‘Iron Man’, ‘The Little Mermaid’ and ‘When Harry Met Sally’ have been added to the National Film Registry

Marvel’s original superhero film, Disney’s “Iron Man,” Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” and Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal’s classic romantic comedy “When Harry Met Sally” have been selected for preservation by the National Film Registry.

Each year, the Librarian of Congress names 25 motion pictures that are at least 10 years old and registered as having “cultural, historical, or aesthetic” significance.

Other titles added to the National Film Registry in 2021 include Brian De Palma’s adaptation of “Carrie,” the John Waters musical “Hairspray,” the 1950’s version of “Cyrano de Bergerac,” and the 1990s comedy “House Party.” .

Movies have become absolutely central to American culture by helping to tell our national story for over 125 years. “We are proud to add 25 more films by such a vibrant and diverse group of filmmakers to the National Film Registry, as we preserve our cinematic heritage,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “We are grateful to the entire film community for collaborating with the Library of Congress to ensure these films are preserved for the future.”

Turner Classic Movies will host a TV special on December 27 at 8 p.m. ET showcasing a selection of this year’s named motion pictures on record.

Hayden will join TCM host, film historian, director of the Academy Museum of Motion Picture, and President Jacqueline Stewart, who chairs the National Film Preservation Board, to discuss the films.

“I’m particularly proud of the way the record has enhanced its recognition of the diverse filmmakers, experiences, and wide range of filmmaking traditions in recent years,” Stewart said. “I am grateful to the entire National Film Preservation Board, the audience members who nominated the films and of course to Dr. Hayden for advocating vigorously for the preservation of the history of our many films.”

This year’s picks go back 124 years with 1898’s “Mardi Gras Carnival” and include recent entries like Dee Rees’ 2011 independent drama “Pariah.” Among the choices for 2022, at least 15 films have been directed or co-directed by filmmakers of color, women, or LGBTQ+ filmmakers. This year’s list brings the number of films on record to 850, many of which are among the 1.7 million films in the library’s collections.

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige says he’s pleased that Jon Favreau’s “Iron Man,” which popularized the Marvel Cinematic Universe, made the list.

“Iron Man was the first independently produced Marvel Studios film,” Feige said in a statement. “It was the first film that we had complete creative control and supervision over and it was really a hit or miss for the studio.”

He adds, “All of our favorite films are the ones we watch over and over again and that we grew up with. The notion that we are here, nearly 15 years after the release of Iron Man, and signed up to join the Film Registry tells us that they have stood the test of time and are still meaningful to audiences around the world.”

Considered one of the most quoted rom-coms, When Harry Met Sally is a defining work in its genre. It manages to hold up, according to Crystal, because “the movie is beautiful, simple, fitting and every shot is just right. The timing is in the hands of Rob, who, for this movie, is modern-day Billy Wilder…and it’s New York, it’s the fall, it’s the music.”

Dubbed the historical comedy “House Party,” the Library of Congress starred Martin Lawrence and Tisha Campbell and spawned the career of hip-hop duo Kid & Play.

“The day we shot a big dance at ‘House Party’ is easily one of the best days of my life,” writer-director Reginald Hudlin said in a statement. “We had all the enthusiasm in the world, all the commitment in the world.”

The Oscar-nominated Union Maids, one of nine documentaries selected this year, tells the story of three union workers in the 1930s.

“For the longest time, the voices of women, especially the voices of working-class women, were not respected, let alone heard,” Julia Reichert, the co-director who died earlier of cancer, wrote in a statement. Documentaries have presented men as experts, historians, and authorities. We hoped this film would show you how vibrant, wise, funny and essential these women’s voices are in the workers’ struggle to get a better deal.”

Films selected for the 2022 National Film Registry
(chronological order)

  • Mardi Gras Carnival (1898)
  • Cab Calloway home movies (1948-1951)
  • Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)
  • Charade (1963)
  • Scorpio Rising (1963)
  • Behind every good man (1967)
  • Titicut Follies (1967)
  • Mingus (1968)
  • The Apple Orchard (1971)
  • Betty Till Her Story (1972)
  • Super Fly (1972)
  • Attica (1974)
  • Carrie (1976)
  • Maid’s Union (1976)
  • The Word Got Out: Stories of Our Lives (1977)
  • Bush Mama (1979)
  • The Gregorio Cortez Story (1982)
  • Wise Orphans, The Hobbit (1984)
  • Hairspray (1988)
  • The Little Mermaid (1989)
  • Tongues Unchained (1989)
  • When Harry Met Sally (1989)
  • House Party (1990)
  • Iron Man (2008)
  • Castaway (2011)

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