The National Film Registry announced their newest additions to the list of “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant films on Dec. 28, 2011. The movies range from family friendly animated fare to Independent classics to low budget action flicks.
The National Film Registry honors Walt Disney’s personal favorite animated film, Bambi, this year. One of the most heartbreaking of Disney’s animated classics (see Bambi’s mother dying) to its most endearing, Bambi remains one of the most popular movies in Disney history.
The Big Heat (1953)
The National Film Registry honors this Film Noir classic, starring Glenn Ford and Lee Marvin, about a tough cop (Ford) who takes on a local crime syndicate, exposing tensions within his own corrupt police department. The movie was directed by the classic German Expressionist filmmaker, Fritz Lang.
El Mariachi (1992)
Robert Rodriguez made his film debut in this action thriller about a mariachi player who ends up in a small town with a guitar case full of weapons. He then has to figure out how his guitar case gets switched out with the weapons case. Rodriguez went on to become one of the most independently successful directors outside the Hollywood system.
This John Cassavetes film depicts a married couple, safe in their suburban home, narrow in their thinking who experience a breakup that releases them from the conformity of their existence and forces them into a different context, when all barriers are down.
Forrest Gump (1994)
Forrest Gump is one of the most beloved, while also one of the most despised Oscar winning movies of all time. The movie itself is a remarkable achievement in editing and filmmaking by Rovert Zemeckis. Forrest is a mentally challenged everyman who sets out to discover the world. It earned lots of enemies when it beat out movies like Pulp Fiction and Shawshank Redemption for the Best Oscar honor.
The Kid (1921)
In a shocker, Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid is just now getting honored by the National Film Registry. A movie that should have entered the archives years ago, The Kid is Chaplin’s first full-length feature, a silent classic about a foundling (Jackie Coogan) taken in by The Little Tramp.
The Lost Weekend (1945)
In one of the best movies ever made about the dangers of alcoholism, The Lost Weekend was directed by Billy Wilder. Wilder took a straight forward, uncompromising look at alcoholism, following an aspiring New York writer willing to do almost anything for a drink. It won the Academy Awards for best picture, direction, screenplay and actor.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
This Oscar winning horror thriller stars Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins in the story of an FBI agent who is on the trail of a murderer. In order to get into the mind of the killer, she has to do in-depth interviews with imprisoned cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter.
Stand and Deliver (1988)
Based on a true story, Stand and Deliver stars Edward James Olmos in an Oscar-nominated performance as crusading educator Jaime Escalante. It was one of the first movies with a teacher influencing their students through alternative measures.
The War of the Worlds (1953)
This is the sci-fi movie released during the height of the Cold War, an adaptation of H.G. Wells’ 1898 novel of an alien invasion transplanted from Victorian England to a mid-20th century Southern California small town in this film version.
Other films recognized include Allures (1961), A Computer Animated Hand (1972), Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (1963), The Cry of the Children (1912), A Cure for Pokeritis (1912), Fake Fruit Factory (1986), Growing Up Female (1971), Hester Street (1975), I, An Actress (1977), The Iron Horse (1924), The Negro Soldier (1944), Nicholas Brothers Family Home Movies (1930s-40s), Norma Rae (1979), Porgy and Bess (1959) and Twentieth Century (1934).