62 Of The Best Films You Can Watch Right Now On YouTube
Because you may be very, very bored/too broke to buy DVDs/pay for Netflix, we’ve compiled the following convenient list of films that are freely accessible on YouTube.
Keep in mind that in devising the 62 movies, we’ve tried to be as eclectic as possible, so we haven’t filled it entirely with foreign films, nor have we neglected world cinema. Therefore, don’t necessarily assume we think that When Harry Met Sally is better than À Bout de Souffle, just because the former is included and the latter isn’t.
We’ve also tried to keep it down to no more than one film per director, though very occasionally, a filmmaker is so awesome that we’ve just had to relent and allow him to appear twice.
So with all that in mind, make yourself a cup of tea, relax, and enjoy the following ginormous list.
And if we’ve made some sort of near-criminal error in leaving out one particular film, be sure to let us know in the comments section below.
The Outsiders (1983)
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Starring: C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio.
Premise: Two teenage gang members go on the run after becoming embroiled in the murder of a fellow teenager.
Why it’s great: Whether it’s The Godfather, Apocalypse Now or The Great Gatsby, Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptations are always fascinating. This 1983 film of SE Hinton’s classic teen novel is no exception. Sadly, he’s seldom put his name to anything that’s anywhere near as interesting or enthralling since.
What the critics said: ‘The Outsiders was relatively cheap, and also brought Coppola back to a kind of human drama that his post-Godfather work had been lacking, the result enrapturing a good number of teens and pre-teens in the 1980s.’ FilmCritic.com
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)
Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Starring: Brigitte Mira, El Hedi ben Salem, Barbara Valentin.
Premise: A lonely German woman has an affair with a younger Moroccan man, much to the chagrin of her family and neighbours.
Why it’s great: A subversive remake of Douglas Sirk’s All That Heaven Allows, this depressing and highly perceptive indictment of ’70s-era German society is undoubtedly one of the most powerful films about race relations ever made.
What the critics said: ‘Ali: Fear Eats the Soul might sound like improbable, contrived soap opera. It doesn’t play that way.’ Roger Ebert
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Starring: Brigitte Bardot, Michel Piccoli, Jack Palance.
Premise: A filmmaker struggles in his relationship with his wife while working on the screenplay for a lavish production of The Odyssey.
Why it’s great: Jean-Luc Godard tends to beguile and frustrate viewers in equal measure, but this 1963 film, part Brechtian satire, part melancholic love story, is one of his more accessible masterpieces.
What the critics said: ‘What’s the price of selling out? Contempt asks the question of its characters, its audience, and its own director.’ Boston Globe
When the Levees Broke (2006)
Director: Spike Lee
Starring: Harry Belafonte, Terence Blanchard.
Premise: A film looking at the effects of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, interviewing several of those involved in the disaster.
Why it’s great: Along with the TV series Treme, Spike Lee’s When the Levees Broke is the definitive document on Hurricane Katrina and one of the 21st century’s most important documentaries thus far.
What the critics said: ‘What breaks your heart is the film’s accumulated firsthand stories of New Orleans residents who lost everything in the flood after Hurricane Katrina, and the dismaying conclusion that a year after the disaster, the broken city has been largely abandoned.’
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Director: Tobe Hooper
Starring: Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, Paul A. Partain.
Premise: A group of friends visit an old farmhouse, as one of their contingent’s grandfather’s remains are located nearby. Unfortunately, the house happens to be next door to a family of psychotic slaughterhouse workers.
Why it’s great: For those that like their horror films more focused on straightforward scares rather than elaborate effects, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre provides the perfect antidote to the numerous inferior imitations that have cropped up over the years.
What the critics said: ‘The picture gets to you more through its intensity than its craft, but Hooper does have a talent.’ Chicago Reader
Stephen King’s It (1990)
Director: Tommy Lee Wallace
Starring: John Ritter, Richard Thomas, Annette O’Toole.
Premise: A clown who is the incarnation of an evil supernatural force threatens several unfortunate individuals, including a young child.
Why it’s great: The film that traumatised many children of the 1980s, Stephen King’s It is essentially trash – but there’s no denying it’s enjoyable trash.
What the critics said: ‘The first half is terrifying — or was when I was younger. The second half has a bad special effect spider.’ Zap2it.com
Battleship Potemkin (1925)
Director: Sergei Eisenstein
Starring: Alexander Antonov, Vladimir Barsky, Grigory Alexandrov.
Premise: A film depicting the Soviet uprising in 1905, and the various revolts against the the Czarist regime.
Why it’s great: Perhaps the most influential film ever made, Battleship Potemkin is, needless to say, mandatory viewing for all cineastes. And don’t let the near-religious manner in which it is treated put you off, as it contains consistently gripping sequences worthy of the best modern thrillers.
What the critics said: ‘Too long stifled by its own masterpiece status, it’s time to take Potemkin out of the lecture hall, out of the museum, and recognise it for the vital, alive piece of cinema it is.’ Slant Magazine
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Julia Roberts.
Premise: A middle-aged lawyer is forced to rediscover his youth as Peter Pan, when he receives a letter informing him that his children have been kidnapped by Captain Hook.
Why it’s great: This Peter Pan adaptation is obviously not the greatest film ever made, but if you were one of the many young children who went to see it in its heyday, then re-watching it is likely to provide plenty of nostalgic thrills.
What the critics said: ‘Big, splashy, energetic, one-size-fits-all Hollywood entertainment.’ Washington Post
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Director: Rob Reiner
Starring: Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan.
Premise: Harry and Sally, two college graduates, attempt to have a friendship without becoming romantically involved.
Why it’s great: Who said romantic comedies always have to be forgettable fluff? When Harry Met Sally has endured over the years, thanks to two excellent central performances and a screenplay imbued with witty and iconic lines.
What the critics said: ‘A ravishing, romantic lark brimming over with style, intelligence and flashing wit.’ Rolling Stone
Director: F.W. Murnau
Starring: Max Schreck, Alexander Granach, Gustav von Wangenheim.
Premise: A real estate agent travels to visit a reclusive old man, who lives in an isolated mountainous area, with the intention of closing a sale.
Why it’s great: Despite being made in 1922, Nosferatu is as creepy and beautifully shot as it presumably seemed on first viewing. Despite a dozen other Dracula films having been made since, this is surprisingly free of cliche to boot.
What the critics said: ‘Murnau proved his directorial artistry in Sunrise for Fox about three years earlier, but in this picture he’s a master artisan demonstrating not only a knowledge of the subtler side of directing but in photography.’ Variety