A Million Screenplay Ideas from the Public Domain

January 1st, 2019 – a day dubbed “Public Domain Day” by originators Wallace McLean, a public domain activist, and Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig – saw the release of over 50,000 titles from 1923 that are now available in the public domain. In fact, due to the Sony Bono Copyright Act, any work made prior to 1924 is now irrevocably in the public domain. These works include films from Charlie Chaplin and Cecille B. DeMille, books from Aldous Huxley and Robert Frost and music from legends such as Louis Armstrong. 

Following Public Domain Day, other well-known institutions including The Cleveland Museum of Art, The New York Public Library, and The Folger Shakespeare Library followed suit and have also released thousands upon thousands of works into the public domain. Meaning, for screenwriters, there’s now an endless supply of material to inspire a great screenplay, or as the Atlantic notes, even the next Great American Novel. And it doesn’t end here: Every first of the year hereafter will see another release of existing works published 95 years prior into the Public Domain.

The list featured at the end of this post doesn’t end at films and literature: As we noted in a previous article, tens of thousands of works have also been released from some of the most well-known institutions in the world. Highlighted in the hugely-resourceful website, ‘The Public Domain Review’, The Cleveland Museum of Art, The New York Public Library, The Getty, The Folger Shakespeare Library, also offer thousands of works that have recently been absolved of any copyright protections.

In the hands of the right storyteller, an existing Intellectual Property (IP) can be worth millions of dollars, and right now, the existing IP is seemingly king.

Writing a screenplay based off an existing IP – whether it’s a NY-Times Best Seller, a graphic novel, or even an ancient poem – mitigates the potential risks an investor has to take when financing a film. It offers studios and producers the chance to test out an emerging screenwriter’s storytelling abilities while knowing there’s a built-in audience who will resonate with the story.

2019 has already seen a massive injection of existing IPs into the public domain – meaning they can be built upon or recreated for educational and commercial purposes – so, for writers yearning for the inspiration for their next great undertaking, now is the time to take note. Also note that adapting an existing IP isn’t a practice exclusive to new writers: Some of Hollywood’s most critically acclaimed and well-respected filmmakers constantly look to existing IPs for inspiration. The Coen Brothers’ O Brother, Where Art Thou? is based on Homer’s Illiad; Guillermo del Toro frequently references works from artists such as Francisco de Goya while Sofia Coppola pays homage to the paintings of John Kacere throughout Lost in Translation.

The possibilities are endless, and the stories are clearly worth telling.

Already have a script based on material in the public domain? Enter the ScreenCraft Public Domain Screenplay Competition here.

 

Happy researching!

As of January 1st, 2019, here’s what’s now available from film and literature: 

Films:

Abysmal Brute, Hobart Henley

The Acquittal, Clarence Brown

Adam and Eva, Robert G. Vignola

Adam’s Rib, Cecil B. DeMille

The Age of Desire, Frank Borzage

Alias the Night Wind, Joseph Franz

Alice Adams, Rowland V. Lee

All the Brothers Were Valiant, Irvin Willat

Anna Christie, John Griffith Wray

April Showers, Tom Forman

The Acquittal, Clarence Brown

Around the World in Eighteen Days, B. Reeves Eason, Robert F. Hill

Ashes of Vengeance, Frank Lloyd

Backbone, Edward Sloman

The Bad Man, Edwin Carewe

Bag and Baggage, Finis Fox

The Barefoot Boy, David Kirkland

Bavu, Stuart Paton

Bell Boy 13, William A. Seiter

Big Brother, Allan Dwan

Big Dan, William A. Wellman

The Bishop of the Ozarks, Finis Fox

The Bolted Door, William Worthington

Boston Blackie, Scott R. Dunlap

Boy of Mine, William Beaudine

Black Oxen, Frank Lloyd

Blinky, Edward Sedgwick

Blow Your Own Horn, James W. Horne

Bluebeard’s 8th Wife, Sam Wood

Brass, Sidney Franklin

The Brass Bottle, Maurice Tourneur

Brass Commandments, Lynn Reynolds

Breaking Into Society, Hunt Stromberg

Bright Lights of Broadway. Webster Campbell

The Bright Shawl, John S. Robertson

The Broad Road, Edmund Mortimer

Broadway Broke, J. Searle Dawley

Broadway Gold, Edward Dillon

Broken Hearts of Broadway, Irving Cummings

The Broken Wing, Tom Forman

Mothers-in-Law, Louis J. Gasnier

Bucking the Barrier, Colin Campbell

Burning Words, Stuart Paton

The Buster, Colin Campbell

The Call of the Canyon, Victor Fleming

The Call of the Wild, Fred Jackman

Cameo Kirby, John Ford

Can a Woman Love Twice?, James W. Horne

Canyon of the Fools, Val Paul

A Chapter in Her Life, Lois Weber

Chastity, Victor Schertzinger

The Cheat. George Fitzmaurice

Children of Dust. Frank Borzage

Children of Jazz, Jerome Storm

The Christian, Maurice Tourneur

Circus Days. Eddie Cline

The Clean-Up, William Parke

The Common Law, George Archainbaud

Cordelia the Magnificent, George Archainbaud

The Country Kid, William Beaudine

The Courtship of Miles Standish, Frederic Sullivan

The Covered Wagon, James Cruze

Crashin’ Thru, Val Paul

The Cricket on the Hearth, Lorimer Johnston

Crinoline and Romance, Harry Beaumont

Crooked Alley, Robert F. Hill

Crossed Wires, King Baggot

Cupid’s Fireman, William A. Wellman

The Custard Cup, Herbert Brenon

Daddy, E. Mason Hopper

The Dancer of the Nile, William P. S. Earle

The Dangerous Age, John M. Stahl

The Dangerous Maid, Victor Heerman

The Daring Years, Kenneth Webb

Dark Secrets, Victor Fleming

The Darling of New York, King Baggot

Daughters of the Rich, Louis J. Gasnier

The Day of Faith, Tod Browning

Daytime Wives, Emile Chautard

Dead Game, Edward Sedgwick

Defying Destiny, Louis Chaudet

Desert Driven, Val Paul

Desire, Rowland V. Lee

The Destroying Angel, W. S. Van Dyke

Divorce, Chester Bennett

Does It Pay?, Charles Horan

Dollar Devils, Victor Schertzinger

Don Quickshot of the Rio Grande, George Marshall

Don’t Call It Love, William C. de Mille

Don’t Marry for Money, Clarence Brown

Double Dealing, Henry Lehrman

Drifting, Tod Browning

Driven, Charles Brabin

Drums of Fate, Charles Maigne

The Drums of Jeopardy, Edward Dillon

Dulcy, Sidney Franklin

The Eagle’s Feather, Edward Sloman

East Side – West Side, Irving Cummings

The Eleventh Hour, Bernard J. Durning

Enemies of Women, Alan Crosland

The Eternal City, George Fitzmaurice

The Eternal Struggle, Reginald Barker

The Eternal Three, Marshall Neilan

Eyes of the Forest, Lambert Hillyer

The Exciters, Maurice S. Campbell

The Exiles, Edmund Mortimer

The Extra Girl, F. Richard Jones

The Face on the Bar-Room Floor, John Ford

The Fair Cheat, Burton L. King

The Famous Mrs. Fair, Fred Niblo

Fashion Row, Robert Z. Leonard

Fashionable Fakers, William Worthington

The Fighting Blade, John S. Robertson

The First Degree, Edward Sedgwick

The Flame of Life, Hobart Henley

Flaming Youth, John Francis Dillon

The Flying Dutchman, Lloyd B. Carleton

The Fog, Paul Powell

Fog Bound, Irvin Willat

Fools and Riches, Herbert Blaché

The Footlight Ranger, Scott R. Dunlap

Forgive and Forget, Howard M. Mitchell

The Fourth Musketeer, William K. Howard

The French Doll, Robert Z. Leonard

A Friendly Husband, John G. Blystone

Fury, Henry King

Garrison’s Finish, Arthur Rosson

Gentle Julia, Rowland V. Lee

The Gentleman from America, Edward Sedgwick

A Gentleman of Leisure, Joseph Henabery

The Ghost Patrol, Nat Ross

Gimme, Rupert Hughes

The Girl I Loved, Joe De Grasse

The Glimpses of the Moon, Allan Dwan

Going Up, Lloyd Ingraham

The Girl of the Golden West, Edwin Carewe

The Girl Who Came Back, Tom Forman

The Gold Diggers, Harry Beaumont

Goodbye Girls, Jerome Storm

Gossip, King Baggot

The Go-Getter, Edward H. Griffith

The Grail, Colin Campbell

The Gunfighter, Lynn Reynolds

The Governor’s Lady, Harry Millarde

The Green Goddess, Sidney Olcott

Grumpy, William C. de Mille

Haldane of the Secret Service, Harry Houdini

The Handy Man, Robert P. Kerr

Hearts Aflame, Reginald Barker

The Heart Raider, Wesley Ruggles

Held to Answer, Harold M. Shaw

Hell’s Hole, Emmett J. Flynn

Her Accidental Husband, Dallas M. Fitzgerald

Her Fatal Millions, William Beaudine

Her Reputation, John Griffith Wray

Her Temporary Husband, John McDermott

The Hero, Louis J. Gasnier

His Children’s Children, Sam Wood

His Mystery Girl, Robert F. Hill

Hollywood, James Cruze

Homeward Bound, Ralph Ince

Hoodman Blind, John Ford

Human Wreckage, John Griffith Wray

The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Wallace Worsley

The Huntress, John Francis Dillon,Lynn Reynolds

If Winter Comes, Harry Millarde

In Search of a Thrill, Oscar Apfel

In the Palace of the King, Emmett J. Flynn

Innocence, Edward J. Le Saint

The Isle of Lost Ships, Maurice Tourneur

Itching Palms, James W. Horne

Java Head, George Melford

Jazzmania, Robert Z. Leonard

Jealous Husbands, Maurice Tourneur

Kentucky Days, David Selman

Kindled Courage, William Worthington

The Last Hour, Edward Sloman

The Last Moment, J. Parker Read Jr.

Law of the Lawless, Victor Fleming

Lawful Larceny, Allan Dwan

The Leavenworth Case, Charles Giblyn

Legally Dead, William Parke

The Leopardess, Henry Kolker

Let’s Go, William K. Howard

Lights Out, Alfred Santell

The Light That Failed, George Melford

Little Church Around the Corner, William A. Seiter

The Little Girl Next Door, W. S. Van Dyke

Little Johnny Jones, Arthur Rosson

Little Old New York, Sidney Olcott

The Lone Star Ranger, Lambert Hillyer

The Lonely Road, Victor Schertzinger

Long Live the King, Victor Schertzinger

Look Your Best, Rupert Hughes

Lost and Found on a South Sea Island, Raoul Walsh

Lovebound, Henry Otto

The Love Brand, Stuart Paton

The Love Letter, King Baggot

The Love Piker, E. Mason Hopper

The Love Pirate, Richard Thomas

Loyal Lives, Charles Giblyn

Lucretia Lombard, Jack Conway

Madness of Youth, Jerome Storm

The Mailman, Emory Johnson

Main Street, Harry Beaumont

The Man Between, Finis Fox

The Man from Brodney’s, David Smith

The Man Life Passed By, Victor Schertzinger

The Man Next Door, Victor Schertzinger

A Man of Action, James W. Horne

The Man Who Won, William A. Wellman

Man’s Size, Howard M. Mitchell

The Marriage Maker, William C. de Mille

The Marriage Market, Edward LeSaint

Mary of the Movies, John McDermott

Masters of Men, David Smith

Maytime, Louis J. Gasnier

McGuire of the Mounted, Richard Stanton

The Meanest Man in the World, Edward F. Cline

Men in the Raw, George Marshall

Merry-Go-Round, Erich von Stroheim

The Midnight Alarm, David Smith

The Midnight Guest, George Archainbaud

Mighty Lak’ a Rose, Edwin Carewe

Mile-a-Minute Romeo, Lambert Hillyer

A Million to Burn, William Parke

The Miracle Baby, Val Paul

The Miracle Makers, W. S. Van Dyke

Modern Marriage, Victor Heerman

Modern Matrimony, Lawrence C. Windom

Money, Money, Money, Tom Forman

Mr. Billings Spends His Dime, Wesley Ruggles

The Mysterious Witness, Seymour Zeliff

The Nth Commandment, Frank Borzage

The Near Lady, Herbert Blaché

The Ne’er Do-Well, Alfred E. Green

The Net, J. Gordon Edwards

No Mother to Guide Her, Charles Horan

Nobody’s Bride, Herbert Blaché

Nobody’s Money, Wallace Worsley

A Noise in Newboro, Harry Beaumont

North of Hudson Bay, John Ford

An Old Sweetheart of Mine, Harry Garson

On the Banks of the Wabash, J. Stuart Blackton

One Stolen Night, Robert Ensminger

Only 38, William C. de Mille

Other Men’s Daughters, Ben F. Wilson

Our Hospitality, John G. Blystone, Buster Keaton

Out of Luck, Edward Sedgwick

Penrod and Sam, William Beaudine

The Pilgrim, Charles Chaplin

Pioneer Trails, David Smith

Playing It Wild, William Duncan

Pleasure Mad, Reginald Barker

Poor Men’s Wives, Louis J. Gasnier

Potash and Perlmutter, Clarence G. Badger

The Printer’s Devil, William Beaudine

The Prisoner, Jack Conway

Prodigal Daughters, Sam Wood

Pure Grit, Nat Ross

Puritan Passions, Frank Tuttle

The Purple Highway, Rufus Steele

Quicksands, Jack Conway

Racing Hearts, Paul Powell

The Ragged Edge, F. Harmon Weight

Railroaded, Edmund Mortimer

The Ramblin’ Kid, Edward Sedgwick

Red Lights, Clarence G. Badger

The Red Warning, Robert N. Bradbury

Refuge, Victor Schertzinger

The Remittance Woman, Wesley Ruggles

The Rendezvous, Marshall Neilan

Reno, Rupert Hughes

Richard the Lion-Hearted, Chester Withey

Romance Land, Edward Sedgwick

Rosita, Ernst Lubitsch

Rouged Lips, Harold M. Shaw

Ruggles of Red Gap, James Cruze

Rupert of Hentzau, Victor Heerman

The Rustle of Silk, Herbert Brenon

Safety Last!, Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor

Salomy Jane, George Melford

The Satin Girl, Arthur Rosson

Sawdust, Jack Conway

Scaramouche, Rex Ingram

The Scarlet Car, Stuart Paton

The Scarlet Lily, Victor Schertzinger

Scars of Jealousy, Lambert Hillyer

Second Fiddle, Frank Tuttle

Second Hand Love, William A. Wellman

The Self-Made Wife, John Francis Dillon

Shadows of the North, Robert F. Hill

The Shepherd King, J. Gordon Edwards

The Shock, Lambert Hillyer

Shootin’ for Love, Edward Sedgwick

The Shriek of Araby, F. Richard Jones

The Silent Command, J. Gordon Edwards

The Silent Partner, Charles Maigne

Single Handed, Edward Sedgwick

Sinner or Saint, Lawrence C. Windom

Six Cylinder Love, Elmer Clifton

Six Days, Charles Brabin

The Six-Fifty, Nat Ross

Sixty Cents an Hour, Joseph Henabery

Skid Proof, Scott R. Dunlap

Slander the Woman, Allen Holubar

Slave of Desire, George D. Baker

Slippy McGee, Wesley Ruggles

The Snow Bride, Henry Kolker

Snowdrift, Scott R. Dunlap

The Social Code, Oscar Apfel

Soft Boiled, John G. Blystone

The Song of Love, Chester M. Franklin

Soul of the Beast, John Griffith Wray

Souls for Sale, Rupert Hughes

South Sea Love, David Selman

The Spanish Dancer, Herbert Brenon

The Spoilers, Lambert Hillyer

St. Elmo, Jerome Storm

The Steadfast Heart, Sheridan Hall

Stephen Steps Out, Joseph Henabery

Stepping Fast, Joseph Franz

Stormswept, Robert Thornby

Strangers of the Night, Fred Niblo

The Sunshine Trail, James W. Horne

Suzanna, F. Richard Jones

Tea: With a Kick!, Erle C. Kenton

The Temple of Venus, Henry Otto

Temporary Marriage, Lambert Hillyer

Temptation, Edward LeSaint

The Ten Commandments, Cecil B. DeMille

Three Ages, Buster Keaton

Three Jumps Ahead, John Ford

Three O’Clock in the Morning, Kenneth S. Webb

Three Who Paid, Colin Campbell

Three Wise Fools, King Vidor

The Thrill Chaser, Edward Sedgwick

Thundergate, Joseph De Grasse

Thundering Dawn, Harry Garson

The Tie That Binds, Joseph Levering

Tiger Rose, Sidney Franklin

The Tiger’s Claw, Joseph Henabery

Times Have Changed, James Flood

To the Ladies, James Cruze

To the Last Man, Victor Fleming

Toilers of the Sea, Roy William Neill

The Town Scandal, King Baggot

The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, Charles Maigne

Trifling with Honor, Harry A. Pollard

Trilby, James Young

Trimmed in Scarlet, Jack Conway

The Truth About Wives, Lawrence C. Windom

Truxton King, Jerome Storm

Twenty-One, John S. Robertson

Under the Red Robe, Alan Crosland

The Unknown Purple, Roland West

Unseeing Eyes, Edward H. Griffith

The Untameable, Herbert Blaché

Vanity Fair, Hugo Ballin

The Victor, Edward Laemmle

The Virginian, Tom Forman

The Voice from the Minaret, Frank Lloyd

Wandering Daughters, James Young

The Wanters, John M. Stahl

The West~Bound Limited, Emory Johnson

West of the Water Tower, Rollin S. Sturgeon

What a Wife Learned, John Griffith Wray

What Wives Want, Jack Conway

When Odds Are Even, James Flood

Where Is This West?, George Marshall

Where the North Begins, Chester M. Franklin

Where the Pavement Ends, Rex Ingram

While Paris Sleeps, Maurice Tourneur

The White Flower, Julia Crawford Ivers

The White Rose, D. W. Griffith

The White Sister, Henry King

White Tiger, Tod Browning

Why Worry?, Fred Newmeyer, Sam Taylor

Wife in Name Only, George Terwilliger

A Wife’s Romance, Thomas N. Heffron

Wild Bill Hickok, Clifford Smith

The Wild Party, Herbert Blaché

Within the Law, Frank Lloyd

The Woman in Chains, William P. Burt

The Woman of Bronze, King Vidor

A Woman of Paris, Charles Chaplin

Woman-Proof, Alfred E. Green

The Woman with Four Faces, Herbert Brenon

The World’s Applause, William C. DeMille

Yesterday’s Wife, Edward LeSaint

You Can’t Fool Your Wife, George Melford

Your Friend and Mine, Clarence G. Badger

Zaza, Allan Dwan

Literature (Author first) 

Sherwood Anderson – Many Marriages

Gertrude Atherton – Black Oxen

Arnold Bennett – Riceyman Steps

Maxwell Bodenheim – Blackguard

Elizabeth Bowen – Encounters (short stories)

Thomas Alexander Boyd – Through the Wheat

Max Brand – Seven Trails

John Buchan – Midwinter

Hall Caine – The Woman of Knockaloe

Willa Cather – A Lost Lady

Alphonse de Chateaubriant – La Brière (Passion and Peat)

Agatha Christie – The Murder on the Links

Jean Cocteau – Thomas l’imposteur (Thomas the Imposter)

Colette – Green Wheat (Le Blé en herbe)

Joseph Conrad – The Rover

Marie Corelli – Love and the Philosopher

Susan Ertz – Madame Claire

Hans Fallada – Anton und Gerda

Jeffery Farnol – Sir John Dering

Lion Feuchtwanger – Die häßliche Herzogin (The Ugly Duchess)

J. S. Fletcher – The Charing Cross Mystery

Zona Gale – Faint Perfume

Garet Garrett – Cinder Buggy

Philip Gibbs – The Middle of the Road[8]

Kahlil Gibran – The Prophet

Jaroslav Hašek – The Good Soldier Švejk (Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka za světové války)

Ernest Hemingway – Three Stories and Ten Poems

Hermann Hesse – Demian (first English-language edition)

Georgette Heyer – The Great Roxhythe, Instead of the Thorn, The Transformation of Philip Jettan

Winifred Holtby – Anderby Wold

Aldous Huxley – Antic Hay

Ernst Jünger – Sturm, D. H. Lawrence, Kangaroo

The Fox, The Captain’s Doll, The Ladybird: Three Novellas

Maurice Leblanc – Les Huit Coups de l’horloge (The Eight Strokes of the Clock)

David Lindsay – Sphinx

Agnes Mure Mackenzie – Without Conditions

Katherine Mansfield – The Doves’ Nest and Other Stories (short stories, published posthumously)

Stratis Myrivilis – Η ζωή εν τάφω (I zoí en tafo, Life in the Tomb; serialization)

Zofia Nałkowska – Romans Teresy Hennert (The Romance of Teresa Hennert)

Liam O’Flaherty – Thy Neighbour’s Wife

Frank L. Packard – The Four Stragglers

Marcel Proust – The Prisoner (La Prisonnière, vol. 5 of In Search of Lost Time)

Raymond Radiguet – Le Diable au corps (The Devil in the Flesh)

William MacLeod Raine – Iron Heart

Maurice Renard – New Bodies for Old (first English language edition of Le Docteur Lerne – Sous-Dieu (1908))

Joseph Roth – Das Spinnennetz (The Spider’s Web)

Rafael Sabatini – Fortune’s Fool

Dorothy L. Sayers – Whose Body?

James Stephens – Deirdre

Gene Stratton-Porter – The White Flag

Italo Svevo – La Coscienza di Zeno

Alexei Tolstoy – Aelita (Аэлита)

Jean Toomer – Cane

Sigrid Undset – The Bridal Wreath (English translation of Kransen by Charles Archer)

Jules Verne The Castaways of the Flag, The Lighthouse at the End of the World 

E. C. Vivian – Fields of Sleep

Edgar Wallace – Bones of the River, The Books of Bart, Captains of Souls, Chick (short stories), The Clue of the New Pin, The Green Archer, The Missing Million

H. G. Wells – Men Like Gods

Edith Wharton – A Son at the Front

Margaret Widdemer – Graven Image

William Carlos Williams – The Great American Novel

Margaret Wilson – The Able McLaughlins

P. G. Wodehouse – The Inimitable Jeeves, Leave It to Psmith

Virginia Woolf – “Mrs Dalloway in Bond Street”

Anzia Yezierska – Salome of the Tenements

Children and young people

Cicely Mary Barker – Flower Fairies of the Spring (first in the Flower Fairies series of at least ten books)

Vitaly Bianki – Whose Nose is Better? (Чей нос лучше?)

Edgar Rice Burroughs – Tarzan and the Golden Lion

Charles Boardman Hawes – The Dark Frigate

Hugh Lofting – Doctor Dolittle’s Post Office (third in the Doctor Dolittle series of 13 books)

Lucy Maud Montgomery – Emily of New Moon (first in the Emily series of three books)

Felix Salten – Bambi. Eine Lebensgeschichte aus dem Walde (Bambi, a Life in the Woods)

Ruth Plumly Thompson – The Cowardly Lion of Oz (17th in the Oz series overall and the third written by her)

Hugh Walpole – Jeremy and Hamlet (second in the Jeremy series of three books )

Tom Swift and his Flying Boat (26th in the original series)

Drama

Bertolt Brecht – In the Jungle of Cities

Gerald du Maurier – The Dancers

Garnet Holme (adapted from Helen Hunt Jackson) – The Ramona Pageant

Georg Kaiser – Side by Side (Nebeneinander)

Seán O’Casey – The Shadow of a Gunman

Elmer Rice – The Adding Machine

Arnold Ridley – The Ghost Train

Jules Romains – Knock (Knock, ou le Triomphe de la médecine)

George Bernard Shaw – Saint Joan

Marie Stopes – Our Ostriches

Ernst Toller – Hinkemann

Sergei Tretyakov – Do You Hear, Moscow? (Слышишь, Москва?!), Earth in Turmoil

Sutton Vane – Outward Bound

Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, The Crazy Locomotive (Szalona lokomotywa), Janulka, Daughter of Fizdejko (Janulka, córka Fizdejki), The Madman and the Nun (Wariat i zakonnica)

Poetry

Louise Bogan – Body of This Death: Poems

E. E. Cummings – Tulips and Chimneys

Robert Frost – New Hampshire (including “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”)

Pablo Neruda – Crepusculario

Sukumar Ray – Abol Tabol

Wallace Stevens – Harmonium

David Vogel – Lifney Hasha’ar Ha’afel (Before the Dark Gate)

William Carlos Williams – Go Go, Spring and All

Non-fiction

Vladimir Arsenyev – Dersu Uzala

Godfrey Benson, 1st Baron Charnwood – Theodore Roosevelt

Algernon Blackwood – Episodes Before Thirty

J. B. Bury – A History of the Later Roman Empire from the Death of Theodosius I to the Death of Justinian

E. K. Chambers – The Elizabethan Stage

Winston Churchill – The World Crisis (volumes 1 & 2 specifically)

Le Corbusier – Vers une architecture (Toward an Architecture)

Sigmund Freud – The Ego and the Id

Khalil Gibran – The Prophet

Robert Henri – The Art Spirit

Rudyard Kipling – The Irish Guards in the Great War

Arthur Moeller van den Bruck – Das Dritte Reich

Mihai Ralea – L’Idée de la révolution dans les doctrines socialistes

Mary Roberts Rinehart – The Out Trail

Max Weber – Wirtschaftsgeschichte

Rose Wilder Lane – The Peaks of Shala

Discover 20 more properties from the public domain that you can adapt for free with this free guide.

Other popular websites that list tons of works that exist in the public domain:

https://archive.org/details/last20 – the Sonny Bono Memorial Collection website;

https://lifehacker.com/these-1923-copyrighted-works-enter-the-public-domain-in-1825241296 – lists selects pulled from works released since January 1st, 2019;

https://www.theverge.com/2018/12/31/18162933/public-domain-day-2019-the-pilgrim-jacobs-room-charleston-copyright-expiration – explains the Copyright Term Extension act while also listing works in the public domain;

https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/public-domain – lists hundreds of books in the public domain;

https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/public-domain-movies-sites/ – offers ways to download and/or view films in the public domain;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_in_the_public_domain_in_the_United_States – lists and categorizes films existing in the public domain by title, director, stars, genre and studio.


Andrew Schwartz is a marketing professional and script reader working in the entertainment industry. He has written and read for outlets such as The Blcklst, BlueCat Screenplay, Final Draft and more. Find him on Twitter at @writingshorts or his Instagram page dedicated to The Sopranos, @sopranosgram.


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