The 2006 October issue of Wired magazine chooses the 10 best movies in the public domain that you must watch. We've updated the list with much more info and with all the movies so you can decide were they worth it. Don't forget to leave a vote in the Poll.
1) Detour (1945)
Snappy dialog, femme fatale, guilt-ridden hero, flimsy sets – it’s protonoir that helped launch a genre.
The film was adapted by Martin Goldsmith and Martin Mooney (uncredited) from Goldsmith's novel of the same name and was directed by Edgar G. Ulmer. The 68-minute film was released by the Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC), one of the so-called "poverty row" film studios in mid-twentieth century Hollywood.
Although made on a small budget with bare sets and straightforward camera work, Detour has gathered much praise through the years and is held in high regard. In 1992, Detour was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Watch Detour (1945)
2) Driller Killer (1979)
An artist slowly goes insane while struggling to pay his bills, work on his paintings, and care for his two female roommates, which leads him taking to the streets of New York after dark and randomly killing derelicts with a power drill. This film was sometimes confused with the 1948 dance hit Killer Diller.
The Driller Killer is a 1979 horror film directed by and starring Abel Ferrara. It was on a list of banned so-called video nasties in the United Kingdom.
The film was released in the US in 1979, the UK in 2002, and on 10 June 2010 it was re-released as video on demand (VOD). The film is now in the public domain as it was never registered in the United States Copyright Office database.
Watch Driller Killer (1979)
3) Night of the Living Dead (1968)
George Romero’s gritty classic out-brains the avalanche of zombie flicks it inspired. Mmm ... brains.
Night of the Living Dead is an American independent horror film directed by George A. Romero, starring Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea and Karl Hardman. It premiered on October 1, 1968, and was completed on a US$114,000 budget. The film became a financial success, grossing $12 million domestically and $18 million internationally. Night of the Living Dead was heavily criticized at its release owing to explicit content, but eventually garnered critical acclaim and has been selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry as a film deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant." The film has entered the public domain due to an error by the distributor.
The story follows characters Ben (Duane Jones), Barbra (Judith O'Dea), and five others trapped in a rural farmhouse in Pennsylvania which is attacked by "living dead" monsters known as zombies. Night of the Living Dead was the basis of five subsequent Living Dead films (1978-2010) also directed by Romero and has inspired two remakes (1990, 2006)
Watch Night of the Living Dead (1968)