Library of Congress

On Tuesday, the Library of Congress announced this year’s list of 25 films to be entered into the National Film Registry. According to the LoC website, each year since 1989, “the Librarian of Congress names 25 films to the National Film 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 significance to American culture.”

This year’s entries, which include The Asphalt Jungle (1950), Deliverance (1972), A Face in the Crowd (1957), In Cold Blood (1967), The Killers (1946), Sergeant York (1941), The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) and The Terminator (1984), bring the total number of films in the registry to 500.

The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
Deliverance (1972)
Disneyland Dream (1956)
A Face in the Crowd (1957)
Flower Drum Song (1961)
Foolish Wives (1922)
Free Radicals (1979)
Hallelujah (1929)
In Cold Blood (1967)
The Invisible Man (1933)
Johnny Guitar (1954)
The Killers (1946)
The March (1964)
No Lies (1973)
On the Bowery (1957)
One Week (1920)
The Pawnbroker (1965)
The Perils of Pauline (1914)
Sergeant York (1941)
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)
So’s Your Old Man (1926)
George Stevens WW2 Footage (1943-46)
The Terminator (1984)
Water and Power (1989)
White Fawn’s Devotion (1910)

You can read descriptions and explanations behind the choices at the Library of Congress Website.

14 Responses to “2008 National Film Registry Selections”

  1. This is the sort of list that makes me feel so uniformed. I only know about half of these titles, and have only seen about half of those. I celebrate the inclusion of A Face in the Crowd, though. Y’all know how I feel about that one.

    I’m happy someone smarter than me is seeing that the good stuff gets preserved. My tax dollars at work.

  2. “The Terminator” and “In Cold Blood” are inspired choices. I look forward to this list every year — they make fantastic choices.

  3. I can’t help but think that “Terminator” shouldn’t be in dire need of LOC’s preservation and that spot could be filled by any number of silent or early sound films. Given how half-heartedly the studios house, preserve and restore their legacies, I’m probably wrong, through.

    I know this is an incredibly old news, but was there ever any definitive conclusion about that Universal fire that may or may not have destroyed some of their vaults?

  4. A worthwhile and eclectic list of films. W.J.’s point about The Terminator is completely shared by me, including his caveat about the studios’ irresponsible housing, preservation and restoration efforts.

    I still need to see Water and Power and So’s Your Old Man.

  5. The National Registry always samples films to preserve from the various decades, though. They have never focused on say, silent films exclusively — which would be great. Also, the National Registry is not the only organization that works toward preserving films. There’s excellent work being done out there by several bodies.

    By the way, this would totally be my dream job — restoring films. Sigh.

  6. Don’t feel bad JB. A lot of this stuff is intentionally obscure. In fact, the Disneyland one is apparently home movies from the period.

    And what Dorothy said about Terminator. Though there is no rush to preserve the Terminator exactly, you might be shocked at how many so-called modern films haven’t been properly cared for and have deteriorated.

    To me this list is more about the acknowledgement of cultural relevance than anything and for that to have as much meaning to as many people as possible, they have to include modern films. As it is, there rule is that a film has to be at least 20 years old.

    If you think of it, outside of us movie obsessives, how many people regularly watch movies older than 20 years?

    Yes, it would be awesome if they focused on silent films, but the sad fact is, a jaw-dropping 90 percent of films from before 1920 are already gone forever. What’s more shocking is that half of films before 1950 are gone.


    DP when you get that film restoration job, can we be a team? and can we still blog?

  7. I kinda agree that The Terminator seems like an odd choice, but I second everything Craig said and offer this: if nothing else, including The Terminator (1 out of 25 selected films) has given the list itself and the National Film Registry additional notoriety this year. While I don’t think film preservation should be a public relations football, the fact of the matter is that most people take it for granted and funding for this sort of thing is getting harder to come by, especially if they’re only picking older movies from the early days of cinema.

    I agree all films should be preserved (well, maybe not Police Academy 12), but for now they’re not and the impetus to preserve films isn’t strong with Hollywood or the public. A little good PR can’t hurt the battle.

  8. Terminator helped get a lot of people of a certain age into loving movies.

    Last year, Back to the Future was on the list. I think that’s a worse choice, but it also inspired a lot of film lovers of a certain age and it also brings attention to the list which as Joel notes is important.

    I know, I know, everyone loves the McFly…spare me your angry cards and emails.

    Make a list of films from 1918 and sadly most people don’t care, but if you can get a Terminator or Back to the Future fan to look at a list and wonder what Foolish Wives and Hallelujah are all about, then that’s a good thing.

  9. Totally agree with Dorothy.

    IN COLD BLOOD is an inspired choice. So is THE KILLERS.

    (YAY, AVA!!!!!)

    I can think of NO ONE that I would rather entrust with the preservation of classic beloved films than the wondrous Dorothy Porker. But she’s so artistically talented that she’s never going to have time to pursue the profession for which she trained: the law.

    I mean, we’ve all ready agreed (at various times over the last year, at my site, at INSIDE THE GOLD or at LiC) that she should be a publicist, an agent or work with Harvey W.

    She would be a very good influence on him, I would imagine. The entertainment field would be on a much better footing with her active involvement.

    After all, Marion does owe her Oscar to Dorothy and k.

    Craig, you and D should definitely restore films together. If I knew you two were responsible, then I could rest easy knowing that the future of the industry was safe and in good hands.


  10. Well, the arguments for preserving either Terminator or Back to the Future hold the same merits to me I guess, but if it gets sites as divergent as EW to AICN talking about the National Film Registry and preservation, then I’m OK with it. When they devote more than 5% of the overall selections in a given year to the cheap seats, I’ll probably start complaining.

    As Stephen Colbert might say: National Film Registry, you’ve been put on notice.

  11. Wow, Ms. M. Thanks for the lovely words. I’m tempted to print it out and read it as a daily affirmation! And Craig: I’d make sure time to blog would be incorporated into our employment contract :)

  12. Not a problem, D.

    I speak the truth…

  13. Miranda, you must know by now I should never be put in charge of anything. I would make an excellent stooge though. I also make a mean Manhattan.

  14. Craig, you could scale mountains and open a gift shop at the top that would make a fortune. You can do anything you set your mind to, honey.

    The ONLY THING you lack is confidence.

    As for Manhattans, I think you know my history with those.

    I had a wicked argument with some boy in some precious hellhole – years ago – and the Manhattan that I ordered (my first, incidentally) not only tasted viciously foul but it didn’t stay where it was supposed to.

    I should have thrown up on him. I almost did.

    If you could make me one that would agree with me, NOW that would be a real accomplishment…

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