With the popularity of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, it's easy to forget that there was a time when YouTube was the only game in town for online-based viewing. While the service has continued to rely on their bread-and-butter of user generated content, they've also tossed their hat in the ring with originals on YouTube Red which found a breakout hit in last year's Karate Kid continuation, Cobra Kai.

What's probably unbeknownst to even the most passionate movie buff is that YouTube has quietly made almost a hundred films free to watch on the platform (of course there are ads along the way).

Although the selection isn't necessarily a Criterion Collection of heat, there are still several free YouTube films to consider for the inevitable day you look at your Netflix queue and realize you've watched everything already.

Here are the best of the bunch.

Rocky I, II, III, IV, V

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 93 percent

The Rocky franchise is as relevant today as it was when it first film came out in 1976 thanks to the titular heroes involvement in the Creed universe. While an additional film exists in the canon — 2006's Rocky Balboa — most purists view the original four as the core stories that still feed the Rocky narrative in a contemporary context.

The Terminator

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 100 percent

Much in the same way that Rocky has continued to be milked for all that it's worth since debuting, The Terminator franchise still continues to pit man versus machine in scenarios that are becoming increasingly more likely to occur.

In a role that made him a global icon, Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a cyborg assassin sent back to 1984 to kill John Connor. Whereas Terminator 2 is a clever flip on the premise, the original still holds up today.

Out of Time

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 63 percent

It's certainly not Denzel Washington's best performance by a long shot, but there's something still quite enjoyable about this Hitchcockian thriller that focuses on a morally questionable cop (Washington) who enters into a tangled web involving stolen evidence, lucrative life insurance policies, and a scorned ex-lover who is also a homicide detective.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 88 percent

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a dream pairing of Michael Caine and Steve Martin that is set in the world of con artists. Both men are intent on bilking $50,000 out of an American heiress, and as most 1980s movies entail...hilarity ensues.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 99 percent

We certainly love a good documentary around these parts, and when it includes food, they are that much more enjoyable.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi tells the story of an 85-year-old sushi chef, Jiro Ono, whose 10-seat restaurant located in a Tokyo subway station, Sukiyabashi Jiro, is considered one of the greatest hidden culinary treasures in the world.

Jesus Camp

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 88 percent

Whereas Jiro Dreams of Sushi is lighter fare when it comes to exploring real aspects of life, Jesus Camp is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Focusing on an evangelical camp for kids — aimed at strengthening their relationship with God — the film is polarizing to this day and still has people asking, "was it child abuse?"

The World's Fastest Indian

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 82 percent

Sir Anthony Hopkins is a four-time Oscar nominee. That alone should get your attention. If you need more convincing, The World's Fastest Indian is a true story based on the life of New Zealand gearhead Bruce Munro — who despite his advanced age — never gave up his youthful dream to break the world's land speed record at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats.

A Place at the Table

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 90 percent

While many food-centric documentaries tend to focus on the chefs, dishes, and world-renowned restaurants, A Place at the Table reminds us all that 50 million Americans don't know where their next meal is coming from. Focusing primarily on three different subjects labeled "food insecure" — a single mother, fifth grader, and second grader — the film not only shines a light on the problem, but also offers up solutions as well.

Venus and Serena

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 77 percent

Although HBO released a Serena Williams-focused documentary, Being Serena, in 2018, the 2012 film that focuses both on her and her seven-time major championship winning sister, Venus, is still recommended viewing for sports buffs out there.

Countdown to Zero

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 80 percent

With simmering tensions between rival nations reaching a boiling point, Lucy Walker's film, Countdown to Zero, is as relevant as ever given its examination of the threat of a nuclear explosion occurring. Featuring interviews with past heads-of-state like Mikhail Gorbachev, Jimmy Carter, and Tony Blair, the film leaves the viewer with the impression that tomorrow is never truly promised.

Good Ol' Freda

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 85 percent

Beatles fanatics seemingly know everything there is to know about John, Paul, George, and Ringo — whether anecdotes behind iconic songs — or more intimate slices of their personal lives. However, Good Ol' Freda takes an alternate approach; Freda Kelly was the band's personal secretary and presided over aspects of their careers that only she knew about.

Now, here are 20 of the best documentaries on YouTube.

We Recommend
  • Image on Highsnobiety
    The 11 Best Sneaker Apps to Stay on Top of Every Drop in 2023
    • Sneakers
  • wide leg pants
    Wide-Leg Pants: A Selection of The Best Oversized Legwear
    • Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety
    The Best Sneakers of 2023... So Far
    • Style
  • luxury fashion sites
    Here Are the Best Luxury Fashion Sites on the Net
    • Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety
    The Best Sneakers to Add to Your Rotation This Week
    • Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety
What To Read Next
  • Kevin James as seen in a promotional photo for CBS comedy 'The King of Queens'
    Kevin James, Meme King (of Queens)
    • Culture
  • Actor Bradley Cooper wears a peacoat, jeans, and Salomon sneakers with sunglasses and a buzzcut hairdo
    Bradley Cooper, Simple Salomon Style Icon
    • Style
  • 8on8's ASICS GEL-Kayano 14 sneaker collab, including tonal black and white running shoes
    These Collaborative ASICS May Look Plain, But They Ain't
    • Sneakers
  • Kendall Jenner wears a trench coat tucked into a pencil skirt with black loafers and leather handbag outside of The Row's Spring/Summer 2024 runway collection
    Kendall Jenner Defies Physics, Tucks Trench Coat Into Skirt
    • Style
  • Ollie Olanipekun's New Nature Initiative
    Ollie Olanipekun is Carving Out a New Nature for Us All
    • Culture
  • Swatch & OMEGA's Moonswatch in Mission to Moonshine Gold "Harvest Moon"
    Surprise Harvest: Swatch & OMEGA Restock Mission to Moonshine Gold Moonswatch
    • Watches
*If you submitted your e-mail address and placed an order, we may use your e-mail address to inform you regularly about similar products without prior explicit consent. You can object to the use of your e-mail address for this purpose at any time without incurring any costs other than the transmission costs according to the basic tariffs. Each newsletter contains an unsubscribe link. Alternatively, you can object to receiving the newsletter at any time by sending an e-mail to info@highsnobiety.com

Web Accessibility Statement

Titelmedia (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, www.highsnobiety.com. Titelmedia strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titelmedia has engaged UsableNet Inc, a leading web accessibility consultant to help test, remediate and maintain our Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.


Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at accessibility@highsnobiety.com, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.