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“Being There”: National Film Registry #27

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The countdown to the newest titles to be added to the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry continues.  Those films will be disclosed on December 12th.

Back in 2015, the Library named the film “Being There,” starring Peter Sellers and Shirley MacLaine to its Registry.  “Being There” is beloved for many things, including Sellers’s quiet lead performance, but the film is much more than that.  As Jerry Dean Roberts explained:

“Sometimes the best films are the ones that strive to be more than just one thing. We see the story that is presented to us but then, at the best of times, the hidden truth begins to reveal itself. Hal Ashby’s ‘Being There’ has a lot of deep meanings wrapped around a man who does not. He is a simpleton, a man seemingly born without the capacity for cynicism, or even the capacity to learn. And yet, his connection to the outside world has a transformative effect that he doesn’t realize. The revelation in his simpleton is that his limited capacity is interpreted as genius. Is he limited, or are we? “

Read the rest of the “Being There” (PDF) essay.


Title:  “Being There”

Year of Release:  1979

Year Added to the National Film Registry:  2015  (See all films added to the Registry in 2015.)

Trivia:  The great Peter Sellers also appears in the Registry-named films “Dr. Strangelove” and “The Pink Panther.”

This blog post is the 27th of 30 in our “30 Years of the National Film Registry” series which was launched to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Registry.  The National Film Registry selects 25 films each year showcasing the range and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation.  The 30th National Film Registry selections will be announced on December 12, 2018.



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