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
315 89
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Night of the Living Dead George A. Romero, Duane Jones, Bill Hinzman

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2
116 23
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The Phantom of the Opera Lon Chaney, Norman Kerry, Mary Philbin

3
134 36
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His Girl Friday Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy

4
120 38
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The Last Man on Earth Vincent Price, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Umberto Raho

5
123 30
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Charade Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Coburn

6
88 27
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The Hunchback of Notre Dame Lon Chaney, Ernest Torrence, Raymond Hatton

7
97 30
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The Gold Rush Charlie Chaplin, Mack Swain, Georgia Hale

8
106 48
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The Little Shop of Horrors Jack Nicholson, Dick Miller, Mel Welles

9
89 41
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McLintock! John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Stefanie Powers

10
85 33
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Carnival of Souls Reza Badiyi, Herk Harvey, Candace Hilligoss

11
72 27
The General is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
The General Boris Karloff, Mike Donlin, Glen Cavender

12
61 29
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 21
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Dementia 13 Patrick Magee, William Campbell, Luana Anders

14
52 23
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A Farewell to Arms Gary Cooper, Helen Hayes, Adolphe Menjou

15
53 24
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Road to Bali Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby

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16
43 24
The Little Princess is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
The Little Princess Mary Pickford, ZaSu Pitts, Theodore Roberts

17
53 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
50 26
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Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor Mae Questel, Jack Mercer, Gus Wickie

19
49 28
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Reefer Madness Dave O'Brien, Carleton Young, Harry Harvey Jr.

20
41 22
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
38 20
My Favorite Brunette is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
My Favorite Brunette Peter Lorre, Dorothy Lamour, Lon Chaney^! Jr.

22
43 25
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White Zombie Bela Lugosi, Clarence Muse, Madge Bellamy

23
35 18
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 23
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
33 21
Disorder in the Court is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Disorder in the Court Larry Fine, Moe Howard, Curly Howard

26
25 14
Detour is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Detour Ann Savage, Tom Neal, Tim Ryan

27
33 24
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The Brain That Wouldn't Die Marilyn Hanold, Eddie Carmel, Jason Evers

28
28 19
Nothing Sacred is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Nothing Sacred Carole Lombard, Hattie McDaniel, Margaret Hamilton

29
31 23
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
31 24
Father's Little Dividend is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Father's Little Dividend Elizabeth Taylor, Spencer Tracy, Joan Bennett

31
27 21
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 31
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Manos: The Hands of Fate Harold P. Warren, William Bryan Jennings, Jackey Neyman Jones

33
24 19
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
15 9
Malice in the Palace is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Malice in the Palace Larry Fine, Moe Howard, Curly Howard

35
18 13
The Last Time I Saw Paris is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
The Last Time I Saw Paris Elizabeth Taylor, Roger Moore, Eva Gabor

36
28 25
Africa Screams is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Africa Screams Lou Costello, Shemp Howard, Hillary Brooke

37
20 23
The Terror is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
The Terror Jack Nicholson, Boris Karloff, Dick Miller

38
19 16
Sing a Song of Six Pants is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Sing a Song of Six Pants Larry Fine, Moe Howard, Curly Howard

39
17 13
Gulliver's Travels is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Gulliver's Travels Pinto Colvig, Jack Mercer, Lanny Ross

40
26 24
Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Ba... is listed (or ranked) 40 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

41
16 15
Indestructible Man is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Indestructible Man Lon Chaney, Jr., Max Showalter

42
19 25
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Santa Claus Conquers the Martians Pia Zadora, Bill McCutcheon, Ned Wertimer

43
17 17
Algiers is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Algiers Hedy Lamarr, Charles Boyer, Gene Lockhart

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44
14 14
Royal Wedding is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Royal Wedding Fred Astaire, Keenan Wynn, Jane Powell

45
11 11
Why We Fight is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Why We Fight Gore Vidal, Richard Perle, Graydon Carter

46
15 17
Maniac is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Maniac Phyllis Diller, Horace B. Carpenter, William Woods

47
14 16
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Free Movies! The Best Films in the Public Domain
Abraham Lincoln Walter Huston, Una Merkel, Hobart Bosworth

48
10 11
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
14 23
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Teenagers From Outer Space (1959) Tom Graeff, Thomas Lockyer, King Moody

50
9 12
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