23 Best Movie Streaming Sites (FREE) in 2021

by
Frederik Lipfert
Dr. Frederik Lipfert Founder, vpncheck
Updated on 11 Oct 2021

Watch movies for free with our list of top movie streaming sites—some are ad-free!

Do you want to watch movies online for free, but you’re not sure of which sites are legitimate or have quality content available? 

In this list of the top 23 best movie streaming sites, we break down the best-of-the-best on the web. Our list includes both ad-based and ad-free sites that play movies for free in high-quality resolution with minimal buffering or lag. 

Use this list as a reference point when you’re not sure of where to go for free movie streaming content.

We’ll also tell you why it’s important to use a solid VPN service like ExpressVPN when watching movies online. 

Top 23 List of Free Movie Streaming Sites

123Movies - New Releases on Decent Quality

123Movies - New Releases on Decent Quality

If you don’t have the patience to wait for new movies to strike you in high definition or UHD, you always have the option to enjoy from the comfort of your home right after launch – albeit a low quality version. And 123movies is the perfect place to do it.

The content is available for free and you can access it after patiently watching some ads. As they mention on their website, ‘Ads can be a pain, but they are our only way to maintain the server.’

If you think about it, it’s not even a big price to pay for the perk of being the first of your friends who saw a new movie. 

However, 123Movies doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the quality of top and classic movies. There is a constant number of 5 servers available, sometimes with different levels of qualities, so you can find the one suitable for your Internet speed.

Usually, with a decent Internet connection, the movies play smoothly, without buffering times.

My Download Tube - Download Your Favourite Animation Movies

My Download Tube - Download Your Favourite Animation Movies

You’ll love the simplicity and the straightforwardness of this website. Just choose your favourite genre, browse through the available titles, watch some trailers if you’re not looking specifically for something, hit the download button, and you’re done.

The dark minimalistic interface is not the only thing that drew our attention. The available content is different from what you’d normally find on such websites. Animation, Bollywood Movies, Arabic Movies – these are definitely some niche genres you won’t be able to find very easily on the Internet. 

My Download Tube provides a long list of link-sources for your download but some of them may not be active anymore. A quicker and more secure way is to torrent the content either on 720p or 1080p quality. However, this option is not always available.

Putlocker - Well-organized and Diverse Movie Selection

Putlocker - Well-organized and Diverse Movie Selection

You recognize a good and well-thought website the moment you access its homepage. You’ll feel that with Putlocker, too.

With a simple and intuitive interface, the website gives you the possibility to browse through its diverse library of Movies and TV Series in different ways. Don’t know whether you feel like Comedy or Drama today? Check the Genres submenu and choose from there. You want to go back to 2012 this evening and look for the best movies of the year? Check the Year submenu, and travel up to 10 years back.

All this content is available for free but the pop-up ads may disturb you from time to time. However, you can avoid some of them if you pay attention to the information the website offers you. When hovering above the available servers, you can learn about the speed of the server, the browser it is available on, and some special notes about the ad blocking.

Crackle - Free, legitimate and with original content

Crackle - Free, legitimate and with original content

Of all the free, legitimate, and legal movie streaming applications available, Crackle easily comes at the top of the list. Will you have to watch ads during the movie sometimes? Of course. But it offers a lot of content and even some original productions. 

Crackle’s interface is intuitive and easy-to-use, and it always works. When you visit the main page, you’ll find the featured movies and TV shows at the top, and below, everything is neatly laid out by category with movies and shows in thumbnails. Every thumbnail has a button to play, or you can save the movie for later in a watch list if you register an account.

For content, you’re expecting something like Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, or HBO Go, lower those expectations. Crackle doesn’t have the latest and greatest content. However, it features a lot of classic movies and ‘under-the-radar’ films. It’s not all random, obscure movies though, there are some more recent movies available.

The biggest drawback with Crackle is that a lot of the content isn’t available in HD, and the platform has no 4k options at all. But for a free movie streaming site, Crackle is always a solid, go-to choice.

Popcornflix - Good selection of cult titles and documentaries

Popcornflix - Good selection of cult titles and documentaries

Popcornflix and Crackle are both owned by the same parent company, so with Popcornflix, you’ll get another free, legit, and legal movie streaming site. That being said, there are some distinct differences between the two platforms.

Like Crackle, Popcornflix has a nice, uncomplicated interface with viewing selections organized into categories. Each show has a clickable thumbnail for easy access that brings up a secondary screen with information and a play button. The downgrade with Popcornflix is that there’s no option to make a watch list.

Next, the quality of the content on Popcornflix goes down a couple of notches, so don’t expect to see the latest Oscar winning films. But it offers a decent mix of cult horror and action films and solid selection of documentaries. Plus, the kids category, while dated, is pretty substantial for a free streaming site.

Popcornflix is free, so be prepared to watch a slew of ads. In one 2-hour movie, there could be up to 10 ads, including the one that plays before the movie. But the ad breaks display prominently with little dots on the timeline, so it’s easy to prepare for what’s coming.

Overall, though the streaming is smooth, Popcornflix takes one last small dive from Crackle with the quality of the streaming. There’s nothing on the platform in HD and most play in DVD quality. But hey, it’s free, easy to access, and doesn’t have problems buffering.

Vudu - A decent selection with excellent quality

Vudu - A decent selection with excellent quality

Available only in the US without a VPN, Vudu is a paid movie rental service, mostly. But it makes it on the list because it also offers a variety of free-to-watch movies with ads—9,475 as of this writing.

The platform itself is a little archaic and doesn’t offer the navigation bells and whistles of other paid streaming platforms. So don’t expect to have content tailored to your viewing history or multiple viewing profiles. However, it has some filter options so you can break up selections by category.

Quality-wise, Vudu free movies top out at 1080p HD, which is better than a lot of the other free streaming options out there. On the flip side, a lot of the content isn’t exactly hailed by critics, so expect some very low Rotten Tomatoes scores. Also, there’s no original content. 

You can otherwise expect a decent viewing experience with a standard amount of ads.

Pluto TV - Hundreds of categories to choose from

Pluto TV - Largest user base for Free live TV

For free movie streaming, Pluto TV is a double threat because it offers movies on-demand and through live TV channels. It’s another legit platform that runs based on ad support and gives viewers a wide variety of content options.

With the interface, Pluto TV gives you a leg-up compared to other platforms. It allows you to register an account to create a watch list or pick up movies where you left off. 

The live TV channels are easy to navigate and categorized like the old TV Guide channel. And the on-demand movie section has hundreds of categories to choose from—including trending selections. 

The content is a little dated, but it has the finest selection of Classic James Bond films on the web. And most movies and TV channels stream in at least HD. 

Is Pluto TV a replacement for other paid streaming services? No. But it offers a great selection of films and some new content via the live TV service. Also, the movies rarely have issues with buffering or crashing. It’s a great streaming site all-in-all.

Xumo TV - Free movies and live TV to boot

Xumo TV - Free live TV HD streaming at its best

Xumo TV is a legitimately free, ad supported platform that offers over 200 live TV channels and tons of on-demand content. You won’t get as much of the premium content as a paid cable or streaming service subscription, but it’s got a lot to offer.

Free movie streaming is the good news. The bad news is that it can be a little annoying to find what you’re looking for because of the interface. Think of the on-demand side as a mishmash of free content that’s placed within over 200 channel categories. And the movies are mixed in with the TV shows. 

However, what you do stream works well—even if it has a lot of ads—and a lot of the content streams in HD. Overall, it’s an impressive site to stream movies from if you can find what you’re looking for.

IMDB TV - Solid content through its partnership with Amazon

IMDB TV - Solid content through its partnership with Amazon

Amazon owns IMDB TV, so you’ll need to be up to speed with a VPN if you’re streaming from outside the US. But once you’re in, there’s a treasure trove of great content and a lot of it is recognizable—more Wolf of Wall Street, less Swamp Monster from Venus Part 7. But it doesn’t offer as much as Crackle or Peacock.

The interface is a little clunky as the ad-based content gets somewhat mixed in with the paid and Amazon Prime content. But once you isolate the IMDB TV offerings, you can easily scroll through and pick out what you want. Just expect little in terms of categorization.

IMDB TV connects to your Amazon account, so it’s easy to login and create a free movie watch list through the thumbnails. Overall, the ad levels are standard, but everything plays in a high-quality stream with little buffering or crashing.

Peacock - One of the largest collections of high-quality movies

Peacock - One of the largest collections of high-quality movies

Peacock is NBCUniversal’s platform for streaming content. It offers three viewing tier plans for streaming and the bottom tier is free. There’s no way to get around registering, but once you sign up for an account, you’ll gain access to thousands of hours of content.

Because of Peacock’s parent company, its content offerings are full of mainstream, recognizable titles and classic hits from nearly every decade. And it’s relatively easy to find anything you want as the interface breaks everything up into logical categories like other mainstream streaming services. 

On the free tier, expect to watch some ads, but it’s not worse than watching a movie on cable TV. Plus, you can stream most movies in 1080p high-definition, and there are virtually no issues with the playback. Peacock should be a go-to application or link on any device.

YouTube - The popular site has movies too!

YouTube logo

We all know YouTube, but many aren’t aware that there are tons of legal, ad-based free movies to watch on the site. 

It’s pretty easy to navigate to the selections. Just go to the site and scroll down on the left navigation bar to the section ‘More from YouTube’ and click ‘Movies & Shows’. Below your recommended movies category is the ‘Free to Watch’ category. Click ‘View All’ and you’re in.

Typically, YouTube has anywhere from 200 to 300 movies listed for free. You won’t be able to view them by category, but it’s pretty easy to scroll through the thumbnails and add them to your ‘Watch later’ list. 

The quality isn’t the best on a browser as it maxes out at 480p. But you may get lucky and see some HD offerings through the YouTube app on a Firestick or Roku. 

YouTube’s list of free movies rotates, so it’s a good idea to check in on a monthly basis to see what’s new.

Tubi TV - Fox Entertainment’s free movie streaming

Tubi TV logo

Tubi TV is Fox’s option for free, ad-supported streaming content. And with over 35,000 movies and tv shows, it has a lot of it! Plus, you don’t need to sign up for an account to stream. Just visit the page or open the app, browse, and start watching.

The platform has tons of notable titles and classics. However, the sheer mass of offerings—while exceptional—is a little overwhelming within the interface. It’s difficult to sort through everything with the large number of categories and collections. 

But once you find what you’re looking for, everything plays smoothly—though no higher than 720p. And you’re able to add movies to a playlist if you register for an account.

The Roku Channel - Roku offers more than their TV devices

The Roku Channel logo

Everyone knows about Roku for their TV by now. But the company also has a Roku Channel you can access via the Roku app or browser to stream movies for free.

The interface is a little difficult to navigate and doesn’t make it easy to find things via category. But if you’re willing to scroll through the selections a bit, you’ll find many popular movies—recent ones too! And if you register for an account, the interface will offer selections based on your previews views like Netflix.

Like the other legit free movie streaming sites, you’ll have to watch a few ads to get through a movie. But fortunately, the timeline shows the breaks with little dots, so you know when they’re coming. We counted 8 ads overall when pulling up National Lampoon’s Vacation, including the one that plays before the movie.

Roku knows what to do with streaming content, so don’t expect too many errors with your streams. Also, you can view the Roku Channel using a Roku device that streams in 4k or HD and have access to high-quality free streaming.

Redbox - They offer more than a kiosk!

Redbox logo

Redbox is famous for its physical movie drop box kiosks at popular retail outlets like Walmart and Walgreens. But once Netflix took over the world with its streaming services, Redbox also started offering movies online. Fortunately, the company also offers a decent amount of titles for free with ads.

It’s easy to find, just go to the main Redbox site and click the link at the top that says ‘Watch Free’. There you’ll find a lot of notable movies and some of them even stream in HD. 

Overall, the navigation isn’t the best, as you’ll have to scroll a lot. But at least they break things up into some categories so you can distinguish between thriller and comedy. Plus, they’re always changing out the titles, so there’s usually something new to watch every month.

Kanopy - Use your library card or university login for free content

Kanopy logo

Kanopy has a partnership with thousands of libraries and universities across the globe. A library card or university login through one of their partners gives you access to stream over 30,000 titles for free. And they all have no ads! Only paid streaming services like Netflix or Hulu can compete with that amount of titles.

The service partnered with a lot of independent distribution companies, so it specializes in more ‘art house’ cinema, documentaries, and classic films. But they all stream in high-quality, and the interface is easily navigable.

Overall, this is one of the best little-known free streaming platforms out there. Find out if your library or university has a partnership and put your tax dollars or tuition to good use. Many libraries allow for online card applications, so you may not even need to leave your home.

AZMovies - An extensive collection, including the latest and greatest

AZMovies

AZMovies has been around for a while and is a go-to streaming site for almost any movie you can think of—new and old. Each title is free to watch and most play in high-quality HD streams with no ads at all.

When you first visit the page, it may seem like there’s not much on the site. But click on the top categories to delve into their listings broken up by genre, year, or featured movies. The site also offers an intuitive search bar that brings down a dropdown menu of listings as you type. Each link will direct you straight to the movie with no pop-ups. Plus, every title has a solid list of relevant titles. 

To get some movies to play, you may have to click a few times or switch servers. But with a little perseverance, your movie will play usually after 3 or 4 clicks.

SolarMovies - The latest movies with a personalized experience

 

SolarMoviesSolarMovies is like AZMovies, but it’s relatively new in the world of movie streaming. However, it’s gaining a lot of popularity as it has links to high-quality streams to some of the newest titles available. 

Along with the great links, SolarMovies offers registration, so you can login and have a more personalized experience when navigating. It also puts you on a mailing list, so you’ll know about the latest movies when they drop on the site.

Navigating SolarMovies is relatively easy as the site manager has everything broken up by genre and all titles are simple to search. But where SolarMovies shines for navigation is its breakdown of movies by Country. It’s a special feature you won’t find on too many other sites.

Playing movies on SolarMovies is always free and ad-free, but you’ll definitely get a few pop-ups when trying to play the movie. Just keep clicking and the movie will play, eventually.

Internet Archive - For those who love film history!

Internet Archive logo

Based in San Francisco, the Internet Archive has a very large digital collection of books, podcasts, art, government documents, tv shows, and of course, movies. The archive works with libraries and organizations across the globe to digitally preserve items in an accessible, digital format.

For free movies, the Archive offers over 14,000 feature films broken into a wide range of categories. But because the titles are cultural artifacts, there aren’t too many modern movies—the newest titles are from around the mid-90s. 

In fact, most of the movies are from before 1960 and over 3,500 titles are silent films. But if you want to delve into cinema history for free, this is the site!

YesMovies - A comprehensive collection of movies with a clean interface

YesMovies

YesMovies has one of the cleanest interfaces for free movie streaming sites. Every title has a clear thumbnail. And as you scroll over the thumbnail, a menu appears that allows you to view the information, quality, IMDB rating, and play the movie.

In addition, there are clearly defined categories listed at the top of the screen that allow you to view collections by genre or country. Also, it’s very easy to search movies and find exactly what you’re looking for.

The site has one of the largest collections of titles available and most movies stream in at least 720p or higher. The only issue with YesMovies is it has a lot of pop-ups. But if you keep clicking, you will eventually get a solid version of the movie you want to play.

Just be sure to use a solid VPN when streaming here.

MoviesJoy - Fast load times and few pop-ups

MoviesJoy logo

What’s not to love about MoviesJoy? The site is simple and well designed, so it’s easy to find any movie you’re looking for. At the top of the screen, you can look up movies by category. But the search function is so good, why even bother? Just type what you want to watch and get to it. 

The site offers every title in at least HD quality. And many of the movies have a large selection of subtitle options in a variety of languages. For a free streaming site, MoviesJoy is quick to load and has a small amount of pop-ups. 

If you can’t get your movie to play at first, just click on any of the other server options, and it should start soon.

StreamM4u - Great option for consistent uploads

StreamM4u logo

For all the free movie streaming sites on this list, StreamM4u is one of the best for consistent updates. All the newest movies appear on the main page regularly, and the site owners constantly expand their selection. 

The navigation on the page is superb and any search will direct you instantly to what you’re looking for. Most movies play in high-quality HD and start with minimal ads or pop-ups. 

However, the best feature about StreamM4u is that the buttons for the alternative servers are located just below the viewing screen. If you have an issue, just click and continue watching with no hassle at all. But most movies play all the way through with no lag or buffering necessary.

FlixTor - Stream the most recent movies for free

FlixTor

There’s a reason FlixTor is one of the most popular free movie streaming sites on the web. Its interface is animated and user-friendly and allows you to search based on a variety of categories. There are even category listings for ‘Most Popular Today’ and ‘Now Playing in Movie Theaters’.

Everything on the site plays in high-quality with minimal to no ads popping up. Plus, it isn’t necessary to register in order to play content released in the last six months. That’s the good side of FlixTor.

On the other hand, if you want to play FlixTor’s full library, you’ll need to pay for one of their VIP keys. With all the other free movie streaming sites on this list, a key might not be worth it. But if you want to stream recent movies for free, FlixTor is a solid option.

FMovies - Millions of monthly users

FMovies logo

FMovies has millions of monthly users, and it’s easy to see why. The interface is easy enough to use, and the site always has the latest and greatest content available. Every movie is free to watch in HD with no ad interruptions. It’s a great selection for any top movie streaming list.

FMovies skips all the category breakdowns and just directs you to type what you want to watch in the search bar. Most likely it’ll be there, but it’s best to have an idea of what you want to watch before visiting the site. 

Last, FMovies has a lot more pop-ups than some of the other free movie streaming sites on this list. Be prepared to click, click, and click some more to get rid of all the ads. But once you do, the streaming experience is flawless.

Why should you use a VPN to watch movies?

With this extensive list of the best movie streaming sites, you may want to start watching movies right away. But before streaming, you need to protect your computer and identity against hackers and anyone else who may want to spy on your data. 

That’s the key reason why it’s a good idea to use a VPN—we recommend ExpressVPN—before you watch a movie online.

Streaming movies online sends data—including your IP address—to any video hosting server. This might expose your personal data to hackers or to your internet service provider, or ISP. This can be an issue if they track you streaming movies on certain sites.

But there are a variety of other reasons to get a VPN to watch movies as well, including:

  • You can gain access to geo-locked content on many streaming sites.
  • You’ll be able to safely stream movies on a public Wi-Fi connection.
  • You can bypass censorship if you live in or visit certain countries with strict laws prohibiting content.
  • You can potentially avoid connectivity issues related to throttling from some ISPs.

Summary

This list of the 23 best free movie streaming sites should give you access to all the free streaming content you could ever want. Each site plays quality content and many play movies with little to no ads. There’s never been a better time in history to access your favorite movies—new or old!

Just remember to never take your computer’s security for granted. Always connect to a reliable VPN service provider—like ExpressVPN—before streaming any movie online.

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