2017 Additions To National Film Registry

“Is this Heaven?” Well, it is if you love Field of Dreams as much as I do. Or liked Christopher Reeve’s Superman, Disney’s Dumbo, or The Goonies. All are motion pictures on the list of 2017 additions to the National Film Registry announced today.

1. Ace in the Hole (1951)
2. Boulevard Nights (1979)
3. Die Hard (1988)
4. Dumbo (1941)
5. Field of Dreams (1989)
6. 4 Little Girls (1997)
7. Fuentes Family Home Movies Collection (1920s and ’30s)
8. Gentleman’s Agreement (1947)
9. The Goonies (1985)
10. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)
11. He Who Gets Slapped (1924)
12. Interior New York Subway, 14th Street to 42nd Street (1905)
13. La Bamba (1987)
14. Lives of Performers (1972)
15. Memento (2000)
16. Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
17. The Sinking of the Lusitania (1918)
18. Spartacus (1960)
19. Superman (1978)
20. Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1988)
21. Time and Dreams (1976)
22. Titanic (1997)
23. To Sleep With Anger (1990)
24. Wanda (1971)
25. With the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain (1937-38)

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said–

The selection of a film to the National Film Registry recognizes its importance to American cinema and the nation’s cultural and historical heritage. Our love affair with motion pictures is a testament to their enduring power to enlighten, inspire and inform us as individuals and a nation as a whole.  Being tasked with selecting only 25 each year is daunting because there are so many great films deserving of this honor.

Here are the official descriptions of the items of genre interest:

Dumbo (1941)

Disney’s charming, trademark animation finds a perfect subject in this timeless tale of a little elephant with oversize ears who lacks a certain confidence until he learns — with the help of a friendly mouse — that his giant lobes enable him to fly. Disney’s fourth feature film gained immediate classic status thanks to its lovely drawing, original score (which would go on to win the Oscar that year) and enduring message of always believing in yourself.

Field of Dreams (1989)

Iowa farmer Kevin Costner one day hears a voice telling him to turn a small corner of his land into a baseball diamond: “If you build it, they will come.”  “They” are the 1919 Black Sox team led by the legendary Shoeless Joe Jackson. Although ostensibly about the great American pastime, baseball here serves as a metaphor for more profound issues. Leonard Maltin lauded “Field of Dreams” as “a story of redemption and faith, in the tradition of the best Hollywood fantasies with moments of pure magic.”

The Goonies (1985)  

The fingerprints of executive producer Steven Spielberg visibly mark every second of “The Goonies,” with the plot sporting a narrative structure and many themes characteristic of his work. Spielberg penned the original story, hand-selected director Richard Donner and hired Chris Columbus (who had written the 1983 “Gremlins”) to do the offbeat screenplay. With its keen focus on kids of agency and adventure, “The Goonies” protagonists are Tom Sawyeresque outsiders on a magical treasure hunt, and the story lands in the continuum between where “Our Gang” quests leave off and the darker spaces of Netflix’s recent “Stranger Things” pick up.

Superman (1978)

Director Richard Donner’s treatment of the famous superhero was not the first time the character had been on the big screen. Kirk Alyn played the role back in a 1948 serial and George Reeves appeared in both theatrical and TV versions in the 1950s. However, for many, Christopher Reeve remains the definitive Man of Steel. This film, an “origins” story, recounts Superman’s journey to Earth as a boy, his move from Smallville to Metropolis and his emergence as a true American hero. Beautiful in its sweep, score and special effects, which create a sense of awe and wonder, “Superman” — as the tag line reads — makes you “believe a man can fly.”

The Librarian made the annual registry selections after conferring with members of the National Film Preservation Board (NFPB) and a cadre of Library specialists, and considering the 5,200 titles nominated by the public.

The Library also announced that 64 motion pictures, previously named to the National Film Registry, are now freely available online here, among them the cartoon “Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor”.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

“The Princess Bride” and Silent “20,000 Leagues” Among 2016 National Film Registry Additions


From the silent movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916)

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced today 25 additions to the National Film Registry, raising to 700 the total number of movies chosen for their cultural, historic or aesthetic importance since the registry was instituted by Congress in 1988.

Among the selections of genre interest are Frank Capra’s 1937 big-budget fantasy Lost Horizon; Alfred Hitchock’s 1963 horror masterpiece The Birds; Rob Reiner’s 1987 parody of classic fairy tales, The Princess Bride; and the 1988 animation and live-action comedy Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

The documentaries and shorts named to the registry include “The Atomic Cafe” (1982), which documents the threat of nuclear war following World War II.

The silent films selected this year include the 1916 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, touted as the first submarine photoplay.

Here is the complete list.

Films Selected for the 2016 National Film Registry

  1. Atomic Cafe (1982)
  2. Ball of Fire (1941)
  3. Beau Brummels, The (1928)
  4. Birds, The (1963)
  5. Blackboard Jungle (1955)
  6. Breakfast Club, The (1985)
  7. Decline of Western Civilization, The (1981)
  8. East of Eden (1955)
  9. Funny Girl (1968)
  10. Life of an American Fireman (1903)
  11. Lion King, The (1994)
  12. Lost Horizon (1937)
  13. Musketeers of Pig Alley, The (1912)
  14. Paris Is Burning (1990)
  15. Point Blank (1967)
  16. Princess Bride, The (1987)
  17. Putney Swope (1969)
  18. Rushmore (1998)
  19. Solomon Sir Jones films (1924-28)
  20. Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)
  21. Suzanne, Suzanne (1982)
  22. Thelma & Louise (1991)
  23. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916)
  24. Walk in the Sun, A (1945)
  25. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

The Library of Congress press release carried these descriptions of the films of genre interest:

2016 National Film Registry

  • The Atomic Cafe (1982) Produced and directed by Kevin Rafferty, Jayne Loader and Pierce Rafferty, the influential film compilation “Atomic Cafe” provocatively documents the post-World War II threat of nuclear war as depicted in a wide assortment of archival footage from the period (newsreels, statements from politicians, advertisements, training, civil defense and military films).  This vast, yet entertaining, collage of clips serves as a unique document of the 1940s-1960s era and illustrates how these films—some of which today seem propagandistic or even patently absurd (“The House in the Middle”)—were used to inform the public on how to cope in the nuclear age.
  • The Birds (1963) Alfred Hitchcock’s four sequential masterpieces—“Vertigo,” “North by Northwest,” “Psycho” and “The Birds”—revealed a director who had reached the pinnacle of his craft.  In “The Birds,” Hitchcock transfixed both critics and mass audiences by deftly moving from anxiety-inducing horror to glossy entertainment and suspense, with bold forays into psychological terrain.  Marked by a foreboding sense of an unending terror no one can escape, the film concludes with its famous final scene, which only adds to the emotional impact of “The Birds.”
  • The Lion King (1994) Disney Studios further solidified its position as the producer of modern-day animated masterpieces with this lyrical 1994 offering.  The story of a young lion cub destined to become King of the Jungle, but first exiled by his evil uncle, “The Lion King” was a triumph from the moment of its release and has charmed new generations of viewers.  Like Disney’s beloved “Bambi,” “The Lion King” seamlessly blends innovative animation with excellent voice-actors (Jonathan Taylor Thomas, James Earl Jones, Moira Kelly, Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick and Whoopi Goldberg) and catchy, now-classic songs by Sir Elton John and Tim Rice.  It is the film’s storytelling that resonates—funny, innovative, suspenseful—for both children and adults.  Since its release, the film has spawned an animated TV series, two made-for-video sequels and a highly imaginative Broadway show.
  • Lost Horizon (1937) Frank Capra’s big-budget romantic fantasy “Lost Horizon” (based on the James Hilton novel) offered an emotional respite to an American public seeking escape from the Depression and yearning for their own personal utopias.  Through the book and film, the term Shangri-La became a household word.  In the story, dashing diplomat Ronald Colman and a group of plane passengers are kidnapped and taken for mysterious reasons to a remote valley in the Himalayas where they find a seemingly blissful paradise, refuge from a world on the precipice of war. Along with memorable adventure, “Lost Horizon” stands out for its stunning cinematography and fantastic, extravagant sets, a hallmark of the Golden Age of Hollywood.
  • The Princess Bride (1987) The 1980s produced many feel-good movies and “The Princess Bride” is one of the decade’s most beloved. Adapting his popular 1973 novel for the screen, William Goldman collaborated with director Rob Reiner to craft a lighthearted parody of classic fairy tales that retains the writer’s wit and memorable characters and adds bravura performances and a barrage of oft-quoted dialogue. It is a joyride filled with assorted storybook figures like the beautiful title character (Robin Wright), her dashing true love (Cary Elwes), makers of magic spells (Billy Crystal and Carol Kane) and a rhyming colossus (Andre the Giant). As the devious Vizzini, Wallace Shawn incredulously exclaims “Inconceivable!” at every turn. Swashbuckling Mandy Patinkin dreams of avenging family honor and someday declaring, “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!”  The film continues to delight audiences, drawing new generations of fans.
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916) Directed by Stuart Paton, the film was touted as “the first submarine photoplay.” Universal spent freely on location, shooting in the Bahamas and building life-size props, including the submarine, and taking two years to film. J. E. Williamson’s “photosphere,” an underwater chamber connected to an iron tube on the surface of the water, enabled Paton to film underwater scenes up to depths of 150 feet. The film is based on Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and to a lesser extent, “The Mysterious Island.” The real star of the film is its special effects. Although they may seem primitive by today’s standards, 100 years ago they dazzled contemporary audiences. It was the first time the public had an opportunity to see reefs, various types of marine life and men mingling with sharks. It was also World War I, and submarine warfare was very much in the public consciousness, so the life-size submarine gave the film an added dimension of reality. The film was immensely popular with audiences and critics.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) Described by Roger Ebert as “not only great entertainment but a breakthrough in craftsmanship,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” introduced a new sense of realism into the interactions between cartoons and live-action characters on screen.  In this film noir comedy, set in a 1940s Hollywood where cartoon characters are real, private investigator Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) is hired to prove the innocence of the accused murderer and uncontrollably crazy ‘toon’ Roger Rabbit (voiced by Charles Fleischer), with memorable appearances by Roger’s voluptuous wife, Jessica Rabbit (voiced by Kathleen Turner), and the chillingly evil Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd). The film evokes a love for the golden age of animation, represented through the construction of Roger Rabbit himself, who embodies Disney’s high-quality animation, Warner Bros.’ character design and Tex Avery’s sense of humor. The spirit of the film is artfully summarized in this one line: “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.”  Executive producer Steven Spielberg worked tirelessly to negotiate the use of over 140 beloved cartoon characters in the film, making this the first time Warner Bros. and Disney characters shared the screen and the last time Mel Blanc voiced Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck before his death in 1989.