As part of its ongoing mission to serve as the collective cinematic memory of a nation that consistently swipes left on history, the National Film Registry has released its annual list of films it will lock away in its temperature-controlled vaults, safe from vinegar syndrome and remakes. The first one, anyway: Chief among the titles chosen for preservation this year is Ghostbusters—whose franchise properties are very much alive—along with L.A. Confidential, The Shawshank Redemption, Top Gun, and a bunch of movies released before 1980, before the millennial generation was born, and therefore time did not really exist.
Among the titles from that primordial era are Preston Sturges’ madcap war satire Hail The Conquering Hero; Douglas Sirk’s “shameless tearjerker” Imitation Of Life; John Frankenheimer’s paranoid thriller Seconds; and Hal Ashby’s understated comedy Being There. Looking further back, this year’s silent titles include A Fool There Was, starring Theda Bara as the original screen “vamp,” and Humoresque, the immigrant drama that launched a series of melodramas set in the tenements of New York’s Lower East Side. Among the more eccentric entries are the Spanish-language version of Dracula, which was filmed at night on the same sets as the Bela Lugosi classic; the Disney-produced, Kotex-approved educational film The Story Of Menstruation; and Edison Kinetoscopic Record Of A Sneeze, one of Thomas Edison’s earliest experiments with the medium and the first copyrighted motion picture, because Edison didn’t fuck around with that kind of thing.
A full list of titles, all of which are fascinating in their own right, is below.
Being There (1979)
Black And Tan (1929)
Dracula (Spanish-language version) (1931)
Dream Of A Rarebit Fiend (1906)
A Fool There Was (1915)
Hail The Conquering Hero (1944)
Imitation Of Life (1959)
The Inner World Of Aphasia (1968)
John Henry And The Inky-Poo (1946)
L.A. Confidential (1997)
The Mark Of Zorro (1920)
The Old Mill (1937)
Our Daily Bread (1934)
Portrait Of Jason (1967)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Sink Or Swim (1990)
The Story Of Menstruation (1946)
Top Gun (1986)
Winchester ’73 (1950)