Bruce Willis The Fifth Element

The best free movies currently on YouTube

These are our agreed-upon best free movies currently on YouTube. Worth a watch if your favorite series is on hiatus.

YouTube has become our go-to source for visual information. Do you need to figure out whether your gas laundry dryer is fixable or just needs to be replaced? Do you need to clear up a cache on your iPhone? We’ll bet there’s a YouTuber who can show you how. We’ve all become visual learners, partially due to the pandemic and partially because of the wealth of information available in video form on the streaming app.

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But there’s even more to YouTube than informational content. There are a surprising number of films to be watched in full for free on the entertainment hub. Here are my picks for the top 10.

The Fifth Element (1997)

Our favorite movie hero, Bruce Willis, is tasked with saving the world with the help of a gamine Milla Jovovich in this quixotic sci-fi adventure. The film received mixed reviews for its stunning imagery, fantastic costumes, and production design. Even though Gary Oldman famously despised the film and his character, Zorg is immortalized here on YouTube to forever encapsulate your ’90s nostalgia.

Train to Busan (2016)

I know what you’re thinking: “Another zombie movie?” But this surpasses the early ideas of what George Romero did with his Trilogy of the Dead. In Train to Busan, commuters are traveling from Seoul to Busan on a high-speed train as the living of the outside world gradually become the undead, and the supposed sanctuary of the train is breached by a lone wild card passenger. An extremely moving experience (pun intended): Come for the horror, stay for the drama.

Beauty and the Beast (2016)

https://youtu.be/1mSzHxMpji0

Only Lea Seydoux and Vincent Cassel could pull you away from your love and appreciation of the 1991 Disney classic. Every adaptation is guilty of taking liberties with the original 1740 Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve fairy tale, but under the direction of Christophe Gans (Silent Hill, Brotherhood of the Wolf), this live-action iteration takes a more sentimental approach, and viewers will almost certainly appreciate all of the backstory provided for the Beast and the expository aspects of the film.

Who’s That Girl (1987)

https://youtu.be/rcC0cPw9P48

A confection for our insatiable appetite for iconic ’80s fashion and the music of Madonna, we can sort of hold our nose and tolerate that nasally high-pitched voice of hers for the payoff in the form of this under-appreciated and ahead-of-its-time loose adaptation of Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn’s Bringing Up Baby. Madonna plays Nikki Finn, a girl framed for the murder of her boyfriend who enlists the help of an utterly handsome Griffin Dunne as Loudon Trott, a befuddled tax attorney. Critically despised and unapologetically stupid, this storm in a teacup is a great way to while away the summer hours when it is simply too hot out to do anything else.

Over the Edge (1979)

Matt Dillon’s first movie, Over the Edge was said to be based on actual events. Perfectly embodying the troubled youth theme of the late ’70s-early-’80s, the film served as a cautionary tale for both kids and parents. Cinema had a bit of a gap to fill in the genre following the success of movies like Rebel Without a Cause, and Over the Edge ushered in a new age that brought us The Outsiders, Lost Angels, and River’s Edge. Claude (Tom Fergus) is a teenager whose family lives in New Granada. Try as they may, Claude and his friends can’t seem to stay out of trouble and seemingly out of boredom and rebellion take the entire adult population of New Granada hostage in the school’s auditorium during a PTA meeting. The results are explosive and irreversible, and the immensely gonzo film has achieved cult status in the years since its release.

An Education (2009)

https://youtu.be/XqE_oQOE0VU

Carey Mulligan stars as Jenny Mellor, a highly intellectual teenage music student approached by the suave David Goldman (Peter Sarsgaard). Seemingly innocuous, David plays out to be the predictable predator we assumed he was from the beginning. But the film still earns points for its visually interesting and big stylistic swing for the fences, and serves as a reminder of the dangers of succumbing to the charms of a handsome con-man.

Empire of the Sun (1987)

https://youtu.be/fNwVmo0uIHw

Starring a 12-year-old Christian Bale, Empire of the Sun chronicles the life of privileged Jamie Graham (Bale), a boy who finds himself a prisoner of war in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. Jamie survives the camp and eventual evacuation by sheer wit, befriending Basie, played by John Malkovich — an American expatriate — along the way. Critics’ dismal reviews are unfounded, and based on several follow-up viewings, I can report that Empire of the Sun stuck the landing, and still holds up to this day.

Singles (1992)

The stream-of-consciousness filmmaking of Singles isn’t for everybody, but the music, and the setting — 1990s Seattle, Washington — became an effective vehicle for introducing the rest of the world to the grunge movement. Here’s the setup: four twentysomethings live in an apartment house and we follow them through their relationships. Being educated young adults, their career paths and motivations are nebulous, but if you need something completely Velveeta and unremarkable to cull you to sleep, Singles is a fun rom-com to fit the bill.

Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003)

The quintessential picture of extreme gore and terror, Jeepers Creepers 2 is a ridiculously over-the-top slasher. Director Victor Salva manages to maintain tension throughout while the story begs the question: What is the origin of the beast? A group of high-schoolers become prey for a flesh-collecting monster who emerges every 23rd spring for 23 days. The gore fit with the fiction and the story – plus it felt hyper-realized to make it satisfying but not grotesque. Opt for this one if you’re trying to psyche yourself up for the likes of Terrifier, for example.

Facing Ali (2009)

The only documentary on the list, Facing Ali tells the story of 10 of Ali’s opponents in the ring. A controversial and fascinating character, Muhammad Ali is not to be forgotten. An activist, Ali brought the New York State Athletic Commission all the way to the Supreme Court, winning in an unanimous decision to reinstate his championship boxing titles after the controversy surrounding his refusal to fight in the war in Vietnam in 1966. This documentary sheds light on the life of a misfit with an outsized personality, a larger-than-life celebrity whose engagement and disengagement served as an anachronistic parable. Add this one to your watchlist to be enchanted.

Don’t discount these films because you don’t have to subscribe to a premium service to access them, as any one of these could make for an enjoyable evening. Watch them soon, however, as there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the availability of free movies on YouTube.


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Author
Misty Contreras
Misty Contreras has been a writer and editor at We Got This Covered since January 2022. Once known for her fearless coverage of the agriculture industry, then of the hemp industry, her current beat is entertainment, with a focus on YouTube and internet culture as a whole. If you’re lucky enough to meet her out and about in Austin, it will probably be at a concert or at the lake.