Movie Talk

‘The Matrix,’ ‘Slacker’ and ‘Dirty Harry’ among 25 films chosen for National Film Registry

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Photo: The Everett Collection

The art of (seemingly) random is alive and well as the Library of Congress has named this year's archival selections for the National Film Registry.

The 25 motion pictures chosen for "cultural preservation" this year span several decades and include many different genres, from 1897's "The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Title Fight" to the game-changing 1999 sci-fi action flick, "The Matrix."

Other notable inclusions this year include Clint Eastwood's highly influential ode to angry '70s-era vigilantism, "Dirty Harry"; Richard Linklater's 1991 indie-cool valentine to Austin, Texas, "Slacker"; and at least a few people's all-time favorite holiday movie, "A Christmas Story." Penny Marshall's feel-good 1992 sports drama, "A League of Their Own," and Monte Hellman's minimalist "Easy Rider"-inspired 1971 road movie, "Two-Lane Blacktop," are also on the list.

So what does the National Film Registry do, exactly? They're basically creating a sort of cultural and historical timeline with cinema, choosing the films that best represent who and where we are at any given time. These aren't necessarily all "great" films, though they have all been deemed "significant."

"These films are not selected as the 'best' American films of all time, but rather as works of enduring importance to American culture," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "They reflect who we are as a people and as a nation."

There are now 600 films within the National Film Registry, spanning from 1897-1999. All titles will be preserved either through the Library's motion picture preservation program or via other archives, studios and independent filmmakers.

The 25 selections for 2012 are as follows:

"3:10 to Yuma" (1957)

"Anatomy of a Murder" (1959)

"The Augustas" (1930s-1950s)

"Born Yesterday" (1950)

"Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961)

"A Christmas Story" (1983)

"The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Title Fight" (1897)

"Dirty Harry" (1971)

"Hours For Jerome: Parts 1 and 2" (1980-82)

"The Kidnappers Foil" (1930s-1950s)

"Kodachrome Color Motion Picture Tests" (1922)

"A League of Their Own" (1992)

"The Matrix" (1999)

"The Middleton Family at the New York World's Fair" (1939)

"One Survivor Remembers" (1995)

"Parable" (1964)

"Samsara: Death and Rebirth in Cambodia" (1990)

"Slacker" (1991)

"Sons of the Desert" (1933)

"The Spook Who Sat by the Door" (1973)

"They Call It Pro Football" (1967)

"The Times of Harvey Milk" (1984)

"Two-Lane Blacktop" (1971)

"Uncle Tom's Cabin" (1914)

"The Wishing Ring; An Idyll of Old England" (1914)

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