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Free film sources

Free films in many areas of study

Free Streaming by Area of Study

Open Video Collection Websites [Credit: Annotations from Video Roundtable. ALA, re-ordered to reflect areas of study]
Below is a guide of quality, freely accessible, collections of online video. sorted by area of academic discipline

Art  [see also Art and Art History Libguide for many more]

  • ART:21 The most cutting edge or highly documented younger artists are covered here in the PBS series.
  • UCLA Preserved Silent Animation
     Included here are most of the Max Fleischer and Famous Studios Paramount subjects; the George Pal “Puppetoons”; the independent productions of Ub Iwerks; many of the Van Beuren “Rainbow Parade” shorts; a large number of Warner Bros. cartoons; and a recent acquisition of “Terrytoons” still being sorted through as of this writing.

   Communication/Media Studies/Journalism

  • Al Jazeera Video (CC)
    Al Jazeera’s Creative Commons Repository contains broadcast footage that Al Jazeera has released under various Creative Commons licenses.
  • British Movietone (see also: AP Archive)
    British Movietone is arguably the world’s greatest newsreel archive, spanning the period 1895 – 1986. Shot on 35mm film, this global archive contains many of the world’s enduring images and is rich in coverage of news events, celebrities, sports, music, social history, science, lifestyle and quirky happenings. 
  • Creative Commons Video
    Search here for Creative Commons (CC) licensed video media. This content is freely accessible, most licenses allow work with material for free until you start to make a profit from your work.
  • Critical Commons
    Professors post clips media analysis through the use of film clips.
  • Frontline
    View complete episodes of a large selection of films from the acclaimed PBS public affairs series.
  • Internet Archive: TV News
    This accessible archive of TV news enables anyone to reference and compare statements from this influential medium. The collection now contains 350,000 news programs collected over 3 years from national U.S. networks and stations in San Francisco and Washington D.C. The archive is updated with new broadcasts 24 hours after they are aired. 
  • Museum of Broadcast Communications Archive
    The archive includes more than 8,500 digitized television shows, radio programs, and photos (free, but must create user account).
  • WGBH Open Vault
    Provides online access to unique and historically important content produced by the public television and radio station WGBH. The ever-expanding site contains video, audio, images, searchable transcripts, and resource management tools, all of which are available for individual and classroom learning.
  • Wikimedia Commons
    Wikimedia Commons is a media file repository making available public domain and freely-licensed educational media content including images, sound and video clips.
  • Cross-Disciplines or General

  • Afluma  Notable Arab films, this group is based in Lebanon, see also  Where to see Arab films online
  • Annenberg Media Program Video Archive  Free educational videos from the Annenberg Foundation, a non-profit educational organization.
  • American Archive of Public Broadcasting
    The American Archive of Public Broadcasting is a "collection of 40,000 hours contains thousands of high quality programs that have had national impact. The vast majority of this initial American Archive content, however, consists of regional and local programs that document American communities during the last half of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first. This extraordinary collection includes local news and public affairs programs, local history productions that document the heritage of local communities, and programs dealing with education, environmental issues, music, art, literature, dance, poetry, religion, and even filmmaking on a local level."
  • BBC Archives: Provides online access to BBC's archives including themed collections of radio and TV programs, documents and photographs.
  • Culture Unplugged
    Culture Unplugged (C.U.) provides access to hundreds of documentary films, that spans multiple facets of global issues, produced through a "socially and spiritually conscious" lens
  • Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) Video Collections
    The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. Individuals can access a trove of thousands of videos across these institutions through DPLA's search interface
  • Europeana
    A collection of 6 million digital images of paintings, music, films and books from Europe's galleries, libraries, archives and museums. Included are images, texts, sounds and videos.
  • HippoCampus
    A project of the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education (MITE), HippoCampus provides high-quality, multimedia content on general education subjects to high school and college students. Content is organized by broad disciplines: Algebra, American Government, Biology, Calculus, Environmental Science, Physics, Psychology, Religion, Statistics, US History. The site was designed as part of Open Education Resources (OER)
  • Internet Archive
    The Moving Image Archive within the Internet Archive provides access to nearly a quarter million films, uploaded by Archive users, and ranging from classic full-length films, to daily alternative news broadcasts, to cartoons and concerts. Videos in the Archive are organized into 15 broad sub-categories: Animation and Cartoons, Arts & Music, Computers & Technology, Cultural & Academic Films, Ephemeral Films, Home Movies, Movies, News & Public Affairs, Open Source Movies, Spirituality & Religion, Sports Videos, Video Games, Vlogs, and Youth Media. The Archive also contains the Prelinger Archive, the most complete and varied collection of ephemeral films (advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur) in existence.
  • Khan Academy
    With a library of over 2,400 videos covering everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history and 125 practice exercises, we're on a mission to help you learn whatever you want, whenever you want, at your own pace.
  • MIT Open Courseware
    MIT instructors provide a range of courses freely available online.
  • Learners TV
    This is a comprehensive site providing thousands of streaming and downloadable video lectures, live nnline Tests, and other materials in the fields of Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Dentistry, Engineering, History, Language Training, Law, Literature, Management and Accounting, Mathematics, Medicine, Nursing, Physics, and Psychology. The site provides free video and audio lectures of whole courses conducted by university faculty from around the world. 
  • Media Burn
    The Media Burn Archive is a collection of over 6,000 independent, non-corporate tapes that reflect cultural, political and social reality as seen by independent producers, from 1969 to the present..
  • National Film Board of Canada
    The National Film Board of Canada is a Canadian government agency that produces and distributes documentary, animation, alternative drama and digital media productions. The NFB website provides information on over 13,000 National Film Board of Canada films, and includes free access to over
    2,000 films, excerpts, trailers, and interactive works for online screening.
  • Open Video project
    A University of North Carolina project to create free repository of archival, documentary and educational video.
  • PBS Learning Media
    Developed by PBS, WNET, and KET, and 31 other PBS stations.  Content contributed from publicly funded organizations, including the National Archives, the Library of Congress and NPR, NASA, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the US Department of Education, this collection contains more that than 114,000 research-based instructional resources – including videos, interactives, images, audio files, mobile apps, lesson plans, and worksheets. Requires personal registration on the site.
  • SnagFilms
    Provides access to full-length documentary films from established distributors and first-time filmmakers.  The Snag Films library includes more than 850 films. . The site organizes titles by broad topics (such as Arts, Environment, Health, History, Women's Issues, etc.) and by Channels (including well-established film companies such as Alive Mind, Icarus, Fanlight, PBS, and National Geographic). . Brief commercials precede and are interspersed through the video playback.
  • Smithsonian Institution - [youtube channel]
    Smithsonian produced documentaries and programs..
  • TED: Technology, Entertainment, Design
    Talks are organized under broad subject categories:  Technology, Entertainment, Design, Business, Science, and Global Issues
  • Veoh
    Provides access to videos from major content publishers like CBS, ABC, WB, MTV Networks, ESPN, Sony/BMG and Lions Gate, other video sites like YouTube and Hulu, as well as independent filmmakers and content producers. Brief commercials precede video playback. Watching full-length videos via Veoh requires installation of the Veoh Web Player.

Culinary Arts

   English 

  • American Rhetoric
    Features a growing collection of text, audio, and video versions of over 5,000 speeches. The site provides access to "public speeches, sermons, legal proceedings, lectures, debates, interviews, and other recorded media events." Includes sections for Christian rhetoric, "Top 100 Speeches," "Rhetorical Figures in Sound," "Rhetoric of 9-11," and more. Notable is the selection of speeches from movies, arranged alphabetically by title. 
  • Poets and writers  Varieties of writers talking about work.
  • 92nd street Y   Not only writers but performers and musicians and film stars in interview

    History/Social Sciences/Anthropology

  • American Experience
    View complete episodes of select films from the acclaimed PBS documentary series
  • American Memory (motion pictures)
    The American Memory project from the Library of Congress provides access to several hundred early motion pictures, organized into 11 discrete collections: America at Work, America at Leisure: Motion Pictures from 1894-1915 American Variety Stage: Vaudeville and Popular Entertainment, 1870-1920 Before and After the Great Earthquake and Fire: Early Films of San Francisco, 1897-1916 Inside an American Factory: Films of the Westinghouse Works, 1904 Last Days of a President: Films of McKinley and the Pan-American Exposition, 1901 Life of a City: Early Films of New York, 1898-1906 Origins of American Animation Prosperity and Thrift: the Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy, 1921-1929 Spanish-American War in Motion Pictures Theodore Roosevelt: His Life and Times on Film.
  • Archaeology Channel Video
    The Archaeology Channel provides free access to a large collection of streaming media covering archaeology worldwide.
  • Archive of American Television  Hosted by the TV Academy Foundation, interviews with broadcast talent professionals.
  • British National Archives Media Player
    Collections of British National Archives digitized and original video and audio content, including categories of Family History, Military History, Social History, Political History, Law and Order, Archives, and International.
  • British Pathé (YouTube)   A collection of 85,000 films: "Spanning the years from 1896 to 1976, the collection includes footage – not only from Britain, but from around the globe – of major events, famous faces, fashion trends, travel, sport and culture. The archive is particularly strong in its coverage of the First and Second World Wars.
  • British Movietone (see also: AP Archive)   British Movietone is arguably the world’s greatest newsreel archive, spanning the period 1895 – 
  • Civil Rights Digital Library     Provides access to online films, texts, images, and audio recordings related to the Civil Rights movement in the United States in the 1950's and 1960's. CRDL is a partnership among librarians, technologists, archivists, educators, scholars, academic publishers, and public broadcasters. The initiative receives support through a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded to the University of Georgia by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The site provides both simple keyword searching and advanced searching. Content also can be browsed by Events, Places, People, Topics, Media Types (including print, government records, correspondences, etc.) Other features of the site include numerous instructional materials, including lesson plans, quizzes, slide shows, study guides, and worksheets. 
  • EUscreen    The EUscreen portal offers free online access to thousands of items of audiovisual heritage. It brings together clips that provide an insight into the social, cultural, political and economic events that have shaped the 20th and 21st centuries. As well as chronicling important historical events, the EUscreen portal allows you to explore television programs that focus on everyday experience. EUscreen is also intended to be a resource for educators, researchers and media professionals searching for new audiovisual content from across Europe.  Note: see http://euscreen.openimages.eu/media for CC licensed content shared for repurposing
  • EVIA Digital Archive Project - Ethnographic Video for Instruction & Analysis     Collaborative endeavor to create a digital archive of ethnographic field video for use by scholars and instructors. Funded since 2001 by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation with significant contributions from Indiana University and the University of Michigan, the Project has been developed through the joint efforts of ethnographic scholars, archivists, librarians, technologists, and legal experts. Viewing videos requires registering for an account and agreeing to the end-user license agreement
  • The Great Depression Interviews  From the stock market crash of 1929 to the beginnings of World War II, The Great Depression tells the dramatic and diverse stories of struggle and survival during the worst economic crisis in U.S. history
  • History Channel Video   Selected full length History Channel programs.
  • Med-Mem Mediterranean Memory
    Video archive library; thousands of videos preserve the historic, cultural and tourism heritage of the Mediterranean, in English, French, and Arabic. Co-founded by the European Union.
  • Penn Museum Film Archives  The Penn Museum Archives has an extensive collection of films that, thanks to the generosity of the Internet Archive, are nearly all available online. The online film collection consists of over 700 archival films. Strengths are in early 20th century cultural footage and archaeology/anthropology
  • P.O.V. Video  Provides a selection of full length films, short films, and lesson plan based clips from the acclaimed PBS documentary film series POV., with strength in social issues
  • Scripps Library and Multimedia Archive    The Scripps Library and Multimedia Archive serves as a research facility for scholars of U. S. public policy....The Library's multimedia collection is a truly unique collection of material on U. S. public policy. The Library's multimedia archive includes more than 2,500 hours of secret White House recordings, hundreds of presidential oral history interviews, audio and video recordings of Miller Center Forums, and documents related to the executive branch of American government.
  • United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) Moving Images Collections    The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) collections includes over 4,500 moving image historical records (e.g., propaganda films, Newsreel footage) and over 7,600 hours of streaming video oral history testimonials.

            Medicine

  • CDC TV  Center for Disease Control  View or download videos on a variety of health, safety and preparedness topics. The library of videos will expand to include single-topic presentations as well as different video series focused on children, parents, and public health professionals.
  • Stanford Health Library 
    The Stanford Health Library provides a collection of online videos covering various health topics, including health and society, cancer support, and women's health. Videos may be viewable online through Stanford University iUniversity (iTunes interface) or QuickTime, or available for purchase on DVD. Not all videos are available for online viewing.
  • NIHSeniorHealth - Health Information for Older Adults
    NIHSeniorHealth makes aging-related health information easily accessible for family members and friends seeking reliable, easy to understand online health information. This site was developed by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) both part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
  • Society of Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) Video
    Includes videos of SAGES meetings, information on surgeries and techniques, in addition to surgery videos.
  • Wellcome Film: Digitizing Medical History
    Online collection of moving images on 20th-century healthcare and medicine. Over 450 titles - 100 hours of historical film and video - have been transferred and are freely available under Creative Commons licenses.

​       Performing Arts

  • Folkstreams
    Provides streaming access to a large collection of documentary films about American folk, or roots, cultures. Includes essays about the traditions and filmmakers, transcriptions, study and teaching guides, suggested readings, and links to related websites. Site provides simple keyword and advanced searching, as well as ability to brose by subjects, regions, titles, filmmakers, and other categories. Video displays include links to additional, related films.
  • Global Performing Arts Database
  • PBS Great Performances
    Classical music, opera, popular song, musical theater, dance, drama, and performance documentaries.

Sciences/Math/Environment/Geography

  • Academic Earth
    This website contains video lectures from leading scholars in the areas of astronomy, biology, chemistry, computer science, economics, engineering, English, business, history, law, mathematics, medicine, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology and religion
  • ARKive  
    DIGITAL MEDIA (IMAGES, VIDEOS). Unique collection of thousands of wildlife videos, images, and fact-files, with a special focus on the world's threatened species
  • Ensia Video Archive
    "Ensia is a solutions-focused nonprofit media outlet reporting on our changing planet."  Their mission is to "motivate and empower people around the world to create a more sustainable future by sharing stories and igniting conversations across sectors, geographies, ideologies and disciplines."  
  • National Committee for Fluid Mechanics Films (NCFMF)
    From MIT, a series of films created by Ascher Shapiro in the 1960s, used to teach fluid mechanics.
  • National Geographic Video
    Video programs from Nat Geo TV and web only audiovisual material.
  • National Parks Service B-Roll Video
    This webpage provides links to public domain video of some of those sites, including national parks, monuments, battlefields, historic sites and related areas. This content is great for remixing, reuse in projects and publication.
  • NOVA
    Provides access to selected programs from the acclaimed PBS science series. Programs are divided into chapters and have closed captioning. Available videos are organized by broad subject categories: Anthropology, Disasters, Earth, Exploration, Flight, Health, History, Investigations, Nature, Physics & Math, Space, and Technology.
  • PopTech
    Videos of global tech innovators.
  • ScienceCinema
    Contains multimedia videos highlighting the U.S. Department of Energy's scientific research.  State-of-the-art audio indexing and speech recognition technology allows the user to search for specific words and phrases spoken by the presenter in these video files. Simply enter a term and the results list will point to the precise snippets of the video where the term was spoken.
  • TIB|AV Portal
    The German National Library of Science and Technology`s AV-Portal (English/ German) provides access to scientific videos from the fields of engineering as well as architecture, chemistry, information technology, mathematics and physics.  www.av.getinfo.de.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST

A massive list of all sorts of streaming video and film, collected by Regina Longo Media Librarian and Archivist of Brown University, collected over 10 years and constantly updated. Highlights include: African American home movies, many international film archives, and blended in are some subscription services only available at Brown, large academic and sometimes local libraries