If one were to look at the twenty-five films named yesterday to the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress, perhaps the one thing that jumps out about many of the titles is that they explore the theme of rebellion.
Founded in 1988 under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act with the first films being inducted in 1989, the National Film Registry names twenty-five films every year that carry a “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significance. These films can range from short experimental films shot in the earliest days of motion pictures like Edison’s Dickson Experimental Sound Film from 1894/95 to more modern fare like Star Wars, Saving Private Ryan or The Matrix. This year’s group brings the total number of films on the list to 700. This years films span the last century from 1903’s The Life Of An American Fireman to director Wes Anderson’s 1998 breakout comedy Rushmore.
In this year’s group of films, teenage rebellion is well represented with Blackboard Jungle (1955), East of Eden (1955), The Breakfast Club (1985) and Rushmore all making the list. Raging against societal norms and expectations are also covered with Ridley Scott’s feminist manifesto Thelma & Louise (1991) and Penelope Spheeris’ classic documentary about the Los Angeles punk-rock scene, The Decline of Western Civilization (1981). Robert Downey Sr’s counter-culture classic Putney Swope (1969), features a group of militant African Americans who take over a Madison Avenue advertising firm with hilarious and satirical results. Even Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963) can be viewed as nature rebelling against the abuses done to it by man.
Other films making the list this year range from 1916’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, the first adaption of the Jules Verne novel to the Howard Hawks screwball comedy Ball of Fire (1941)and the Barbara Streisand hit Funny Girl (1968) to the classic blend of live action and animation Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988). Documentaries are represented by The Atomic Cafe (1988) a compilation of archival footage from the post-World War II era that centered on the newly evolving threat of nuclear war and 1990’s Paris Is Burning, which examines New York’s LGBT scene in the late 1980s.
Here is a complete list of the twenty-five films inducted this year –
- Life of an American Fireman (1903)
- Musketeers of Pig Alley (1912)
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916)
- Solomon Sir Jones films (1924-28)
- Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)
- Lost Horizon (1937)
- Ball of Fire (1941)
- The Beau Brummels (1928)
- A Walk in the Sun (1945)
- Blackboard Jungle (1955)
- East of Eden (1955)
- The Birds (1963)
- Point Blank (1967)
- Funny Girl (1968)
- Putney Swope (1969)
- The Decline of Western Civilization (1981)
- The Atomic Cafe (1982)
- Suzanne, Suzanne (1982)
- The Breakfast Club (1985)
- The Princess Bride (1987)
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
- Paris Is Burning (1990)
- Thelma & Louise (1991)
- The Lion King (1994)
- Rushmore (1998)