Forrest Gump’s often imitated line, “My momma always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get’ ” will be immortalized among the nation’s treasures in the world’s largest archive of film, TV and sound recordings.
The Library of Congress on Wednesday announced that 1994’s smash hit “Forrest Gump” starring Tom Hanks was one of 25 films chosen to be included this year in the National Film Registry.
The oldest reels are silent films both from 1912. “The Cry of the Children” is about the pre-World War I child labor reform movement and “A Cure for Pokeritis” features the industry’s earliest comic superstar John Bunny.
Also from that silent era is Charlie Chaplin’s first full-length feature, “The Kid,” from 1921.
Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian of Congress names 25 films that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant. This year, 2,228 films were nominated.
“These films are selected because of their enduring significance to American culture,” Librarian of Congress James H. 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.”
For each title, the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation works to ensure that the film is preserved for future generations. That comes either by the Library’s massive motion-picture preservation program or through collaborating with other archives, motion-picture studios and independent filmmakers.
The most recent film chosen is “Forrest Gump,” which won six Academy Awards including for Best Picture.
Also starring in that movie about an everyman who ended up being part of the most iconic events of the 1960s and 1970s was Sally Field. Her perhaps most famous role playing “Norma Rae” in the movie of the same name from 1979 also made the list. She won an Academy Award for her portrayal of a poorly educated single mother who fought successfully to make her Southern textile mill a union shop.
Making the list is the animated Disney classic, “Bambi,” made in 1942 about a deer’s life in the forest, “The Big Heat” from 1953, a post-war noir film, and 1991’s disturbing, “The Silence of the Lambs,” which won Oscars for stars Jody Foster and Sir Anthony Hopkins. Hopkins plays cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter in the psychological and violent thriller.
The original “War of the Worlds” from 1953 also will be preserved along with “Porgy and Bess,” ”Stand and Deliver” and John Ford’s epic Western, “The Iron Horse,” from 1924.
Lesser known films were chosen for their significance to the art.
“A Computer Animated Hand” from 1972 is by Pixar Animation Studios co-founder Ed Catmull. The one-minute film that is one of the earliest examples of 3D computer animation displays the hand turning, opening and closing, pointing at the viewer and flexing its fingers.
Making the list were notable documentaries as well.
“Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment,” focuses on Gov. George Wallace’s attempt to prevent two African-American students from enrolling in the University of Alabama and the response of President John F. Kennedy. “Growing Up Female” from 1971 was one of the first films to come from the women’s liberation movement.
Also included was “The Negro Soldier,” produced by Frank Capra. It showed the heroism of blacks in the nation’s wars and became mandatory viewing for all soldiers from spring 1944 until World War II’s end.
— Here are the 25 films selected in 2011 by the Library of Congress to be preserved as part of the National Film Registry:
“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)
“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-40s)
“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)