‘The Dark Knight,’ ‘Grease’ among films inducted into National Film Registry

Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne examines the batsuit in 2008's "The Dark Knight."
Christian Bale in a scene from 2008’s “The Dark Knight.”
(Stephen Vaughan / Warner Bros. Pictures)

This year’s inductees into the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry, a collection of the most influential American movies, include a neo noir superhero action spectacle, a ‘50s-set ‘70s musical and an animated send-up of a classic fairy tale trope.

“The Dark Knight,” “Grease” and “Shrek” are just three of the 25 pictures to be added to the registry, which aims to preserve movies of cultural, historical or aesthetic importance, ranging from blockbusters and musicals to silent films, documentaries and adaptations.

“This is not only a great honor for all of us who worked on ‘The Dark Knight,’ this is also a tribute to all of the amazing artists and writers who have worked on the great mythology of Batman over the decades,” Christopher Nolan said in a press announcement.

“The cast and crew of ‘Grease’ have remained close for the past 40 years,” said director Randal Kleiser. “We are all honored to be included in this year’s national registry selection.”


This year’s selection spans nearly 100 years and includes a record number of movies directed by women or filmmakers of color. Nine feature women at the helm:,“Suspense” (1913), codirected by Lois Weber; Ida May Park’s “Bread” (1918); Aloha Wanderwell’s “With Car and Camera Around the World” (1929); Ida Lupino’s “Outrage” (1950); Kathleen Collins’ “Losing Ground” (1982); Julie Dash’s “Illusions” (1982); Lourdes Portillo’s “The Devil Never Sleeps” (1994); Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” (2008); and “Mauna Kea: Temple Under Siege” (2006) codirected by Joan Lander.

“The National Film Registry is an important record of American history, culture and creativity, captured through one of the great American art forms, our cinematic experience,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “With the inclusion of diverse filmmakers, we are not trying to set records but rather to set the record straight by spotlighting the astonishing contributions women and people of color have made to American cinema despite facing often overwhelming hurdles.”

A scene from the film "The Joy Luck Club."
Amy Tan wrote the novel and screenplay behind this Wayne Wang-directed film about two generations of Chinese American mothers and daughters.
(Phil Bray)

The group also includes seven movies from filmmakers of color, including director Wayne Wang’s 1993 classic “The Joy Luck Club.”

“I could have never imagined, after reading a few chapters of Amy [Tan]’s manuscript that eventually became ‘The Joy Luck Club’ book, that my dream of its adaptation would result in a movie that is still talked about decades later,” producer Janet Yang told the National Film Registry. “When people tell me — and so many from so many cultures have — that the movie helped heal a rift with their family, I am immensely gratified and it reminds me of the power of the moving image.”

At 8 p.m. Pacific time Tuesday, Turner Classic Movies will host a special screening of a selection of the added films. Hayden, along with TCM host and film historian Jacqueline Stewart, will discuss a selection of the titles, which are available for free online in the National Screening Room.

See the full list of 2020 selections below:

“The Battle of the Century” (1927)

“The Blues Brothers” (1980)

“Bread” (1918)

“Buena Vista Social Club” (1999)

“Cabin in the Sky” (1943)

“A Clockwork Orange” (1971)

“The Dark Knight” (2008)

“The Devil Never Sleeps” (1994)

“Freedom Riders” (2010)

“Grease” (1978)

“The Ground” (1993-2001)

“The Hurt Locker” (2008)

“Illusions” (1982)

“The Joy Luck Club” (1993)

“Kid Auto Races at Venice” (1914)

“Lilies of the Field” (1963)

“Losing Ground” (1982)

“The Man With the Golden Arm” (1955)

“Mauna Kea: Temple Under Siege” (2006)

“Outrage” (1950)

“Shrek” (2001)

“Suspense” (1913)

“Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song” (1971)

“Wattstax” (1973)

“With Car and Camera Around the World” (1929)