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12 free movies to stream right now: Die Hard, The Big Short and more

You don't need a subscription to Netflix, Hulu or HBO Max to enjoy some genuinely great films, including several Oscar winners.

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20th Century Fox

Sure, there's a plethora of subscription-based streaming platforms out there with an endless selection of movies. But you don't always have to fork over cash to access some of the best films, as there are plenty of sites that offer totally free movies.

All you need is an internet connection and your phone, tablet or TV, ideally one equipped with Fire TV or Roku capabilities so it can get the necessary apps. The catch, of course, is that you'll have to sit through commercials -- unless you're streaming from Hoopla or Kanopy, which are ad-free but require a library card from a participating library.

Here are some of our top picks ranging from comedy to drama to horror. Availability is subject to change, as the services rotate their selections on a regular basis.

Read more: All the best movies of 2021: James Bond, Coda, King Richard and more

Movies to stream for free right now

20th Century Fox

Die Hard (1988)

In this hugely popular action film (slash Christmas movie?), A New York policeman finds himself fighting to save a group of hostages from foreign terrorists in a Los Angeles high-rise. 

Where to watch: Peacock

Neon

Parasite (2019)

This South Korean film stole the spotlight at the 2020 Oscars, and for good reason. Directed by Bong Joon-ho, Parasite is a dark yet hilarious masterpiece that explores issues of class while keeping viewers on their toes.

Where to watch: Kanopy

Paramount Pictures

The Big Short (2015)

If you think it's utterly impossible to make an entertaining movie about the 2008 financial crisis, watch The Big Short. The cast alone should convince you: Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling. Take note, however, that while the movie is indeed entertaining, the subject matter may make your blood boil. 

Where to watch: Kanopy

Next Entertainment World

Train to Busan (2016)

A must-watch for horror fans, this South Korean film follows a father and daughter who get trapped on a train during a zombie outbreak. (The film is slated for an American remake, which has some fans up in arms. Guess you'll have to watch the original to decide for yourself how you feel about it all.)

Where to watch: Peacock

Moonlight (2016)

In an Oscars ceremony finale no one is likely to forget, Moonlight was named best picture in 2017 (sorry, La La Land). The film follows the story of a young Black man grappling with his identity and sexuality.

Where to watch: Kanopy

Lady Bird (2017)

Saoirse Ronan shines in this poignant coming-of-age story about a young woman who yearns for adventure while trudging through high school in Sacramento, California.  

Where to watch: Kanopy

Airbnb

Downton Abbey (2019)

This feature adaptation of the popular British drama series continues its storyline. It takes place in 1927 and follows a visit by the King and Queen to the Crawleys, which unravels into nothing short of drama and chaos. 

Where to watch: Peacock

DNA Films

Ex Machina (2014)

If you prefer your sci-fi dark, occasionally disturbing and thoroughly thought-provoking, watch Alicia Vikander absolutely crush it as the android Ava. Anyone who digs Black Mirror will almost certainly dig this as well. In fact, Ex Machina could easily join that archive of futuristic cautionary tales. Same aesthetic, same vibe. (And Domhnall Gleeson was even in one of the best Black Mirror eps, Be Right Back.)

Where to watch: Kanopy

Bleecker Street

Captain Fantastic (2016)

Ever wonder what it would be like to live off the grid? That's what Viggo Mortensen's dedicated dad does -- but not for the reasons you'd expect -- in this thoroughly charming film.

Where to watch: Kanopy

Fingerprint Releasing

Logan Lucky (2017)

Before Daniel Craig delighted audiences with his southern charms in Knives Out, he honed his skills in this underrated heist flick. Call it a poor man's Ocean's 11, because instead of robbing Vegas casinos, this hapless crew (which includes Adam Driver and Channing Tatum) sets out to knock over... a NASCAR racetrack.

Where to watch: Kanopy

Madman Entertainment

What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

This hilarious gore-fest stars Taika Waititi, who also directed, and Flight of the Conchords vet Jemaine Clement. Finally, a vampire movie that doesn't take itself so seriously.

Where to watch: Kanopy

Paramount Pictures

Stalag 17 (1953)

This is one of the all-time great prisoner-of-war movies (and the obvious inspiration for the TV series Hogan's Heroes). Someone in the barracks is a German spy, and all signs point to William Holden. Is it him? The movie -- part comedy, part drama -- does a great job stretching out the whodunnit, leading to a genuinely surprising, satisfying conclusion.

Where to watch: Tubi