Celebrating Cinematic Heritage: Library of Congress Adds 25 Films to the National Film Registry

Dec 13, 2023 12:49 PM EST
2 Min Read
Celebrating Cinematic Heritage: Library of Congress Adds 25 Films to the National Film Registry fetchpriority=
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The Library of Congress recently revealed its annual selection of 25 films to be included in the prestigious National Film Registry. This curated list aims to preserve and celebrate movies that hold significant cultural, historic, or aesthetic importance, contributing to the rich tapestry of the nation's film heritage.

The lineup of 2023 includes a range of cinematic gems spanning various genres and decades. Notable additions feature Ron Howard's space odyssey "Apollo 13," family favorites "Home Alone" and "Lady and the Tramp," Ang Lee's "The Wedding Banquet," James Cameron's action-packed "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," Gina Prince-Bythewood's "Love & Basketball," Spike Lee's thought-provoking "Bamboozled," and Steve McQueen's powerful Best Picture Oscar winner "12 Years a Slave."

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, in making the announcement, highlighted the historical significance of the selection process, tracing it back over 100 years to a 1921 Kodak educational film titled "A Movie Trip Through Filmland." This film explored the production of film stock and the global impact of movies. The addition of these 25 films brings the total count in the registry to an impressive 875.

Ron Howard expressed pride in "Apollo 13," emphasizing its honest and heartfelt reflection of the American space program during that era. Gina Prince-Bythewood discussed the autobiographical elements in "Love & Basketball," drawing from her personal experiences as a female athlete. Steve McQueen shed light on the enduring relevance of "12 Years a Slave," emphasizing its connection to contemporary issues.

Ang Lee, reflecting on "The Wedding Banquet," noted that the film, though not initially made to be influential, played a significant role in breaking new ground, particularly in cross-cultural and gay issues.

Spike Lee, known for his impactful storytelling, discussed the power of "Bamboozled" and its closing scenes, which visually depicted the historical hatefulness associated with blackface.

In a broader context, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden emphasized the integral role of films in preserving America's cultural heritage for over 125 years. She expressed gratitude to the film community for their collaboration in this mission.

NATO President and CEO Michael O'Leary applauded the Library's efforts, recognizing the profound impact movies have had on shaping the American experience. He highlighted the crucial role that cinemas play in our communities and cultural landscape.

Jacqueline Stewart, Director and President of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, who chairs the National Film Preservation Board, pointed out the diversity of Asian American experiences in this year's selection. She highlighted films like "Cruisin' J-Town," "Bohulano Family Film Collection," and "Maya Lin: A Strong, Clear Vision," which offer unique perspectives on cultural history.

To share these cinematic treasures with a broader audience, Turner Classic Movies will host a TV special on December 14, featuring a selection of films from the 2023 National Film Registry.

Films Selected for the 2023 National Film Registry (in chronological order):

A Movie Trip Through Filmland (1921)
Dinner at Eight (1933)
Bohulano Family Film Collection (1950s-1970s)
Helen Keller: In Her Story (1954)
Lady and the Tramp (1955)
Edge of the City (1957)
We're Alive (1974)
Cruisin' J-Town (1975)
¬°Alambrista! (1977)
Passing Through (1977)
Fame (1980)
Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)
The Lighted Field (1987)
Matewan (1987)
Home Alone (1990)
Queen of Diamonds (1991)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The Wedding Banquet (1993)
Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision (1994)
Apollo 13 (1995)
Bamboozled (2000)
Love & Basketball (2000)
12 Years a Slave (2013)
20 Feet from Stardom (2013)

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