The anarchic horror-comedy "Ghostbusters," the moving prison drama "The Shawshank Redemption," the Oscar-winning film noir "L.A. Confidential," and the first motion picture appearance by Duke Ellington are among the titles added this year to the National Film Registry, the Library of Congress announced on Wednesday.
The Registry is the Library's roster of films it has deemed to be culturally, aesthetically or historically important. Titles selected for the Registry are to be preserved by the Library for future generations as examples of America's unique film heritage.
Among the 25 titles that comprise this year's additions are "Top Gun," starring Tom Cruise as a hot-shot Navy pilot; the Jimmy Stewart western "Winchester '73"; Douglas Sirk's 1959 romantic melodrama "Imitation of Life"; John Frankenheimer's gripping and visually striking sci-fi thriller "Seconds"; and "Being There," starring Peter Sellers as an idiot mistaken for a political sage.
Among the most historically significant films added: A Spanish-language version of "Dracula" which was shot concurrently with the 1931 Bela Lugosi version, using the same sets; the 1937 Disney cartoon, "The Old Mill," which introduced innovative multi-plane animation techniques that would later bring tremendous depth to such features as "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and "Bambi"; "The Mark of Zorro," the first swashbuckler starring Douglas Fairbanks; "Portrait of Jason" (1967), an intimate conversation with a gay hustler in pre-Stonewall New York City; and one of the oldest surviving film recordings, from 1894, of a man sneezing.
Unlike critics' "best-of" compilations or tabulations of box office hits, the Registry is the most eclectic and democratic of film lists, incorporating not just Hollywood studios warhorses but also documentaries, experimental films and animation, student films, music videos, commercials and newsreels.
The Library then works with film studios, producers and archives to collect and preserve Registry films for future generations.
"Selecting a film for the National Film Registry recognizes its importance to cinema and America's cultural and artistic history," said Acting Librarian of Congress David Mao. "The Registry is an invaluable way to advance public awareness of the richness, creativity and variety of our nation's film heritage."
Director Ivan Reitman was particularly touched that his 1984 film "Ghostbusters," one of the most popular comedies ever made, was named to the Registry.
"Making 'Ghostbusters' was one of the great joys of my life," he said. "It's an honor to know that a movie that begins with a ghost in a library, now has a spot on the shelves of the Library of Congress. It's humbling to be part of a collection of extraordinary films that I have loved all my life."
The titles in the collection now number 675.
Want to nominate a film for the Registry? The Library accepts nominations from the public. Go to www.loc.gov/film/vote.html.
Films Selected for the 2015 National Film Registry (in alphabetical order):
"Being There" (1979) - Peter Sellers stars as Chance the Gardener, an idiot who is mistaken for a wise political sage, in Hal Ashby's satire.
"Black and Tan" (1929) - Duke Ellington made his first film appearance in this early music video featuring musicians and dancers of the Harlem Renaissance.
"Dracula (Spanish language version)" (1931) - In the overnight hours a Spanish-speaking cast shot a foreign-language version of the vampire flick using the same sets which Bela Lugosi used during the day.
"Dream of a Rarebit Fiend" (1906) - Edwin S. Porter used clever tricks for the humorous hallucinations of a glutton suffering a fantastic dream.
"Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer" (1975) - Thom Anderson's essay examining the photographer's pioneering studies of locomotion, which predated motion pictures.
"Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze" (1894) - An early experiment in cinema, in which a man sneezed for the benefit of the camera.
"A Fool There Was" (1915) - Theda Bara played one of early cinema's most seductive vamps in this tale of one gentleman's fall.
"Ghostbusters" (1984) - Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis starred in this blockbuster horror comedy about parapsychologists on the hunt for spirits in New York City.
"Hail the Conquering Hero" (1944) - Preston Sturges' satire of the homefront, in which a service member discharged for hay fever (Eddie Bracken), returns with a heavily-embellished story.
"Humoresque" (1920) - A young Jewish man grows up amid anti-Semitism to become a famed violinist in Frank Borzage's sentimental tale.
"Imitation of Life" (1959) - Douglas Sirk's heightened melodrama of love and racial tension stars Lana Turner, John Gavin, Juanita Moore, Sandra Dee, Troy Donahue and Susan Kohner.
"The Inner World of Aphasia" (1968) - This acclaimed medical training film teaches how to deal with patients suffering from a brain injury-induced malady that renders a person incapable of speaking.
"John Henry and the Inky-Poo" (1946) - The folk tale of a rail worker competing against a machine is brought to life in a charming "Puppetoon."
"L.A. Confidential" (1997) - Based on the James Ellroy novel, this seductive film noir about corruption in Los Angeles stars Russell Crowe, Guy Pierce, James Cromwell, Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito and Oscar-winner Kim Basinger.
"The Mark of Zorro" (1920) - Douglas Fairbanks' first swashbuckler, as the masked avenger wielding a wicked rapier.
"The Old Mill" (1937) - This Disney cartoon introduced innovative multi-plane animation techniques for a more three-dimensional feel.
"Our Daily Bread" (1934) - King Vidor's Depression-era tale tells of unemployed urbanites who head back to the farm to earn their living off the land.
"Portrait of Jason" (1967) - Shirley Clarke's intimate conversation with a gay hustler in pre-Stonewall New York City.
"Seconds" (1966) - What if you were able to get a second chance? In John Frankenheimer's suspenseful sci-fi thriller, Rock Hudson finds out that do-overs can come with a cost.
"The Shawshank Redemption" (1994) - Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman star in this moving story of survival and escape from a notorious penitentiary. It is the top-rated film on the Internet Movie Database.
"Sink or Swim" (1990) - Su Friedrich's avant-garde tone poem about her conflicted relationship with her father.
"The Story of Menstruation" (1946) - Disney was commissioned by Kotex to created an animated education film for young girls that would dispel myths and embarrassment about the menstrual cycle.
"Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One" (1968) - Documentarian William Greaves' experimental film about a film crew filming another film crew in New York's Central Park.
"Top Gun" (1986) - Tom Cruise takes to the skies as a flier training at the Navy's school for elite pilots.
"Winchester '73" (1950) - Jimmy Stewart is out to reclaim his prized rifle in this muscular Anthony Mann western (though Shelley Winters is present to soften things up, just a bit).
Previous National Film Registry articles:
- "Saving Private Ryan," "Big Lebowski" join National Film Registry (2014)
- "Pulp Fiction," "Mary Poppins" added to National Film Registry (2013)
- "Matrix," "Breakfast at Tiffany's" named to National Film Registry (2012)
- Bambi, Hannibal Lecter, Forrest Gump join Film Registry (2011)
- "Empire Strikes Back" among Film Registry picks (2010)
- "Terminator" is back, for keeps (2008)
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