Woman on a couch eating popcorn

The ability to watch movies and TV shows through digital streaming has transformed the way people consume content. Viewers can access full HD quality movies and TV shows through a variety of services that operate legitimately — but also illegitimately.

This divide has made it difficult for some to distinguish between which services are safe and which aren’t. Generally, free streaming services that contain copyrighted materials but no ad content should be carefully scrutinized and likely avoided. Content with no fee for viewing and no ads is a big red flag that the content was probably obtained fraudulently.

There are a variety of movie streaming sites that give users access to the latest movies and TV series for free. When choosing which service to use, one notorious website that users should be wary of is 123Movies.

What Is 123Movies?

123Movies is a streaming service that allows access to free movies and TV shows. Users can easily watch free HD-quality streams, available at the click of a button, with no ads. However, that uninterrupted stream without ads is only possible due to the inclusion of adware and pop-ups these types of sites use as income sources. These can be detrimental not only to your viewing experience but also to your device when malicious content infects it. 123Movies offers a variety of content from all around the world in genres that include action/adventure, horror, thriller, sci-fi, and comedy, and the service doesn’t require a user account to start watching.

With 123Movies, users can watch full movies and TV series without having to pay a dime, but this is very often without the permission of the copyright holders. Free streaming may seem like a great option, but the history of 123Movies shows that the reality is anything but.

How Did 123Movies Start?

123Movies was originally a part of a group of websites operating out of Vietnam, dedicated to providing free, on-demand entertainment to their customers at no cost. Users could access their favorite movies through websites that included GoMovies, MeMovies, and GoStream, many of which have been subsequently shut down and taken offline by law enforcement.

Currently, various mirror sites for 123Movies are still in operation, with a variety of new movies and TV shows available.

Users can stream from the official website to get all the latest Hollywood blockbusters directly and in high-quality formats. 123Movies also offers a mailing list so users can stay updated on available content. However, they should also be aware of the risks posed by using an illegal service for accessing copyrighted material.

What Are the Risks of Using 123Movies?

123Movies might be tempting to use, but those interested in doing so should consider the risks associated with accessing what is clearly pirated content. These dangers can range from viruses infecting their computer to substantial legal trouble, depending on their region.

There are many important things to consider when dealing with a website like 123Movies. Between the potential for malware and the moral, legal, and privacy concerns, there are many reasons to avoid the service altogether.

Impact on Jobs

When consuming pirated content through illegal sites, or any other means, you’re not only putting yourself at risk but those who work in the TV, music, and film industries. CreativeFuture, an organization that represents workers in a multitude of creative industries and roles, shares how vast the impact of piracy truly is. They noted that piracy cost the film and television industry at least \$52 billion dollars in 2022, the recording industry at least \$300 million per year, and the publishing industry at least $2.7 billion per year. Not only is revenue lost from piracy, but less revenue means less job opportunities. Approximately 5.7 million Americans are employed in these industries which contribute significantly to the US economy. The impact is widespread and affects everyone from actors and singers to directors, costume designers, and camera operators. Ultimately, this has the potential to reduce the amount of new shows and movies that are able to be made.


One of the biggest risks associated with 123Movies is the existence of malware. The 123Movies website is embedded with adware and popups. Redirects are common, and embedded viruses infecting your computer is not only a possibility but a very likely scenario. Because of this, it’s important to use antivirus software on your streaming devices. 


According to 123Movie’s legal disclaimer, “any person who knowingly materially misrepresents that material or activity is infringing may be subject to liability.” What this means is that viewing or accessing any content that has been uploaded without the consent of the copyright holders could leave you liable for fines or other legal trouble. Accessing pirated content leaves you vulnerable to stiff penalties and even the potential for jail time.


If you access 123Movies, you won’t be the only one who knows it. Law enforcement, copyright holders, as well as malicious actors all actively track your activity when using the website. Many users turn to a VPN to protect their privacy, but even that won’t fully protect you.

Websites such as FMovies, Putlocker, and 123Movies allow for the online streaming of copyrighted material, but users who want to watch free movies online have safer alternatives available. Why risk it when there are legal options you can take advantage of?

How to Legally Watch Free Movies Online

The best sites to safely watch the latest movies and TV shows are those that use legal means to deliver content to end-users, many of which include implementing midroll advertisements, for instance. 

Services such as Crackle, PlutoTV, and Freevee provide a more traditional viewing experience with live streams interspersed with limited advertisements. When it comes to free streaming, there are so many legal alternatives for full HD streams from legitimate streaming services such as Netflix, Paramount+, Hulu, Disney+, Max, or Amazon Prime. They’re easily accessible on your devices through apps or their websites.

HD movies and TV shows are more widely available than ever before. If you’re looking at ways to cut costs in your entertainment budget, there are better alternatives than 123Movies. The existence of malware and adware, liability concerns, and a lack of privacy shows this service to be just what it seems — too good to be true. Instead, let StreamSafely help you find the best alternative that’s both safe and legal.

Previous articleHow to Stream Formula 1
Next articleWhy You Should Avoid uTorrent