The Library of Congress National Film Registry has just inducted 25 new films, ranging from beloved fan favorites to esteemed cinematic classics. In a holiday-themed twist, Chris Columbus’ “Home Alone” and Tim Burton’s “Nightmare Before Christmas” are among the inductees, along with films by Spike Lee, Steve McQueen, Ron Howard, Ang Lee, and James Cameron.

Twenty-five influential films were selected “for their cultural, historic or aesthetic importance to preserve the nation’s film heritage,” per the official press release. The 2023 selections date back more than 100 years to a 1921 Kodak educational film titled “A Movie Trip Through Filmland” about how film stock is produced and the impact of movies globally, as well as Oscar-winning films “20 Feet From Stardom” and “12 Years a Slave.”

The public submitted 6,875 titles for consideration this year, with “Home Alone” and “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” garnering significant support. The total number of films in the registry is now at 875.

The Library plans to screen “The Nightmare Before Christmas” on December 21 at 6:30 p.m. ET and “Home Alone” on December 28 at 6:30 p.m. ET for Live! at the Library.

Turner Classic Movies will also host a television special Thursday, December 14 starting at 8 p.m. ET to screen a selection of films named to the registry this year. Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden will join TCM host, film historian, and Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Director and President Jacqueline Stewart, who is chair of the National Film Preservation Board, to discuss the films. 

Selected auteurs reflected on their respective films being included in the National Film Registry, specifically with what makes the features distinctly American. Ron Howard, who helmed “Apollo 13,” told the Library that the film is a “very honest, heartfelt reflection of something that was very American, which was the space program in that time and what it meant to the country and to the world.”

Best Picture-winning “12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen said, “Slavery for me was a subject matter that hadn’t been sort of given enough recognition within the narrative of cinema history. I wanted to address it for that reason, but also because it was a subject which had so much to do with how we live now. It wasn’t just something which was dated. It was something which is living and breathing, because you see the evidence of slavery today.”

Ang Lee of “The Wedding Banquet” added of onscreen representation, “I didn’t make the movie to be influential, but it was. I see since the movie, whether it’s cross-culture or gay issues, some major breakthroughs, certainly in Taiwan and the Chinese community because the movie was well-liked. It just eased into people’s lives quite naturally.”

“Love & Basketball” director Gina Prince-Bythewood shared her autobiographical connection to the romance film, saying, “I was really discouraged that there weren’t Black love stories. And so I wanted to see myself in a love story.”

Spike Lee reflected on how “Bamboozled” is the epitome of his career-long relationship to critics and audiences. “It’s my fourth decade of filmmaking, and I don’t remember saying to myself, ‘Don’t do this because the audience might not like it,’” he said. “And there were more cases where audiences did not like stuff but that did not matter to me because I was showing the truth as I see it.”

See the full list of films inducted into the National Film Registry below.

Films Selected for the 2023 National Film Registry
(chronological order)

  • A Movie Trip Through Filmland (1921)  
  • Dinner at Eight (1933)
  • Bohulano Family Film Collection (1950s-1970s)
  • Helen Keller: In Her Story (1954)
  • Lady and the Tramp (1955)
  • Edge of the City (1957)
  • We’re Alive (1974)
  • Cruisin’ J-Town (1975)
  • ¡Alambrista! (1977)
  • Passing Through (1977)  
  • Fame (1980)
  • Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)
  • The Lighted Field (1987)
  • Matewan (1987)
  • Home Alone (1990)
  • Queen of Diamonds (1991)
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
  • The Wedding Banquet (1993)
  • Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision (1994)
  • Apollo 13 (1995)
  • Bamboozled (2000)
  • Love & Basketball (2000)
  • 12 Years a Slave (2013)
  • 20 Feet from Stardom (2013)

Leave a comment