National Film Registry

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The National Film Registry is the United States National Film Preservation Board's selection of films deserving of preservation. The NFPB, established by the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, was reauthorized by acts of Congress in 1992, 1996, 2005, and again in October 2008.The NFPB's mission, to which the NFR contributes, is to ensure the survival, conservation, and increased public availability of America's film heritage. The 1996 law also created the non-profit National Film Preservation Foundation which, although affiliated with the NFPB, raises money from the private sector.

As of today, there are currently 800 films provided on the registry (including newsreels, silent films, student films, experimental films, short films, a music video, films out of copyright protection or in the public domain, film serials, home movies, documentaries, animation, and independent films), with 25 new films being added to the Registry annually.

Complete film catalog

Full-length films

Full-length animated films

Documentaries

  • 13 Lakes
  • 4 Little Girls
  • All My Babies
  • Antonia: A Portrait of the Woman
  • The Atomic Cafe
  • The Battle of San Pietro
  • Before Stonewall
  • Buena Vista Social Club
  • The Buffalo Creek Flood: An Act of Man
  • Chulas Fronteras
  • The City (1939)
  • The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Fight
  • Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment
  • Dead Birds (1964)
  • Decasia
  • The Decline of Western Civilization
  • The Devil Never Sleeps (1994)
  • Dont Look Back
  • Drums of Winter
  • Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer
  • The Endless Summer
  • Film Portrait
  • The Fog of War
  • The Forgotten Frontier
  • Freedom Riders
  • Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers
  • George Stevens' World War II footage
  • Grass (1925)
  • Grey Gardens
  • Growing Up Female
  • Harlan County, USA
  • Hearts and Minds
  • Heroes All
  • High School (1968)
  • Hoop Dreams
  • Hospital (1970)
  • The Hunters (1957)
  • Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport
  • Jazz on a Summer's Day
  • Jeffries-Johnson World's Championship Boxing Contest
  • Kannapolis, N.C.
  • King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery to Memphis
  • Koyaanisqatsi
  • The Last Waltz
  • Let There Be Light (1946)
  • The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter
  • The Living Desert
  • Marian Anderson: The Lincoln Memorial Concert
  • Master Hands
  • Mauna Kea: Temple Under Siege
  • Memphis Belle
  • Monterey Pop
  • Nanook of the North
  • The Negro Soldier
  • On the Bowery
  • Paris Is Burning
  • Point of Order
  • Portrait of Jason
  • Primary
  • Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania
  • Roger & Me
  • Salesman (1969)
  • Samsara: Death and Rebirth in Cambodia
  • Sherman's March (1986)
  • Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One
  • The T.A.M.I. Show
  • Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser
  • They Call It Pro Football
  • The Thin Blue Line (1988)
  • This Is Cinerama
  • Time and Dreams
  • A Time for Burning
  • The Times of Harvey Milk
  • To Fly!
  • Topaz (1943-1945)
  • A Trip Down Market Street
  • Water and Power
  • Wattstax (1973)
  • Why We Fight (propaganda film series)
  • With Car and Camera Around the World
  • With the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain
  • Woodstock

Short Documentaries

  • Castro Street (experimental)
  • Cicero March
  • Cologne: From the Diary of Ray and Esther
  • Commandment Keeper Church, Beaufort South Carolina, May 1940
  • Czechoslovakia 1968
  • Demolishing and Building Up the Star Theatre
  • Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze
  • Emigrants Landing at Ellis Island
  • Fake Fruit Factory
  • George Washington Carver at Tuskegee Institute
  • The House in the Middle
  • I Am Somebody (1970)
  • In the Street
  • The Inner World of Aphasia
  • Manhatta
  • The March (1964)
  • Men and Dust
  • Navajo Film Themselves (7 short films)
  • (nostalgia) (1971)
  • Notes on the Port of St. Francis
  • One Survivor Remembers
  • Our Day
  • The Plow That Broke the Plains
  • Powers of Ten
  • Preservation of the Sign Language
  • President McKinley Inauguration Footage
  • The River (1938)
  • San Francisco Earthquake & Fire: April 18, 1906
  • Siege (1940)
  • Suzanne, Suzanne
  • Trance and Dance in Bali
  • V-E +1
  • Why Man Creates (animated)

Short Films

  • The Battle of the Century
  • The Beau Brummels
  • Big Business (1929)
  • Black and Tan
  • Blacksmith Scene
  • Bread (1918)
  • A Bronx Morning
  • Cops
  • A Corner in Wheat
  • The Cry of the Children
  • The Cry of Jazz
  • A Cure for Pokeritis
  • The Curse of Quon Gwon
  • Dream of a Rarebit Fiend
  • Eaux d'Artifice
  • Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB
  • The Evidence of the Film
  • The Fall of the House of Usher (1928; American)
  • Fatty's Tintype Tangle
  • Felicia
  • Fuji
  • Glimpse of the Garden
  • The Great Train Robbery
  • H2O (1929)
  • Hot Dogs for Gauguin
  • The House I Live In (1945)
  • I Am Joaquin
  • I, An Actress
  • Illusions (1982)
  • The Immigrant (1917)
  • Interior New York Subway, 14th Street to 42nd Street
  • Jam Session (1942)
  • Jammin' the Blues
  • The Jungle (1967)
  • Kid Auto Races at Venice
  • The Kiss (1896)
  • Lady Helen's Escapade
  • Lambchops
  • The Land Beyond the Sunset
  • The Life and Death of 9413: a Hollywood Extra
  • Life of an American Fireman
  • The Lunch Date
  • Mabel's Blunder
  • The Making of an American
  • The Martha Graham dance films (Heretic, Frontier, Lamentation, and Appalachian Spring)
  • Matrimony's Speed Limit
  • Mighty Like a Moose
  • Modesta
  • Multiple SIDosis
  • The Music Box
  • The Musketeers of Pig Alley
  • Newark Athlete
  • No Lies
  • One Week (1920)
  • Parable
  • Pass the Gravy
  • Peege
  • Precious Images - compilation
  • Princess Nicotine; or, The Smoke Fairy
  • Pull My Daisy
  • Punch Drinks
  • Pups Is Pups
  • Rip Van Winkle (1903) (8 short films)
  • Serene Velocity
  • The Sex Life of the Polyp
  • St. Louis Blues (1929)
  • A Study in Reds
  • Suspense (1913)
  • There It Is
  • A Time Out of War
  • White Fawn's Devotion

Short Animated Films

  • Duck Amuck
  • Duck and Cover
  • Early Abstractions (#1–5, 7, and 10)
  • Frank Film
  • Free Radicals
  • Gerald McBoing-Boing
  • Gertie the Dinosaur
  • Hair Piece: A Film for Nappyheaded People
  • The Hole (1962)
  • John Henry and the Inky-Poo
  • Let's All Go to the Lobby
  • Little Nemo (1911)
  • Luxo Jr.
  • Magical Maestro
  • Moon Breath Beat
  • The Old Mill
  • One Froggy Evening
  • Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor
  • Porky in Wackyland
  • Quasi at the Quackadero
  • The Red Book
  • Scratch and Crow
  • The Sinking of the Lusitania
  • Snow White (1933)
  • Steamboat Willie
  • The Story of Menstruation
  • The Tell-Tale Heart (1953; American)
  • Three Little Pigs
  • Tin Toy
  • Tulips Shall Grow
  • The Way of Peace
  • What's Opera, Doc?

Serial films

  • The Exploits of Elaine (14 short films)
  • Flash Gordon (13 short films)
  • The Perils of Pauline (20 short films)

Experimental films

  • Empire (1964)
  • Hours for Jerome: Parts 1 and 2
  • Sink or Swim (1990)
  • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son
  • Two-Color Kodachrome Test Shots No. III

Short experimental films

  • Allures
  • A Computer Animated Hand (animated)
  • The Dickson Experimental Sound Film
  • Dog Star Man (film series)
  • The Ground
  • The Lead Shoes
  • Meshes of the Afternoon
  • Motion Painting No. 1 (animated)
  • A Movie
  • My Name is Oona
  • OffOn
  • Our Lady of the Sphere
  • Rose Hobart
  • Something Good – Negro Kiss
  • Study of a River
  • Tarantella (1940)
  • Theodore Case Sound Test: Gus Visser and His Singing Duck

Home films

  • The Augustas
  • Disneyland Dream
  • Fuentes Family Home Movies Collection
  • Nicholas Brothers' home movies
  • Reverend Solomon Sir Jones films
  • Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse
  • Think of Me First as a Person
  • Zapruder film

Industrial films

  • The Middleton Family at the New York World's Fair
  • From Stump to Ship (short)
  • Westinghouse Works, 1904 (collection of 21 short films)

Newsreels

  • Dixon-Wanamaker Expedition to Crow Agency
  • Fox Movietone News: Jenkins Orphanage Band
  • Hindenburg disaster newsreel footage
  • The March of Time: Inside Nazi Germany
  • Republic Steel Strike Riot Newsreel Footage

Music Video

  • Michael Jackson's Thriller

Why It Rocks

  1. The system was created because most of the silent era and most than half the films made before 1950 had been lost at the time, and a lot of the surviving pre-50s films were being colorized to try appealing to modern audiences. So they're making sure people of other generations will get to see different forms of the art.
  2. The concept of preserving America's film heritage is a creative and thoughtful idea. Like trying to a capture a collection of family photographs as memories.
  3. Most of the films listed stand the test of the time incredibly well, and continue to remain in various ways, which you can learn more about by clicking on a film's title and going to its separate page. Some even predict future events.
  4. This kind of honor is different from receiving an Academy Award. While the Oscars focus on films that are popular and well-known at the time, the National Film Registry focuses on films that stand the test of time. They have the "minimum of 10 years old" rule so the work can get some time to connect to various kinds of audiences and become a true favorite.
  5. There's a nice mix of the great classics of American cinema, and a fair share of cult classics, crowd-pleasers and more mainstream movies.
  6. The Registry's also not afraid of diversity. Various films with non-white, female and LGBTQ directors have all gotten their honors, and get treated with just as much respect as the well-known films, proving that the founders and workers are perfectly willing to honor lesser-known gems if they deserve the honor.
  7. Another thing that makes the registry unique, is that it doesn't limit itself to full-length theatrical feature films. The Registry has also allowed short films, documentaries, independent films and other forms of motion pictures. They even got a music video in the mix.

Trivia

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