The U.S. Library of Congress handles a lot of things, including running the National Film Registry, which “selects 25 films each year showcasing the range and diversity of American film heritage” to “ensure the survival, conservation and increased public availability of America’s film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation.” Predictably, the vast majority of the movies selected since the Registry began in 1989 have been classics and art-house films, which makes this year’s selection rather unique in that several genre pictures made the cut.
Return of the Jedi, Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, Wes Craven’s horror classic Nightmare on Elm Street, and Pixar’s Wall-E have been added to the list of movies to be conserved alongside more esteemed fare like Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, the 1997 biopic Selena, and John Waters’ Pink Flamingos. RotJ completes the full set of the original Star Wars trilogy for the National Film Registry, as A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back were selected in 1989 and 2010, respectively. Fellowship of the Ring is the first Lord of the Rings movie to join, but given that Return of the King won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2004, it stands to reason that it at least will make the grade eventually. Nightmare on Elm Street is the second slasher/horror movie to make it to the Registry after John Carpenter’s (admittedly far superior) 1979 genre-defining Halloween. Wall-E is also the second Pixar film to be added, after Toy Story in 2005.
Of the previous 100 movies added to the National Film Registry since 2017, only six could be considered particularly nerdy (if you’re ignoring 60+ year-old classic Disney films, which I am): Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange and The Shining; The Dark Knight; Superman; Jurassic Park; and The Goonies. You can check out the full list of films here.