You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

National Film Registry adds 25 pix to archive

List includes 'Raiders,' WB cartoon

“Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Roman Holiday” and “The Wild Bunch” are among 25 films to be added to the National Film Registry, where they will be preserved for all time.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington released the latest list Tuesday, saying the 275 motion pictures now in the registry represent “a stunning range of American filmmaking.”

The oldest film on the new roster is the silent, black-and-white “The Kiss,” released in 1896 by Edison Manufacturing Co. with a cast of just two names, May Irwin and John Rice. No running time is listed; instead, it is said to be “50 feet” in length.

“Right” pic

The most recent is Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” (1989), from Forty Acres and a Mule Filmworks/Universal, with Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.

Other films on the list include the seven-minute, Warner Bros. cartoon “Duck Amuck” (1953), directed by Chuck Jones, with Mel Blanc performing the voices for Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny; Josef von Sternberg’s “The Docks of New York” (1928), from Famous Players Lasky/Paramount, with George Bancroft and Betty Compson; and George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” (1968), from Image Ten/Continental, with Judith O’Dea and Russell Streiner.

Big-hit choices include Steven Spielberg’s “Raiders” (1981), from Paramount, with Harrison Ford and Karen Allen; William Wyler’s “Roman Holiday” (1953), also from Paramount, with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn; and “Wild Bunch” (1969), from Warner Bros./Seven Arts, directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring William Holden, Ernest Borgnine and Edmond O’Brien.

Reflecting film heritage

Under the National Film Preservation Act, the Librarian of Congress each year names 25 “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant movies to the registry.

The list includes Hollywood features, documentaries, avant-garde and amateur productions, films of regional interest, and ethnic, animated, and short film subjects.

Urgent effort

The effort to preserve the films is also guided by urgency. Fewer than 20% of U.S. feature films from the 1920s survive in complete form. Of the American features produced before 1950, only half survive.

“For shorts, documentaries, and independently produced works, we have no way of knowing how much has been lost,” the Film Preservation Board says on its Web site.

This year’s titles were chosen after the librarian evaluated more than 1,000 movies nominated by the public.

Commitment needed

“Sadly, our enthusiasm for watching films has proved far greater than our commitment to preserving them,” Billington said. “And, ominously, more films are lost each year — through the ravages of nitrate deterioration, color-fading and the recently discovered ‘vinegar syndrome,’ which threatens the acetate-based film stock on which the vast majority of motion pictures, past and present, have been preserved.”

Once in the registry, films are safeguarded either through the Library of Congress’ motion picture preservation unit in Dayton, Ohio, or through collaborative ventures with other archives, motion picture studios or independent filmmakers.

The Library of Congress contains the largest collections of film and television in the world, from the earliest surviving copyrighted motion picture to the latest feature releases.

This year’s list

Remaining films on the new list include: “Civilization” (1916), dir. Thomas Ince, with Herschel Mayall, Lola May; “The Emperor Jones” (1933), dir. Dudley Murphy, with Paul Robeson, Dudley Digges; “Gunga Din” (1939), dir. George Stevens, with Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks Jr.; “In the Land of the Head-Hunters” (aka. “In the Land of the War Canoes”) (1914), dir. Edward S. Curtis; “Jazz on a Summer’s Day” (1959), dir. Bert Stern, with Jimmy Giuffre Trio, Thelonious Monk, Chuck Berry; “King: A Filmed Record … Montgomery to Memphis” (1970), directors Sidney Lumet and Joseph L. Mankiewicz, with narrators Paul Newman, James Earl Jones, Burt Lancaster; “Kiss Me Deadly” (1955), dir. Robert Aldrich, with Ralph Meeker, Albert Dekker; “Lambchops” (1929), with George Burns, Gracie Allen; “Laura” (1944), dir. Otto Preminger, with Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Vincent Price; “Master Hands” (1936), cinematographer Gordon Avil’s documentary filmed at the Chevrolet plants in Flint, Mich.; “My Man Godfrey” (1936), dir. Gregory La Cava, with William Powell, Carole Lombard; and “The Plow That Broke the Plains” (1936), dir. Pare Lorentz;

“The Shop Around the Corner” (1940), dir. Ernst Lubitsch, with Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart; “A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951), dir. Elia Kazan, with Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando; “The Ten Commandments” (1956), dir. Cecil B. DeMille, with Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner; “Trance and Dance in Bali” (1939), Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead’s anthropological footage of a Balinese ceremonial dance; and “Woman of the Year” (1942), dir. George Stevens, with Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn.

For a list of National Film Registry inductees and their credits, click here.

More Film

  • Village Rockstars

    Female Filmmakers Are a Growing Voice in India

    The Indian film industry has historically been a male-dominated one, but the winds of change are blowing across the country, albeit slowly. Better-served than the rest of the country is the Mumbai-based Hindi-language industry, where there are several active female filmmakers including Zoya Akhtar (“Gully Boy”), Reema Kagti (“Gold”), Leena Yadav (“Rajma Chawal”), Gauri Shinde [...]

  • Florence Pugh

    Scarlett Johansson's 'Black Widow' Movie Adds Florence Pugh

    “Black Widow’s” web may soon be growing. Sources tell Variety that Florence Pugh is in talks to join Scarlett Johansson’s standalone superhero film. Pugh has been on the hot list for this second lead role since last fall, but Marvel wanted to open up the field to other actresses at the beginning of the year. [...]

  • Mira Lesmana Sets up Indonesia Remake

    Mira Lesmana Sets Up Indonesian Remake of CJ's 'Sunny'

    Indonesia’s Miles Film and Korea’s CJ Entertainment are to co-produce an Indonesian remake of Korean hit “Sunny.” The film is a female-driven dramedy about a group of adult friends who reunite 20 years after high school. Directed by Kang Hyoung-chul, “Sunny” was one of the highest-grossing movies in Korea when it was released in 2011. [...]

  • John Hodges

    Jax Media Taps A24 Co-Founder John Hodges as Head of New Film Division

    TV production powerhouse Jax Media is expanding into film and tapped John Hodges, one of the founding partners of A24, as its new head of film. “I’m thrilled to be joining the team at Jax,” Hodges said. “Theirs is a potent brand that I’ve admired for a long time, and their reputation as innovative partners [...]

  • Hong Kong's TVB Plans OTT Boost,

    Hong Kong's TVB Plans OTT Boost, Sets 'Court Lady' With Huanyu

    Hong Kong’s Television Broadcasts is set to boost its OTT platforms locally and abroad with new packages and initiatives targeting the Southeast Asian market. The city’s biggest broadcaster has also renewed its partnership with China’s Huanyu Entertainment following the wild success the two enjoyed last year with court rivalry drama “Story of Yanxi Palace.” The [...]

  • Blue Planet II

    Documentaries Show Strong Signs of Growth in Global Markets

    Nearly 40% of exhibitors at FilMart this year are currently involved in documentary films. This year, there are 290 such exhibitors from 26 countries and regions, an increase of 30% from the year before, and 24 nonfiction titles in screening sessions, nearly double last year’s 13 titles. The market launched its “Doc World” section in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content