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The Complete Guide on Watching Public Domain Movies

Author by Oswald

Updated on Aug 04, 2023

If you’re looking for a free and legal way of enjoying movies, then public domain movie is always a solid option. A wealth of public domain movies includes many old-school classics that are well tested by the time and absolutely binge-worthy.
Besides, they can be freely accessed on the internet, downloading & watching most of these movies is completely off the hook of legal issues. On this page, you’ll learn about the best public domain movies to watch, and where & how to download them.

Get this excellent movie downloader here and continue reading!

Part 1. Best Public Domain Movies of All Time

Source from Wikipedia:

Among countless of public domain films, these in the following are the highest rated and best received ones that you shouldn’t miss out on.

Film title See on
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

The Gold Rush (1925)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

Disorder in the Court (1936)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

The General (1927)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

My Man Godfrey (1936)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

His Girl Friday (1940)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves (1937)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

Scarlet Street (1945)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

Meet John Doe (1941)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

Malice in the Palace (1949)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

Sita Sings the Blues (2008)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

Brideless Groom (1947)


Detour (1945)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

Kansas City Confidential (1952)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

The Stranger (1946)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor (1936)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

Salt of the Earth (1954)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

D.O.A. (1949)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

A Star Is Born (1937)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

Too Late for Tears (1949)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

Love Affair (1939)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

Life with Father (1947)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

The Little Princess (1939)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

McLintock! (1963)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

Of Human Bondage (1934)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

Carnival of Souls (1962)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

One-Eyed Jacks (1961)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

Penny Serenade (1941)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

Smouldering Fires (1925)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

The Southerner (1945)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

The Hitch-Hiker (1953)

IMDB    Rotten Tomatoes

Part 2. Where to Watch & Download Public Domain Movies

1. YouTube

YouTube is a content-rich platform for videos of all kinds. Not only are there a lot of great public domain movie channels on YouTube, but also YouTube is hosting movie videos for many of the undermentioned websites. You can either browse thru movies to watch from public domain movie channels or just search for any interested film’s title on YouTube – and I like the odds that it’s there. You can find many full-length popular public domain movies YouTube and watch them in good quality.

2. Internet Archive

Also known as Wayback Machine, Internet Archive is a practical archive library for digitized materials on the internet. It has been a go-to website for many techies who seek practically any online content from the past. For instance, earlier we’ve used Internet Archive as an effective tool to restore deleted online videos like YouTube videos. Internet Archive has a specified collection for featured films, and it covers thousands of public domain movies under its well-organized structure. On internet archive, a movie usually has multiple download options.

3. Public Domain Movies

Pretty much as its name suggests, Public Domain Movies is a website that lets people watch and download public domain movies online for free, and without registration. Despite an acceptable amount of advertisements, visitors can browse for fancied movies in ranked lists, and all movies have complete cover art, year and intro information. There are 5 movie categories including Feature Films, Comedy, Drama & Romance, Science Fiction & Horror and Cartoons, which should fill in different kinds of tastes.

4. Public Domain Flix (Shutdown)

As another great place to watch public Domain movies, Public Domain Flix is a YouTube-video-sourced website that present movies in much more detailed classifications and chronology. No download option is provided, but it’s good that there’s no ads but few product promotions. If you like social interaction on movies, get new movies submissions or create personalized playlists, a simple registration will grant you these privileges.

5. Retrovision TV (Shutdown)

Retrovision TV is a popular website for watching classic movies and TV shows under the public domain. They divide their videos into adventure movies, cartoons, classic TV, comedy, crime, drama, horror, sci-fi, war and westerns, and videos under each category are either further classified or listed alphabetically. Apart from that, users with specific needs can explore movies with the keyword tags from the lower-right column.

Part 3. How to Download Public Domain Movies from YouTube

Here, I’d like to present WonderFox Free HD Video Converter Factory. It’s a free video converter program as well as a YouTube converter. It helps to fast download videos from YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion and 500+ websites with original quality preserved, and no length limit.

Furthermore, I’ll demonstrate how to use the program to download YouTube videos, and I’m sure you’ll get its ease of use.

Free Download Free Download

WonderFox does not advocate downloading unauthorized or copyrighted videos for distribution, sale or any commercial purpose!

How to Download Public Domain Movies from YouTube

Step 1. Launch the YouTube Converter Program, enter the Downloader module and click New Download.

Step 2. Copy and paste the URL(s) of the desired YouTube video into the Paste URL box and hit Analyze.

Step 3. Select a preferred video format and resolution, and hit OK.

Step 4. Click Download All button to start downloading all files in the queue.

Download public domain movies from YouTube


As mentioned, YouTube is the top of my recommendations for watching public domain movies. If you get lost in the ocean of YouTube videos while surfing, may my favourite YouTube channels tagged underneath bail you out. Also, feel free to contact me on Twitter if you have any further questions, I’d be glad to help.

Recommended YouTube public domain movie channels:

Public Domain Movies

Best Quality Public Domain Films And Tv

Public Domain Films

Best Video Converter Program that Touches-up Viewing Enjoyment

Best Video Converter Program that Touches-up Viewing Enjoyment

WonderFox HD Video Converter Factory Free

· Convert normal/HD video to 500+ formats and devices

· Download videos from YouTube and 500+ global video websites

· Practical toolkit with basic video editing functions and more

· Extract audio from videos and websites

· Cutting-edge video compression tech

· Free to use, clean, no plug-in, no third-party offer

Additional Reading: Public Domain Movies FAQs

Q: What are public domain movies?

A: All films that were released before 1925, and many earlier films that lost copyright protection in certain ways (including but not limited to: being lack of renewal, missing or flawed copyright notice, being work of the United States government) are now in public domain status in the United States. Meaning everyone in the public ‘owns’ them.

Q: Is it legal to watch public domain movies?

Is it legal to download public domain movies?

Is it legal to use public domain movies for commercial purposes?

A: You can do anything you want with public domain movies, its utterly legal, but there’s one exception. Many movies are based on plays, novels, magazine stories or a combination of those sources, a film’s copyright has lapsed doesn’t mean its underlying material does as well, so using that kind of a film may infringe copyright.

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