SUPERMAN, LETHAL WEAPON, GOONIES And More Modern Day Popular Films Named To National Film Registry

Popular hits from the 1970s, `80s and `90s including Superman: The Movie, Die Hard and Titanic were named to the National Film Registry today.

The annual list of 25 movies selected to be added to the list maintained by the library of Congress are chosen based on them being considered “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant.

Although the list spans over a century of American film – the earliest title this year is 1905’s Interior New York Subway, 14th Street to 42nd Street – a number of titles on this year’s list are culled from the last three decades of the twentieth century. Director Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie was no doubt picked for it being the progenitor of the modern superhero film, one of the dominate genres at the box office. It is also one half of a pair of films from the director being named this year alongside his 1985 adventure The Goonies. Although its exorbitant budget had many predicting a box office disaster worthy of the film’s subject matter, James Cameron’s Titanic went on to be one of the biggest box office grossing films of all time.

Another 1980s movie – director Luis Valdez’s Richie Valens biopic LaBamba – is just one of a trio of films that highlight Latinos. In addition to the Lou Diamond Phillips-starring film, Michael Pressman’s 1979 examination of Mexican-American teens in East LA, Boulevard Nights, and the Fuentes Family Home Movie Collection, a library of home movies that document life and culture for Mexican-Americans in Texas of the 1920s and `30s.

There are a quintet of films from Hollywood’s Golden era. Billy Wilder’s cynical cautionary tale Ace In The Hole (1951) stars Kirk Douglas as an unscrupulous reporter determined to make the most out of a story about a trapped miner. Douglas also stars in Stanley Kubrick’s 1960 sword and sandals epic Spartacus, which also makes the Registry this year. Elia Kazan’s Gentleman’s Agreement (1947) and 1967’s Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner both tackle prevalent bigotry in their respective decades. Perhaps one of the more quintessential films from the great director Howard Hawks, 1939’s Only Angels Have Wings, was also named to the list.

The Silent Era of Hollywood is represented with the Lon Chaney film He Who Gets Slapped, a 1924 thriller that also features at-the-time rising stars Norma Shearer and John Gilbert.

Here is a complete list of the films named this year –

  • Ace In The Hole (1951)
  • Boulevard Nights (1979)
  • Die Hard (1988)
  • Dumbo (1941)
  • Field Of Dreams (1989)
  • 4 Little Girls (1997)
  • Fuentes Family Home Movies Collection (1920s-30s)
  • Gentleman’s Agreement (1947)
  • The Goonies (1985)
  • Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner (1967)
  • He Who Gets Slapped (1924)
  • Interior New York Subway, 14th Street to 42nd Street (1905)
  • La Bamba (19987)
  • Lives Of Performers (1972)
  • Memento (2000)
  • Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
  • The Sinking Of The Lusitania (1918)
  • Spartacus (1960)
  • Superman: The Movie (1978)
  • Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1988)
  • Time And Dreams (1976)
  • Titanic (1997)
  • To Sleep With Anger (1980)
  • Wanda (1971)
  • With The Abraham Lincoln Brigade In Spain (1937-38)
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About Rich Drees 6968 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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