There are plenty of organizations that try to pick the most important films in American history, from the AFI's endless series of lists to the annual Best Picture winners. But there are few more prestigious selections than the ones made by the National Film Registry, an arm of the Library of Congress that chooses 25 films each year to be preserved for all time, "because of their enduring significance to American culture." The idea is that even when culture has degraded to the point that all we have left is parodies and Tyler Perry movies, future generations will be able to look back and see what we actually did well.

This year's group of 25 selections is set to be announced today, and the New York Times has published the list early. The Class of 2011 includes some recent hits like Silence of the Lambs, Forrest Gump and Robert Rodriguez's El Mariachi, but also some older classics, like Disney's Bambi, Billy Wilder's Lost Weekend and the 1953 adaptation of War of the Worlds. But the Registry doesn' trust focus on popular movies, but the ones it deems important; other inclusions this year are the abstract short film Allures, the 1912 silent short Pokeritis, and the 1959 adaptation of Porgy and Bess.

You can find the full list of registry titles here and rest assured knowing that future generations will be able to revisit 2001: A Space Odyssey as well as Beauty and the Beast well into the future.
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