Buyout Public Domain Movies to Use as Stock Footage

For a one time stock footage buyout fee, a public domain movie, television show, or archival film is yours to use forever, royalty free. We do not sell by the second or the minute, the minimum charge is for one title. Choose from our inventory of 44,000 film and TV programs or from our 30,000 strong movie trailer library. Yes, our movie trailers are also usable as royalty free stock footage. Most of our movie trailers are not listed, so please send us your want list. We deliver on all broadcast tape format and on high resolution digital files like Apple Quicktime ProRes, MPEG2, and more.

Want movie trailers? We have 30,000 of them. Send your wish list.
– No Licensing Fees.
– Unlimited Repeated Usage.
– A public domain title is yours to use indefinitely.


Guidelines for RetroFilm Vault as a Stock Footage Source


About The RetroFilm Vault

The RetroFilm Vault has a twenty-two year history of servicing the professional media, entertainment, and advertising industries. We have the largest full-length programming library of public domain films, television, and trailers in the world. We exclusively deal with public domain feature films, television, and movie trailers (in addition to other program categories like cartoons, documentaries, short films, etc). A portion of our business thrives from clients who use our programming library for stock footage purposes.

Films from our library are often used from our clients for stock footage purposes. We do charge by the clip, but sell the films as a whole where the stock footage client can use as little or as much of the film as they wish. (For the purpose of bandwith considerations, RetroFilm MAY elect to send a clip of a purchased film if the client has already identified exactly where their requested footage lies within the film)

Our service is a one-time buyout fee. We do not issue licenses.


Movie Trailers

The movie trailers The RetroFilm Vault sells we sell are in the public domain. Movie trailers, according to established U.S. case law precedent are a separate work from the feature films they represent.

Most trailers in our library are standard definition. Sometime we will have a high definition version and we will specify when a requested trailer is available in High Definition.


Requests for Movie Trailers

We have about 10 percent (3,000 titles) of our 30,000 title movie trailer library listed on our site. The list we have online is good for stimulating ideas for trailer requests for many popular films. However, because we have so much more, it is best for clients to send us a wish list of movie trailer titles. The RetroFilm Vault is typically able to fulfill a whopping 80 percent of the requests we receive for movie trailers.

Choose footage from productions made in the United States

Requests for stock footage wherein the intended use is worldwide should be of U.S. originated films, television, movie trailers, etc. U.S. based works are public domain worldwide when they become public domain inside the U.S.

Delivery Format and Resolution

The RetroFilm Vault has an enormous standard definition feature, television, and movie trailer library. Stock footage clients should request Apple Quickime ProRes files. The resolution is 720X480. 1080P High Definition, when available, (1920 X 1080p)

Delivery Time

Delivery time can vary from the time we receive the order and payment from our clients. It is best practice to plan ahead with busy post production schedules. We can typically give a range of time estimate for delivery.

Delivery Method

For many stock footage requests, we are able to deliver electronically (we send the client a link from which to download).  However, when there is a high definition feature film delivered on Apple Quicktime ProRes, those average about 90 Gigabytes and must be delivered on a hard drive to the client.

Payment Method

Payment method for most stock footage requests can be accomplished through credit card payments. Links to a payment gateway will be send along with an invoice for client records.

Requests for Research / Material Suggestions

Identifying the title needed for the client is primarily the purview of the client themselves.

Also, our clients are able to sort through the many categories, decades in order to help identify material they can use. Clients may also use the search function on our main page to search for an actor or for a keyword in the title or description / synopsis field. However, RetroFilm’s familiarity with our library can sometimes be a benefit for our clients.

Requests for title suggestions from RetroFilm that involve research on RetroFilm’s part may involve a research fee depending upon if we believe we can reasonably accommodate a research request. If we have an established relationship with a client that also involves minimal time on RetroFilm’s part, we may be able to provide suggestions on usable material fitting some general subject for which we are already familiar within our library.

Our experience involves the following scenarios when stock footage clients issue requests –

1) Basic requests 2) Research capable requests 3) Requests that are too specific for us to research.


  1. Research free request examples that could be fulfilled without a charge:

“We need films (or trailers) that involve UFOs and Aliens”.

“We need footage of crowds”

“We need movie monsters”

“We want the best films starring (fill in actor’s name)”

“We want films with guns and gangsters”

These is a reasonable request for suggestions of material RetroFilm can make without a research charge.

  1. If the request for the material is specific, a charge would apply. Examples:

“We need films that involve syncopated dancing.

“We need shots of scream queens”

“We need take footage from World War 2”

“We need footage of belly dancers”


  1. Overly specific request examples

“ We need a clown at a séance”.

“We need a cow jumping over a moon and into a lake”. “

We need footage of belly dancer on a beach waiting for a  ocean cruiser”

Overly specific requests such as these are not without our capacity to fulfill. We do not have an army of researchers that have spent millions of hours dissecting every frame of footage from our massive library. Many stock footage houses charge high fees on per second basis because of their investment in the manpower for such pin needle specifics on every possible scenario. The RetroFilm Vault, instead, passes our comparatively low overhead to our clients with a simple, one- time service fee for a whole program.

Is your request specific or “overly specific”? If you are not sure, you can send it in and find out.

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Best Comedy Public Domain Movies


One-Time Buyout

A one-time buyout fee. No royalties are applicable.

Unlimited Usage

A purchased public domain title is yours to use forever.

Custom Formats

Choose any professional delivery format including Apple Quicktime ProRes, MPEG4, broadcast tape, and more.


Minimum charge is for one title. No paying by the second or by the minute.


How Films Become Public Domain

What are our Hours of Operation?

Call (310) 622-7267
Mon: 9:00am - 6:00pm Pacific Time
Tue: 9:00am - 6:00pm Pacific Time
Wed: 9:00am - 6:00pm Pacific Time
Thu: 9:00am - 6:00pm Pacific Time
Fri: 9:00am - 6:00pm Pacific Time
Sat: 9:00am - 6:00pm Pacific Time
Sun: Closed

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