In one of my favorite tasks as Librarian of Congress, I’m delighted to share with you today the 25 new titles added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry. These films of cultural, historic or aesthetic importance to the nation span a century of filmmaking, from 1903 to 2003, and join a roster of 750 films that have been added to this registry by the Library during the past three decades.
The National Film Registry has become an important record of American history, culture and creativity. Unlike many other honors, the registry is not restricted to a time, place or genre. It encompasses 130 years of the full American cinematic experience – a virtual Olympiad of motion pictures. With the support of Congress, the studios, artists, distributors, educators and other archives we are ensuring that the nation’s cinematic history will be around for generations to come.
We heard from several of the creative people involved with some of the films selected for this year’s registry, and I wanted to share their thoughts with you.
Kimberly Peirce, writer and director, “Boys Don’t Cry” (1999):
“Twenty years later, it still feels like a miracle ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ got made.
I fell in love with Brandon Teena and his desire to live and love as himself in a time and place where that was impossible. I felt a powerful conviction to bring Brandon to life on screen, so audiences would love him as I did and share my horror at his rape and murder.
“To our amazement, the world embraced Brandon. It is meaningful to me as a filmmaker, a genderqueer, and as a person that the Library of Congress has recognized ‘Boys Don’t Cry’. This moment is a culmination, unimaginable and wonderful.”
Albert Magnoli, writer and director, “Purple Rain” (1984):
“I am deeply honored that ‘Purple Rain’ has been selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry in 2019. Thirty six years ago, I went to Minneapolis, Minnesota to meet Prince, The Revolution and The Time in order to understand their lives and their music, and then write and direct a film that emerged from their honesty and authenticity. All of us strived to create a film that would capture the attention of what we believed at the time was a small audience.
“History has shown that the audience was much larger, deeply committed to what was produced, and desirous to return to it again and again. None of us expected this longevity. We simply worked hard every day to get it right, and this honor is a testament to the music, story and characters that were created by all of us so many years ago.”
Apollonia Kotero, actor, “Purple Rain” (1984):
“As a young Latina actress, being cast in ‘Purple Rain’ was the opportunity of a lifetime. Roles for women that looked like me were scarce in the 80s. Prince was never afraid of taking risks. He created a melting pot of cultures and racial interactions within his purple world.
“Thank you to the fans who have supported us throughout the years. It is truly a great honor that ‘Purple Rain’ has been selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry in 2019. Prince would be thrilled.”
Martin Scorsese, director, “The Last Waltz” (1978):
“The National Film Registry is an essential American enterprise that officially recognizes the rich depth and variety, the eloquence and the real greatness of American cinema and the filmmakers who have created it, film by film. I’m proud to serve on the National Film Preservation Board, which advises the Librarian of Congress on registry selections and preservation policy. The board is comprised of representatives from across the film community—studios, archives, guilds and artists—and that’s vitally important because it allows all of us to work together on one great cause: the preservation of one of our most precious sources of sustenance and inspiration—our cinema.”
We’re honored to announce all 25 of this year’s National Film Registry titles, which include blockbusters, documentaries, silent movies, animation and independent films. Get the entire list of 2019 entries and read more about them at today’s news announcement.