‘Return of the Jedi,’ ‘Selena’ among the new additions to the National Film Registry

Moviegoers lining up to see "Return of the Jedi" in 1983
Moviegoers line up in Philadelphia for the premiere of “Return of the Jedi” on May 23, 1983.
(George Widman / Associated Press)

This year’s inductees into the National Film Registry include epic “Star Wars” and “Lord of the Rings” installments, projects starring Jennifer Lopez and the late Cicely Tyson, and movies that took on the topic of racist violence.

The Library of Congress announced Tuesday that “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi,” “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street” are among the 25 movies chosen this year for preservation. Lopez’s starring role in the 1997 biographical film “Selena” and Tyson’s “Sounder” in 1972 made the registry’s list as well.

The national library said this year’s selections span more than a century. The oldest is “Ringling Brothers Parade Film,” from 1902.


“Films help reflect our cultural history and creativity — and show us new ways of looking at ourselves — though movies haven’t always been deemed worthy of preservation,” Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said in a statement. “The National Film Registry will preserve our cinematic heritage, and we are proud to add 25 more films this year.”

Hayden and film historian Jacqueline Stewart will discuss the new selections in a television special on Turner Classic Movies on Friday.

The library selects movies considered of cultural, historic and artist importance. This year’s picks bring the total number of films in the registry, which began in 1988, to 825.

Among the 25 movies added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry this year are “The Dark Knight,” “Shrek,” “The Joy Luck Club,” “The Blues Brothers” and “Grease.”

Dec. 14, 2020

“Return of the Jedi” and “The Fellowship of the Ring” drew significant public support through online nominations.

“It is a great honor to have ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’ selected this year by the National Film Registry,” said Peter Jackson’s filmmaking team, which includes Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. “We are proud to be part of an archive that celebrates and preserves the art of visual storytelling, for generations to come.”

Two animated features made the cut, including Pixar’s Oscar-winning film from 2008, “Wall-E,” and Disney’s “Flowers and Trees,” which was released in 1932.


Several films on the list address racist violence, including “The Murder of Fred Hampton,” “Who Killed Vincent Chin?” and “Requiem-29.”

Netflix leads the Golden Globes nominations across film and television, as entertainment industry shows a muted, indifferent response.

Dec. 13, 2021

The library chose a few more memorable titles such as “Cooley High,” “Richard Pryor: Live in Concert,” “Chicana,” “The Long Goodbye,” “The Watermelon Woman,” “Stop Making Sense,” “Strangers on a Train” and “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Additional films on the list include “The Wobblies,” “Pink Flamingos,” “Evergreen,” “Hellbound Train,” “The Flying Ace” and “Jubilo.”