How to download movies legally online

Updated July 20, 2017

While there are a myriad of ways to pirate movies there are many people that are interested in discovering how to download movies legally online. The good news is that there are several options available to those who are seeking legal ways to download movies. Keep reading to see how to go about downloading movies online without breaking the law.

Search for open source movies to download. Open source movies are those that are widely available for anyone to download. These are not the feature films you may be hoping for but there are quite a few interesting and informative movies legally available to any and everyone interested in downloading them. One great source for open source movies is Internet Archive. You will find a link in the "resources" section.

Select movies from friends and family. You will find that home videos, soccer clips, and such from friends and family are movies that can be downloaded legally. When you are going through your e-mail you will never have to wonder how to download movies legally when it comes to these gems that proud parents everywhere post of the accomplishments of their little ones.

Stream movies from legal sites such as network television stations websites and other websites that have the legal right to stream these videos. There are quite a few available and some will offer the option of downloading though a good many of them are for streaming videos alone. CBS, Fox, NBC, ABC, and other channels make previously aired episodes of some of their line-up as well as made for television movies available online to fans.

Buy movies online through authorised vendors and dealers. You will find that this is by far the best way how to download movies legally online. There are several sites that offer this service for a monthly fee or on a movie by movie basis. You will need to find the service that works best for your movie viewing needs. Amazon Unbox and iTunes are the two services that are most widely recognised at this time though more are sure to be available in the future. Unbox offers rentals and purchases to customers.

Rent movies online through similar services to those mentioned above. These movies will be downloaded and available through your computer for a limited time. You can watch the movies all you want during that time frame or (in some cases) load them on your portable devices for that time period as well. Netflicks offers members with some plans the opportunity to download a specified number of movies (as rentals) monthly.

Visit the website for your local public library. Many library systems are beginning to offer downloadable videos of educational programs as well as movies that support the arts. If your library doesn't offer this valuable service yet, keep checking back. Chances are that it is in the works and will offer step by step instructions on how to download movies legally online through their web service. Check today and see if your library offers My Library DV or some similar service today.


Visit the Motion Picture Association of America's website to find a list of approved websites offering streaming or down loadable movies. Then you won't have to worry whether or not the site you are visiting is approved to download movies legally online.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer or laptop
  • Internet connection (high speed works best)
  • Time
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About the Author

Andrea Bullock majored in English at the University of Southern Mississippi and has worked as a freelance writer/ghostwriter for five years. Her work has been published on eHow, EzineArticles, and Associated Content. She remains committed to delivering entertaining and informative insights about home improvement, crafts, health, finances, and living well.