Classic films selected for national preservation

Kim Brooks
Babbling Brooks Column
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     I am a movie fanatic! Right now, thanks to COVID-19, not being able to go to movie theaters and watch movies is so hard.

     The National Library of Congress oversees the National Film Registry. They recently announced the list of 25 films that were just inducted into the National Film Registry.

     The National Film Registry selects a number of films each year that they deem worthy of preservation. Their mission “is to ensure the survival, conservation, and increased public availability of America’s film heritage.”

     There are some rules:

     • Films become eligible for induction 10 years after their release

     • Films don’t have to be theatrically released to be inducted

     • Films have to be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”

     As of this year, there are 800 films listed in the National Registry.

     Of the 25 films inducted this year, the earliest was released in 1913, “Suspense,” which was a short, silent film. The most recent film, “Freedom Riders,” came out in 2010. It’s a PBS documentary.

     Movies of note (those the average person might recognize, and some of my favorites) that made the list include:

     • “A Clockwork Orange” (1971)

     • “Grease” (1978)

     • “The Blues Brothers” (1980)

     • “The Joy Luck Club” (1993)

     • “Shrek” (2001)

     • “The Hurt Locker” (2008)

     • “The Dark Knight” (2008)

     Some things unique, worth pointing out, about this year’s film selection… Nine of the films were directed by women. In addition, seven were directed by people of color.

     In an article published in Variety, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden stated, “The National Film Registry is an important record of American history, culture and creativity, captured through one of the great American artforms, our cinematic experience. With the inclusion of diverse filmmakers, we are not trying to set records but rather to set the record straight by spotlighting the astonishing contributions women and people of color have made to American cinema, despite facing often-overwhelming hurdles.”

     “The Hurt Locker,” about the Iraq War, was directed by Kathryn Bigelow. “The Joy Luck Club,” a movie about two different generations of Asian women, was based on the novel and screenplay written by Amy Tan.

     “The Dark Knight,” starring Heath Ledger who passed away in 2008, the same year the film was released, is the biggest box office performer on the list this year. It grossed $1 billion worldwide as one of three Batman written and directed by Christopher Nolan. In 2009, Ledger was awarded an Oscar posthumously for his portrayal of The Joker. The movie also stars Christian Bale as the coveted Batman. (Personally, Bale would be my favorite Batman actor of all those who have worn the Bat Suit.)

     “Shrek” comes in second, grossing $484 worldwide. “Shrek” is also part of a trilogy of movies that have done exceptionally well over the years.

     John Landis, who directed “The Blues Brothers,” also has two other films on the Registry: “Animal House” and Michael’s Jackson’s music video “Thriller.”

     While only 25 films are honored each year, more than 5,500 movies were nominated.


Subscriber Login