Bambi, Forrest Gump, El Mariachi -- What's the Most Surprising New Addition to the National Film Registry?

The Library of Congress today announced an eclectic batch of new inductees into the National Film Registry for 2011, ranging from no-brainers (Charlie Chaplin's The Kid) to fantastic finds (the 1930s-era Nicholas Brothers Family Home Movies). And also: Silence of the Lambs! Forrest Gump! ... El Mariachi? Which of these 25 newly anointed selections, to be preserved on account of their cultural, historical or aesthetic significance, is the most surprising addition?

The 2011 National Film Registry Additions:

Allures (1961)

Bambi (1942)

The Big Heat (1953)

A Computer Animated Hand (1972)

Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (1963)

The Cry of the Children (1912)

A Cure for Pokeritis (1912)

El Mariachi (1992)

Faces (1968)

Fake Fruit Factory (1986)

Forrest Gump (1994)

Growing Up Female (1971)

Hester Street (1975)

I, an Actress (1977)

The Iron Horse (1924)

The Kid (1921)

The Lost Weekend (1945)

The Negro Soldier (1944)

Nicholas Brothers Family Home Movies (1930s-1940s)

Norma Rae (1979)

Porgy and Bess (1959)

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Stand and Deliver (1988)

Twentieth Century (1934)

War of the Worlds (1953)

I could be convinced of El Mariachi's worthiness given Robert Rodriguez's famed hardscrabble production legend and the fact that he's created a manageable cottage industry for himself working on the periphery of Hollywood. And yeah, El Mariachi's pretty good, but for my money it's the weakest new addition of the bunch.

Which is not to say it's the most surprising; Forrest Gump was well-loved and somewhat groundbreaking in its time even if it feels cringe-inducingly dated now, but many of these selections are of a distinct era or creatively, socially, or technically significant. (Ed Catmull's 3-D grad project A Computer Animated Hand is another inspired choice.) Besides, Groundhog Day made the list back in 2006. Groundhog Day. So here's what I want to know: How the heck has it taken this long for Bambi to make the list?

Read more on each selection from the Library of Congress's press release over at the Library of Congress website.

[Library of Congress]




  • Jim says:

    H to the Hizzle. B to the Bizzle.

  • Jonathan says:

    Uhhhhh, no dissing "Groundhog Day," please. That movie is pretty much a comedy masterpiece. Seriously.

    • Jen Yamato says:

      Hey, I love Groundhog Day. My point is, Groundhog Day before Bambi??

      • Skippy says:

        "Groundhog Day" and "Bambi" are two such different, yet great films, that I don't think it makes sense to weigh one against the other.

        My surprises on this list: "The Kid" wasn't in sooner? And "Stand and Deliver" could be swapped with about a million inspiring teacher/coach movies. I don't think it's that special. I'm also lukewarm on "Silence of the Lambs." It's good, but so great that we need to worry about how the loss of it will affect mankind? Not sold.

        • Ace says:

          Skippy- I don't really get your comment on Silence of the Lambs. Can't you make that argument for a lot of movies? No movie is so important that it will greatly "affect mankind." It won Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars. The 3rd movie to win all of those. The Library picks movies that are "significant" historically, aesthetically, etc. Silence of the Lambs definitely fits that bill. You can't argue that.

        • Raz says:

          I don't really know the real purpose of the Library of Congress but I don't think it has anything to do with preserving some sort of lasting impact on mankind. From the sound of it a group of people get together and weigh a number of factors about the film, the time it came out, who watched it and how it effected people during that time and films of that genre and films themselves (production, writing, style etc.) I think looking at Silence of The Lambs from that standpoint makes it pretty clear how important it was as a film, maybe not to so many critics or viewers but obviously you have seen more than a dozen films try to copy the film, its style or any other influential part of it, most likely a handful of other "favorites" wouldn't exist if it wasn't for Silence of The Lambs.

          Stand and Deliver is the same; you have a film that tackles a number of social issues, AND it was one of the most popular of its time, adding to that the fact that it was a Latino film maker, I think it makes perfect sense why it was added. Also, I think any film that teaches hard work and perseverance through AP math classes of all things (AND based on a true story) should definitely be preserved.

          In the end just because a film hasn't been added (yet or at all) I don't think it really has anything to do with its importance or popularity necessarily. Perhaps just the sheer metric fuck-ton of films in existence might make it difficult to get ALL the "right" films in the first try.

          TL;DR Silence of The Lambs is responsible for many of your favorite films that came after, Stand and Deliver tells an important story and was one of the first of its kind/most popular of its kind, also by a minority film maker. The Registry isn't necessarily the gold standard for film necessity.

  • dukeroberts says:

    I am surprised that The Kid and Bambi were not in the Registry already. I also don't think there should have been any immediacy in adding El Mariachi, The Silence of the Lambs or Forrest Gump. They are available to all in multiple formats. I lobbied the Library of Congress to add Life with Father to the Registry, but no dice. I don't know if I have ever seen a good, clean version of that great 1947 film. The colors appear to bleed in every copy I have seen. Save THAT movie, not Forrest Gump.

  • Alex says:

    Only "The kid"? All of the films Chaplin starred and directed should be named into the Registry.

  • DR says:

    To me, that paean to idiocy that is Forrest Gump should be thrown on the junk pile of history and forgotten there. It's already humiliating to humanity that this movie exists, let alone is considered a national "treasure". It glorifies being a moron to such an extent that it may be the perfect movie anthem to the Tea Party.

  • Aaron says:

    Groundhog Day was spectacular. One of the two or three funniest movies of all time.