How to Download and Watch Google Drive Movies

It's easy to watch and even download videos hosted in the cloud.

Google Drive is great for hosting and sharing spreadsheets, documents, presentations, and photos, but did you know you can also use Google Drive for movies, too? You can find other publicly listed videos to download to your computer or play them directly from Google Drive.

These instruction apply to Windows and Mac.

Person using Google Drive on a computer
Lifewire / Elise Degarmo

Google Drive’s Terms of Service dictate all usage must be in compliance with local laws, including copyright restrictions. Google explicitly warns against uploading content for which you don’t have the necessary sharing permissions, and also warns violations may lead to account suspension. Adding copyrighted files to your Drive or downloading them to your computer may also trigger punitive measures.

Where to Find Google Drive Movies

Google Drive lets users share movies directly with others, or publicly to the web. With this in mind, you may find movies listed on a host of websites and online communities. Again, make sure you have to necessary permissions to share or download content.

An easy way to find movies on Google Drive is with a Google search using file types: intitle:wmv|mpg|avi|mp4|mkv|mov -trailer.

You can also add the movie name and/or year at the beginning for a more targeted search.

How to Play, Save, and Download Google Drive Movies

Once you've found the link to the film you want to watch, it's just a few simple steps to play your movie, save it to your Google Drive, or download it directly to your computer.

Not all videos that can be streamed can also be downloaded; you might hit a "quota exceeded" page if too many people have recently downloaded the file.

If you choose to download a Google Drive movie to your computer, Google will run a virus scan on the file. However, many files will be too large for Google to scan, in which case you will see an advisory notice. It's good practice to exercise caution and only download movies from sources you trust.

  1. Select the link to open the Google Drive movie file.

  2. You will be taken directly to the player screen.

  3. Select the Play icon to watch the movie.

    Screenshot showing a movie in the Google Drive player with the play button highlighted.
  4. To download the movie to your computer select the Download icon.

    Screenshot showing a movie in the Google Drive player with the download button highlighted.
  5. To save the movie to your Google Drive, select the Add to My Drive icon.

    Screenshot showing a movie in the Google Drive player with the Add to My Drive button highlighted.
  6. Once the film is added to your Google Drive, you can always opt to download it later. To do this, find the file within your Google Drive and either right-click or double click it to open the additional options menu. Select Download, then choose where you want to save it on your computer.

    Screenshot showing a movie file in Google Drive with the Download button highlighted.

How to Download Google Drive Movies Using Google Backup and Sync

If you want to download movie files saved to your Google Drive you can use Google's Backup and Sync desktop app to do this in the background. It's also a good way to download a batch of movies or other content you've saved to your Google Drive.

  1. Download the Back up and Sync app from Google.

    Screenshot of the Google Backup and Sync webpage with the Download Backup and Sync button highlighted.
  2. Install the app.

  3. Once Backup and Sync is fully set up, you'll see the app icon in the system tray area of the taskbar (Windows) or in the menu bar (Mac). Select it to see an overview of activity and quick launch icons.

    MacOS desktop with Backup and Sync launched.
  4. Select the three-dot options menu, then select Preferences.

    MacOS desktop with Backup and Sync launched. The additional options menu is open and Preferences is highlighted.
  5. In your Backup and Sync preferences select Google Drive. Choose the folder or folders in which your movies are stored, select Sync only these folders, then click OK.

    Screenshot showing Google Drive preferences with the Google Drive folder highlighted, as well as the OK button.
  6. Your Google Drive movie or movies will download in the background to your computer.

How to Play Google Movies Saved to Your Computer

There are a slew of video formats, not all of which are natively supported by desktop media players. Fortunately, VLC is a free media player that works with a variety of formats and has versions for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.

Here, we focus on installing VLC on a Mac and using it to open a movie file.

  1. Go to the VLC website and select Download VLC.

    Screenshot of the VLC website with Download VLC button highlighted.
  2. Install the app.

  3. Launch VLC.

  4. Locate your movie on your computer and either drag it into VLC or select Media > Open File (Windows) or Open media (Mac) to launch the file selector.

    Screenshot of the VLC app with the media target field highlighted.
  5. Once added, your movie will automatically begin to play.

  6. Your movie will remain in the VLC playlist until you remove it.

    Screenshot of VLC player with the playlist highlighted.
  7. You can add additional movies by dragging and dropping files, or select File > Open file and using the file selector.