films Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain  

Originally by
8.6k votes 1.2k voters 272k views 330 items Follow Embed

List Rules 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.

1
+ - 274 69
Ranker Video v
Night of the Living Dead George A. Romero, Duane Jones, Bill Hinzman

The 15 Hottest Actresses You Will Never See Naked on Film The Best Horror Movie Remakes

2
+ - 225 51
Ranker Video v
Nosferatu Max Schreck, John Gottowt, Alexander Granach

3
+ - 225 45
Ranker Video v
Metropolis Brigitte Helm, Gustav Fröhlich, Theodor Loos

4
+ - 247 60
Ranker Video v
Wizard of Oz Oliver Hardy, Larry Semon, Josef Swickard

5
+ - 162 34
Ranker Video v
M Peter Lorre, Theo Lingen, Georg John

6
+ - 137 26
Ranker Video v
The 39 Steps Alfred Hitchcock, Madeleine Carroll, Robert Donat

7
+ - 98 18
Ranker Video v
The Phantom of the Opera Lon Chaney, Norman Kerry, Mary Philbin

8
+ - 121 27
Ranker Video v
His Girl Friday Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy

9
+ - 116 31
Ranker Video v
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari Conrad Veidt, Lil Dagover, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski

10
+ - 117 31
Ranker Video v
Freaks Wallace Ford, Edward Brophy, Roscoe Ates

11
+ - 102 30
Ranker Video v
The Last Man on Earth Vincent Price, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Umberto Raho

12
+ - 104 24
Ranker Video v
Charade Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Coburn

13
+ - 102 37
Ranker Video v
House on Haunted Hill Vincent Price, Richard Long, Elisha Cook

14
+ - 84 24
Ranker Video v
And Then There Were None Walter Huston, Judith Anderson, Barry Fitzgerald

15
+ - 76 21
Ranker Video v
The Hunchback of Notre Dame Lon Chaney, Ernest Torrence, Raymond Hatton

Steven Spielberg's (Fake) List of Classic Films The Most Infamous Cursed Movies of All Time

16
+ - 88 25
Ranker Video v
The Gold Rush Charlie Chaplin, Mack Swain, Georgia Hale

17
+ - 73 21
Ranker Video v
Battleship Potemkin Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Aleksandrov, Aleksandr Antonov

18
+ - 79 21
Superman is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Superman Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve

19
+ - 75 20
The Lady Vanishes is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
The Lady Vanishes Alfred Hitchcock, Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas

20
+ - 68 20
The General is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
The General Boris Karloff, Mike Donlin, Glen Cavender

21
+ - 79 32
Ranker Video v
McLintock! John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Stefanie Powers

22
+ - 76 27
Ranker Video v
Carnival of Souls Reza Badiyi, Herk Harvey, Candace Hilligoss

23
+ - 64 10
Back to the Future is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Back to the Future Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson

24
+ - 87 40
Ranker Video v
The Little Shop of Horrors Jack Nicholson, Dick Miller, Mel Welles

25
+ - 49 6
The Breakfast Club is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
The Breakfast Club Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall

26
+ - 54 18
The Lost World is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
The Lost World Arthur Conan Doyle, Bessie Love, Wallace Beery

27
+ - 90 50
Ranker Video v
Plan 9 from Outer Space Tor Johnson, Bunny Breckinridge, Joanna Lee

28
+ - 51 23
Ranker Video v
Faust William Dieterle, Emil Jannings, Yvette Guilbert

29
+ - 54 22
D.O.A. is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
D.O.A. Edmond O'Brien, Beverly Garland, Neville Brand

19 Celebrities with Heterochromia Iridis 39 Ways to Repel a Potential Girlfriend

30
+ - 41 15
Ranker Video v
Dementia 13 Patrick Magee, William Campbell, Luana Anders

31
+ - 49 18
Ranker Video v
A Farewell to Arms Gary Cooper, Helen Hayes, Adolphe Menjou

32
+ - 49 20
Meet John Doe is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Meet John Doe Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan

33
+ - 39 13
The Flying Deuces is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
The Flying Deuces Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Jean Parker

34
+ - 36 22
Ranker Video v
A Bucket of Blood Dick Miller, Paul Horn, Bert Convy

35
+ - 44 18
Ranker Video v
Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor Mae Questel, Jack Mercer, Gus Wickie

36
+ - 46 20
Ranker Video v
Road to Bali Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby

37
+ - 42 10
The Sixth Sense is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
The Sixth Sense Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Haley Joel Osment

38
+ - 38 19
The Little Princess is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
The Little Princess Mary Pickford, ZaSu Pitts, Theodore Roberts

39
+ - 38 17
Ranker Video v
Jungle Book John Qualen, Sabu Dastagir, Rosemary DeCamp

40
+ - 33 13
Dressed to Kill is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Dressed to Kill Basil Rathbone, Patricia Morison, Nigel Bruce

41
+ - 27 6
Spartacus is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Spartacus Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Tony Curtis

42
+ - 30 11
Angel and the Badman is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Angel and the Badman John Wayne, Gail Russell, Harry Carey

43
+ - 32 13
My Favorite Brunette is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
My Favorite Brunette Peter Lorre, Dorothy Lamour, Lon Chaney

Stars Who Passed on Iconic Hollywood Roles The Best American Actresses Working Today

44
+ - 35 19
Haxan: Witchcraft Through the ... is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages William S. Burroughs, Benjamin Christensen, Elith Pio

45
+ - 37 18
Spider Baby is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Spider Baby Lon Chaney, Jr., Sid Haig

46
+ - 27 12
Man with a Movie Camera is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain

47
+ - 34 19
Intolerance is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Intolerance Lillian Gish, Douglas Fairbanks, Erich von Stroheim

48
+ - 34 16
Cyrano de Bergerac is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Cyrano de Bergerac José Ferrer, William Prince, Mala Powers

49
+ - 37 20
Ranker Video v
White Zombie Bela Lugosi, Clarence Muse, Madge Bellamy

50
+ - 31 7
Smokey and the Bandit is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Smokey and the Bandit Sally Field, Burt Reynolds, Jackie Gleason