Sunday, January 10, 2016

List of films in the public domain in the United States


Any film that was first published before 1923 has been released already in the public domain in the United States for either expired copyright or failure to comply with copyright laws, such as omission of notice, failure to deposit a copy to the Copyright Office within demanded time, or no renewal registration. Therefore, it is not listed here. See Category:Films by year for pre-1923 films.
Note: This list is not comprehensive, rather only those films where a reliable secondary source is available to verify public domain status. Films without a reliable source in the "Reasons" column should be removed.
Film titleRelease yearDirectorStudio / DistributorEntered PD in (year)Reason for entering PDNote(s)
Action at Anguar1945N/AUnited States Army Pictorial Services1945Work of the United States Government[G]
Africa Screams1949Charles BartonUnited Artists1970s[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][9]
The Amazing Mr. X1948Bernard VorhausEagle-Lion[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][10]Also known asThe Spiritualist.
Angel and the Badman1947James Edward GrantRepublic Pictures1975Failure to renew copyright.[11]
The Animal Kingdom1932Edward H. GriffithRKO Radio Pictures1960Failure to renew copyright.[12]
Algiers1938John CromwellUnited Artists1966Failure to renew copyright.[12]
Attack of the Giant Leeches1959Bernard L. KowalskiAmerican International Pictures[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][13]
Bear Shooters1930Robert F. McGowanMGM[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][14]
Beau Brummel1924Harry BeaumontWarner Brothers1952Failure to renew copyright.[15]
Beau Ideal1931
(copyright notice: 1930)
Herbert BrenonRKO Radio Pictures1958Failure to renew copyright.[15]
Behind Office Doors1931Melville W. BrownRKO Radio Pictures1959Failure to renew copyright.[15]
The Big Cat1949Phil KarlsonEagle-Lion1976[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][16]
The Big Trees1952Felix E. FeistWarner Bros.[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][17]
The Big Wheel1949Edward LudwigUnited Artists1976[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][18]
Bird of Paradise1932King VidorRKO Radio Pictures1960Failure to renew copyright.[12]
Birth of the B-291942–1944N/AUnited States Army Pictorial Services1945Work of the United States Government[G]
Blood on the Sun1945Frank LloydUnited Artists1973Failure to renew copyright.[11]
Bowery at Midnight1942Wallace FoxMonogram Pictures[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][19]
The Brain that Wouldn't Die1962
(completed: 1959)
Joseph GreenAmerican International Pictures1962Missing copyright notice[20]Originally completed in 1959 under the title The Black Door or The Head that Wouldn't Die, it wasn't released until May 3, 1962 where failure to add the copyright notice resulted in the film entering the Public Domain.[20]
Brideless Groom1947Edward BerndsColumbia Pictures1960s[21]Failure to renew copyright.[21]
Captain January1936David Butler20th Century Fox[Data unknown/missing.You can help!]"a legal loophole"[22]The 1924 versiondistributed by Principal Pictures is still under copyright.
Carnival of Souls1962Herk HarveyHerts-Lion International Corp.1962Missing copyright notice[23]
Carnival Story1954Kurt NeumannRKO Radio Pictures[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][24]
Charade1963Stanley DonenUniversal Pictures1963Missing full copyright notice.[25]Original music still in copyright.[26]Original story by Peter Stone still in copyright.[25][27]Film remade in 2006 as The Truth About Charlie.
Check and Double Check1930Melville W. BrownRKO Radio Pictures1958Failure to renew copyright.[28]
Colonel Effingham's Raid1946Irving Pichel20th Century Fox1973[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][29]
Combat America1943Clark GableOffice of War Information1943Work of the United States Government[G]
Conspiracy1930Christy CabanneRKO Radio Pictures1958Failure to renew copyright.[15]
The Dance of Life1929John CromwellParamount Pictures1957Failure to renew copyright.[12]
Danger Lights1930George B. SeitzRKO Radio Pictures1958Failure to renew copyright.[15]
Darling, How Could You!1951Mitchell LeisenParamount Pictures[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][30]Based on theJames Barrieplay Alice Sit-By-The-Fire.
The Deadly Companions1961Sam PeckinpahPathé-America1961Missing copyright notice[31]
Debbie Does Dallas1978Jim ClarkVCX1981Missing copyright notice[32]Dallas Cowboys hold veto power on commercial publication due to unauthorized use of theircheerleaders' trademarks.[33]
Delightfully Dangerous1945Arthur LubinUnited Artists[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][34]
Dementia 131963Francis Ford CoppolaAmerican International Pictures[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][13]Also Known asThe Haunted and the Hunted.
Detour1945Edgar G. UlmerProducers Releasing Corporation[Data unknown/missing.You can help!]Failure to renew copyright.[35]
The Devil Bat1940Jean YarbroughProducers Releasing Corporation[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][19]
Disorder in the Court1936Preston BlackColumbia Pictures1960s[21]Failure to renew copyright.[21]
Dixiana1930Luther ReedRKO Radio Pictures1958Failure to renew copyright.[28]
(copyright notice: 1949)
Rudolph MatéUnited Artists1977Failure to renew copyright.[36]Remade in 1969 and 1988
Father's Little Dividend1951
(copyright notice: 1950)
Vincente MinnelliMGM1978Failure to renew copyright.[37]
A Farewell to Arms1932Frank BorzageParamount Pictures1960Failure to renew copyright.[38]Based on copyrighted (R177406) novel by Ernest Hemingway.
The Fight for the Sky1946[Data unknown/missing.You can help!]Office of War Information1946Work of the United States Government[G]
The First Legion1951Douglas SirkSédif Productions1978[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][39]
The General1927Clyde Bruckman
Buster Keaton
United Artists1955Failure to renew copyright.[40]
Glen or Glenda1953Ed WoodColumbia Classics[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][41]
God's Little Acre1958Anthony MannUnited Artists[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][42]Based on theNovel of the same name byErskine Caldwell. The black and white version is Public Domain, the colorized version is Copyright.[43]
The Gold Rush1925Charlie ChaplinUnited Artists1953Failure to renew copyright.[40]1942 revised version in copyright. Original 1925 version possibly copyrighted.[44]
The Gorilla1939Allan Dwan20th Century Fox Film Corporation1976[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][45]
Go for Broke!1951
(copyright notice: 1950)
Robert PiroshMGM1978Failure to renew copyright.[37]
Gulliver's Travels1939Dave FleischerParamount Pictures1967Failure to renew copyright.[46][47]
Half Shot at Sunrise1930Paul SloaneRKO Radio Productions1958Failure to renew copyright.[15]
Hemp for Victory1942Raymond EvansU.S. Department of Agriculture1942Work of the United States Government[G]
His Girl Friday1940
(copyright date: 1939)
Howard HawksColumbia Pictures1967Failure to renew copyright.[40]Source material (stage play The Front Page) rights copyright until 2024.[40]
Hook, Line and Sinker1930Edward F. ClineRKO Radio Pictures1958Failure to renew copyright.[15]
The Hunchback of Notre Dame1923Wallace WorsleyUniversal Pictures1951Failure to renew copyright.[12]
Indestructible Man1956Jack PollexfenAllied Artists[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][48]
Inside the Lines1930Roy PomeroyRKO Radio Productions1958Failure to renew copyright.[15]
It's a Wonderful Life1946
(copyright notice: 1947)
Frank CapraLiberty Films
RKO Pictures
1975Failure to renew copyright.[49]While the film images are public domain, under rulings ofStewart v. Abend, the film text (script) is based on the copyrighted short story "The Greatest Gift".[49][50][51]Republic also purchased exclusive rights to the movie’s copyrighted music to further shore up its rights.[52]
Japanese Relocation1942[Data unknown/missing.You can help!]Office of War Information1942Work of the United States Government[G]
Kept Husbands1931Lloyd BaconRKO Radio Productions1959Failure to renew copyright.[15]
Kit Carson1940George B. SeitzUnited Artists[Data unknown/missing.You can help!]"Reissued by PRC Pictures"[53]
The Lady Refuses1931George ArchainbaudRKO Radio Productions1959Failure to renew copyright.[15]
A Lady to Love1930Victor SjöströmMGM1958Failure to renew copyright.[12]Based on the play They Knew What They Wanted. See also the film The Secret Hour (1928) based on the same play.[12]
Last Clear Chance1959Robert CarlisleUnion Pacific Railroad1959Not registered for copyright.[54]
The Last Man on Earth1964Ubaldo Ragona,Sidney SalkowAmerican International Pictures20th Century Fox1992[55]Failure to renew copyright.[55]
The Last Time I Saw Paris1954
(copyright notice: 1944)
Richard BrooksMGM1972Failure to renew copyright.[56]Music score still protected by copyright.[57]
Lawful Larceny1930Lowell ShermanRKO Radio Productions1958Failure to renew copyright.[15]
Leathernecking1930Edward F. ClineRKO Radio Productions1958Failure to renew copyright.[15]It is a lost film.
Letter of Introduction1938John M. StahlUniversal Pictures1966Failure to renew copyright.[58]
Life with Father1947Michael CurtizWarner Bros.1975Failure to renew copyright.[59]
Little Men1940Norman Z. McLeodRKO Radio Pictures[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][60]
The Little Princess1939Walter LangTwentieth Century Fox1967Failure to renew copyright.[49]
The Little Shop of Horrors1960Roger CormanFilmgroup1988Failure to renew copyright.[40][61]
Lonely Wives1931Russell MackRKO Radio Pictures1959Failure to renew copyright.[15]
Love Affair1939Leo McCareyRKO Radio Pictures1967Failure to renew copyright.[12]
Love Laughs at Andy Hardy1946Willis GoldbeckMGM1974[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][62]Also known asUncle Andy Hardy.
Malice in the Palace1949Jules WhiteColumbia Pictures1960s[21]Failure to renew copyright.[21]
Maniac1934Dwain EsperRoadshow Attractions[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][63]Also known asSex Maniac.
Manos: The Hands of Fate1966Harold P. WarrenEmerson Film Enterprises1968Failure to display copyright notice.[64]Original script may have been copyrighted.[64]
March of the Wooden Soldiers1948Gus MeinsMGM1948Failure to display copyright notice.[25]This is a later abridgement ofBabes in Toyland(1934), which is still in copyright. Public domain status unclear.[25]
McLintock!1963Andrew V. McLaglenUnited Artists1991Failure to renew copyright.[65][66]Music score still under copyright.[65]
Meet John Doe1941Frank CapraWarner Bros.1969Failure to renew copyright.[49]
Millie1931John Francis DillonRKO Radio Pictures1959Failure to renew copyright.[15]
Mr. Imperium1951
(copyright notice: 1950)
Don HartmanMGM1978Failure to renew copyright.[37]
My Dear Secretary1949Charles MartinUnited Artists[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][67]
My Favorite Brunette1947Elliott NugentParamount Pictures1975Failure to renew copyright.[11]
My Japan1945[Data unknown/missing.You can help!]Office of War Information1945Work of the United States Government[G]
The Negro Soldier1944Frank CapraUnited States Army Pictorial Services1944Work of the United States Government[G]
Night of the Living Dead1968George A. RomeroWalter Reade1968Missing copyright notice and errors from the distributor[68]Remade in1990 and 2006
Nothing Sacred1937William A. WellmanSelznick
United Artists
1965Failure to renew copyright.[40]
Of Human Bondage1934John CromwellRKO Radio Pictures1962Failure to renew copyright.[12]
The Outlaw1943Howard HughesHoward Hughes Prod.1971Failure to renew copyright.[15]
The Painted Hills1951Harold F. KressMGM1979Failure to renew copyright.[37]
The Pay-Off1930Lowell ShermanRKO Radio Pictures1958Failure to renew copyright.[15]
Penny Serenade1941George StevensColumbia Pictures1968[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][69]Though the film was released by Columbia Pictures, it was OWNED by Stevens production firm, putting its Public Domain status into question.[69]
The Phantom of the Opera1925Rupert JulianUniversal Studios1953Failure to renew copyright.[61]
Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor1936Dave FleischerParamount Pictures[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][70]First of 3PopeyeTechnicolor Two-Reel Specials.
Private Snafu Series1943-1946VariousWarner Bros.,MGMUPA,Harman-Ising Studio1943-1946Work of the United States Government[G]
Rage at Dawn1955Tim WhelanRKO Radio Pictures[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][71]
Rain1932Lewis MilestoneUnited Artists1960Failure to renew copyright.[11]
Reefer Madness1936Louis J. GasnierMotion Picture Ventures1936Improper copyright notice.[72][73]Also called The Burning QuestionDope Addict, and Tell Your Children.
Roberta1935William A. SeiterRKO Radio PicturesEarly 1980s[74][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][74]
Rock, Rock, Rock!1956Will PriceDistributors Corporation of America1984Failure to renew copyright.[61]The Chuck Berry soundtrackmay not be in the public domain.
The Royal Bed1931
(copyright notice: 1930)
Lowell ShermanRKO Radio Pictures1958Failure to renew copyright.[15]
Royal Wedding1951
(copyright notice: 1950)
Stanley DonenMGM1978Failure to renew copyright.[37]
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians1964Nicholas WebsterEmbassy Pictures Corporation[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][75]
Santa Fe Trail1940Michael CurtizWarner Bros.1968Failure to renew copyright.[76][77]
The Screaming Skull1958Alex NicolAmerican International Pictures[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][13]
Second Chorus1940H.C. PotterParamount Pictures[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][78]
The Secret Hour1928Rowland V. LeeParamount Pictures1956Failure to renew copyright.[12]Based on the play They Knew What They Wanted. See also the film A Lady to Love (1930) based on the same play.[12]
Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon1942Roy William NeillUniversal Studios1969[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][79]
The Silver Horde1930George ArchainbaudRKO Radio Pictures1958Failure to renew copyright.[15]
Sin Takes a Holiday1930Paul L. SteinRKO Radio Pictures1958Failure to renew copyright.[15]
Sing a Song of Six Pants1947Jules WhiteColumbia Pictures1960s[21]Failure to renew copyright.[21]
Sinners in Paradise1938James WhaleUniversal Pictures1966Failure to renew copyright.[58]
Smouldering Fires1925Clarence BrownUniversal Pictures1953Failure to renew copyright.[61]
The Snows of Kilimanjaro1952Henry King20th Century Fox[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][80]
A Star Is Born1937William A. WellmanSIP
United Artists
1965Failure to renew copyright.[38][40]Re-made in1954 and 1976
The Stork Club1945Hal WalkerB.G. Desylva Productions Inc.1982[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][81]
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers1946Lewis MilestoneParamount Pictures1974Failure to renew copyright.[11]
The Stranger1946Orson WellesInternational Pictures[Data unknown/missing.You can help!]Failure to renew copyright.[82]
Street Scene1931King VidorUnited ArtistsEarly 1980s[83][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][83]
Suddenly1954Lewis AllenUnited Artists[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][84][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][84]
Superman (1940s cartoons)1941-1943Dave Fleischer, VariousParamount Pictures[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][85][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][85]Although all entries are in the public domain,ancillary rightssuch as merchandising contract rights, as well as the original 35mm master elements, are owned today byWarner Bros. Animation. Warner has owned Superman publisher DC Comics since 1969.
Swing High, Swing Low1937Mitchell LeisenParamount Pictures1965Failure to renew copyright.[12]
Target for Today1941William KeighleyFirst Motion Picture Unit1941Work of the United States Government[G]
Teenagers from Outer Space1959Tom GraeffWarner Bros.1987Failed to renew copyright.[40]
Terror by Night1946Roy William NeillUniversal Studios[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][86]
The Terror1963Roger CormanAmerican International Pictures,Filmgroup1963Missing copyright registration [87]In the early 90's, Corman asked Mark Griffiths to shoot 12 minutes of additional footage starring Dick Miller, thus making a new film titled The Return of the Terror (1991)so Corman could claim his copyright.[88]
That Justice Be Done1945George StevensOffice of War Information1942–44Work of the United States Government[G]
This is the Army1943Michael CurtizWarner Bros.Mid-1970s[89][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][89]
Three Came Home1950Jean Negulesco20th Century Fox1977Failure to renew copyright.[90]
Three Guys Named Mike1951
(copyright notice: 1950)
Charles WaltersMGM1978Failed to renew copyright.[37]
Till the Clouds Roll By1946Richard WhorfMGM1974Failed to renew copyright.[37]
Topper Returns1941Roy Del RuthUnited Artists1969Failure to renew copyright.[61]
Vengeance Valley1951
(copyright notice: 1950)
Richard ThorpeMGM1978Failure to renew copyright.[37]
Waldo's Last Stand1940Edward L. CahnMGM[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][91]
Wings for This Man1945[Data unknown/missing.You can help!]Office of War Information1945Work of the United States Government[G]
White Zombie1932Victor HalperinUnited Artists[Data unknown/missing.You can help!][Data unknown/missing.You can help!][92]Source material in the film may not be in the public domain.[93]
Why We Fight1942–1944Frank CapraUnited States Army Pictorial Services1942–44Work of the United States Government[G]
Wives Under Suspicion1938James WhaleUniversal Pictures1966Failure to renew copyright.[58]

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