'Dark Knight,' 'Shrek,' 'Blues Brothers' Added to National Film Registry

The National Film Registry at the Library of Congress has selected 25 new films for preservation, including The Dark Knight, Shrek, and The Blues Brothers.

An announcement on the Library of Congress website explained that the Film Registry chooses movies based on their “cultural, historic or aesthetic importance to the nation’s film heritage.” The 2020 titles boast a mix of “blockbusters, musicals, silent films, documentaries, and diverse stories transferred from books to screen.” This year’s class also features a record number of films directed by women (nine) and filmmakers of color (seven). The new additions bring the Registry’s total collection to 800.

Speaking on behalf of The Dark Knight’s inclusion, director Christopher Nolan said, “This is not only a great honor for all of us who worked on The Dark Knight, this is also a tribute to all of the amazing artists and writers who have worked on the great mythology of Batman over the decades.”

Blues Brothers director, John Landis, said: “Having The Blues Brothers chosen to be included in the National Film Registry is both a great honor and a delightful surprise. The film is the result of Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi’s genuine passion for rhythm and blues and our mutual love for these great African American artists and the city of Chicago.”

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Other notable films on this year’s list include Sidney Poitier’s first Oscar-winning film, 1963’s Lilies of the Field; Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 classic A Clockwork Orange; the John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John smash musical Grease; Melvin Van Peebles’ 1971 Blaxploitation staple, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song; and the 2008’s war drama, The Hurt Locker, for which Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win Best Director at the Oscars. The 2020 list also features a pair of notable music documentaries: 1973’s Wattstax, which chronicled Stax Records’ famed 1972 concert at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum several years after the Watts uprising; and 1999’s Buena Vista Social Club, about Ry Cooder’s trip to Cuba to reunite some of the most renowned musicians of the pre-Castro era.

“The National Film Registry is an important record of American history, culture, and creativity, captured through one of the great American artforms, our cinematic experience,” Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said. “With the inclusion of diverse filmmakers, we are not trying to set records but rather to set the record straight by spotlighting the astonishing contributions women and people of color have made to American cinema, despite facing often-overwhelming hurdles.”

To celebrate this year’s inductees, Turner Classic Movies will air a selection of the 25 new films starting Tuesday, December 15th, at 8 p.m. ET. Hayden will also join TCM host and film historian Jacqueline Stewart to discuss the films. Additionally, select movies from the National Film Registry are available to stream for free via the National Screening Room.

2020 Film Registry Inductees

Suspense (1913)
Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914)
Bread (1918)
The Battle of the Century (1927)
With Car and Camera Around the World (1929)
Cabin in the Sky (1943)
Outrage (1950)
The Man with the Golden Arm (1955)
Lilies of the Field (1963)
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971)
Wattstax (1973)
Grease (1978)
The Blues Brothers (1980)
Losing Ground (1982)
Illusions (1982)
The Joy Luck Club (1993)
The Devil Never Sleeps (1994)
Buena Vista Social Club (1999)
The Ground (1993-2001)
Shrek (2001)
Mauna Kea: Temple Under Siege (2006)
The Hurt Locker (2008)
The Dark Knight (2008)
Freedom Riders (2010)

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