Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189

For Release: After 10 a.m. (EST) November 16, 1999

Librarian of Congress Names 25 More Films to National Film Registry

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington today announced his annual selection of 25 motion pictures to be added to the National Film Registry. (See attached list.) This group of titles brings the total number of films placed on the Registry to 275.

Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian of Congress names 25 "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant motion pictures to the Registry. The list is designed to reflect the full breadth and diversity of America's film heritage, thus increasing public awareness of the richness of American cinema and the need for its preservation.

"Taken together, the 275 films in the National Film Registry represent a stunning range of American filmmaking -- including Hollywood features, documentaries, avant-garde and amateur productions, films of regional interest, ethnic, animated, and short film subjects -- all deserving recognition, preservation and access by future generations. As we approach the Millennium, the Registry stands among the finest summations of American cinema's wondrous first century" said Dr. Billington.

The Librarian chose this year's titles after evaluating more than a thousand titles nominated by the public and following intensive discussions, both with the distinguished members and alternates of his advisory body, the National Film Preservation Board, whom the Librarian consults both on Registry film selection and national film preservation policy, and the Library's own Motion Picture Division staff.

Dr. Billington added, "I am especially pleased that several Registry titles this year resulted from public input gathered through the "Candidates for the National Film Registry" screenings here in Washington."

"Our film heritage is America's living past. It celebrates the creativity and inventiveness of diverse communities and our nation as a whole. By preserving American films, we safeguard our history and build toward the future," said the Librarian.

"Despite the heroic efforts of archives, the motion picture industry and others, America's film heritage, by any measure, is an endangered species. Fifty percent of the films produced before 1950 and at least 90 percent made before 1920 have disappeared forever. Sadly, our enthusiasm for watching films has proved far greater than our commitment to preserving them. And, ominously, more films are lost each year -- through the ravages of nitrate deterioration, color-fading and the recently discovered 'vinegar syndrome,' which threatens the acetate-based (safety) film stock on which the vast majority of motion pictures, past and present, have been preserved," said Dr. Billington.

For each title named to the Registry, the Library of Congress works to ensure that the film is preserved for all time, either through the Library's massive motion picture preservation program at Dayton, Ohio, or through collaborative ventures with other archives, motion picture studios, and independent filmmakers. The Library of Congress contains the largest collections of film and television in the world, from the earliest surviving copyrighted motion picture to the latest feature releases.

For more information, please consult the National Film Preservation Board Web site:

# # #

Films Selected to the National Film Registry Library of Congress - 1999

  1. Civilization (1916)
  2. Do the Right Thing (1989)
  3. The Docks of New York (1928)
  4. Duck Amuck (1953)
  5. The Emperor Jones (1933)
  6. Gunga Din (1939)
  7. In the Land of the Head-Hunters (a.k.a. In the Land of the War Canoes) (1914)
  8. Jazz On A Summer's Day (1959)
  9. King: A Filmed Record ... Montgomery to Memphis (1970)
  10. The Kiss (1896)
  11. Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
  12. Lambchops (1929)
  13. Laura (1944)
  14. Master Hands (1936)
  15. My Man Godfrey (1936)
  16. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
  17. The Plow That Broke the Plains (1936)
  18. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
  19. Roman Holiday (1953)
  20. The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
  21. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
  22. The Ten Commandments (1956)
  23. Trance and Dance in Bali (1938-39)
  24. The Wild Bunch (1969)
  25. Woman of the Year (1942)

# # #

PR 99-174
ISSN 0731-3527

Back to top