365 Free Movies Streaming on YouTube

The wail resounds in every cor­ner of the house, you can­not stop it—the books have all been read, the new releas­es streamed, every video game played to the end mul­ti­ple times. I’m bored… You gave up quar­an­tine home­school weeks ago. Just who did you think you were? Here’s an idea, par­ent at your wit’s end: sit the kids in front of Lone Wolf McQuade or Over the Top.

Tell them how every­thing used to look like that when you were young. No sec­ond or third screen to turn to when you lost inter­est. You’d catch a free movie on a Sun­day afternoon—streaming in real time, as it were—on one of four or five chan­nels. No pause, rewind, or save for lat­er. (Play it up—maybe you didn’t live this, they don’t know that.)

Oh, and there were com­mer­cials every ten min­utes or so—lots and lots and lots of ads. This is a les­son in media history—you’re an edu­ca­tor! They’ll read­i­ly admit how much bet­ter they have it as they watch Chuck Nor­ris and Stal­lone rack up the kills on YouTube, free to stream (and pause, rewind, and save for lat­er), with many few­er ad inter­rup­tions than in your day, and with 363 oth­er films to watch and more to come.

But say you find this con­tent objec­tion­able, or… well, bad. You could cer­tain­ly do much worse, believe me, as you’ll see in a cur­so­ry look at the many fea­ture enter­tain­ments avail­able to stream free with ads on YouTube. But, in all seri­ous­ness, you care about your children’s edu­ca­tion, and with some care­ful dig­ging, you’ll find quite a lot to give them a real cul­tur­al les­son, and to enlight­en the grown-ups, too.

Learn, for exam­ple, about the Wreck­ing Crew, in a doc­u­men­tary of the same name, the famous cohort of stu­dio musi­cians who played on hun­dreds of the best pop, rock, soul, etc. records in the 60s. As the Funk Broth­ers were to Motown, Book­er T. & the MGs to Stax, so were the Wreck­ing Crew to the West Coast Sound (and the sound of Elvis, The Beach Boys, Frank Sina­tra, Nat King Cole, the Mamas and the Papas, Son­ny & Cher, Simon & Gar­funkel, and so on).

And as the Wreck­ing Crew were to the West Coast so was Mus­cle Shoals to the deep South. The tiny Alaba­ma town and its FAME Stu­dios fea­tured some of the great­est R&B, soul, and coun­try rhythm play­ers in the world, major con­trib­u­tors to records by Dylan, the Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Aretha Franklin, Wil­son Pick­ett, and so many more. There’s a film about them too. (We can’t embed the full movies here, but you’ll find them in the links below.)

There are many oth­er qual­i­ty edu­ca­tion­al enter­tain­ments about pop music his­to­ry, like the Dave Grohl-direct­ed Sound City. You’ll also find doc­u­men­taries like Super Size Me, Cap­i­tal­ism: A Love Sto­ry, and Freako­nom­ics. (An eco­nom­ics course!) Many oth­er plat­forms have intro­duced free stream­ing movies with ads. In YouTube’s case, as AdAge notes, the move to stream­ing free films comes as a way to recoup adver­tis­ers who increas­ing­ly found their ads run­ning “inside offen­sive videos, some with ter­ror­ist pro­pa­gan­da and hate speech.”

The com­pa­ny is clean­ing up its image, and in the process becom­ing some­thing like the TV chan­nels of old, only with all the dig­i­tal ease that makes stream­ing so con­ve­nient. “They are now a TV net­work,” says an exec­u­tive for one video ad tech­nol­o­gy plat­form, mov­ing away from low-qual­i­ty, user-gen­er­at­ed con­tent and toward high dol­lar series and the gold­mine of old movies. Adver­tis­ing is every­thing, so, there’s anoth­er les­son for you—even in the new media busi­ness, his­to­ry repeats.

See a list of rec­om­mend­ed films avail­able to stream free on YouTube, with ads, below. Enter the gen­er­al col­lec­tion here. And feel free to explore our col­lec­tion, 4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More.

Super Size Me

The Wreck­ing Crew

Cap­i­tal­ism: A Love Sto­ry

Fred­die Mer­cury: The King of Queen

Mus­cle Shoals


Bob Mar­ley: The Roots of Man

Sound City

All Things Must Pass (Doc­u­men­tary on Tow­er Records)

The Bird Cage

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch 99 Movies Free Online Cour­tesy of YouTube & MGM: Rocky, The Ter­mi­na­tor, Four Wed­dings and a Funer­al & More

60 Free Film Noir Movies 

Down­load 6600 Free Films from The Prelinger Archives and Use Them How­ev­er You Like

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

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