The National Film Registry is a selection of some of the most important films ever made. The Registry began in 1989, as a result of an act of Congress. Each year, a team of filmmakers and film scholars selects 25 films to be added. Currently, there are 800 films on the Registry.
In order to be added to the NFR, films must fit two criteria: first, they must be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” And second, they must be at least 10 years old. However, most films that get added to the Registry tend to be quite a bit older than that. For example, out of the 800 films currently on the Registry, only 25 of those films are less than 25 years old. Likewise, while the rules don’t prohibit international films from being added, one of the chief purposes of the Registry is to recognize and preserve American films. I am not currently aware of any international films that are included in the Registry (but I also haven’t seen most of the films, hence why I started this project).
The NFR contains a WIDE variety of films, including popular blockbusters (like Star Wars, Back to the Future, and The Lion King), and Oscar winners (like Casablanca, The Godfather, and Schindler’s List). But it doesn’t limit itself only to films that most people would consider “traditional movies”, it also contains short films, cartoons, documentaries, experimental films, home videos, newsreel footage, test footage, and it even has one music video (take a guess as to which music video you think it is, and then click here to see if you were right.) A few other interesting tidbits: the longest film on the Registry is 8 hours and 5 minutes, while the shortest film is just 5 seconds. The oldest film is from 1891 and the most recent is from 2010.