‘Fellowship of the Ring,’ ‘Return of the Jedi,’ ‘WALL-E,’ and 23 More Movies Join National Film Registry

The new class of films poised for preservation by the Library of Congress also includes "Selena," "The Watermelon Woman," and "Strangers on a Train."
The Fellowship of the Ring
"The Fellowship of the Ring"
Everett Collection

The National Film Registry — known as the preservation arm of the Library of Congress — has added 25 new films to its 825 titles of culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant movies. But that’s just a small portion of the Library’s whopping 1.7 million titles.

Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, the movies must be at least 10 years old, and this year’s additions feature many film fan favorites. As reported by Variety, among them are “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” from 2001, “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi” from 1983, Pixar’s “WALL-E” from 2008, 1997’s beloved musical biopic “Selena,” pioneering Black lesbian drama “The Watermelon Woman” from 1996, the cult classic original “A Nightmare on Elm Street” from 1984, and even a few canonical classics like “The Long Goodbye,” “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?,” and “Strangers on a Train.” See the full list below in chronological order.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden calls these recent additions as the most diverse class ever to enter the registry, with films dating back 120 years to the dawn of the medium, and entires from indie filmmakers, documentarians, women, and directors of color.

“Films help reflect our cultural history and creativity — and show us new ways of looking at ourselves — though movies haven’t always been deemed worthy of preservation. The National Film Registry will preserve our cinematic heritage, and we are proud to add 25 more films this year,” Hayden said. “The Library of Congress will work with our partners in the film community to ensure these films are preserved for generations to come.”

Per the Library, “Return of the Jedi” and “Fellowship of the Ring” were inducted out of public support following a period of online voting.

“In 1951, Professor Tolkien expressed the wish that ‘… other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama…’ might one day come to the world of middle-earth. And they did — actors and artists, composers and musicians, linguists and digital wizards — a myriad of talent came together to bring his vast work of imagination to life on the screen,” said the filmmaking team of Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens, in a statement shared with Variety. “It is a great honor to have ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’ selected this year by the National Film Registry. We are proud to be part of an archive that celebrates and preserves the art of visual storytelling, for generations to come.”

1. “Ringling Brothers Parade Film” (1902)
2. “Jubilo” (1919)
3. “The Flying Ace” (1926)
4. “Hellbound Train” (1930)
5. “Flowers and Trees” (1932)
6. “Strangers on a Train” (1951)
7. “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” (1962)
8. “Evergreen” (1965)
9. “Requiem-29” (1970)
10. “The Murder of Fred Hampton” (1971)
11. “Pink Flamingos” (1972)
12. “Sounder” (1972)
13. “The Long Goodbye” (1973)
14. “Cooley High” (1975)
15. “Richard Pryor: Live in Concert” (1979)
16. “Chicana” (1979)
17. “The Wobblies” (1979)
18. “Star Wars Episode VI — Return of the Jedi” (1983)
19. “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984)
20. “Stop Making Sense” (1984)
21. “Who Killed Vincent Chin?” (1987)
22. “The Watermelon Woman” (1996)
23. “Selena” (1997)
24. “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001)
25. “WALL-E” (2008)

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