From Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden comes the annual selection of 25 influential motion pictures inducted into the National Film Registry (NFR) of the Library of Congress for 2021. Selected for their cultural, historic, or aesthetic importance to preserve the nation’s film heritage, this year’s picks include epic trilogies, major roles for Jennifer Lopez and Cicely Tyson, extraordinary animated features, comedy and music, and films that took on racially-motivated violence against people of color decades ago.

According to, “This year’s selections represent one of the most diverse classes of films to enter the registry, with movies dating back nearly 120 years and representing the work of Hollywood studios, independent filmmakers, documentarians, women directors, filmmakers of color, students and the silent era of film. The selections bring the number of films in the registry to 825, representing a portion of the 1.7 million films in the Library’s collections.”

Here’s the list of this year’s NFR inductees:

  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)

There are a couple of films on the list that blow me away. At the top of my list is:

Ringling Brothers Parade Film (1902)
Restored by the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, this 3-minute actuality recording of a circus parade in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1902 accidentally provides a rare glimpse of a prosperous northern Black community at the turn of the century. LOC notes that African Americans rarely appear in films of that era, and then only in caricature or as mocking distortions through a white lens. Actuality films indelibly capture time and place (fashions, ceremonies, locations soon to disappear, behavior at large events and the key daily routines of life), sometimes unexpectedly so as in this delightful gem.

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