How Can You Legally Download Free Full-Length Movies?

The easiest way to download full movies for free is through websites that host movies in the public domain; OpenFlix and the Internet Archive are two such resources. A majority of movies in the public domain are from the 1960s and earlier. Some movies made after the 1960s are purposely released with a license that allows free redistribution.

Until the 1960s, U.S. copyright laws required film owners to renew their copyright after a certain number of years. Those films that were not renewed fell into the public domain, and many films that were renewed from the 1920s are also in the public domain. These films cover a broad range of categories, including documentaries, cartoons and action films. Because these films are in the public domain, no entity has a copyright claim to them. People can distribute them without paying any organization and incorporate pieces of these works into their own.

Open source movies are those released with a license that allows people to distribute and even edit them. Many of these films are short works, but some are full-length features. "Sita Sings the Blues," for example, is an award-winning, 80-minute film that combines animation with 1920s-era music to tell the Indian story of Ramayana. "Valkaama" is a 93-minute drama filmed in Germany.