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U.S. National Film Registry names new list of "culturally significant" films

by Shannon Harris on December 28, 2010

The Library of Congress announced 25 titles on Tuesday to add to the U.S. National Film Registry's list of culturally significant films. The additional movies that were judged to have achieved preservation status in 2010 included The Empire Strikes Back, The Pink Panther, All the President's Men and Malcolm X, among others.

The movies were all made between 1891 and 1996 and were nominated as part of the National Film Registry's annual initiative to add 25 films to its archives under the National Film Preservation Act, which began in 1989. In order to qualify, a film must be at least 10 years old and be "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant," according to the Wall Street Journal.

The above mentioned films, in addition to The Exorcist, Grey Gardens, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Saturday Night Fever and Airplane! were all among the selections considered "works of enduring significance to American culture" by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington and other members of the board. The group convened in November to select the titles from a list of over 2,000 movies recommended by the public, the Washington Post reports.

According to the news source, Martin Scorsese, Leonard Maltin, Alfre Woodard and representatives from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Motion Picture Association of America, the National Alliance of Theatre Owners and other film associations were part of the board.

Billington is an advocate for under-represented categories of films in addition to the more popular selections, the Associated Press reports.

"The most interesting thing for me is not seeing something I like make the list, but getting educated by the list that comes out of this process," he told the news source.

The original versions of selected films will be available for viewing by the public while additional copies will be kept in cold-storage vaults to prevent the film from deteriorating.

With the addition of the 2010 selections, there are currently 550 films in the National Film Registry's archives.

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