Public Domain Movies

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 31, 2006
Updated • May 8, 2013
Music and Video

When a work's copyright or patent restrictions expire, it enters the public domain and may be used by anyone for any purpose. All the movies, concerts, documentations and animations on the following free movie websites are public domain. The site holds currently 93 movies and 85 documentaries plus additional animations and concert videos.

Most movies are pre-1960 and most are relatively unknown, at least to me. Have you ever heard of the vampire bat, the wild women of wongo and sex madness? Still I was able to spot some classics among the movies which are worth a download. The documentations list has some interesting titles like Fahrenheit 9/11, or Grass.

There is also a category for animated movies which lists mostly cartoons like Bugs Bunny or Superman movies. There are also some concerts that you can watch, for instance by The Doors, Jimi Hendrix or Nirvana.If you have some time to spare take a look at the listing and try some, you might discover some great moneys.

Update: The original site does not seem to be available anymore. Here are a few alternatives for your consideration: offers a large selection of public domain movies from the beginning 20th century to the 60s mainly, with the occasional oddball in between. The site is unfortunately a bit on the messy site, which makes it kinda hard to navigate it properly. You find major categories listed on the frontpage, along with popular series and movies sorted by decade.

Among the offerings are Tarzan, Hercules, Flash Gordon and Dick Tracy movies, as well as lots of other series and single movies. Great site if you do not mind the messy layout.

Public Domain Torrents offers public domain movie downloads as torrent files which you can download with a torrent client such as utorrent or Opera.  The selection is pretty good, and the show all movie listing is pretty long.

Free Online Movies has a selection of public domain movies that you can watch right on the site as all movies are embedded directly here. The site offers mostly classic television series and movies, still worth a visit. Some movies that you can watch on the website are The Stranger, Cold Sweat with Charles Bronson, The Real Bruce Lee or Enter the Lone Ranger.

public domain movies

Public Domain Flicks lists free movies on 45 pages that you can watch right away on the site. Most movies are from the 20s to 40s period but you find a couple of newer ones in the mix. offers a large collection of cartoons, animations, movies, TV shows and all that good stuff. Since it lists community videos as well on its pages, it offers a total of more than 300,000 videos for you to download.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Anonymous said on August 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Why not make use of the mplayer.conf?

  2. Mike J said on August 1, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Huh, I have never even seen this “font cache” pane; videos play at once for me, using VLC & XP SP3.

    1. Martin said on August 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm

      Mike, in theory this should have only been displayed once to you, at the very first video that you played with VLC. The time this window is displayed depends largely on the number of fonts in your font directory.

      1. Mike J said on August 2, 2010 at 2:30 pm

        huh, I lucked out for a change?? Amazing!!
        Apparently VLC keeps this info through version updates, but I didn’t see this message after a fresh OS install about 8 weeks ago, & a new VLC.

  3. myo said on August 1, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    yes, yes, i have the same problem. sometimes, VLC crashes when it is playing .mov file.

  4. Kishore said on August 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Buidling font Cache pop-up


    Open VLC player.

    On Menu Bar:


    (at bottom – left side)
    Show settings — ALL

    Open: Video
    Click: Subtitles/OSD (This is now highlited, not opened)
    Text rendering module – change this to “Dummy font renderer function”


    Re-open – done.
    Progam will no longer look outside self for fonts

    Source –

    1. Martin said on August 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm

      Great tip, thanks a lot Kishore.

  5. javier said on August 14, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    @Kishore, I’ll try your tips, but does this mean it will no longer show subtitles either?
    I do use subtitles, but the fontcache dialog box pops up (almost) everytime I play a file.

    Could this be related to the fonts I have installed? Or if I add/remove fonts to my system?

    I’ll try to do a fresh install also, if your tips does no work. I’ll post back here later…


  6. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,

  7. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,Dont worry, VLC is currently sorting out this issue and the next version will be out soon.

    No probs @ Martin !! Its my pleasure

  8. Ted said on October 22, 2010 at 3:57 am

    Try running LC with administrator privileges. That seemed to fix it for me

  9. Evan said on December 8, 2013 at 1:48 am

    I am using SMplayer 0.8.6 (64-bit) (Portable Edition) on Windows 7 x64. Even with the -nofontconfig parameter in place SMplayer still scans the fonts. Also, I have enabled normal subtitles and it is still scanning fonts before playing a video. Also, it does this every time the player opens a video after a system restart (only the fist video played).

  10. Mike Williams said on September 6, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    Does that mean that only instrumental versions of songs will be available for non-paying users?

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