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Public Domain Greats

by Nathan Heigert
As of January 1, 2021 all films released in 1925 and earlier are in the public domain in the United States. In 2022, all films released in 1926 will enter the public domain, and so on. Films on this list released after 1925 lost their copyright status for a variety of reasons while protected under old copyright laws. Obviously, this list is far from exhaustive and presents only some highlights of the public domain’s ever-increasing riches. Links to films: Because most of the Internet Archive links here were added a while ago, there are possibly better copies of the movies available on the site if you search around a bit. Buster Keaton The… Read more

As of January 1, 2021 all films released in 1925 and earlier are in the public domain in the United States. In 2022, all films released in 1926 will enter the public domain, and so on. Films on this list released after 1925 lost their copyright status for a variety of reasons while protected under old copyright laws.

Obviously, this list is far from exhaustive and presents only some highlights of the public domain’s ever-increasing riches.

Links to films:

Because most of the Internet Archive links here were added a while ago, there are possibly better copies of the movies available on the site if you search around a bit.

Buster Keaton
The Balloonatic
The Boat
The Cameraman
College
Convict 13
Cops
Daydreams
The Electric House
Film
The Frozen North
The General
Go West
The Goat
The Love Nest
My Wife’s Relations
The Navigator
Neighbors
One Week
The Paleface
The Playhouse
The Scarecrow
Seven Chances
Sherlock Jr.
Speak Easily
Steamboat Bill, Jr.
Three Ages

Arbuckle & Keaton
Back Stage
The Bell Boy
The Butcher Boy
Coney Island
The Cook
Good Night Nurse
His Wedding Night
Out West
The Rough House

Alfred Hitchcock
The 39 Steps
The Woman Alone / Sabotage
The Lady Vanishes
Blackmail
The Lodger
Secret Agent
The Manxman
Rich and Strange
Jamaica Inn
Under Capricorn
The Skin Game
The Ring
Easy Virtue
The Farmer’s Wife
Murder!
Downhill

Charlie Chaplin
The Immigrant
One A.M.
The Adventurer
A Burlesque On Carmen
The Fireman
The Pawnshop
The Floorwalker
Tillie’s Punctured Romance
Making a Living
Kid’s Auto Race
The New Janitor
The Property Man
A Night in the Show
The Rink
The Cure
Behind the Screen
The Vagabond

D.W. Griffith
Abraham Lincoln
The Adventures of Dollie
The Avenging Conscience
The Birth of a Nation
Broken Blossoms
The Burglar’s Dilemma
A Corner in Wheat
The Country Doctor
Death’s Marathon
The Girl and Her Trust
The House of Darkness
Intolerance
The Mender of Nets
The Mothering Heart
The Musketeers of Pig Alley
Orphans of the Storm
Sally of the Sawdust
Those Awful Hats

Georges Méliès
Cinderella
The Devilish Tenant
The Eclipse
The Hilarious Posters
The Impossible Voyage
The Infernal Cauldron
Jeanne D’Arc
The Living Playing Cards
The Man with the Rubber Head
The Monster
The One-Man Band
A Terrible Night
A Trip to the Moon

Les Vampires
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10

#
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

A
Africa Screams
Algiers
The Amazing Mr. X
Algie, the Miner
And Then There Were None
Angel and the Badman
The Atomic Submarine
At War with the Army

B
The Battle of Midway
Battleship Potemkin
Beneath the 12-Mile Reef
Berlin: Symphony of a Great City
The Big Parade
The Black Pirate
Blood on the Sun
A Bucket of Blood

C
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Carnival of Souls
Creature from the Haunted Sea
Cyrano De Bergerac

D
Dementia 13
Der Golem
Detour
Dickson Experimental Sound Film
D.O.A.
Doomed to Die
The Driller Killer
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

E
Electric Hotel
Escape From Sobibor
The Eagle

F
Falling Leaves
A Farewell to Arms
The Fatal Glass of Beer
The Fatal Hour
Father’s Little Dividend
Faust
The Flying Deuces
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Frankenstein
The Freshman
The Front Page

G
Great Guy
The Great Train Robbery

H
Haxan
His Girl Friday
The House On Haunted Hill
How Awful About Allan
The Hunchback of Notre Dame

I
The Intruder
In Which We Serve
The Iron Mask

L
Lady Windermere’s Fan
The Last Laugh
The Last Man on Earth
The Last of the Mohicans
The Last Time I Saw Paris
Last Woman on Earth
Life with Father
The Little Princess
The Little Shop Of Horrors
The Lost World

M
M
Made for Each Other
Manos: The Hands of Fate
Man with the Movie Camera
Mark of Zorro, The
Meet John Doe
Mesa of Lost Women
The Most Dangerous Game
Mr. Wong, Detective
Mr. Wong in Chinatown
Mud and Sand
My Favorite Brunette
My Man Godfrey
The Mystery of Mr. Wong

N
Nanook of the North
Nazi Concentration Camps
Never Weaken
Night of the Living Dead
Night Tide
Nosferatu
Nothing Sacred
Not of This Earth

O
Of Human Bondage
Our Town
The Outlaw

P
Panic in the Streets
Penny Serenade
The Phantom of the Opera
The Pyx
Plan 9 from Outer Space
The Pony Express
The Private Life of Henry VIII

R
Rain
Reefer Madness
Robin Hood
Roundhay Garden Scene
Royal Wedding

S
The Sadist
The Scarlet Pimpernel
Scarlet Street
She Done Him Wrong
She Gods of Shark Reef
The Sheik
The Sin of Harold Diddlebock
Sita Sings the Blues
Ski Troop Attack
The Slippery Pearls
The Smallest Show on Earth
The Snows of Kilimanjaro
Something to Sing About
The Southerner
A Star is Born
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
The Stranger
A Study in Scarlet

T
T-Men
The Terror
They Made Me a Criminal
The Thief of Bagdad
Things to Come
Three Songs About Lenin
Till the Clouds Roll By
The Time of Your Life
A Trip Down Market Street Before the Fire

W
The Wasp Woman
White Zombie

NB – Copyright varies by country. Also, it is possible for the post-1925 films to have musical elements within the film still under copyright protection. Moreover, any source material that films may have been adapted from will have a separate copyright that may or may not still be active.

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