Wednesday, December 31, 2008

25 New Films for the National Registry

On December 30, 2008, the Librarian of Congress (James H. Billington) named 25 entries into our National Film Registry--bringing it now to 500 total films. And, it's a very interesting list this year, to be sure. Luckily, I've seen the majority, 14 out of the 25--and many of 11 that I haven't seen, I'd like to view. Of note for those seen:

  • The Asphalt Jungle - one of John Huston's classics and one of my favorite caper films (precisely for a brilliance plan not going as expected)
  • Deliverance - John Boorman's great adaptation of a great novel by James Dickey. IMDb lists the genre as Adventure/Drama/Thriller, but it could be easily listed with Horror (at least most guys look at it that way given Ned Beatty's character's ordeal). I've never had any yearning to do white water rafting after it...
  • In Cold Blood - another exceptional adaptation (this time by Richard Brooks) of the real murder detailed in Copote's book of the same name. One of my all-time favorite cinematographers, Conrad Hall, is notable here for his great black & white work. This film has some of the best flashback scenes, and one of the most chilling endings, ever put on celluloid.
  • The Killers - another of my favorites purely because it's such a great example of the film noir genre. And, it was Burt Lancaster's film debut (and a darn good one!).
  • Sergeant York - one of Gary Cooper's favorite films, and one of Howard Hawks' best (among his many others). I'm a big HH fan...
  • The Terminator - James Cameron's low budget action/sci-fi flick that spawned his recognition as a great director (though his ego and personality definitely rub a great many the wrong way) and film franchise. Many don't remember it as the film that lifted our Governator's movie career from a death spiral (see Steven Seagal as the example of this).


  1. Wow, that IS an interesting list. I'd love to see the George Stevens WW2 footage. I've been watching Ken Burns's "The War" (a wonderful Christmas gift!) and some of the photos and footage are incredible.

    "The Asphalt Jungle" is a big favorite of mine, too.

  2. I agree, George Stevens' WWII footage covering D-Day and the European front is one I'd like to see, too. That, and 'Water and Power'. I've heard of this film, and given that 'Chinatown' (and its water-themed plot) is another of my fav's, this seems like a perfect follow-up.