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Preserving Films: Future Saving Grace For Public Media

written by Jordan McIntyre December 19, 2017

Great news for current and future fans of film history. Two fantastic motion-pictures from director and producer Richard Donner were inducted into the National Film Registry (NFR) this year: Superman (1978) and The Goonies (1985). Notable accompanying works of art include, but are not limited to Disney’s Dumbo (1941), Titanic (1997), and…Whaaaaat? Die Hard (1988)!? How freakin’ cool is that!? Somebody tell Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine).

With Net-Neutrality in full dive, one could beg bitter questions as to what should be publicly and easily accessible to educate, preserve, and shape minds like our resources have throughout history – it’s something a lot of people don’t think of. Come on, you can admit it, some of us aren’t the best at thinking long-term. There are, luckily, those who do this thinking for us.

If you didn’t know already, the Library of Congress values the artistic influence of films in American Culture. Not unlike our public library systems who (as a people) are keepers of knowledge, history, and preservers of literary integrity. Well, does cinematic media fit in here somewhere? You bet it does! That’s where the registry comes in.Near the end of every year, a handful of publicly nominated audiovisual media pieces are picked to be inducted into the NFR. The process promotes and ensures that the selected pieces are preserved (if not already) in one form or another as publicly accessible examples of American film culture.

This doesn’t merely apply to the history of the motion-picture industry – there is so much to learn from examples like these films. Look at how far technology, storytelling, and idealizing social concepts, in general, has come. Subjective opinions aside, the aforementioned films are very deserving of their place in the registry for countless different reasons.

Superman, a dominant example of the artistic charisma it took in 1978 to make a man fly, standing as a testament to how far we’ve come in the movie-magic department. The film also owns recognition as the first superhero picture to be allocated a large budget.

Christopher Reeve – Superman (1978)

Christopher Reeve – Superman (1978)

Henry Cavill – Man of Steel (2013)

The Goonies is just emotional classicism, you can’t help but let it be that film that you loved as a kid, you know? That movie that was scary for some reason but completely rewatchable. Now our children’s children will hear the legend of the “truffle shuffle” too and see bonds of friendship and family grow within a daring adventure – all while (heavily) giving a powerful message not to judge people for how they look.

Titanic still owns it’s second-place among the highest-grossing films in history. I know that because I can confirm the knowledge freely and efficiently at this moment.

The tragically inconvenient forming of an iceberg will educate on logic, and keep your eyes peeled – while the active message and lessons are conveyed throughout a saucy love affair.

This movie took people by storm in its day, and with good reason. The vibrant cinematography and color brought to such a tragic moment, “perfecto.” I will completely admit that if I were asked what the bar-setting movie was for the romantic genre, immediately “Titanic” would come to mind.

Die Hard gives a prime example of fable cinematic brilliance, placing the compelling genre of raw action and epic heroism all on Christmas Eve. While the film was a precarious idea considering the big contenders in the action genres around that era, it helps set a new standard for films that could somehow be appropriate on a family movie night.

I for one am very glad this level of preservation and care is being taken with such influential and eclectic information.

Will you be picking up a copy of one of these iconic films for your own preservation? It is the winter holidays after all. You can see the full list of 725 films on the National Film Registry here.

Do you agree or disagree? Was there another film you felt deserved to be listed? Let us know in the comments below!

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