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The Best 12 Free Movie Streaming Sites for 2023

Watching movies for free online has never been easier thanks to the many free streaming sites available today. While paid services like Netflix and Hulu have huge catalogs, free sites can be an affordable alternative for those looking to cut costs.

However, finding safe and legal free movie streaming sites can be tricky. To help, I‘ve compiled the 12 best free movie streaming sites based on catalog size, video quality, ease of use, safety, and more.

Overview of the Top Free Movie Streaming Sites

When evaluating free streaming sites, there are a few key factors that determine which ones come out on top:

Catalog Size: The number and variety of movies and TV shows available to watch for free. More content means more options.

Video Quality: Whether videos play smoothly in high definition. Poor video quality hampers the viewing experience.

Safety: How likely you are to get viruses or malware from the site. Safety should be the top priority.

Ease of Use: The simplicity of the site‘s interface and navigation for finding titles to watch. Complex sites frustrate users.

Legality: Whether the site has the rights to show the movies and TV shows available. Illegal streaming sites should be avoided.

I‘ve assessed dozens of free streaming sites and these 12 stood out across all five criteria. Let‘s dive into the details of each one.

1. Tubi

Tubi has the largest catalog of any free streaming site with over 25,000 movies and TV shows available on-demand. Despite the huge library, it‘s easy to browse and search titles by genre.

The site is completely legal and above board when it comes to copyrights. Video quality goes up to 1080p for most titles. And Tubi works great on mobile devices thanks to apps for both iOS and Android.

Downsides are that the service isn‘t available globally, there are ads during movie playback, and the library rotates content in and out over time.

Best For: Users who value catalog depth above all else. Tubi trounces other free sites for sheer content volume.

2. Crackle

Owned by Sony Pictures, Crackle offers an impressive catalog of Hollywood movies, TV shows, and original programming—all free and legal. You can watch Crackle content without even creating an account.

Video quality is quite good overall and the site itself has a clean, modern interface that‘s easy to use. One downside is that Crackle is only available in the U.S. and Canada currently. Frequent ads also interrupt viewing sessions.

Best For: Casual streaming when you want something major to watch without hunting endlessly for the right title.

3. Pluto TV

Think of Pluto TV like a free cable alternative with over 250 live TV channels covering news, sports, movies and more. You can also access on-demand movies from major studios without any subscription—completely free.

Being backed by Paramount, Pluto has agreements in place to legally show premium content. Streaming quality is quite reliable too. While it may take some getting used to, the overall package here is superb.

Best For: Cord cutters who miss the experience of flipping through live TV channels full of movies and entertainment.

4. IMDb TV

IMDb TV comes from Amazon, so you know it‘s a legitimate streaming option that‘s totally safe and above board. You‘ll find popular Hollywood movies plus some hidden gems thanks to strong video catalog IMDb manages.

Downsides are that you need to watch a few ads during movies and provide an Amazon login to start watching. But in terms of safety and legality, IMDb TV tops the free competition. Video quality depends on internet speeds but can reach 1080p.

Best For: Safest free streaming from a reliable brand, plus some exclusive lesser-known titles.

5. Roku Channel

Available for anyone with a Roku streaming device already, the totally free Roku Channel offers access to thousands of Hollywood movies without needing a Roku account. Streaming works on the web too.

You‘ll get some ads while watching, but the movies play smoothly with solid video quality from a trusted brand. Having Roku manage the licensing means no worries over the legality of titles. And the selection gets better all the time.

Best For: Existing Roku users or anyone wanting a streamlined free movie experience from a single app.

6. Peacock

For the latest NBC and Universal Pictures releases plus tons of classic hits and originals, check out Peacock. Most of the giant catalog is included free with ads, while upgrading to Peacock Premium unlocks everything ad-free.

Given the direct partnership with NBCUniversal, Peacock always provides legal streams. Streaming quality is superb without any buffering plus 4K and mobile downloads available. And Peacock works on virtually any device imaginable with polished apps.

Best For: Free next-day streaming of current NBC and Universal shows and movies.

7. Plex

Media center software Plex has an underrated free streaming option via the Plex app or web player called The Free Movies & TV hub. It hosts hundreds of Hollywood hits that you can watch instantly and legally without any Plex account.

The set up differs from other sites since it requires the Plex app. But streaming performance is super smooth. Use the app to download titles for offline viewing too—a rare feature among free streamers.

Best For: Tech-savvy cord cutters who already use Plex for media or anyone who wants downloads for watching movies offline.

8. Vudu

Walmart‘s Vudu streaming service has a section called Movies on Us that offers ad-supported streaming of hundreds of movies at no cost. You just view a few ads before the movies start playing—no subscription needed.

Vudu acquires all of their streaming rights properly through major studios, ensuring everything is legit. Streaming works perfectly via Vudu‘s slick apps or compatible smart TVs and Blu-ray players with no account sign-up required.

Best For: Integration with Vudu-compatible smart TVs or Blu-ray players makes watching free movies here seamless.

9. YouTube

Google‘s YouTube needs no introduction. But many don‘t realize just how many free, legal movies are available there across various channels. Big movie studios often publish films on YouTube Movies for free with ads.

You‘ll need to sit through some ads first, but streaming performance is flawless as expected from YouTube. Keep in mind that finding full-length free movies takes more digging compared to dedicated movie streaming platforms.

Best For: Leveraging YouTube‘s unmatched streaming technology to watch free movies slipped in among billions of videos.

10. Kanopy

A unique offering, Kanopy provides a catalog of indie movies and film festival darlings—completely free with ads through partnerships with libraries and colleges. Just enter your library card to access.

Video streams smoothly on all devices without any subscriptions required. And Kanopy has licensing deals in place with top movie studios, making it fully compliant and legal. Those looking for independent films should have Kanopy at the top of their list.

Best For: Free access to obscure and critically-acclaimed indie movies you won‘t find anywhere else.

11. Redbox Free Live TV

Redbox broke into free streaming with an impressive live TV platform that rivals Sling TV and YouTube TV but costs zero dollars. Sign up for free for over 130 channels with ads plus thousands of on-demand movies and shows.

Given Redbox‘s relationship with every major studio, you don‘t need to worry about any video availability issues or illegal streams. Just create and verify your free account via email to start watching high-quality streams on nearly any device.

Best For: Replicating a premium live TV streaming experience 100% free in a tidy package from Redbox.

12. Free Movies Cinema

A free streaming upstart, Free Movies Cinema impresses despite its smaller catalog size compared to sites like Tubi and Crackle. Library gaps get offset by stellar streaming performance, a modern design, and handy personalization tools.

Registering your email lets you bookmark content and get notifications—features lacking on competitors. Plus video streams faster and smoother here based on several speed tests. Legal compliance seems iffy due to the smaller independent nature of the site. But it‘s too good to leave off the list.

Best For: High-quality HD streams and slickness reminiscent of paid services make Free Movies Cinema a freebie favorite.

Finding Safe and Legal Free Streaming Sites

When looking into a new free streaming site, it‘s hard to know which ones provide legal, licensed streams versus pirated movies and TV shows. Here are a few tips for recognizing if a free streaming site is legitimate and safe:

  • Look for well-known parent companies like Sony, Amazon, or NBCUniversal who have deals in place with movie studios to show content. Unknown sites are riskier.
  • See if they explicitly say licensing deals or partnerships exist with movie studios to show streams legally. Any vague language is a red flag.
  • Research online reviews and complaints about the site serving malware or illegal video to confirm other users haven‘t reported issues recently. Safety first.
  • Avoid sites promoting huge libraries across all genres, especially newer movies—a tell-tale sign of pirated libraries. Modest but legal catalogs are better.
  • Check if ads play before/during videos since these generate revenue for licensing from studios in many cases. No ads at all raises suspicions.

Following these tips helps narrow down the safest free streaming providers that should steer clear of malware infections or copyright issues based on reputation and transparency around video licensing.

Of course, 100% safety can never be guaranteed with free streaming sites not operated by major corporations. But the top 12 options listed above have established themselves as smart picks through consistent performance over time and commitment to only serving legal streams.

Get the Most Out of Free Streaming

While paid services clearly invest more into content licensing and video performance, selecting the right free streaming platforms opens up tons of movies and TV without any subscription costs.

Across the top 12 sites detailed above, you gain access to thousands of new and classic titles ready to stream instantly in high quality. You can avoid illegal videos and malware risks by simply sticking to reputable options like Crackle, IMDb TV, or Kanopy.

Reviews of the interface, streaming reliability, device support, catalog sizes, content originality, and video formats can further help find your perfect site. And mixing a few options keeps the content fresh since availability rotates.

Free streaming gives cord cutters and casual streamers the ultimate flexibility. If you ever grow unhappy with the ads or need more robust features, paid services remain there as upgrades.

But those just wanting to kick back and immerse themselves in Hollywood movies, popular TV shows, independent films, or even live TV channels can now do exactly that 100% free across the top sites listed above. More streaming for less money—find your favorites among the pack.