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
+ - 287 76
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Night of the Living Dead George A. Romero, Duane Jones, Bill Hinzman

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2
+ - 104 21
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The Phantom of the Opera Lon Chaney, Norman Kerry, Mary Philbin

3
+ - 129 28
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His Girl Friday Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy

4
+ - 109 30
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The Last Man on Earth Vincent Price, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Umberto Raho

5
+ - 116 25
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Charade Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Coburn

6
+ - 81 22
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The Hunchback of Notre Dame Lon Chaney, Ernest Torrence, Raymond Hatton

7
+ - 93 25
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The Gold Rush Charlie Chaplin, Mack Swain, Georgia Hale

8
+ - 95 40
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The Little Shop of Horrors Jack Nicholson, Dick Miller, Mel Welles

9
+ - 71 20
The General is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
The General Boris Karloff, Mike Donlin, Glen Cavender

10
+ - 80 34
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McLintock! John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Stefanie Powers

11
+ - 79 28
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Carnival of Souls Reza Badiyi, Herk Harvey, Candace Hilligoss

12
+ - 57 24
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
+ - 41 16
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Dementia 13 Patrick Magee, William Campbell, Luana Anders

14
+ - 51 18
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A Farewell to Arms Gary Cooper, Helen Hayes, Adolphe Menjou

15
+ - 41 19
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 21
Meet John Doe is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Meet John Doe Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan

17
+ - 47 19
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Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor Mae Questel, Jack Mercer, Gus Wickie

18
+ - 48 20
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Road to Bali Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby

19
+ - 35 13
My Favorite Brunette is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
My Favorite Brunette Peter Lorre, Dorothy Lamour, Lon Chaney

20
+ - 38 16
Cyrano de Bergerac is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Cyrano de Bergerac José Ferrer, William Prince, Mala Powers

21
+ - 33 12
Angel and the Badman is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Angel and the Badman John Wayne, Gail Russell, Harry Carey

22
+ - 39 21
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White Zombie Bela Lugosi, Clarence Muse, Madge Bellamy

23
+ - 35 18
Little Lord Fauntleroy is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Little Lord Fauntleroy Mickey Rooney, Dolores Costello, C. Aubrey Smith

24
+ - 23 8
Detour is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Detour Ann Savage, Tom Neal, Tim Ryan

25
+ - 40 26
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Reefer Madness Dave O'Brien, Carleton Young, Harry Harvey Jr.

26
+ - 31 18
Father's Little Dividend is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Father's Little Dividend Elizabeth Taylor, Spencer Tracy, Joan Bennett

27
+ - 26 14
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
+ - 27 15
Topper Returns is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Topper Returns Joan Blondell, Carole Landis, Roland Young

29
+ - 31 20
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The Brain That Wouldn't Die Marilyn Hanold, Eddie Carmel, Jason Evers

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30
+ - 26 17
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
+ - 22 14
Bowery at Midnight is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Bowery at Midnight Bela Lugosi, Dave O'Brien, J. Farrell MacDonald

32
+ - 28 26
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Manos: The Hands of Fate Harold P. Warren, William Bryan Jennings, Jackey Neyman Jones

33
+ - 26 18
A Star Is Born is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
A Star Is Born Janet Gaynor, Fredric March, Adolphe Menjou

34
+ - 26 19
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
+ - 19 18
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
+ - 15 8
The Last Time I Saw Paris is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
The Last Time I Saw Paris Elizabeth Taylor, Roger Moore, Eva Gabor

37
+ - 24 19
Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Ba... is listed (or ranked) 37 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

38
+ - 14 9
Indestructible Man is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Indestructible Man Lon Chaney, Jr., Max Showalter

39
+ - 16 11
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 11
Algiers is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Algiers Hedy Lamarr, Charles Boyer, Gene Lockhart

41
+ - 13 9
Royal Wedding is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Royal Wedding Fred Astaire, Keenan Wynn, Jane Powell

42
+ - 13 10
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Abraham Lincoln Walter Huston, Una Merkel, Hobart Bosworth

43
+ - 14 12
Maniac is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Maniac Phyllis Diller, Horace B. Carpenter, William Woods

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44
+ - 12 9
Gulliver's Travels is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Gulliver's Travels Pinto Colvig, Jack Mercer, Lanny Ross

45
+ - 13 16
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Teenagers From Outer Space (1959) Tom Graeff, Thomas Lockyer, King Moody

46
+ - 16 20
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Santa Claus Conquers the Martians Pia Zadora, Bill McCutcheon, Ned Wertimer

47
+ - 8 6
Malice in the Palace is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Malice in the Palace Larry Fine, Moe Howard, Curly Howard

48
+ - 8 6
The Strange Love of Martha Ive... is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers Kirk Douglas, Barbara Stanwyck, Judith Anderson

49
+ - 9 8
Why We Fight is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Why We Fight Gore Vidal, Richard Perle, Graydon Carter

50
+ - 7 8
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