Free movies on your iPad from the National Film Board

Oh, Canada! One of the country's best exports ever, NFB Films for iPad streams (or downloads) over 1,000 short films, documentaries, cartoons, and more--all for free.

In addition to a great library of films for kids, the NFB Films app offers features, documentaries, and a whole lot more.
In addition to a great library of films for kids, the NFB Films app offers features, documentaries, and a whole lot more. Screenshot by Rick Broida

Note: This is an update of a post I wrote last October, which focused on the iPhone version of this app .

Do you like indie films? Documentaries? Animation? Then I'm about to make your day: NFB Films for iPad lets you watch over a thousand movies on your tablet. For free.

"NFB" stands for National Film Board, a bona fide Canadian treasure. The app taps the NFB's mammoth library of documentaries, features, animated films, trailers (for upcoming NFB releases), and more.

All the movies are streamed to your iPad (via Wi-Fi only), but there's also an ingenious "watch later" option that downloads a selected movie for offline viewing--great if you're about to get on a plane or something. These downloads expire after 48 hours, which strikes me as more than fair. (Apple's own App Store movie rentals last only 24 hours, and you have to pay for those.)

NFB Films includes a Channels section where you can browse various categories, including Documentaries, History & War, and Environment. There's a search option, natch, and you can add movies to a favorites (sorry, "favourites") list for easier access.

If you come across a film you want to share with friends, the app lets you send an e-mail that includes a link to the Web version.

I did encounter the occasional bug--sometimes a paused movie wouldn't stay paused, for instance--but overall I had a ball perusing the film library and watching some true gems.

Indeed, although I tend to have fairly mainstream tastes when it comes to movies, in recent years I've developed a strong appreciation for, well, "films." This app comes stacked to the digital rafters with them, and they're all free. Consequently, NFB Films easily earns a spot on my list of must-have iPad apps.

 

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