Though free-to-use streamers have a stigma of low quality attached to them, this idea couldn’t be any farther from the truth. Tubi in particular has built up a significant repertoire of quality films from all corners of the globe, spanning film’s brief but expansive history. Everything from classic films from the silent era to more recent blockbusters are all here for you to enjoy. But, seeing as how Tubi’s library is composed of hundreds upon hundreds of unique titles, where should you start?
We’ve found it useful to narrow down Tubi’s collection into a much more digestible format. Here are our picks for the 10 best movies you can stream on Tubi right now. You’ll be surprised at what this free streaming service has to offer.
Updated on October 6, 2023, by Soniya Hinduja: This article has been updated with additional content to keep the discussion fresh and relevant with even more information and new entries.
12 The Hunt (2012)
Set amidst the Danish woods in a small and mad village, The Hunt follows kindergarten teacher Lucas, who is wrongly accused of abuse against one of his students, who has suggested before that she has a crush on him. The false claim leads his entire community to turn on him and he soon finds himself in a wretched place mentally.
Mads Mikkelsen embodies the character of Lucas with sincerity. He doesn’t fight back or go to extreme lengths to prove himself innocent. He’s not enraged or asking for payback. He simply takes all the hate the townsfolk give him, and that is what makes the audience connect with him. Thomas Vinterberg is trying to show how false accusations alter a man’s life with this serious subject, and he does so brilliantly.
11 12 Angry Men (1957)
12 Angry Men is a searing legal drama directed by the legendary Sidney Lumet. It centers around a stifling jury room, which kind of transforms into a theater of debate when a teenager is accused of murdering his father. What starts as an open-and-shut case soon begins to crack the conscience of the jury members as they question their own morals and prejudices.
While one juror rallies they reexamine the case to learn the truth, he appears not alone but united. The entire film is shot in a courtroom in New York City, which creates a claustrophobic setting. Paired with human caveats and powerful performances, the movie’s message about judgment and the consideration of faces remains as crisp today as it did 65 years ago.
10 The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
The movie that altered the course for independent cinema, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre begins with five unsuspecting teens driving to an isolated house for a night of chill and calm. But when they run out of gas on their way to Sally and Franklin’s grandfathers’, the teens decide to stumble on foot to the location, not knowing that they are about to become a butcher’s next cut of meat.
Directed by Tobe Hooper, the movie becomes a bloody, disgusting, and vivid symphony that forever changed the horror genre for devoted fans. It not only makes us terrified of Leatherface, the chainsaw-wielding killer but also leaves us transfixed by his sheer and bone-chilling violence. Rarely do low-budget horror films achieve cult status, but this one sure deserves a spot as the scariest movies ever made.
9 Train to Busan (2016)
Zombie horrors are always fun to watch, and while there have been several realistic and unrealistic portrayals of the undead in cinema over decades, this South Korean thriller beats them all with its heart-rending storytelling and fantastic gore. Train to Busan begins with a workaholic father Seok-woo taking his daughter to Busan on her birthday so they can spend the day with her mother.
But while he’s boarded a train, Seoul has been overrun by zombies that emerged out of a viral outbreak. When one infected man gets on the train, pure chaos ensues as the passengers scramble for survival. Director Yeon Sang-ho crafts a heart-in-mouth thriller where even strangers join together and fight the living dead. Gong Yoo is also incredible as a father who prioritizes rescuing his daughter.
8 The Usual Suspects (1995)
One of the greatest neo-noir mystery films ever made, The Usual Suspects follows the events that take place after a mysterious and deadly shoot-out at the pier kills several innocents, leaving a con artist as the only survivor. As Verbal Kent, he recounts the crime to the police, beginning his story with five criminals who orchestrated the attack.
Through flashbacks nested with villains and twists so diabolical interwoven, the movie heightens its tension and suspense quite masterfully. Moreover, the idea of “truth being stranger than fiction” is used by director Bryan Singer in full capacity, with the audience constantly wondering who is pulling the strings on this chaos, until Kent reveals the true identity of the notorious Keyser Soze. The Usual Suspects is a highly captivating film that unravels at a steady but sublime pace.
7 Threads (1984)
Threads is not your typical horror film. Focusing on the threat of nuclear war, this made-for-television film frames itself as a documentary, focusing on the many different people living in the city of Sheffield. When an escalating conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union quickly turns into a nuclear exchange, Sheffield finds itself caught in the crossfire when the city is bombarded with nuclear radiation. Now on the brink of a nuclear winter, how will those in Sheffield survive?
Aside from being one of the most bleak horror films ever made, Threads also works as a terrifying example of what a real nuclear war would look like. By presenting itself as a documentary, personal narratives are eschewed in favor of showcasing every little terrifying scenario that the bombs could result in. In doing this, Threads serves as one of the most effective anti-war films in history, showing us exactly what’ll happen when mutually assured destruction is an inevitability.
6 Metropolis (1927)
1927’s Metropolis is one of the most influential science fiction films ever made. Directed by Fritz Lang, Metropolis depicts a futuristic dystopia where a pair of people from opposing social classes attempt to bridge the widening gap between the titular city’s rich and poor. It was revolutionary for being one of the first feature-length science-fiction films ever made, with its elaborate set designs, extravagant costumes, and inspired story influencing the genre for decades afterward.
Despite being developed during the silent film era, Metropolis is still a sight to behold. Though the original full-length cut of the film has been lost to time, almost half a dozen official attempts to remaster the footage have been circulating ever since the 1970s. Of course, if you want to experience Metropolis for the first time, you can also do it completely for free on Tubi.
5 At Eternity’s Gate (2018)
Have you ever thought that Willem Dafoe looks like Vincent van Gogh? Someone else has, leading to his casting in the 2018 biographical film At Eternity’s Gate. We follow van Gogh in his later years, with the weight of an emotionally fraught life still resting heavily on his shoulders. As he continues to paint his last recorded works, he attempts to find what little solace he can before his untimely passing.
Most of At Eternity’s Gate’s praise is aimed squarely at Willem Dafoe’s unique performance, as his depiction of this tortured artist is one to behold. Combined with some stellar cinematography filmed on-location in France, this gripping drama will show you a side of this impressionist painter that you’ve never seen before.
4 Burning (2018)
Korean cinema has been on a roll ever since the early 2000s, with 2018’s Burning being a terrific highlight from Tubi’s library of Korean content. A deliveryman, played by Yoo Ah-in, rediscovers his childhood friend during his delivery route. The two reconnect with each other after a warm evening together, but an international trip gone awry brings with it a strange change. A man named Ben (Steven Yeun) enters their lives, and though he presents a friendly personality, his strange behaviors and disturbing confessions may put the two in danger.
Burning would see critical acclaim for its tense thriller elements and its unsettling plot. It’s a film that opts to subtlety show its story of jealousy instead of outright telling it, displaying its triangular friendship through the perspective of an imperfect protagonist. It would also be a terrific vehicle for Steven Yeun, who would later go on to star in the A24 drama Minari, Jordan Peele’s Nope, and Netflix’s Beef.
3 In the Heat of the Night (1967)
In the Heat of the Night was originally released in 1967, and it’s easily one of the best mystery films from that decade. Sidney Poitier stars as Philadelphia homicide detective Virgil Tibbs, a man whose involvement in a Mississippi murder case starts with him being mistaken as the culprit. Despite this blunder, Tibbs is eventually convinced to assist with the investigation. Even with reluctant police chief Bill Gillespie (Rod Steiger) at his side, Tibbs will have to overcome a wave of resentment from the local townsfolk to solve the case.
In the Heat of the Night saw significant praise from numerous critics, with renowned filmmaker Akira Kurosawa citing it as one of his favorite films. Its themes of racial unity give its characters some real depth and complexity. Combine that with a thrilling mystery, and you have what is considered to be one of the best dramas of the 1960s.
2 Ghost World (2001)
2001’s Ghost World walked so that Scott Pilgrim vs. the World could run. Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson co-star in this comedic adaptation of the titular comic series, playing a pair of teenage outsiders growing apart after a romantic interest starts to divide their attention. That romantic interest just so happens to be Seymour, who is played by Steve Buscemi. Though it wasn’t a huge hit at the box office, it succeeded in bringing Daniel Clowes’ brilliant comic series to life on the big screen, cementing itself as a cult-classic comedy for years to come.
Though it’s billed as a comedy, Ghost World does introduce some darker elements throughout its brief runtime. Its ambiguous ending has seen several morbid interpretations since its release, it examines the nature of friendship through a teenager’s mindset, and it gives each of our main characters a surprising amount of depth despite their caustic first impressions. It’s a brilliant film that deserves your attention.
1 Bronson (2008)
Nicolas Winding Refn is known for his unique films, with one of the best examples being 2008’s Bronson. Based on the real-life experiences of “Charles Bronson” — aka Michael Gordon Peterson — this indie film sees his violent criminal history put up on the big screen, illustrated with surprisingly thoughtful interstitial pieces from Bronson’s inner monologue. Tom Hardy plays our bare-knuckle boxing lead in an equally hilarious and solemn performance. Instead of rationalizing Bronson’s actions, however, all we’re given is Bronson’s interpretation of the numerous troubles he finds himself in.
Charles Bronson himself would see the film years after its release, with his praise primarily focused on Tom Hardy’s glowing encapsulation of his personality. With Bronson‘s focus on its titular character throughout, Hardy single-handedly carries this surreal story from start to finish, creating a chaotic narrative that feels appropriate for such a volatile personality. It’s easily one of the most intriguing dramas in Tubi’s vast library.