While the lawyers of corporate America argue and bicker over who owns the rights to what, sending out legions of cease and desist orders in an ongoing effort to prevent fans from seeing their work… there are still some movies you can watch anywhere, any time, for free. It’s called the Public Domain and here’s how it works.
Copyrights were originally conceived as a limited time exclusivity. The purpose of them wasn’t to create a legacy of millionaires or corporate shareholders who would profit endlessly off the work of some long dead ancestor, rather the idea behind them was to allow creators to profit off their work a little bit, before that work was set free into the culture around them for people to enjoy on their own terms. Though in the modern law moneymakers continue to push to extend copyrights almost indefinitely, for a lot of well known older works their copyright has completely expired, sending them into the public domain.
Once something is in the public domain, that means no one owns it, and anyone can pick it up and put it on the internet for you to enjoy… without paying for it. And while there are a number of resources online for watching public domain films, tonight I stumbled on one of the most expansive I’ve seen in awhile at a place called Cinevault.
Cinevault is a must for movie fans. The site has been around for awhile but they've recently expanded their listings. Now they've indexed, categorized, and compiled more than one-thousand public domain movies drawn from different YouTube accounts. We’re not just talking things you’ve never heard of here, but a massive mix of movies of all types from legitimate classics to kung fu. Movies which, odds are you’ve just never gotten around to, but probably should.
Embedded below are just a few of the most noteworthy titles I found there browsing, in their entirety for your viewing pleasure below. Some of them you know are great. Others maybe you don’t. Wheels on Meals for instance, is widely considered one of the greatest action films ever made. Pick a few and watch.:
To Kill A Mockingbird
Jackie Chan’s Wheels on Meals
Night of the Living Dead
The Man Who Knew Too Much
The Lost World
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Thousands upon thousands of viewing hours are at your fingertips, with all types of movies ranging from classics to exploitation movies, to B-movies, to kung fu, to a very NSFW 1961 movie called Nude on the Moon. It delivers on its title. Here’s a screenshot from the film, which features such classic lines of dialogue as: “To devil with the messages, we’re going to the moon!”
Start browsing on Cinevault and recommend a few of your favorites to us in the comments section below.