By Ben Nuckols Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Bambi, Forrest Gump and Hannibal Lecter have at least one thing in common: Their cinematic adventures were chosen by the Library of Congress this week to be preserved in the world’s largest archive of film, TV and sound recordings.
“The Silence of the Lambs” (1991), a harrowing psychological thriller about the cannibalistic serial killer Lecter, and “Forrest Gump” (1994), starring Tom Hanks as the guileless hero who thinks “life is like a box of chocolates,” were critical and commercial successes that won the Academy Award for Best Picture. The animated Disney classic “Bambi” is among the most beloved movies ever made.
A majority of the 25 titles chosen this year for inclusion in the National Film Registry are lesser-known — including silent films, documentaries, avant-garde cinema and even home movies.
The registry began in 1989 under an act of Congress and now includes 575 films. Its aim is not to identify the best movies ever made but to preserve films with artistic, cultural or historical significance. Previous titles chosen range from “The Birth of a Nation” to “National Lampoon’s Animal House.”
“Forrest Gump” has its critical detractors but was praised for its technical achievements, including the seamless incorporation of the title character into historical footage.
More than 2,200 films were nominated for the registry this year. The National Film Preservation Board pares them down before Librarian of Congress James H. Billington makes the final selections.
“Each year, we do try to pick one of the titles that the public nominated the most, and ‘Forrest Gump’ was way up there on that list,” said Stephen Leggett, program coordinator for the National Film Preservation Board.
“These films are selected because of their enduring significance to American culture,” Billington said in a statement. “Our film heritage must be protected because these cinematic treasures document our history and culture and reflect our hopes and dreams.”
Among the other titles chosen: “The Big Heat,” a 1953 film noir starring Glenn Ford; “The Lost Weekend,” Billy Wilder’s Oscar-winning alcoholism drama; “Porgy and Bess,” starring Sidney Poitier and Dorothy Dandridge; “Stand and Deliver,” starring Edward James Olmos as an inspiring East Los Angeles math teacher; and John Ford’s epic 1924 Western “The Iron Horse.”
View the complete list at the National film registry website, www.loc.gov/film/filmnfr.html