Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced today the annual selection of 25 motion pictures that have been inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress because of their cultural, historic or aesthetic importance.  This year’s titles range from the Disney animated blockbuster “The Lion King” and the seminal coming-of-age drama “The Breakfast Club” to the 1990 documentary “Paris Is Burning,” chronicling the pageantry of drag balls in New York City, and a collection of home movies showcasing African-American life in Oklahoma during the 1920s.

“Motion pictures document our history and culture and serve as a mirror of our collective experiences,” said Hayden.  “The National Film Registry embraces the richness and diversity of film as an art form and celebrates the people who create the magic of cinema.”

Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian of Congress names to the National Film Registry 25 motion pictures that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant.  The films must be at least 10 years old.  The Librarian makes the annual registry selections after conferring with the distinguished members of the National Film Preservation Board (NFPB) and a cadre of Library specialists.  Thousands of public nominations are also considered. Nominations for next year will be accepted through the fall at loc.gov/programs/national-film-preservation-board/film-registry/nominate/.

In addition to advising the Librarian of Congress on the annual selection of titles to the National Film Registry, the board also provides counsel on national preservation planning policy. In that capacity, it issued the following statement: “The National Film Preservation Board continued to focus much of its attention this year on the recognition of photochemical film as a distinct medium. Emerging digital technologies offer many alternative opportunities in capture and exhibition, but the board encourages the preservation of film on film.  It also applauds those efforts in education and exhibition that stimulate an appreciation of the work of the archives in preserving our classic cinema.  Film remains the best existing archival medium and the board encourages archives and rights-holders to continue to preserve titles on film as they have done in the past.”

Spanning the period 1903 to 1998, the films named to this year’s registry include Hollywood blockbusters, documentaries, silent movies, animation, shorts, independent and experimental motion pictures. The 2016 selections bring the number of films in the registry to 700, which is a small fraction of the Library’s vast moving-image collection of 1.3 million items.

The silent films selected this year include the 1903 technical marvel “Life of an American Fireman”; the 1912 “Musketeers of Pig Alley,” directed by D. W. Griffith and considered the first gangster film; the 1916 “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” touted as the first submarine photoplay; and a comedy starring Buster Keaton, “Steamboat Bill, Jr.” Also in this category is a collection of home movies, produced by Baptist minister and businessman Solomon Sir Jones. The films showcase a rich tapestry of African-American communities in Oklahoma from 1924 to 1928.

In 2013, the Library of Congress released a report that conclusively determined that 70 percent of the nation’s silent feature films have been lost forever and only 14 percent exist in their original 35 mm format.

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 (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)

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