Watch classic movies online, free and legal

172146__his_girl_friday_lSo,the writers’ strike got you down? Suddenly wishing you actually enjoyedreality television so you could at least have something to fill yourlonely nights? Worry no more, fellow PopWatchers, because the Internetis here to save the day!

Thanks (ironically) to copyright laws, a lot of old movies are cominginto public domain and being put online for anyone with a good Internetconnection (and a lot of patience) to see. A whole lot of them can befound on the (perfectly legal) Internet Archive, and I’ve been watching a few classics nowthat my schedule is, ahem, a bit more free. What surprised memost was how well old movies held up to my modern, pervy, standards,such as the fantastic, Sorkin-esque His Girl Friday (featuring the fast-talking Cary Grant, Ralph Bellamy, and Rosalind Russell, pictured) or James Cagney’s excellent turn as a well-meaning bureaucrat trying to fix corruption in Great Guy. Even an old Max Fleischer Superman cartoon I used to enjoy as a kid was up on the site, and stillsurprisingly enjoyable. In fact there were so many movies to see, Ialmost didn’t get around to writing this blog post, as I was so busycoordinating between browsing IMDB’s Movies By Year lists for interesting-looking films andseeing if the Internet Archive had any of them upyet.

So I ask you, PopWatchers, what hidden, old-timey gems canyou find online? Because I’mactually sleeping at nights, and that’s just all manner of wrong.

addCredit(“His Girl Friday: Everett Collection”)

Comments (103 total) Add your comment
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  • RedAngel

    So far, I’ve found all of Akira Kurosawa’s stuff before 1953, 1922’s Nosferatu, 1925’s Phantom of the Opera, and Carnival of Souls. All can be found at the Internet Archive.

  • Eric Friedmann

    I’d be very interested to see how this goes over. Most kids today don’t have enough of a brain in their head to take the time to discover classic black and white films. I was once talking with this 19 year-old guy and I mentioned CASABLANCA. So help me, he said, “What’s Casablanca?” I wanted to strangle him right there and then! The movie’s too long before his time for him to appreciate, you say? That’s bullsh*t, I say! That would be like saying today’s kids should not know Mozart simply because he was too long before their time!

  • Eric Friedmann

    For those who are interested, here are ten (10) classic black and white movies you must see before you die: CASABLANCA, CITIZEN KANE, KING KONG, PSYCHO, DR. STRANGELOVE, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, FRANKENSTEIN, CITY LIGHTS, DUCK SOUP and Fellini’s 8 1/2.

    • Paul J

      …and Gas Light, and Meet John Doe, and A Face In The Crowd,and 42nd Street, and

  • Molly

    In defense of my generation (or maybe just me), I’m a college student and I ADORE old movies, especially those with Dana Andrews, Paul Newman, etc.
    Which is what I will now be searching for…

  • Em

    I don’t know who this Sorkin person is, but isn’t it enough to say that His Girl Friday just showcases Howard Hawks at his best?
    There are some of us youngsters (I’m only 22) who are trying to keep the classics alive! My friends and I have spread the golden-age-of-cinema love to many others, so don’t give up hope.

  • RedAngel

    This link has a list, alphabetical and by year, of public domain films that can be viewed on the Internet. Enjoy!

  • furry_tom

    Awesome site. A lot of great stuff on there, just a few minutes poking around and I found:
    All Quiet on the Western Front
    The 39 Steps
    Fatal Glass of Beer
    My Man Godfrey
    And I intend to download Attack of the Killer Mushrooms as soon as I get home tonight.

  • Brendan West

    Em wrote on Tue, Jan 29, 2008 at 09:55 AM EST:
    “I don’t know who this Sorkin person is…”
    Aaron Sorkin, creator of SportsNight, The West Wing, Studio 60, writer of The American President and Charlie Wilson’s War.
    An anachronistic simile, yes, but I think it was meant to say Aaron Sorkin is His Girl Friday-esque…
    Are these legal to download and save on your HDD? And at what resolution do they display?

  • RedAngel

    And To Kill A Mockingbird is public domain, too! Love it!

  • Rhonda

    Wow, this is great! There are some wonderful films available there. By the way, I learned to love black and white films from the 30’s and the 40’s thanks to my mom. My husband and I taught our son to appreciate them—he’s 24 and prefers black and white classics over contemporary films. (I don’t like being judged by my age and I try not to do it to those of different generations.)

  • Elizabeth

    Em: God Bless you for your Sorkin comment! I think I just heard his ego deflate a little, but not nearly enough :)

  • Slap Bet Comissioner

    I love old movies! (TCM is the best channel.) It looks like a lot of my favorites haven’t made it on the site yet, but you can always try Netflix.
    The Awful Truth
    My Favorite Wife
    *Both with Cary Grant and Irene Dunne and they’re great together.
    The Thin Man movies
    *Great chemistry, screwball mysteries (and lots of martinis)
    The Women
    There’s a remake that’s been in the works for awhile so this one is fun to see first.
    And the all time best is It Happened One Night – Clark Gable helping a runaway heiress get away from her controlling father :)

  • Nancy

    Oh, thank you! Great information. Can’t wait to look it up tonight. Dafna, you’ve done your good deed for the day!

  • Anonymous

    One of my favorite old movies (which y’all can now watch for free) is the original “A Star is Born” with Frederic March – who I adore.

  • Jess

    Ooh, thanks for sharing!

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