    ranked low on reranks & added by JaniceWells-Lipton
    Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson

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  39. 39
    + 25
    - 7


    ;
  40. 40
    + 33
    - 12
    Jungle Book is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    John Qualen, Sabu Dastagir, Rosemary DeCamp

    ;
  41. 41
    + 25
    - 3

    added by JaniceWells-Lipton
    Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall

    ;
  42. 42
    + 35
    - 14
    White Zombie is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    Bela Lugosi, Clarence Muse, Madge Bellamy

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  43. 43
    + 26
    - 7


    John Wayne, Gail Russell, Harry Carey

    ;
  44. 44
    + 28
    - 9


    Basil Rathbone, Patricia Morison, Nigel Bruce

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  45. 45
    + 30
    - 15


    Lillian Gish, Douglas Fairbanks, Erich von Stroheim

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  46. 46
    + 31
    - 13


    Lon Chaney, Jr., Sid Haig

    ;
  47. 47
    + 31
    - 13


    José Ferrer, William Prince, Mala Powers

    ;
  48. 48
    + 28
    - 13
    Beat the Devil is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain


    Humphrey Bogart, Gina Lollobrigida, Peter Lorre

    ;
  49. 49
    + 29
    - 5

    added by JaniceWells-Lipton
    Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Haley Joel Osment

    ;
  50. 50
    + 27
    - 12


    Elizabeth Taylor, Spencer Tracy, Joan Bennett

    ;
330 +

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