Room for Mel, Ming and Rockers Too

From Associated Press

A documentary on the 1969 Woodstock music festival and home-movie footage of a Japanese American internment camp during World War II were honored Wednesday by the Library of Congress for their contributions to American cultural history.

The films were among the 25 added to the library’s National Film Registry. Congress created the registry in 1988 to celebrate American cinema and call attention to the need to preserve films.

About half of films produced before 1950 and at least 90% of those made before 1920 have been lost, said Librarian of Congress James Billington, calling them “an endangered species.”

Many are lost through deterioration or color fading, he noted.

Billington chose the films based on about 1,000 nominations from the public, historians and film critics. To be listed, an American film must be at least 10 years old.


The films are not meant to represent the best of American film, Billington said, but are films that “continue to have cultural, historical or aesthetic value.” The library works to make sure each film on the list is properly preserved.

The 1970 “Woodstock” documentary features performances by Joan Baez, Santana, Country Joe & the Fish and Jimi Hendrix.

“Topaz,” shot on 8-millimeter color home movies, depicts life at the Topaz War Relocation Authority in Topaz, Utah, between 1943-45.

Other films listed:

“The Awful Truth,” 1937; “Broken Blossoms,” 1919; “The Deer Hunter,” 1978; “Destry Rides Again,” 1939; “Flash Gordon,” the serial, 1936; “The Forgotten Frontier,” 1931; “Frank Film,” 1973; “The Graduate,” 1967; “The Heiress,” 1949; “The Jazz Singer,” 1927; “The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter,” 1980; “MASH,” 1970; “Mildred Pierce,” 1945; “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” 1976; “The Producers,” 1967; “Pull My Daisy,” 1959; “Road to Morocco,” 1942; “She Done Him Wrong,” 1933; “Shock Corridor,” 1963; “Show Boat,” 1936; “The Thief of Bagdad,” 1924; “To Be or Not to Be,” 1942; and “Verbena Tragica” (Tragic Festival), 1939.

This year’s additions bring the list to 200 films.

Movies previously put on the list include “The Birth of a Nation,” 1915; “Casablanca,” 1942; “American Graffiti,” 1973; and the Zapruder film, the 1963 home movie of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination filmed by a bystander.