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I'll Be Back . . . Forever

The immortal words Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke in his career-defining role as “The Terminator” will quite literally be preserved forever. Thanks to the Library’s preservation efforts through its National Film Registry, he’ll be back and back again and back some more, even after you and your kids and your grandkids say “Hasta la vista, baby.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger as “The Terminator.” 1984 Library of Congress’s Packard Campus of the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center. 2007

Spanning the period 1910-1989, this year’s selection of 25 films brings the total number of motion pictures in the registry to 500. Joining “The Terminator” are "The Asphalt Jungle," "Deliverance," "A Face in the Crowd," "The Invisible Man" and "Sergeant York," among others.

Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian of Congress names 25 films to the National Film Registry that are "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant, to be preserved for all time. These films are not selected as the "best" American films of all time, but rather as works of enduring significance to American culture.

The Librarian makes the final selection, after reviewing hundreds of titles nominated by the public and having extensive discussions with the distinguished members of the National Film Preservation Board, as well as the Library’s motion picture staff. The Librarian is again seeking public nominations at the Film Board’s Web site and issued a call for lesser-known, but culturally vital, films such as amateur and home-movie footage. This year’s list includes "Disneyland Dream," a significant home movie record of Hollywood and Los Angeles in 1956, and the student film "No Lies."

Congress established the National Film Registry in 1989 and reauthorized the program most recently in September 2008 when it passed the "Library of Congress Sound Recording and Film Preservation Programs Reauthorization Act of 2008." For each title named to the registry, the Library of Congress’s Packard Campus of the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center works to ensure that the film is preserved for future generations, either through the Library’s massive motion-picture preservation program or through collaborative ventures with other archives, motion-picture studios and independent filmmakers.

Of course, these preservation efforts would not be possible without the guidance and leadership of the Library’s Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, which oversees one of the largest collections of motion pictures in the world. The Library has been actively collecting motion pictures since 1942, though thanks to the ingenuity of Thomas Edison and other early film producers, thousands of films were deposited at the Library as still photographs beginning in 1894. From 1949 on films collected included those made for television. The Motion Picture and Television Reading Room is the research hub for accessing many of the collections. However, several hundred early motion pictures are viewable online through the American Memory collections.

A. Arnold Schwarzenegger as “The Terminator.” 1984. Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division. Reproduction Information: Not available for reproduction.

B. Library of Congress’s Packard Campus of the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center. 2007. Matt Raymond. Library of Congress. Reproduction Information: Reproduction information not available.