Would You Save 'Shrek'? The 25 American Classics Inducted Into National Film Registry

The protectors of classic American cinema, the National Film Registry, has announced the 25 titles - including “Shrek” and “The Dark Knight” - selected for preservation this year.

Stills from some of 2020's inductees into the National Film Registry for preservation
Stills from some of 2020's inductees into the National Film Registry for preservation Photo Credit: National Film Registry, movie stills

Organized by the Library of Congress, the film registry seeks to save American movies that are innovative, mega-hits, or otherwise groundbreaking with a cultural, historic, or aesthetic impact.

The 2020 films to be preserved include blockbusters, musicals, silent films, documentaries, and diverse stories transferred from books to screen, the Libary of Congress said in a press release.

Of particular note about this year’s chosen films, is that many were directed by women and people of color.

Among the 25 titles to be preserved are:

  • "The Battle of the Century" (1927) - a silent comedy starring Laurel and Hardy
  • "The Blues Brothers" (1980) - two SNL alumni on a “mission from God”
  • "A Clockwork Orange" (1971) - a twisted meditation on violence directed by Stanley Kubrick
  • "The Dark Knight"  (2008) - Heath Ledger’s Joker
  • "Freedom Riders"(2010) - Fighting segregation in the deep south inspired by Raymond Arsenault
  • "Grease" (1978) - John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John star in this light-hearted musical with a killer soundtrack
  • "Lilies of the Field" (1963) Sidney Poitier in a classic role
  • "Mauna Kea: Temple Under Siege" (2006) - documentary about a dormant volcano
  • "Suspense (1913)" - Seminal story co-directed by Lois Weber
  • "Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song" (1971) - Among the first films to tell a story without referencing much white culture.

Without proper preservation techniques, films deteriorate over time and the artistry can be lost forever. The National Film Registry launched in 1997 to save America's best-filmed works.

With the 2020 movies included, there are now 800 titles in the National Film Registry.

For a full listing of films selected for presrevation in 2020, visit the Library of Congress online.

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