BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S, THE MATRIX, & More to Be Added to National Film Registry
The excitement of national football; the first black star of an American feature-length film; the visionary battle between man and machine; and an award-winning actress born yesterday are part of a kaleidoscope of cinematic moments captured on film and tapped for preservation. The Librarian of Congress James H. Billington today named 25 motion pictures that have been selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. These cinematic treasures represent important cultural, artistic and historic achievements in filmmaking.
"Established by Congress in 1989, the National Film Registry spotlights the importance of preserving America's unparalleled film heritage," said Billington. "These films are not selected as the 'best' American films of all time, but rather as works of enduring importance to American culture. They reflect who we are as a people and as a nation."
Spanning the period 1897-1999, the films named to the registry include Hollywood classics, documentaries, early films, and independent and experimental motion pictures. This year's selections bring the number of films in the registry to 600.
The films include such movie classics as "Born Yesterday," featuring Judy Holliday's Academy Award-winning performance; and Truman Capote's "Breakfast at Tiffany's," starring Audrey Hepburn. Among the documentaries named to the registry are "The Times of Harvey Milk," a revealing portrait of San Francisco's first openly gay elected official; "One Survivor Remembers," an Academy Award-winning documentary short about Holocaust survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein; and Ellen Bruno's documentary about the struggle of the Cambodian people to rebuild in the aftermath of Pol Pot's killing fields.
The creative diversity of American filmmakers is evident in the selections of independent and experimental films, which include Nathaniel Dorsky's "Hours for Jerome," Richard Linklater's "Slacker" and the Kodachrome Color Motion Picture Test film of 1922. Among the cinema firsts are "They Call It Pro Football," which has been described as the "Citizen Kane" of sports movies; and the 1914 version of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," which features the first black actor to star in a feature-length American film. The actor Sam Lucas made theatrical history when he also appeared in the lead role in the stage production of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" in 1878.
Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian of Congress names 25 films to the National Film Registry that are "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant. The films must be at least 10 years old. The Librarian makes the annual selections to the registry after reviewing hundreds of titles nominated by the public and conferring with Library film curators and the distinguished members of the National Film Preservation Board (NFPB). The public is urged to make nominations for next year's registry at the NFPB's website (www.loc.gov/film/).