No Subscription Needed: Top 12 Platforms to Watch FREE Movies Online in 2023

We all love free stuff, but did you know that you can watch free movies online? And it's legal. And safe.

Yes, in this Golden Age of streaming, the most common way to watch movies you want on demand is by signing up for an (expensive) subscription and paying monthly. But fear not, thrifty film fans: there are plenty of legit places to watch movies for free online.

“What's the catch?” I hear you ask.

Well, the biggest “catch” is that you'll likely have to put up with seeing some ads. But that's not a huge deal, in my humble opinion. Particularly given that on-demand services like Amazon Prime Video and other platforms are now charging for a basic subscription with ads and, if you want to get an ad-free experience, you have to pay even more.

So for me, I'm happy to zone out, go make a coffee, or doom scroll on social while the service that's letting me watch movies on-demand for free shows me a few ads. I'm old enough to remember having to rewind the VHS back to the beginning when I wanted to watch something or before I returned a movie to the rental store. And I can remember when, if I wanted to watch a show or a movie, I'd have to either be right there at the right time, or, if I were fancy, I'd be able to program my VHS recorder to start recording at a specific time if I wasn't going to be home.

Yes, we've come a long way! And apparently, I'm a dinosaur. Ha. 

So I still think seeing a few ads in exchange for free movies and TV shows is super convenient. My favorite free movie streaming services are Crackle and Pluto TV, as they offer loads of choice and provide TV on demand as well as a big library of movies. Some of them offer original programming, too. 

I used to be a big fan of Peacock TV, too, because of its extensive horror library, but Peack isn't free anymore. They stopped their free plan in early 2023, and I couldn't justify paying to keep it when I had better, paid for premium services.

1. Crackle

crackle logo 2021
Image Credit: Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment.

Crackle is my favorite place to watch free movies online for a general audience in the US. They've got an extensive movie catalog, and a nice library of TV shows, too. They offer live TV channels, on-demand movies and TV shows, and original programming for watching anytime or anywhere. For general all-around movies and TV without a subscription for the whole family, Crackle is a great choice. 

You'll find comedies, dramas, thrillers, horror films, and just about any other genre. Just be aware that you must watch a couple of ads to watch your show, but it's definitely worth it. 

2. Pluto TV

Pluto TV
Image Credit: Pluto TV.

Pluto TV is a free and always-on TV service that offers a lineup of 250+ channels. They offer shows, movies, cartoons, and live news from 18 categories. And, interestingly, they're owned and operated by Paramount.

There are plenty of genres, such as classic films, comedies, sci-fi, and much more. If you want to go beyond watching movies for free, Pluto TV should be at the top of your list of services. It has a huge library of on-demand content and offers over 200 live channels, so you can really use it to replace all of your current streaming subscriptions and even as a free cable TV alternative

I really like Pluto's user experience. It's simple and intuitive, and I've tried it on a few different devices, including my smart TV and my Xbox One. I love their great mix of classic and contemporary shows and movies. It makes for a really interesting lineup and it's a great way to discover new-to-you shows. 

3. Hoopla

Hoopla App
Image Credit: Midwest Tape.

Hoopla is a revolutionary digital library that lets you stream and watch movies and TV shows online. The only caveat is that you must have a library subscription, and your local library needs to support Hoopla.

You can also rent movies and TV shows- just make sure you return them to avoid late fees. Once you've decided what to watch, you can kick back and view them on your laptop, tablet, or TV with Hoopla on Roku or Chromecast.

I think this is a brilliant idea, as it's good for your local library, too, and gives your whole family access to a library of content they may not otherwise consider. There's all kinds of digital content that you can get for free, not just movies and TV shows. You can also access ebooks and audiobooks, digital comics, and music. 

It's worth noting, though, that the content you can access is limited by the catalog of your local library. However, it's totally free and easy to get started, so I strongly recommend you give this free streaming service a try.

4. Kanopy

Kanopy App
Image Credit: OverDrive, Inc.

Kanopy is a video streaming service that provides over 30,000 movies at your fingertips. It is available for libraries, schools, universities, and other institutions. If you have a library card or your school supports the site, it's a great platform to check out.

5. YouTube

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

YouTube is the most popular video streaming site on the internet. There are more than 1 billion active users on this site. If you have an account, you can watch free movies online on YouTube by watching a channel like FreeMovies, powered by Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment. Now, I know, I know, that I said I was okay with ads, and I am, as a rule. But the ads on YouTube are nuts. So I do actually pay for YouTube Premium, because I watch a lot of instructional videos and things on the platform, and I just can't do that many ads. I don't however, pay for YouTube TV. So, if I want to watch a movie for free on YouTube, I stick to the free channels.

6. PopcornFlix

Popcorn Flix
Image Credit: PopcornFlix.

Popcornflix is a free streaming service for movies and TV shows. It has free and paid accounts, offering exclusive content, HD-quality video streams, and no ads.

The variety of genres ranges from comedy to crime to family shows. There's something for everyone on this platform. They even have Popcornflix originals if you want to check out something you won't see on other platforms.

7. Sling TV

Sling TV
Image Credit: Sling TV.

Sling TV is a television service that offers a range of live and on-demand channels. You can stream over 25,000 hours of content from your favorite channel with Sling TV. The channel is also compatible with Android and Apple TV.

You can watch your favorite movies or any other program without paying a single penny for these services. Remember that you won't get the full functionality when creating a free account, but there will be more than enough to keep you occupied.

8. Tubi TV

Image Credit: Tubi.

Tubi TV is an online streaming service that offers various movies. It's been around since 2014, and they're currently one of the most popular streaming services.

9. The Roku Channel

Image Credit: Roku TV.

The Roku Channel is free to download and watch regardless of whether or not you own a Roku device. It is a free channel that lets you watch the latest movies and TV shows for free. They have an excellent variety of content, but don't have as much as Netflix or Hulu. 

10. Fawesome.TV

Image Credit: Fawesome TV.

Fawesome.TV is a Netflix-like streaming platform where you can watch free movies and TV shows online. There are many titles to choose from, and the platform is available on all major platforms (PC, Mac, Android, iOS).

You can search for the movie or TV show you want to watch by their name or browse the list of genres. You can also browse by popularity or category if you know what you want to watch beforehand. 

11. Xumo

Image Credit: Xumo.

Xumo is a free movie and TV app with no limits on how much content you can watch. The app offers over 10,000 movies and TV shows you can stream instantly. Plus, they provide live content, where you can decide which of the 190 available channels you want to watch.

12. Redbox

Image Credit: Redbox.

Redbox is a company that has red boxes at supermarkets, gas stations, and other places. These boxes contain DVDs and Blu-Rays for people to rent. However, the company also offers a streaming service free of charge.

You can go directly to the Redbox website to stream TVs or movies on your smart TV or through their app.