A sinking ship, a flying superhero and a “Field of Dreams” are among the honorees added Wednesday into the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry.
This year’s annual selection of 25 films recognized for cultural, historic or aesthetic importance includes the Bruce Willis action film “Die Hard” (1988) as well as the social-issue dramas “Gentleman’s Agreement” (1947), an Academy Award-winning Best Picture in which journalist Gregory Peck poses as a Jew to uncover anti-Semitism, and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (1967), starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, who took a Best Actress Oscar, as the parents of a young woman (Katharine Houghton, Hepburn’s real-life niece) with an African-American fiancé (Sidney Poitier).
Richard Donner became the rare director with two films in the registry, both added this year: “Superman” (1978) and “The Goonies” (1985). “They are both special films in my life, as was the cast and crew for both,” Donner, 87, said in a statement. “It’s wonderful to see them listed among so many great films.”
Two Kirk Douglas films were added: the scathing satire of tabloid journalism “Ace in the Hole” (1951), and Stanley Kubrick’s gladiator epic “Spartacus” (1960). Other major Hollywood films added are the aviation adventure “Only Angels Have Wings” (1939); the Ritchie Valens rock biography “La Bamba” (1987); the nostalgic baseball fantasy “Field of Dreams” (1989); and James Cameron’s “Titanic” (1997), cinema’s highest-grossing movie, not adjusting for inflation, until Cameron’s own “Avatar” (2009) overtook it.
The independent films “Wanda” (1971), “Boulevard Nights” (1979), “To Sleep with Anger” (1990) and “Memento” (2000) also made the list, as did the silent horror classic “He Who Gets Slapped” (1924).
Rounding out the group are documentaries, historic home movies and news footage, a live-action/animated propaganda film and a 1976 student film about an Alabama county and social change.