At any time, there are thousands of free movies on YouTube, although typically they fall outside of the Hollywood norm. Notable movies available as of July 2015 include Orson Welles' "The Stranger" and Alfred Hitchcock's silent classics such as "The Ring."
Many of the movies are available on a temporary basis, although others are in the public domain and have become permanent fixtures of the site.
While YouTube has attracted major Hollywood studios to offer new and legacy movies on its video rental and purchase section, these studios do not offer their movies for free on a routine basis. Instead, the free movie selection contains films from independent studios and those that have fallen into the public domain and are freely available.
Independent films include movies that stand on their own merit, such as investigative documentaries, and those designed to piggy-back on the success of Hollywood blockbusters, literary revivals, horror film trends and relatively unknown foreign films. The latter category consists of many pre-1950s films and oftentimes include actors who later made it big in headlining roles.
There are a few gems on the free section of YouTube. Some of the best films include the comedy "Abbot and Costello's Africa Screams," the legendary anime film, "Space Battleship Yamato: The New Voyage," the classic horror film, "The House on Haunted Hill," and "The Stranger," a suspenseful Orson Welles film he made after "Citizen Kane." Also notable are some of Alfred Hitchcock's early silent films, including "The Ring," "Downhill," "Champagne" and "Murder!"