3 great free movies to stream this weekend (March 1-3)

DreamWorks

The movie drought is over. Dune: Part Two is invading multiplexes worldwide, and since it’s the first must-see movie of 2024, most people will be spending a part of their weekend traveling back to Arrakis. Yet some will remain behind at home, not eager to withstand the crush of fanboys and Zendaya fans at their local IMAX.

For those brave souls, we’ve got you. To save your sanity, not to mention a few extra dollars, Digital Trends has compiled a short list of three movies you can stream for free this weekend. All you need to do is watch a few ads here and there, and that’s it. Trust me, these three films are worth watching the occasional ad for Barbie mobile phones.

Gladiator (2000)

A man fights a soldier and a tiger in Gladiator.
DreamWorks

In May 2000, audiences worldwide were first asked a question they would be answering for decades to come: “Are you not entertained?” Those now-immortal words were uttered by Maximus Decimus Meridius (Russell Crowe, who won an Oscar for this!), who, as everyone now knows, “is father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife” and embarks on a quest for revenge that sees him engaging in gladiatorial combat at the height of the Roman Empire. His journey includes many bloody fights involving slaves, soldiers, and even a tiger or two, which all lead to a climactic showdown with the evil boy emperor, Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix, who acts with curled lips and wet eyes).

Nearly a quarter of a century later, Gladiator still holds up as a nifty tale of blood, sweat, and tears set in an ancient civilization brought to life by awful, 2000-era CGI. It’s not as great as its Best Picture status suggests (that it won over Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is still a crime worth looking into), but it works, and director Ridley Scott knows how to helm a good action scene.

Gladiator is streaming for free on YouTube.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)

Russell Crowe in period clothing on a boat in Master and Commander: Far Side of the World.
20th Century Fox

Crowe pops up again on this list, but this time, it’s in a far better movie. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World stars Crowe as Captain Jack Aubrey, the most important person on the HMS Surprise and the chief figure who can safely sail the perilous high seas during the Napoleonic Wars. By his side is his best friend, surgeon Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany), and together, they will encounter strange lands, exotic cultures, raging sea storms, and the odd ship battle as they try to bring everyone to safety.

Underappreciated in its time, Master and the Commander has recently received a revival of interest as critics and audiences rediscover just how great Peter Weir’s 2003 movie is. Discounting the Disney theme park Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Hollywood just doesn’t make these kinds of movies anymore, and Master and Commander is the rare big-budget epic that delivers just as much nuanced characterization as it does glorious set pieces. It’s a movie that shares Dune: Part Two‘s visual splendor and epic scope, and if it was made today, it’d be a big hit in IMAX and premium format theaters.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is streaming on YouTube

Home Again (2017)

A woman cleans dishes with a man in Home Again.
Open Road Films

Need a break from all that Russell Crowe and testosterone? Well, how about a sweet Reese Witherspoon rom-com? Home Again stars Witherspoon as Alice, a recently separated mother of two, who is still finding her footing in Los Angeles. One night, she strikes up a friendship with three aspiring twentysomething filmmakers — Harry, Teddy, and George — and feels particularly drawn to Harry, who is quickly smitten with the fortysomething mom. Soon, Alice is helping the boys pursue their dreams of making their first big film, while also juggling her romantic feelings for Harry, her estranged husband coming back into her life, and her responsibilities as a stressed-out working mother.

Home Again doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s a solid rom-com (especially for the cold winter months), which is the most you can ask for in a genre that’s been sorely neglected lately. The director, Hallie Meyers-Shyer, is the daughter of Nancy Meyers, who helmed Something’s Gotta Give and It’s Complicated, and it’s clear she learned a thing or two from her mother. Home Again is as breezy and absurd as those films. If you’re looking for an escapist fantasy set in a Southern California filled with impeccably designed homes populated by bright, attractive people, this is the movie for you.

Home Again is streaming on Tubi.

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