YouTube free movies: The best (and the rest) that you can watch completely legally

There are obscure documentaries and schlocky action thrillers, but also some pretty major films

Christopher Hooton
Wednesday 21 November 2018 17:12
Comments
Four weddings and a funeral 1994 trailer

YouTube has started testing the waters of ad-supported movies, allowing viewers to watch a film as they might on a free TV channel, but at a time of their choosing. A bank of titles have appeared under a “Free to watch” heading on the YouTube Movies channel, and more are expected to be added if the ad strategy is a success.

At the moment, it’s a pretty mixed bag. There are obscure documentaries and schlocky action thrillers, but also some pretty major films like Rocky I–V and Four Weddings and a Funeral – all available to people in the US (or at least people browsing from a US IP address).

Here are a few titles of note, followed by the rest of the list available at the time of writing:

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Certainly the best doc ever made about sushi and possibly the best doc ever made about food, Jiro Dreams of Sushi centres on 85-year-old Jiro Ono, the owner of a Michelin three-star restaurant located in a Tokyo subway station. Jiro is one of the highest-regarded chefs in the world, but no level of acclaim seems to be enough for this perfectionist.

Legally Blonde

Legally Blonde should have been a throwaway romcom, but by mildly subverting the genre (much like Mean Girls) and carrying a feminist message, it has had real staying power. The fact that Legally Blonde 1 and 2 are streaming for free makes it easy to recap on the series ahead of the third instalment, which is slated for release in 2020.

The Man in the Iron Mask

This wasn’t exactly Leonardo DiCaprio’s finest hour – even earning him a Razzie – but The Man in the Iron Mask is an interesting failure. DiCaprio plays twins and is supported on the cast by John Malkovich, Jeremy Irons and Gérard Depardieu. Loosely based on two separate Alexandre Dumas novels, it was probably a bit too ambitious, but there’s enough swashbuckling and masquerade ball switcheroos to keep the action moving.

Jesus Camp

With so much talk of balance and bias these days, this 2006 documentary is interesting in that it claims to come with no “prepackaged point of view” and attempts to be “an honest and impartial depiction of one faction of the evangelical Christian community”. Nevertheless, organisers of the Charismatic Christian summer camp it focuses on were furious with the film, and the camp eventually had to be closed due to vandalism.

The Terminator

What synopsis is really necessary for this iconic movie? Deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress, this film about a cyborg killer was preserved in the National Film Registry in 2008. A blueprint for sci-fi thrillers in many ways, the 1984 Schwarzenegger classic’s influence was felt well into the 1990s.

Four Weddings And A Funeral

The internet may not be able to cope if Love Actually is made available for free on YouTube, but for now it’ll have make do with this earlier Richard Curtis movie. A Best Picture nominee and box office smash, it’s a frightfully charming romcom about an er, umm, bumbling gent who, well, gosh, meets a fine filly from America.

Hackers

Nineties nostalgists need look no further than this cult classic. Made before the general public was familiar with the internet, the film’s depiction of the web and hacking hasn’t aged well and makes for a pretty funny watch so many years later. Angelina Jolie, Jonny Lee Miller and Jesse Bradford star as a gang of high school hackers caught up in a corporate extortion conspiracy.

I Wish

If you enjoyed Richard Linklater’s ode to growing up, Boyhood, then Hirokazu Kore-eda’s might appeal too. It didn’t get a proper UK or US release, but was loved by critics, following two young brothers (played by real-life brothers) who live in separate cities and dream of reuniting.

Bio-Dome

Bio-Dome is one of those movies so universally loathed that it’s stuck around in the collective consciousness as an object of fascination, and there may even be a sequel on the way some 22 years later. Stephen Baldwin and Pauly Shore star as a couple of stoners who stumble across a closed ecological system in which scientists are hermetically sealed for experiments. Expect the dumbest toilet humour and sexual innuendo imaginable.

Experimenter

If you can get past that awkward title, this a pretty engrossing watch. It stars Peter Sarsgaard and Winona Ryder, and is based on the 1961 Milgram experiment, which highlighted humans’ obedience to authority figures. Participants were coerced into administering increasingly large electric shocks to others that, had they been real, would have been fatal.

Rocky

Rocky I, II, III, IV and V are all streaming on YouTube, but Rocky I remains the best in the series (not counting Creed, which you’ll have to pay for). A special mention for Rocky III, though, which marks Mr T’s film debut and sees Hulk Hogan play a character named Thunderlips.

Igor

Agent Cody Banks

Great World of Sound

Rocky IV

Sleepover

Zookeeper

What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London

Kano

Legally Blonde 2: Red, White And Blonde

Rocky III

Rocky II

All Dogs Go to Heaven

The Magic of Belle Isle

Rocky V

Uptown Girls

The Pink Panther 2

A Guy Thing

Out of Time

Flawless

The Wrath of Vajra

Blackthorn

Return to Me

With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story

Saved

Throw Momma from the Train

Dino King

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

The Sorcerer and the White Snake

Monsters

Kung Fu Killer

Trail of the Pink Panther

Good Boy!

Very Good Girls

Son of the Pink Panther

The Hero of Color City

Slightly Single in LA

McCanick

Tai Chi Hero

The Timber

Curse of the Pink Panther

A Company Man

Special ID

The Assassins

Drug War

Tai Chi Zero

Mystery Road

Ip Man: The Final Fight

The Great Buck Howard

Europa Report

New World

Main Street

The Pirates

Memories of the Sword

Police Story: Lockdown

The World’s Fastest Indian

White Haired Witch

The Suspect

Wu Dang

Rejoice & Shout

Painted Skin: The Resurrection

The Woods

The Lost City

The Thieves

Countdown to Zero

Vengeance of an Assassin

Dumbstruck

Commitment

Skating to New York

Into The White

The Assassin

A Place at the Table

FrackNation

Venus and Serena

Swelter

Legendary Amazons

Grand Piano

And While We Were Here

The Truth About Emanuel

A Long Way Down

Muay Thai Giant

Good Ol’ Freda

Ocean Heaven

Ballet 422

I’ll Follow You Down

The Good Heart

Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me

The Last Tycoon

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in