Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian of Congress names 25 films to the registry that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant to be preserved for all time. These films are not selected as the “best” American films of all time, but rather as works of enduring importance to American culture.
“Established by Congress in 1989, the National Film Registry spotlights the importance of protecting America’s matchless film heritage and cinematic creativity,” said Billington. “By preserving the nation’s films, we safeguard a significant element of our cultural patrimony and history."
Other selections to this year’s registry include Al Pacino’s “Dog Day Afternoon,” the World War II drama “Mrs. Miniver,” the swashbuckling adventure “The Mark of Zorro” and the popular spaghetti Western “Once Upon a Time in the West.” Among the lesser-known films named to the registry are “The Jungle,” a hybrid documentary/dramatization made by a group of young African-American gang members; “A Study in Reds,” directed by amateur filmmaker Miriam Bennett; and Martin Brest’s student film “Hot Dogs for Gauguin.”
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Annual selections to the registry are finalized by the Librarian after his review of hundreds of titles nominated by the public and extensive discussions with members of the National Film Preservation Board, as well as the Library’s motion-picture staff. The Librarian urges the public to make nominations for next year’s registry at the Film Board’s website (www. loc.gov/film).
For each title named to the registry, the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation works to ensure that the film is preserved for future generations, either through the Library’s massive motion-picture preservation program or through collaborative ventures with other archives, motion-picture studios and independent filmmakers. The Packard Campus is a state-of-the-art facility that acquires, preserves and provides access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of films, television programs, radio broadcasts and sound recordings.
Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. It seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at myLOC.gov.