film Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain  

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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.
list ordered by

1
308 85
Ranker Video
Night of the Living Dead George A. Romero, Duane Jones, Bill Hinzman

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2
113 23
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The Phantom of the Opera Lon Chaney, Norman Kerry, Mary Philbin

3
116 35
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The Last Man on Earth Vincent Price, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Umberto Raho

4
132 35
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His Girl Friday Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy

5
87 26
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The Hunchback of Notre Dame Lon Chaney, Ernest Torrence, Raymond Hatton

6
120 29
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Charade Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Coburn

7
95 29
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The Gold Rush Charlie Chaplin, Mack Swain, Georgia Hale

8
101 44
Ranker Video
The Little Shop of Horrors Jack Nicholson, Dick Miller, Mel Welles

9
85 40
Ranker Video
McLintock! John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Stefanie Powers

10
72 25
The General is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
The General Boris Karloff, Mike Donlin, Glen Cavender

11
82 32
Ranker Video
Carnival of Souls Reza Badiyi, Herk Harvey, Candace Hilligoss

12
59 28
D.O.A. is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
D.O.A. Edmond O'Brien, Beverly Garland, Neville Brand

13
42 19
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Dementia 13 Patrick Magee, William Campbell, Luana Anders

14
52 22
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A Farewell to Arms Gary Cooper, Helen Hayes, Adolphe Menjou

15
43 23
The Little Princess is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
The Little Princess Mary Pickford, ZaSu Pitts, Theodore Roberts

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16
50 23
Ranker Video
Road to Bali Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby

17
52 26
Meet John Doe is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Meet John Doe Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan

18
49 24
Ranker Video
Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor Mae Questel, Jack Mercer, Gus Wickie

19
40 21
Cyrano de Bergerac is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Cyrano de Bergerac José Ferrer, William Prince, Mala Powers

20
36 18
My Favorite Brunette is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
My Favorite Brunette Peter Lorre, Dorothy Lamour, Lon Chaney

21
46 28
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Reefer Madness Dave O'Brien, Carleton Young, Harry Harvey Jr.

22
41 24
Ranker Video
White Zombie Bela Lugosi, Clarence Muse, Madge Bellamy

23
33 17
Angel and the Badman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Angel and the Badman John Wayne, Gail Russell, Harry Carey

24
36 22
Little Lord Fauntleroy is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Little Lord Fauntleroy Mickey Rooney, Dolores Costello, C. Aubrey Smith

25
25 12
Detour is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Detour Ann Savage, Tom Neal, Tim Ryan

26
33 23
Ranker Video
The Brain That Wouldn't Die Marilyn Hanold, Eddie Carmel, Jason Evers

27
27 18
Nothing Sacred is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Nothing Sacred Carole Lombard, Hattie McDaniel, Margaret Hamilton

28
31 23
Father's Little Dividend is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Father's Little Dividend Elizabeth Taylor, Spencer Tracy, Joan Bennett

29
30 22
A Star Is Born is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
A Star Is Born Janet Gaynor, Fredric March, Adolphe Menjou

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30
29 21
Disorder in the Court is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Disorder in the Court Larry Fine, Moe Howard, Curly Howard

31
27 20
Topper Returns is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Topper Returns Joan Blondell, Carole Landis, Roland Young

32
29 30
Ranker Video
Manos: The Hands of Fate Harold P. Warren, William Bryan Jennings, Jackey Neyman Jones

33
23 18
Bowery at Midnight is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Bowery at Midnight Bela Lugosi, Dave O'Brien, J. Farrell MacDonald

34
27 23
Africa Screams is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Africa Screams Lou Costello, Shemp Howard, Hillary Brooke

35
20 22
The Terror is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
The Terror Jack Nicholson, Boris Karloff, Dick Miller

36
26 22
Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Ba... is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves Mae Questel, Jack Mercer, Gus Wickie

37
16 12
The Last Time I Saw Paris is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
The Last Time I Saw Paris Elizabeth Taylor, Roger Moore, Eva Gabor

38
16 12
Gulliver's Travels is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Gulliver's Travels Pinto Colvig, Jack Mercer, Lanny Ross

39
17 15
Sing a Song of Six Pants is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Sing a Song of Six Pants Larry Fine, Moe Howard, Curly Howard

40
15 14
Indestructible Man is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Indestructible Man Lon Chaney, Jr., Max Showalter

41
18 23
Ranker Video
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians Pia Zadora, Bill McCutcheon, Ned Wertimer

42
14 13
Royal Wedding is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Royal Wedding Fred Astaire, Keenan Wynn, Jane Powell

43
14 14
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Abraham Lincoln Walter Huston, Una Merkel, Hobart Bosworth

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44
10 9
Malice in the Palace is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Malice in the Palace Larry Fine, Moe Howard, Curly Howard

45
15 16
Maniac is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Maniac Phyllis Diller, Horace B. Carpenter, William Woods

46
16 17
Algiers is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Algiers Hedy Lamarr, Charles Boyer, Gene Lockhart

47
10 10
Why We Fight is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Why We Fight Gore Vidal, Richard Perle, Graydon Carter

48
14 21
Ranker Video
Teenagers From Outer Space (1959) Tom Graeff, Thomas Lockyer, King Moody

49
9 10
The Strange Love of Martha Ive... is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers Kirk Douglas, Barbara Stanwyck, Judith Anderson

50
9 11
The Amazing Mr. X is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
The Amazing Mr. X Richard Carlson, Lynn Bari, Virginia Gregg