2010 National Film Registry List Selects ‘The Empire Strikes Back,’ ‘Airplane!’ & More

Published 4 years ago by

empire strikes back and 24 films added to the national film registry 2010 National Film Registry List Selects The Empire Strikes Back, Airplane! & More

Every year, The National Film Registry of the Library of Congress selects 25 American motion pictures to be preserved in perpetuity for their cultural, historical, and aesthetic significance. The Registry began in 1989 and, as of this year, has preserved 550 films in total.

2010 sees the addition of some of the greatest films from the eighteen-nineties to the nineteen-nineties, including The ExorcistAll the President’s MenThe Empire Strikes Back, and Malcom X. Additionally, The Pink Panther and Airplane! were selected in honor of the late great Blake Edwards and Leslie Nielsen, respectively. (That and they’re awesome movies, to boot.)

According to Librarian of Congress James H. Billington:

“As the nation’s repository of American creativity, the Library of Congress—with the support of the U.S. Congress—must ensure the preservation of America’s film patrimony. The National Film Registry is a reminder to the nation that the preservation of our cinematic creativity must be a priority because about half of the films produced before 1950 and as much as 90 percent of those made before 1920 have been lost to future generations.”

Check out the full list below:

  • Airplane! (1980)
  • All the President’s Men (1976)
  • The Bargain (1914)
  • Cry of Jazz (1959)
  • Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB (1967)
  • The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
  • The Exorcist (1973)
  • The Front Page (1931)
  • Grey Gardens (1976)
  • I Am Joaquin (1969)
  • It’s a Gift (1934)
  • Let There Be Light (1946)
  • Lonesome (1928)
  • Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)
  • Malcolm X (1992)
  • McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971)
  • Newark Athlete (1891)
  • Our Lady of the Sphere (1969)
  • The Pink Panther (1964)
  • Preservation of the Sign Language (1913)
  • Saturday Night Fever (1977)
  • Study of a River (1996)
  • Tarantella (1940)
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)
  • A Trip Down Market Street (1906)

It’s a great list, though perhaps not all that surprising. I could watch The Pink Panther, All the President’s Men, and The Empire Strikes Back for hours upon hours on end, with my eyelids taped wide open A Clockwork Orange-style. Star Wars fans will no doubt notice that George Lucas was honored twice on this list, both for his experimental short film Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB and The Empire Strikes Back. It’s probably too much to ask that they throw Howard the Duck and Radioland Murders on the list for next year, right?

Source: Library of Congress via Deadline

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  1. Cool. Does that mean they’ll be available for free at some point, that they could be shown in schools/available in libraries as they’re of historical significance?

    • Most of these movies you can already rent at your local library:)

  2. Saturday Night Fever?!

    • Saturday Night Fever catches the essence and a time period for all time… When I watch that movie I get a feel for what my parents were into when they were younger… It is a great movie:)

  3. As a huge Star Wars fan I am pleased to see Empire on the list. However, I am wondering which version they are to preserve. Are we talking Lucas’s edition with 90′s-esque additions, or are we talking the original? For the sake of history, I would assume the original. However, hasn’t Lucas openly admitted to destroying parts of the original to shape his final vision? Color me confused.

    • My understanding is the the Library of Congress takes the original film footage so I would guess it’s the 1980 version, not the Special Edition.

      • I’d rather not see Empire make the archives at all if the only option is Lucas’s butchered special edition. RIP Irvin Kershner.

        • Agreed.

        • My thoughts as well.

    • yh same here empire was great

  4. I suppose Saturday Night Fever because it caught the feeling of the times…???

  5. The Excorsist… hell yeah.

  6. Absolute great to see Malcolm X on the list. It’s one of Spike Lee’s greatest films and although times have changed a lot, I would love to see him make another film in the same style of Do The Right Thing, Mo Better Blues and Jungle Fever. What Scorsese was to gangster films, Spike Lee certainly was for powerful racial orientated dramas.

    I respect both Unforgiven and Al Pacino getting recognition at the Oscars that year but there is more than a serious argument for Malcom X deserving Best Film, Best Director and of course Best Actor for Denzel Washington. For all his great screen performances, this role still remians his best right up there with De Niro in Raging Bull and Pacino in Scarface.

  7. My bet is the original theatrical version of “The empire strikes back” will be inducted into the hall of fame, because of the following criteria taken directly from National Registeries website.

    “Spanning the period 1891-1996″,

    “Spanning the period 1891-1996, the films named to the registry range from a rare glimpse of San Francisco before the 1906 earthquake and the political thriller “All the President’s Men” to George Lucas’ student film in 1967 and his sci-fi special-effects extravaganza “The Empire Strikes Back.” Also included in the registry are lesser-known, but culturally vital films such as the black independent film “Cry of Jazz,” Luis Valdez’s “I Am Joaquin” and John Huston’s war documentary “Let There Be Light,” which was banned by the War Department for 35 years. This year’s selections bring the number of films in the registry to 550.

  8. All the President’s Men should have made the cut years ago.

  9. Adding George Lucas’s 15-minute student version of THX 1138 and not the actual feature film: a wilfully obscure way of “making amends” for the terrible perceived intellectual crime of including a Star Wars film on the list?