One of our favorite trends in cord cutting is the growing number of free streaming services like Crackle, Tubi TV, and Popcornflix. These services have a long way to go, but they represent a future full of ad-supported free content, which is ideal for those of us who cut the cord in part to save money.

But while ad-supported free content is a growing trend, it's not a new concept. YouTube has been doing it for years, and not just with the user-generated content that it's best-known for. If you know what to look for, you can find tons of free streaming movies and television shows on YouTube.

On this list, we're counting down some of the best free content on YouTube right now. We're sticking to the official postings, since they're less likely to change in the future. If we missed a show or film that you love, sound off in the comments!


Alfred Hitchcock's early films are so old that they're now public domain, so anyone who likes can upload them to YouTube. That's great news for fans of well-crafted horror and mystery flicks. If you're ready to dive into Hitchock's extensive back-catalog, 1929's Blackmail is a great place to start out. This particular video presents Blackmail as part of a double feature that also includes Easy Virtue (1927).

The Gold Rush

Hooray for the public domain! As with Hitchcock's old films and some other 1920s gems on YouTube, The Gold Rush is not under any copyright protection. Because of its public domain status, you can find a lot of Chaplin's work on YouTube and other free streaming services. For our money, this comedy is the best one to start with – it has aged remarkably well and can still draw the laughs.

How It's Made

How It's Made puts a ton of content on their YouTube channel. Videos are broken up into individual segments, so you can mix and match which products you want to see being made. The segments are the same length as they are on TV, it's just that they each get their own videos instead of being put together in one long episode.

Inspector Gadget

Inspector Gadget's official channel features a bunch of full episodes of the classic animated series. It's a great channel to subscribe to if you have kids or just want to re-live your own 90s childhood. Go, Gadget, go!

Mystery Science Theater 3000

Shout! Factory is great about making its content available all over the place. You can find full episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 on YouTube, just like you can find them on Pluto TV, Hulu, and Shout! Factory TV. As its legions of super-fans will tell you, MST3K is a hilarious show that provides comic commentary on poorly-made old sci-fi and horror movies.

Night of the Living Dead

George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead is the granddaddy of all zombie movies. The classic black-and-white horror flick can be streamed for free on YouTube. If you've never seen this, watch it right now – it's one of the greatest horror movies of all time.

Off the Air

Adult Swim offers some of its content for free on YouTube, including all the episodes of Off the Air. Off the Air is a bizarre late-night program that's more of a sensory experience than a TV show. It's pretty clearly targeted at the chemically enhanced crowd. Tune in and drop out.

Seven Men from Now

This classic Western is one of the better films in Paramount Pictures' free YouTube channel, the Paramount Vault. The Paramount Vault, by the way, is so full of great films that it deserves a list of its own – which is why we wrote one.