'Pulp Fiction,' 'Mary Poppins' among movies selected for National Film Registry

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Image Credit: Linda R. Chen

The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon you.

Or, you know, when the Library of Congress decides that Pulp Fiction has been recognized as a work of “great cultural, historic or aesthetic significance to the nation’s cinematic heritage.” The Library announced today that Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 masterpiece is among 25 motion pictures that have been selected to join the National Film Registry, a moving-image collection that now numbers 1.2 million items.

The Registry’s new additions run the gamut, including everything from a beloved family musical (Mary Poppins) to a seminal western (The Magnificent Seven), an acerbic deconstruction of marriage (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?), a classic film noir (Gilda), a fact-based celebration of the U.S.’s space pioneers (The Right Stuff), and a groundbreaking sci-fi epic (Forbidden Planet).

Several documentaries also made the cut, including Michael Moore’s breakthrough movie Roger & Me and Bill Morrison’s Decasia, assembled from bits and pieces of nearly deteriorated found film. Decasia, released in 2002, is the newest movie among this year’s National Film Registry picks. (Films must be at least 10 years old to qualify for this honor.)

“The National Film Registry stands among the finest summations of more than a century of extraordinary American cinema,” Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said in a statement. “This key component of American cultural history, however, is endangered” — see this report, which indicates that only 30 percent of silent films released from 1912-1929 have survived to the present day — “so we must protect the nation’s matchless film heritage and cinematic creativity.”

Want a say in what makes the list? Visit loc.gov/film to make nominations for next year’s registry. (Psst: Love Actually, Elf, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the Kings will all be eligible. Just saying.)


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