With titles stretching across American cinema history from the silent comedy short A Cure For Pokeritis (1912) to Forrest Gump (1994), the Library of Congress announced the 25 titles to be added to the National Film Registry today.
The list of 25 films has been released annually since 1989 and is composed of 25 films selected from nominations received by the general public. The aim of the registry is to preserve American films of artistic, cultural or historic significance. This year 2,228 films were nominated. Copies of each film named to the Registry will be stored at the Library of Congress’ cold-storage vaults at the Packard Campus of the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center near Culpeper, Va. This year’s group of 25 films brings the number of films in the registry to 575.
As always, the titles cover a wide range of topics and comprise not only of popular movies of their day and features we now consider classic, but also lesser known works that nevertheless hold some importance culturally with classics like Charlie Chaplin’s first full-length feature silent comedy The Kid and the 1945 drama The Lost Weekend sharing space with experimental films such as Jordan Belson’s five minute short Allures (1961).
The addition I am most excited by is The Nicholas Brothers Family Home Movies. The Nicholas Brothers were one of the greatest dance teams during the Golden Age of Hollywood – a great example of their work can be found in 1943’s Stormy Weather – and the footage that they shot over 20 or so years includes the only footage shot inside the Cotton Club and of famous Broadway shows like Babes in Arms as well as home movies of an all African-American regiment during World War II and films of street life in Harlem in the 1930s.
Interestingly, there are some echoes across the centuries among the titles. The 1912 documentary The Cry Of The Children has been credited with helping the pre-World War One child labor reform movement while 1979’s Norma Rae was a dramatization of another labor-related struggle. Walt Disney’s Bambi, a classic of hand-drawn animation shares space on the list with one of the first computer animation test pieces, 1972’s A Computer Animated Hand.
The complete list of titles that were named is as follows-
A Cure for Pokeritis (1912)
The Cry of the Children (1912)
The Kid (1921)
The Iron Horse (1924)
Twentieth Century (1934)
Nicholas Brothers Family Home Movies (1930s-40s)
The Negro Soldier (1944)
The Lost Weekend (1945)
The War of the Worlds (1953)
The Big Heat (1953)
Porgy and Bess (1959)
Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (1963)
Growing Up Female (1971)
A Computer Animated Hand (1972)
Hester Street (1975)
I, An Actress (1977)
Norma Rae (1979)
Fake Fruit Factory (1986)
Stand and Deliver (1988)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
El Mariachi (1992)
Forrest Gump (1994)