Stream These (and More!) Movies Free with Your NYPL Library Card

By Alex Teplitzky, Senior Communications Manager, Library for the Performing Arts Communications
May 9, 2023
A group of people doing different things on a beach on a hot summer's day

Film still from The Hottest August

There are a lot of streaming services out there that allow you to watch movies at home, but how many of them are free? This year, The New York Public Library partnered with Grasshopper films, a company dedicated to distributing independent films, to allow anyone with an NYPL library card access to their Projectr streaming service. That means if you’re reading this, you can stream a huge selection of movies right now! Don't have a New York Public Library card? Apply for a card online or in person at one of our locations.

Explore Projectr and Start Streaming

Not sure where to start with all those amazing films? Here are five ideas to get you started.

  • The Hottest August

    During one sweltering summer month, documentary filmmaker Brett Story set out to capture a slice of life of New York City from end to end. The film came out in 2019, but by the time it reached streaming services, the pandemic was well underway forcing many to shelter in place. The film proved a perfect antidote for this moment: a window into the outside world, capturing a mix of reality and beauty, a rich and complex document of our times.

  • A man in a dark and colorful city walks along a cobblestone street

    Long Day’s Journey Into Night

    This film by director Bi Gan may be on a few American film critic’s top ten lists, but probably fewer U.S. movie lovers know it than in China where it was made. Before it came out in China, this steady-paced noir art house film was marketed as a perfect date night movie. The premiere was timed to end exactly at midnight on New Year’s Eve with a romantic ending that promised an auspicious beginning to the night’s festivities. In theaters, you needed 3D glasses for the hour-long one-shot take, but with or without the 3D effect, this film is a true, unappreciated masterpiece.

  • A black woman laughing

    Bronx Gothic

    If you don’t know her name already, time will change that: Okwui Okpokwasili is undoubtedly one of the most versatile and captivating performers working today. Based on the performance piece of the same name, this film captures the complexities of Okpokwasili’s performance that combines dance, song and spoken word to tell the story of two Black girls discovering their sexuality while growing up in the Bronx. Not many contemporary performance artists have a feature-length documentary based on them and their work—but it’s not surprising that Okpokwasili does.

  • A mountain populated with the medieval village in an Italian countryside

    Spettacolo

    Can art solve societal issues? This is a question that may been asked in one form or another so many times that it might feel meaningless, but in Jeff Malmberg and Chris Shellen’s documentary it’s taken at face value. On a trip to Italy, the husband and wife filmmaking duo happened upon a small town where, guided by an artist, a town has spent the past 50 years hashing with their problems through the creation of a theatrical performance. The film is a true contemplation of how art can mediate tough issues.

  • An iranian man with a newspaperboy cap drives a car as someone sits behind him

    Jafar Panahi's Taxi

    The brilliant filmmakers of Iran love a good car film. Abbas Kiarostami has two under his belt: Ten and Taste of Cherry (and, arguably, The Wind Will Carry Us). Likewise, Jafar Panahi has his more upbeat, Taxi. As a camera mounted to the dashboard of the car captures conversations in the moving vehicle, Panahi, playing himself, picks up passengers that encapsulate the wide variety of life in Tehran.