Every year the Library of Congress selects films to add to the National Film Registry that spotlights the importance of preserving America’s unparalleled film heritage. This year a film starring Audrey Hepburn, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" was among the 25 chosen as one of the films "of enduring importance to American culture. They reflect who we are as a people and as a nation,” said the Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.
Established by Congress in 1989, the National Film Registry spans the period 1897-1999, the films named to the registry include Hollywood classics, documentaries, early films, and independent and experimental motion pictures. This year’s selections bring the number of films in the registry to 600.
Audrey Hepburn's Holly Golightly joins noted American filmmakers including independent and experimental films, including Nathaniel Dorsky’s “Hours for Jerome,” Richard Linklater’s “Slacker” and the Kodachrome Color Motion Picture Test film of 1922. Among the cinema firsts are “They Call It Pro Football,” which has been described as the “Citizen Kane” of sports movies; and the 1914 version of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” which features the first black actor to star in a feature-length American film. The actor Sam Lucas made theatrical history when he also appeared in the lead role in the stage production of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” in 1878.
Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian of Congress names 25 films to the National Film Registry that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant. The films must be at least 10 years old. The Librarian makes the annual selections to the registry after reviewing hundreds of titles nominated by the public and conferring with Library film curators and the distinguished members of the National Film Preservation Board (NFPB). The public is urged to make nominations for next year’s registry at the NFPB’s website (www. loc.gov/film).
For each title named to the registry, the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation works to ensure that the film is preserved for future generations, either through the Library’s motion picture preservation program or through collaborative ventures with other archives, motion picture studios and independent filmmakers. The Packard Campus is a state-of-the-art facility where the nation’s library acquires, preserves and provides access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of films, television programs, radio broadcasts and sound recordings (www.loc.gov/avconservation/).