If you want to, you could probably put together a pretty strong argument in favor of abandoning the National Film Registry. I’m not sure we actually need a government sponsored program to preserve our most valuable films in this age of easily stored digital copies. Yet, I’m not going to make that argument. Maybe it isn’t really necessary, but it still feels important when I tell you that The Matrix is on the list of the 25 films selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry this year.

Movies are selected based on whether the Library of Congress thinks a film is “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. I’d say it’s safe to say The Matrix easily fits those criteria. So do the other 24 films selected. Here’s the full list:
3:10 to Yuma (1957)
Anatomy of Murder (1959)
The Augustas (1930s – 1950s)
Born Yesterday (1950)
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
A Christmas Story (1983)
The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Title Fight (1897)
Dirty Harry (1971)
Hours for Jerome: Parts 1 and 2 (1980 – 1981)
The Kidnappers Foil (1930s – 1950s)
Kodachrome Color Motion Picture Tests (1922)
A League of their Own (1992)
The Matrix (1999)
The Middleton Family at the New York World’s Fair (1939)
One Survivor Remembers (1995)
Parable (1964)
Samsara: Death and Rebirth of Cambodia (1990)
Slacker (1991)
Sons of the Desert (1993)
The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1973)
They Call It Pro Football (1967)
The Times of Harvey Milk (1984)
Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)
Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1914)
The Wishing Ring; An Idyll of Old England (1914)

Most of the names you don’t recognize on that list are significant technical landmarks. The Kodachrome Color Motion Picture Test, for instance, was a two color blue and red film meant to demonstrate that color movies could attract an audience. They Call it Pro Football was an NFL film which utilized a telephoto lens and slow motion.

Some of the more notable names on the list, you might have expected were already in. Given the number of t-shirts sold to hipsters, I’d have assumed Breakfast at Tiffany’s was definitely already locked away for preservation. Dirty Harry seems sort of like a given too. And, though I never would have expected it at all, nice to see the underrated A League of Their Own getting a little recognition. You can’t have too much Tom Hanks in the archive.

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