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How to Watch Free Movies Online in 2022: Legal Options

Free streaming sites are rather tantalizing, but concerns about viruses and copyright laws are always in the back of your mind. In this post, we’ll explain how to watch free movies online safely with a VPN.

Kit Copson
By Kit Copson (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2022-08-19T08:44:11+00:00 Facts checked by Jasna Mishevska

In recent years, both veteran and up-and-coming streaming services have been making life easier for movie buffs and Saturday night viewers alike. If you’re looking to save a few bucks, read on to find out how to watch free movies online securely and anonymously.

Key Takeaways:

  • There is a huge selection of legal free streaming sites online. The best free streaming sites include Tubi, Pluto TV, IMDb TV, YouTube and The Roku Channel. 
  • Most free movie streaming sites are ad supported, so if you’re going to use them, be prepared for interruptions. 
  • To access free sites in geoblocked locations and protect yourself online, we recommend using a VPN. ExpressVPN is our top recommendation, closely followed by NordVPN and Surfshark.  

Major streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are known and loved for their massive content libraries, but sometimes they simply don’t have the movie you want. As well as this, streaming sites — especially if you subscribe to a few of them — can be a bit of a drain on your wallet.

As a result, more and more people are searching for free movies online.

Unfortunately, most legal free streaming sites are limited to certain locations. Because of that, you’ll need a VPN to get past the geoblocks and enjoy the free content. We recommend ExpressVPN for this purpose, but there are other great streaming VPN alternatives like NordVPN or Surfshark. 

  • 08/02/2022 Facts checked

    Updated to include more information about the risks involved in using some free streaming sites and to share recommendations for safe free movie sites. We also show you how to use a VPN to watch free movies online.

  • You can watch free movies on many websites including Tubi, Pluto TV, IMDb TV, Vudu and The Roku Channel. If these sites are geoblocked in your location, you can use a VPN to access them. Also, bear in mind that the majority of free sites are ad based.

  • Not every free streaming site streams in HD, but some do, including Tubi and YouTube (for some content).

In some cases, yes. There are plenty of great options for streaming movies and TV shows completely free online, but more on that later. 

Of course, there are less legal ways to watch free movies online. We have plenty of resources on this topic, from everything you need to know about torrenting to tools you can use, including Stremio and Kodi. In short, there are many illegal streaming sites out there where you can stream anything you can think of, but in this article we’ll focus on ones that are legal. 

If you do decide to go digging in the dirt for a good illegal streaming site, you should make sure to protect yourself with a virtual private network (VPN) as well as some antivirus software.

Should I Use a VPN to Watch Free Movies & TV Shows Online? 

Definitely. You can tighten up your security when watching free movies online with a trustworthy VPN service. When connected, a VPN sends your data through an encrypted tunnel and masks your IP address, making it impossible for hackers, snoopers and even your internet service provider to view your online activity and personal information. 

VPNs are also great for streaming, as they allow you to change your IP address and access content that’s geoblocked in your location. For example, if you wanted to watch something in the American Netflix library that’s unavailable on Netflix where you are, you would simply connect to a U.S. VPN server. It also helps you access free streaming services that are unavailable in your country. 

In short, a VPN should be a crucial piece of security software on everyone’s device, whether you’re using WiFi at home or public WiFi. If you’re using unofficial free streaming sites, we also highly recommend that you use antivirus software and an ad blocker. Some VPNs offer ad blocking and antivirus protection as a feature. 

How to Watch Movies Online Free With a VPN

Now we’re going to show you how to access free movie websites with a VPN. For this tutorial, we’ve picked Tubi, a popular, legal and safe American online streaming site for free movies and TV shows. It’s not available outside the U.S., Mexico, Canada and Australia, so read on to find out how to access geoblocked free streaming websites from anywhere. 

  1. Get ExpressVPN

    Go to ExpressVPN’s website and sign up for a plan. ExpressVPN is our favorite streaming VPN, and all plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee to give you peace of mind.

    get-expressvpn
  2. Download ExpressVPN

    Go to “products” and download the ExpressVPN app for your device. 

    expressvpn download
  3. Connect to ExpressVPN

    Open the ExpressVPN app on your device and connect to a server. In this case, we want to connect to a U.S. server because the U.S. is one of the few locations in which Tubi is available.

    expressvpn us server
  4. Start Streaming

    Open Tubi, choose the movie or show you want to watch and start streaming. Don’t forget to cancel your VPN subscription within 30 days if you want to have a truly free experience.

    tubi browse

The 12 Best Free Movie Streaming Sites

Now for the fun part. If our Tubi tutorial has piqued your interest, you’ll be pleased to learn that it’s but one of many great free streaming sites that are perfectly safe and legal. 

These services are ad based though, which is the trade-off for being able to watch content for free. There’s no way to get rid of those, we’re afraid, but we’re still massively impressed by the content selection on these free movie sites. 

1. Tubi

tubi scoobydoo
Tubi is a popular free streaming platform with a huge content library. 

We consider Tubi to be one of the best free services currently out there. It’s available in the U.S., Mexico, Canada and Australia (and everywhere else with a VPN) and doesn’t require a subscription to watch. Tubi is ad based and home to thousands of free movies, free TV shows, foreign films and documentary movies, so you’re sure to find something for everyone. 

2. Pluto TV

plutotv movies
Pluto TV is a free U.S. streaming site for live TV, on-demand movies and TV shows. 

What if we told you that you could watch live TV channels and some of the world’s most famous movies — like Gladiator and Saving Private Ryan — completely free? We didn’t believe it either at first, but we gave ExpressVPN a run with Pluto TV and found a huge selection of great movies. 

Pluto TV is available in the U.S., Germany, Canada, Austria, U.K., Australia and Switzerland. It recently launched in Sweden, Denmark and Norway together with AVOD service Viafree. Pluto TV, like Tubi, is ad based. 

3. IMDb TV

madmen imdb
The IMDb site isn’t just for checking out star ratings — you can also watch a selection of movies and TV shows on IMDb TV. 

IMDb TV lets you watch online movies and TV shows, which it hosts on a range of platforms like Amazon Prime Video and Freevee. It is a U.S. streaming site, so make sure you connect to a U.S. server to watch the movies and shows. Just a hint — groundbreaking series Mad Men is one of IMDb TV’s current offerings. You’re welcome. 

4. Vudu

vudu freemovies
Another safe, legal and free movie website is Vudu, which also allows you to buy and rent content. 

If you create a Vudu account, you can watch a selection of movies and TV shows for free as long as you can tolerate ads. We were pretty impressed with Vudu’s selection — a few notable movies we spotted were Snowpiercer and Under the Skin. Be sure to connect to a U.S. server when using Vudu. 

5. YouTube

youtube movies
You can watch free, full-length movies with ads on YouTube.

No free content post would be complete without trusty old YouTube. Luckily, watching movies on YouTube doesn’t necessarily mean poor quality — there are some movies and shows you can watch for free with ads. Best of all, YouTube is available in most locations worldwide. 

6. The Roku Channel

roku channel
The Roku Channel has a wide selection of free content in the U.S., U.K. and Canada. 

By far, the Roku Channel is one of the best places you can watch movies and TV shows online for free. You don’t even need a Roku device to enjoy it — simply go to The Roku Channel’s website in your browser and stream from there. It’s available in the U.S., U.K. and Canada, so hop on a VPN server in one of these locations. 

7. Crackle

crackle
Crackle lets you stream movies from a variety of genres for free. 

If you’re looking for something new to watch this weekend, Crackle has a pretty decent selection of movies and TV shows. We were impressed by how many genres Crackle has and its foreign film selection in particular, for which it has dedicated an entire category. It’s an American movie streaming site, so you’ll need to connect to a U.S. server. 

8. Peacock TV

peacock tv
The streaming service Peacock has a wide selection of paid and free content.  

Peacock is a paid and free streaming service. If you sign up for an account, you can gain access to a wide selection of free content, including Minions and 1917, two hit movies we found on the first page. Peacock is only available in the U.S. and a few other locations, so you’ll need a VPN if you’re outside somewhere it’s available. 

9. Disney Plus Hotstar

disney hotstar
Paid and free streaming service Hotstar is your go-to for your favorite movies from India. 

Disney Plus Hotstar is an Indian streaming service. Unfortunately, you can only subscribe if you have an Indian phone number and payment method, but you can watch some free content without an account or subscription.

Make sure you use a VPN with Indian servers, like ExpressVPN or Surfshark. We have a comprehensive guide on how to watch Hotstar from anywhere.

10. Popcornflix

popcornflix
Popcornflix is another safe, legal site that lets you watch movies free online. 

Another great option to bookmark is Popcornflix. Though its genre list isn’t quite as extensive as some of the other free streaming sites we’ve shared, it has a decent selection of movies and TV shows. Popcornflix is available in the U.S. and Canada, so by now, you know the drill — you’ll need to connect to a VPN server in one of these locations. 

11. Open Culture

open culture
Open Culture is a free educational website with plenty of classics and modern films to watch for free.

If you’re into classics, silent films, film noir and more, Open Culture is the place to be. It’s an educational site, so its movie selection will certainly appeal to film buffs and old souls who enjoy celebrated classics. It’s also got a great selection of modern films, so there’s a bit of something for everyone. 

The Best VPN for Streaming Free Movies Online: ExpressVPN

expressvpn
ExpressVPN is our top recommendation for using free streaming sites safely. 

More details about ExpressVPN:

  • Pricing: cheapest plan costs $6.66 per month (15-months plan)
  • Provider website: expressvpn.com

Pros:

  • Excellent speeds
  • Watertight security 
  • Gets into free streaming sites 

Cons:

  • Expensive

If you’re looking for a recommendation for a VPN to use with your favorite free movie site, you can’t go wrong with ExpressVPN. As our top pick for the best streaming VPN, ExpressVPN works seamlessly with major streaming services like Netflix and free streaming services alike.

We took ExpressVPN for a spin with the free movie sites above and it worked like a charm every time. 

It’s also one of the fastest VPNs on the market, so you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite movies without interruption (except for the ads on the free streaming services, of course). ExpressVPN is a very secure service, so you won’t have to worry about hackers and snoopers getting hold of your data. If you’d like to learn more about ExpressVPN, feel free to check out our full ExpressVPN review, or use the 30-day money-back guarantee to test it out for yourself. 

If you’d like an alternative, NordVPN and Surfshark are also great streaming VPNs. To learn more about these services, check out our NordVPN review and Surfshark review

Final Thoughts

We’re not going to lie; we found a fair few movies in the process of writing this post that we’re going to have to check out ourselves.

To reiterate, we highly recommend using legal free streaming sites for better quality and security all around. Whichever site you’re using, a reliable VPN like ExpressVPN can really broaden your horizons streaming-wise and ensures you stay anonymous and secure online. 

What do you think of our top free streaming site recommendations? Are there any we’re not aware of that you can share with our other readers? Any that we should avoid at all costs? If so, please drop them in the comments and let us know your experience. Thanks for reading! 

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