Film Registry Inductees

The Library of Congress has named this year’s 25 inductees into the esteemed National Film Registry – and you can watch 10 of them right here on The Savvy Screener!

Under the National Film Preservation Act, films named to the Registry – which now totals 700 titles — must be at least 10 years old and “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant.

We’ll share five of the new inductees with you today, and another five tomorrow. In alphabetical order, let’s start with The Atomic Café, a 1982 documentary that cleverly recycled archival footage to examine the threat of nuclear war following World War II:

Next, spend eight minutes discovering the deadpan offbeat humor and “wacky charm” of vaudevillians Al Shaw & Sam Lee, in the 1928 Vitaphone short The Beau Brummels:

The third film is the oldest on this year’s list. From 1903, tabbed a “technical marvel” by the Registry, here’s the silent short Life of an American Fireman:

Nine years later, in 1912, D.W. Griffith directed what is “considered the first gangster film” The Musketeers of Pig Alley. It runs 17 minutes and you can either watch it below, or catch its newly restored version which is streaming through January 13 on the Museum of Modern Art’s website:

Our final Registry inductee today is the 1990 documentary Paris is Burning, which explored “the complex ballroom subculture among gay men, drag queens and transgender women in New York City”:

If you’re thinking the Registry only includes documentaries and 100-year-old shorts, tomorrow we’ll share Robert Downey Sr.’s 1969 comedy Putney Swope and the 1945 war drama A Walk In the Sun, along with silent films 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916), Buster Keaton’s Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928), and an African-American’s home movies from the 1920s.

One other Registry inductee is also free online, but you’ll need to go to Shout Factory TV to access 1981’s The Decline of Western Civilization, “Penelope Spheeris’ controversial, landmark documentary about the hardcore punk-rock scene in Los Angeles.”

Oh yes, the other 14 films inducted this year are: Ball of Fire (1941), The Birds (1963), Blackboard Jungle (1955), The Breakfast Club (1985), East of Eden (1955), Funny Girl (1968), The Lion King (1994), Lost Horizon (1937), Point Blank (1967), The Princess Bride (1987), Rushmore (1998), Suzanne, Suzanne (1982), Thelma & Louise (1991) and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1998).

Only Ball of Fire and Suzanne, Suzanne are unavailable for streaming. The Princess Bride is available to Netflix subscribers, The Lion King can be accessed via Disney Movies Anywhere, and the others are available for rental through the likes of Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play and YouTube. For complete choices, we recommend visiting Guidebox, Where to Watch or Fan TV.

You can find the rationale for including all 700 honored films on the Registry website.

About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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