Updated on August 1, 2014: Need a safe top 10 list of free online movies websites that you can watch without worrying about it being legal? Sure, there are plenty plenty of websites that offer free movies, but they also cause you a lot of problems. In particular, if you are watching a video on a "peer to peer" web site, your internet provider could cut off your service. In order to avoid these kinds of the inconveniences, you can simply log on to a free movie web site and watch them there without the legal hassle.
Safe and legal free movies online are not so easy
Having free movies on a website doesn't mean they are safe or legal. An unsafe site could have spyware or other virus related downloads. An illegal site is a site that usually has a free upload section. They also have all the newest releases that you can "somehow" manage to download. In other words, these sites are illegal.
However, you don't need these illegal and sketchy websites. I looked through over 30 websites and verified them as 100% reliable online movie sites that offer what you want without trying to figure out if they are going to infect your computer or give you trouble with the law.
To test a site for yourself, go to Norton.com and get a free analysis from any website from Norton Antivirus. Also, check the websites country of origin. If it's in the USA, its under regulation and will be shut down if it is an illegal website.
What is the public domain and who has copyright privileges?
The Internet Database Project at Archive.org has an excellent FAQ that explains what is legal to watch online. Furthermore, it explains what is illegal to download or upload. This set of rules gives you an idea of what is safe to view at sites that offer movies.
Unfortunately, overseas websites bend the rules and do not pay, like Hulu or Netflix do, to get copyright viewing privileges for you. If you are on the wrong site watching an illegally uploaded movie, your internet could be shut off.
Old online movie standbys
Hulu.com - Naturally, I recommend this first because I have used Hulu.com for almost 5 years. I don't have any problems finding something I am interested in watching. Now that they have this $7.99 package that hooks me into a lot of the TV shows I like to watch.
Netflix.com - Like Hulu, they have a lot of free movies on Netflix. Of course, a streaming web account on Netflix won't cost you that much either, but it's not the same as free movies. They do, however, offer a free trial for one month.
Crackle.com - This website is definitely one of the three most popular online movie contenders. Like Hulu and Netflix, they also offer a monthly deal if you join their website.
New generation of free online movie sites
IndieMoviesOnline.com - In 2011, this popular website announced online that they were suspending operations until further notice. A detailed explanation was provided on their front page. In 2013, the website up and running with high-quality free movies that win all the best cinematic awards. Sadly, in 2014, it was down again with a friendly message saying they were doing updates the website at the moment.
OpenCulture.com - In 2011, this website had about 400 free movies that were totally legal. I was surprised to see David Lynch's "Lady Blue Shanghai" listed. In 2013, it started touting itself as an educational and cultural media center. Included in their free movie selections are Tarkovsky, John Wayne, and Alfred Hitchcock films. In 2014, there were almost 700 movies at this website.
FineMoviesOnline.net - When I visited this site, I noticed that it was a little funny looking. However, they have notices about copyright and public domain fully available. Their movies worked fine and they have a clean report from Norton Antivirus posted online. If you love cheesy movies that go straight to DVD, this is a treasure trove of free B-rated movies streamed online.
What about the Public Domain?
Archive.org - Ever heard of the Way Back Machine? This is a project by the Internet Archive Project at Archive.org. In addition to having a slice of the past ready for you to put on your website or post to your Facebook page, they also have a solid database of absolutely legal public domain videos.
Hit or Miss
Naturally, we all know we can find great videos on Google Video, YouTube, or the Vine App. However, as always, be sure to stick with the public domain and do not rely on the uploader to be honest. In other words, just because the latest movie is on YouTube doesn't mean it is legal for you to watch it.
Saying good-bye to old online movie favorites
SlashControl.com - This free legal movie website was a new offering from AOL in 2011. Today, it operates as the Huffington Post's TV news section and can be found at HuffingtonPost.com/TV.
Tangle.com is now GodTube.com - Although they are all based on religion, the old favorite, Tangle.com is now GodTube and better than ever. If you want a change of pace, check out this site for all the free movie, safe, and legal movies you could want.
Update 2014: New online legal free movie websites online since 2011
Today, if you use Google to search for the term, "free legal movies online," you will see a notice from Google that says, "In response to a complaint we received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint that caused the removal(s) at ChillingEffects.org."
In other words, search engines in 2013 do a lot of the hard work for you to weed out illegal websites that show copyrighted material. McAfee also touts that they have developed patented technology that can block pirated copyrighted materials online. Forbes.com magazine writer, Kashmir Hill, calls this new McAfee tech the, "Copyright Alert System."
Until this software is released, the rest of us can use Safeweb.Norton.com to double check a new website before using it for free legal online movie watching. 2013 movie websites that are coming up clean with Norton's system are Veoh.com from Singapore and PopcornFlix.com. New free online movies for 2014 that get Norton's seal of approval are Yidio.com and HindiMovies.bollyv4u.com.