Kanopy Is for Everyone (Not Just Film Nerds)

I love Kanopy. I keep it in my streaming rotation right alongside the big names like Netflix and Hulu, and the fact that it carries plenty of titles that aren’t available on the other major video streaming platforms helps to liven up my movie and television diet. But I’ve noticed something interesting: when I recommend something on Kanopy to my friends, I notice that they tend to get a little nervous. Kanopy has gotten a reputation for being the home of art films and serious documentaries. And while Kanopy may have plenty of those, it also has plenty of other great things too. So while I am happy to tell you all about the merits of three-hour Soviet films about existentialism or the works of Jean-Luc Godard, for today I want to talk about some other reasons to be excited about Kanopy.  

So, who is Kanopy for? 


Yes, that’s right: Kanopy has a lot of great stuff for kids. And no, I’m not advocating that you get your five-year-old into the works of Federico Fellini. Kanopy actually has plenty of choices that  your kids might already be into, including a whole selection of shows from PBS Kids, like Arthur, opens a new window and Super Why, opens a new window. They’ve also got movies featuring kids’ favorite characters, like Franklin, opens a new window, and animated editions of popular picture books, like Mo Willem’s Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, opens a new window. And the best part? Kanopy Kids doesn’t use up your monthly watch credits, so you can let your kids watch every episode of Caillou, opens a new window and you can still wind down with the Criterion Collection after.  

Comedy lovers 

One of my favorite things about Kanopy is the variety. Where else can you watch a 6-hour Hungarian epic about nihilism, opens a new window and then turn around and watch Taika Waititi’s hilarious vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows, opens a new window? The only real theme tying the movies on Kanopy together is that everything they’ve curated is great, and there is just as much great comedy out there as there are experimental silent films. And the variety is in the genres themselves, too. From classic Charlie Chaplin flicks like Modern Times, opens a new window to contemporary favorites like Lady Bird, opens a new window, Kanopy is just as likely to tickle your funny bone as it is to fire up your brain. 

Busy people 

I love really long movies as much as the next film nerd, but even I can admit that it can be tough to find the time to watch all of Metropolis, opens a new window in one sitting. Thankfully, Kanopy has plenty of bite-sized offerings for those of us who don’t have the luxury of watching movies all day. Kanopy has a library of critically-acclaimed short films, as well as plenty of TV shows that are binge-worthy even if you don’t have the time to actually binge them all, so you’ll find the perfect thing to watch, no matter how busy your schedule. 

At the end of the day, Kanopy is for everyone, so I’m sure that no matter what you like to watch, you’re going to love it just as much as I do. What do you use Kanopy for? Let us know down in the comments! 

This blog was written by Elizabeth B. and first appeared December 2020.