Every year, the National Film Registry selects a handful of cinematic masterpieces that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” to the evolution of the art form and the history of the country. These selections are made from thousands of entries that are put forward by the public, with the choice of nominating up to 50 films per person.
From home movies to experimental masterpieces, the National Film Registry’s collection is a fascinating corpus through which one can view the history of America at different stages. Either through direct documentaries about the country or through its cultural productions, the Registry has made it possible for people to time travel.
This year’s lineup is just as eclectic as the other iterations of the selection, with mainstream productions like Star Wars and A Nightmare on Elm Street making it onto the list despite the widespread availability of physical and digital copies of the works. Even the animated masterpiece Wall-E has been deemed as an indispensable part of American cinema.
Alongside these popular works, Robert Altman’s neo-noir masterpiece The Long Goodbye has been selected this year as well as the important documentary The Murder of Fred Hampton to commemorate the anniversary of the day when the 21-year-old Black Panther revolutionary was systematically eliminated by the police.
Check out the full list of the selected entries below.
National Film Registry 2021 Honourees:
- Ringling Brothers Parade Film (1902)
- Jubilo (1919)
- The Flying Ace (1926)
- Hellbound Train (1930)
- Flowers and Trees (1932)
- Strangers on a Train (1951)
- What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
- Evergreen (1965)
- Requiem-29 (1970)
- The Murder of Fred Hampton (1971)
- Pink Flamingos (1972)
- Sounder (1972)
- The Long Goodbye (1973)
- Cooley High (1975)
- Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (1979)
- Chicana (1979)
- The Wobblies (1979)
- Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
- A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
- Stop Making Sense (1984)
- Who Killed Vincent Chin? (1987)
- The Watermelon Woman (1996)
- Selena (1997)
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
- WALL-E (2008)
“Films help reflect our cultural history and creativity — and show us new ways of looking at ourselves — though movies haven’t always been deemed worthy of preservation,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden in a statement while describing the importance of the work.
Taking the total count up to 825, Hayden added: “The National Film Registry will preserve our cinematic heritage, and we are proud to add 25 more films this year. The Library of Congress will work with our partners in the film community to ensure these films are preserved for generations to come.”