Free on Hulu: Stream Fellini’s 8 1/2, La Strada & Other Classic & Contemporary Films

You’re at a social gath­er­ing, in a class­room, at a week­end get­away. Some­one makes a ref­er­ence and every­one gets it but you. It hap­pens, so what? No one can pos­si­bly have seen all the films, read all the books, heard all the albums. But when a movie con­sis­tent­ly appears on the top 10 film lists of crit­ics and direc­tors alike (includ­ing this one), you might con­sid­er it worth your time to see it. If that movie is Fed­eri­co Fellini’s 8 1/2—a film, writes Alexan­der Sesonske at the Cri­te­ri­on Col­lec­tion, “in which almost every scene is memorable”—you won’t regret the time spent, and thanks to the Cri­te­ri­on Col­lec­tion’s many free films avail­able on Hulu, time will be your only cost. You won’t have to work to find it either. Sim­ply hit play on the video above, and voilà! Or should I say “asa nisi masa”? (We’re cross­ing our fin­gers that these aren’t geo-restrict­ed!)

It is with 8 1/2 and its pre­de­ces­sor, the equal­ly stun­ning La Dolce Vita, that “what we think of as Felliniesque,” that rare com­bi­na­tion of suavi­ty, lusti­ness, and sur­re­al­ism, “comes to full flower.” So wrote Roger Ebert in his review of the film, a self-ref­er­en­tial romp about a direc­tor’s cri­sis of con­fi­dence and “one of the most tight­ly struc­tured films Felli­ni made.” You can see it at Hulu, where you’ll also find by the great mod­ernist Ital­ian direc­tor oth­er exu­ber­ant mas­ter­pieces like Amar­cord and Juli­et of the Spir­its, as well as the excel­lent neo­re­al­ist film La Stra­da (which AFI called “one of the most influ­en­tial films ever made”) and the 1953 com­e­dy I Vitel­loni.

If, in hang­ing out with Felli­ni, you learn that mid-cen­tu­ry Ital­ian neo­re­al­ism is your thing, you can also watch Luchi­no Vis­con­ti’s 1957 Le not­ti bianche (star­ring Fellini’s favorite actor Mar­cel­lo Mas­troian­ni), which takes its title and sto­ry from Dos­to­evsky’s “White Nights.” Or you can see many oth­er clas­sic films Cri­te­ri­on curates, like John Ford’s Stage­coach, The Who-inspired Quadrophe­nia, Steve James’ affect­ing 1994 doc­u­men­tary Hoop Dreams, and Tokuzō Tanaka’s samu­rai adven­ture about a blind swords­man, New Tale of Zato­ichi. Unless you have a Hulu sub­scrip­tion, you will have to suf­fer the occa­sion­al ad, but it’s worth it, I’d say, to see some of the great­est films ever made for free at the click of a few links. As with all such ser­vices, Hulu may impose some restric­tions on view­ing in cer­tain coun­tries.

Hulu offers oth­er, non-Cri­te­ri­on films for free as well, such as 2011 doc­u­men­tary The Peo­ple Vs. George Lucas and the brand-new Lyle, a hor­ror com­e­dy The Guardian calls a “les­bian Rose­mary’s Baby” (age restric­tions apply). If you’re new to the ser­vice, you might also want to check out the vari­ety of free TV shows Hulu offers. Basi­cal­ly, any­thing with­out a lit­tle green “sub­scribe” box in the cor­ner isn’t nailed down and is free for the watch­ing. Enjoy.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Para­mount Now Stream­ing 175 Free Movies Online, Includ­ing West­erns, Thrillers & Crime Pic­tures

Fed­eri­co Fellini’s List of His 10 Favorite Films … Includes One of His Own

Fellini’s Three Bank of Rome Com­mer­cials, the Last Thing He Did Behind a Cam­era (1992)

The 10 Great­est Films of All Time Accord­ing to 358 Film­mak­ers

4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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