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Last Updated: Friday, 28 December 2007, 10:58 GMT
Time-travel film kept for future
Michael J Fox in Back to the Future
Back to the Future, starring Michael J Fox, led to two sequels

Back to the Future and Close Encounters of the Third Kind are among films which have been selected for preservation by the US Library of Congress.

Twenty-five films a year are picked for the National Film Registry, to preserve the cultural heritage of the US.

Also joining the archive are jury drama 12 Angry Men, cowboy musical Oklahoma! and Bullitt, famous for its high-speed car chase through San Francisco.

Western epic Dances With Wolves, from 1990, is the most recent inclusion.

The earliest is Tol'able David, a 1921 coming-of-age film by legendary director Henry King, one of the founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The Library of Congress called it a "powerful drama" that was "tremendously influential on subsequent film-making".


Back to the Future, which starred Michael J Fox as an accidental time-traveller who found himself in the middle of his own parents' courtship, was described as "The Twilight Zone meets Preston Sturges".

Walt Disney
One of Walt Disney's early animations was also selected
Meanwhile Steven Spielberg's sci-fi classic Close Encounters was cited for its "five-tone musical motif", which the Library of Congress said had "become as quotable as any line of movie dialogue".

Also making the list were Laurence Olivier's defining portrayal of Heathcliff in the 1939 version of Wuthering Heights, and director John Ford's last great Western, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

Among the more obscure titles to be preserved was The House I Live In, a short film featuring Frank Sinatra pleading for religious tolerance.

Grease director Randal Kleiser was picked for the archive for his student film Pleege, about a family visiting their dying grandmother in a nursing home.

One of Walt Disney's early shorts, Three Little Pigs, was also among those named by Congress librarian James H Billington.

'Vinegar syndrome'

This year's selections bring to 475 the number of films being preserved as part of the scheme, which began in 1989.

Both recent and early films are eligible for inclusion, and hundreds are nominated by the public each year.

The films are chosen because they are "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant.

Mr Billington added that half the movies of produced in the US before 1950 and up to 90% of those made before 1920 had disappeared.

More are being lost each year, partly because of "vinegar syndrome", a chemical reaction which attacks the acetates in old film stock.

"The National Film Registry seeks not only to honour these films, but to ensure that they are preserved for future generations to enjoy," he said.


  • Back to the Future (1985)
  • Bullitt (1968)
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
  • Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)
  • Dances With Wolves (1990)
  • Days of Heaven (1978)
  • Glimpse of the Garden (1957)
  • Grand Hotel (1932)
  • The House I Live In (1945)
  • In a Lonely Place (1950)
  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
  • Mighty Like a Moose (1926)
  • The Naked City (1948)
  • Now, Voyager (1942)
  • Oklahoma! (1955)
  • Our Day (1938)
  • Peege (1972)
  • The Sex Life of the Polyp (1928)
  • The Strong Man (1926)
  • Three Little Pigs (1933)
  • Tol'able David (1921)
  • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son (1969-71)
  • 12 Angry Men (1957)
  • The Women (1939)
  • Wuthering Heights (1939)

'Historic' Stones enter archive
07 Mar 07 |  Entertainment
Toy Story joins preservation list
27 Dec 05 |  Entertainment
Time travel film tops family poll
28 Apr 05 |  Entertainment

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