Library of Congress

The National Film Preservation Board, which was established by the US Library of Congress in 1988 to preserve “culturally, historically, or esthetically important” films, has announced the 25 new films to be added to the National Registry for 2007.

The oldest film on the list is Henry King’s Tol’able David (1921) noted for its influence on subsequent films of the ’20s. The newest is Kevin Costner’s Dances with Wolves (1990). Every decade in between is represented with other notable selections including George Cukor’s The Women (1939) (which is being remade in 2008 with Meg Ryan…UGH), Jules Dassin’s The Naked City (1948), Sydney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men (1957), Peter Yates’ Bullitt (1968), Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) , and Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future (1985).

Full results after the jump.

Back to the Future (1985)
Bullitt (1968)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)
Dances With Wolves (1990)
Days of Heaven (1978)
Glimpse of the Garden (1957)
Grand Hotel (1932)
The House I Live In (1945)
In a Lonely Place (1950)
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
Mighty Like a Moose (1926)
The Naked City (1948)
Now, Voyager (1942)
Oklahoma! (1955)
Our Day (1938)
Peege (1972)
The Sex Life of the Polyp (1928)
The Strong Man (1926)
Three Little Pigs (1933)
Tol’able David (1921)
Tom, Tom the Piper’s Son (1969-71)
12 Angry Men (1957)
The Women (1939)
Wuthering Heights (1939)

For a list of descriptions and explanations, check out the list at the Library of Congress website Or you can see the complete list of selections from each year here.

31 Responses to “National Film Registry Selections for 2007”

  1. Now, Voyager! One of my favorite films of all time, and certainly one of my favorite Bette Davis films. Plus it has another wonderful Claude Rains character.

    And 12 Angry Men goes without saying. Lumet is a master at directing ensemble films.

  2. Dances with Wolves.

    (scratches head, rubs eyes, looks again)

    Dances with Wolves.

    I’m going to ignore that for a second and be happy that Days of Heaven, Now Voyager, Close Encounters, etc have been added to the list.

  3. Now, Voyager is a good one. I lean towards her more towards Bette’s venomous roles, like say Little Foxes or All About Eve, but I’ll take ’em both.

    I was going to say something shitty about Wolves. I never liked that movie, but the truth is I probably haven’t seen it in 15 years. Am I just clinging to snobbery that formed because of how gah gah everyone went for it back in the day?

    I don’t know.

  4. I agree with you about Dances with Wolves, joel. And I purposely said nothing about it. Don’t even get me started about Costner beating out Scorsese for Goodfellas.

  5. Ahahahaha. Look at how we’re all stepping so carefully around the turd on the carpet.

  6. As I know many were at the time, I passionately declared that Goodfellas was one for the ages and the Wolves selection an embarrassment. And you’re all right, the passing of the years makes it no more palatable. *Lifts shoe and inspects unpleasant matter clinging to sole/soul*

  7. Ooh, love that sole/soul pun, sartre.

  8. I’m heartened by the fact that representatives of our government picked an overall good list, just disappointed that there are those out there today that feel DwW needs to be protected for the future.

    Whatever. You win some, you lose some.

  9. There are a lot of truly great films selected by the National Film Registry this year.

    Dances with Wolves… Oh well. It does stick out like a sore thumb.

  10. I always think the new picks for the National Film Registry are more fascinating than all the other awards ballyhoo going on around this time of year. Somehow because of the time constraint, you’d think their judgment would be sounder so many years removed, but I’m not always convinced it is (though I can’t creally omment on Dances with Wolves, since I’ve managed to avoid that one so far).

    I love that it’s not so much about artistic achievement as it is about the preservation of a culture. Back to the Future isn’t one of my favorites, but it’s comforting to know it will still be remembered decades from now, and that people will be able to watch it and remember just how silly the 80’s were ;-)

  11. Excellent comment, Hedwig. I agree that Back to the Future may just be the perfect time capsule of 80’s American nostalgia, seeing as how it’s a love note to the 50’s wrapped in a sci-fi package featuring the ultimate example of 80’s consumer excess, the DeLorean. You couldn’t say much more about the 80’s pop culture, the rise of boomers, Reagan, and Huey Lewis than to simply watch this movie and appreciate it’s near perfect symmetry of generational self-obsession.

    I doubt it was chosen to as an artifact of American culture for these reasons, but I can sure hope someone on the registry selection committee saw the value in preserving it for these reasons.

    Plus, it’s a much better selection than Teen Wolf.

  12. ‘Is Dances with Wolves manipulative schmaltz? Yes. Is it perfectly ok and better than most manipulative schmaltz? Yes it is. The film doesn\’t deserve to be in the company its in here, and it certainly isn\’t superior to Goodfellas, but I think we\’re getting a little carried away in demonizing it. Shit on the shoe references should be saved for Nancy Meyers movies

  13. Look at Hedwig cutting right through the crap, seeing beyond the vagaries of this or that selection and getting to the heart of the matter!

    I do believe a list like this is more interesting, not just because it contains the perspective of history, but as you say because it’s about preservation of culture.

    It’s saying here are some things we think are good and worthy and have stood the test of time and they should be recognized and remembered. When people study our culture in the future, this is what we want to be remembered by.

    I think what you’re seeing Chuck is what happens when a movie that’s just ‘ok’ gets elevated to an absurd degree. There are scores of awful movies that come out every year, but few of them receive the combination of Box Office, critical and awards acclaim that movies like DWW and say…Titanic or Forrest Gump…receive for example.

    Unfair? Perhaps, there it is.

    I’ve been meaning to revisit some of my favorite punching bags actually and to try and look at them objectively all these years laters. Might be a good topic for some blog action and DWW would be a good place to start.

  14. Whenever you want my attention Craig, just mention Forrest Gump. God, I hate that movie. If DWW causes anyone that much pain then I sympathize.

  15. I haven’t even seen Forrest Gump. Yes, I’m weird – one of the only people to have probably never seen it. I just couldn’t get myself to watch it.

  16. I avoided it for years and then a friend begged me to sit down and watch it on DVD.

    Suffice it to say, I didn’t hate it, but I haven’t been tempted to ever see it again.

  17. Craig, please don’t link Titanic and critical acclaim in the same sentence. Didn’t it receive a mixed response? I loathed it. Primarily for the script and the unbelievability of a woman like Kate Winslett falling for the boy that was Leonardo at the time.

    I’ve only seen Forrest Gump in overlapping segments when catching a stretch here and there on television. I could never get with the American love for ennobling homily sprouting half-wits – sadly reaching the apex of its expression in the current White House :-)

  18. That should be spouting not sprouting :-(

  19. Yes, sartre, I suppose we should have seen the movie as a sign of what was to come. Then again, hindsight being 20/20 and all…

    My friend railroaded me into sitting down to watch Titanic on DVD one year (I had managed to avoid it in the movies). Needless to say I despised the film. First of all, I have to be in the mood to watch a film about a ship that I already know is going to sink, and people that I might like who I know are going to die. Second of all, A Night to Remember is the Titanic film that counts. It still stands as the best one.

  20. That’s okay, sprouting was a good word choice, too. GWB sprouted from somewhere.

  21. Couldn’t agree more that A Night to Remember is the definitive Titanic film.

  22. Your use of “sprouted” made me laugh.

  23. Titanic: 83% Tomato Rating. Enough said.

    I’ve passed through my Titanic rage to the other side and I’m finally at peace with it. It made too much money and won too many awards, but that’s fine. It never murdered any bunnies or stole from old ladies as far as we know.

    Here’s the part where I bring the conversation full circle. Watch and be amazed:

    Alison, do you happen to remember a certain famous scene in Titanic where Kate and Leo are having red hot monkey sex in the old car on the ship…you now the dramatic business with the hand slapped against the inside of the steamy window? Was that scene not stolen almost directly from a similar (but less suggestive) scene in Now, Voyager? Or am I just misremembering?

    et voila. Full circle. Here’s hoping I didn’t hit any icebergs.

  24. Wow. I think you’re right, Craig. I’m going to have to watch Now, Voyager again immediately (I won’t be watching Titanic again).

    Very nice full circle, too.

  25. Hey Craig, you did a Ryan C. Adams on me! Slamdunked with facts.

    To recover a tiny bit of ground I’ll point out that cream of the crop was 73% and their average rating of the film was a hardly stellar 6.7 out of 10. But that said, my assertion of a mixed critical response doesn’t stand.

  26. It’s a little wobbly, but it’s circular…unless I’m wrong about the scene.

    I’m not prepared to say there was a handprint on the window, but I do believe there were steamy windows.

    Anyway, it’s another good excuse to sit down and watch a classic. I think I might Paul Henried in this one better than in Casablanca. He’s always a little bland, but he’s got more going on here.

  27. It hardly got a No Country For Old Men type reaction, but I remember before it came out everyone assuming it was going to be awful, yet the reviews were quite respectable.

  28. If Dances with Wolves hadn’t won Best Picture, I would have no issue with it. As it is, I could still live with that because they give Best Picture Oscars for more reasons than artistic quality. But Kevin Costner getting Best Director, regardless of the existence of Goodfellas that same year, was just wrong, wrong, wrong. Hence, I’ve got some serious issues with movie and I don’t think it really deserves to be preserved for posterity.

    Plus the white man savior/noble savage thing doesn’t age well, but whatever.

    But you know what they say…you say Po-TAYE-to, I say Po-TAH-to, let’s call the whole thing off. I can live with it, Chuck.

  29. I say To-mar-to, you say To-may-to.

  30. I may be one of the few people…but I love “Dances With Wolves.” I thought Costner’s achievement was quite brave…it’s 3 hours long and for the first hour or so its nothing but a man and a wolf alone on the plains…and I thought it was utterly fascinating.

  31. You get 13 bonus points Mathew for stepping into a viper’s nest of scorn and standing by your opinion.

    As I said from the start, I’m reserving judgement on it until I see it again, but let me just air out what I remember being annoyed by.

    This could be completely wrong, I could be misremembering, but at the time I felt like Costner was going for the PC thing of elevating native Americans and making the rest of us out to be pure evil. In and of itself, this isn’t especially threatening to me, it’s a simplistic but fair role reversal to the way Native Americans had been portrayed in movies for the rest of the century, but here’s the part that bugged me: By making himself the hero, Costner foisted off all the blame on us but absolved himself of any of it. At the time it felt more than a little chickenshit.

    Having said that, I generally try to enjoy a movie as a movie and not some kind of political statement, so perhaps I’m being unfair.

    I can’t speak for the rest of these people, however.

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