10 Most Iconic Movies On The National Film Registry

In 1988, the National Film Registry was established in the United States by the National Film Preservation Board to create a collection of films for preservation. Films chosen for selection in the National Film Registry are deemed to have historically, culturally or aesthetically significant content, as well as beloved around the world. The list includes Hollywood films, experimental films, documentaries, animations, independent films and many other mediums.

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Each year, films that are at least ten years old can be submitted for consideration, with up to 25 being chosen for the list, of any genre or format. The National Film Registry was created in response to a need to preserve films from commercial modification and circulate them in the motion picture industry despite their age.

“The Exorcist” (1973)

The Exorcist

Considered the scariest horror movie of all time, The Exorcist was produced in 1973 and has been inducted into the National Film Registry since 2010. The film’s depiction of the demonic possession of the maiden Regan’s (Linda Blair) body, and that of his mother (By Ellen Burstyn) attempts to find someone to perform an exorcism to return her to normal, impacted viewers for their grotesque and heart-pounding scenes in which Regan becomes progressively more evil as the film progresses.

Stylistically, director William Friedkin adapted his experience working on documentaries to invoke verisimilitude in film, as the story was based on real events. From a narrative perspective, the film influenced the popularity of stories of demonic possession, after which Rosemary’s baby was initially a hit and is notable for its avoidance of typical horror tropes and conventions, making it unpredictable and thrilling to watch.

‘Grease’ (1978)

John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John

Fat has been a member of the National Film Registry since 2020 and has been an integral part of pop culture since its release in 1978. John Travolta and Olivia Newton John as summer lovers whose worlds collide in high school, the film explores social groups and their isolations, where the characters must learn to step out of their comfort zone in pursuit of happiness.

Although musical films are not as popular as other genres as a whole, Fat gained notoriety regardless, due to the sensationalism of a simple high school romance. Marked by an era of sexual revolution, gay tunes and preppy costumes create a fun film that Fat is well known for.

‘The Wizard of Oz’ (1939)

The Wizard of Oz

Often considered one of the greatest films of all time, The Wizard of Oz is a beloved family film that combines musical numbers and a fantasy world, with a story of bravery and triumph. Dorothy’s iconic gingham dress (Judy Garland) leads the journey to the Land of Oz, where she travels with the Tin Man (Jack Haley), the scarecrow (Ray Bolger) and the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) to watch The Wizard of Oz (Frank Morgan) to grant their wishes.

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One of the most notable features of the initial success of The Wizard of Oz was its use of technicolor – where color was gradually transformed into vibrant shades – that enhanced the fantasy world, at a time when black-and-white film was still dominant. The Wizard of Oz is the most successful fairy tale to tell the story of adulthood and has been cataloged in the National Film Registry since 1989.

‘Rocky’ (1976)


When viewers remember Rockythe drive assembly where Sylvester Stallone climbing the stairs – a symbolic moment for the rise of the underdog – becomes the film’s metonymy and subsequent pop culture reference. Inspired by the 1975 championship boxing match between Mohamed Ali and chuck wepner, Rocky follows Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), a small town south leg boxer, and his training to take on heavyweight champion Apollo Creed (Carl Meteos).

Rocky’s initial popularity built up in such a way that it was produced into a franchise, with seven consecutive films making the sports drama hit with “rags to riches” and “American dream” themes. for upcoming movies. A cultural phenomenon Rocky has been part of the National Film Registry since 2006.


A film that breaks with the idea that “extraterrestrials” are something to be feared, ET: The Extra-Terrestrial is a family film that struck heart chords and created an everlasting reference to a pointing finger. HEY tells the story of Elliot (Henry Thomas), a young boy who befriends a rogue alien who wants to return home; the ultimate story of two lonely souls coming together to find safety in worlds unknown. Stephen SpielbergThe sci-fi charmer has maintained its position in the National Film Registry since 1994 and has become a timeless classic.

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The film creates an atmosphere of intimacy like no other; between soft lighting and the extremely accurate representation of a child’s mind, as well as unforgettable images and special effects that have made their mark.

“Pulp Fiction” (1994)

pulp Fiction

Considered as Quentin Tarantinois the best work, pulp Fiction became a cultural phenomenon and was added to the National Film Registry in 2013, making waves for its inventive episodic structure that concludes a circular narrative. Interwoven stories about hitman Vincent Vega (John Travolta), Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) – a boxer on the run from a crime boss and accomplice of Vincent, Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson).

pulp Fiction is an artistic influence that broke away from traditional American blockbusters, following the brazen portrayals of brutality and the dark side of humanity seen in other iconic (but controversial) films such as A clockwork orange and psychology. Known as one of the best independent films of all time, pulp Fiction is a well-regarded, inventive look at one aspect of postmodern society.

“Shrek” (2001)


One of DreamWorks Animation’s most successful films of all time, Shrek launched the company as a strong competitor to Disney and Pixar in computer animation. The quirky fantasy comedy portrays Shrek (Mike Myers), an ogre and social outcast, and his journey to reclaim his lands after Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow) expels magical creatures from their homes. Along the way, he meets the talking donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz), who accompanies him to Duloc.

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Shrek has become a beloved franchise – comprised of four films and multiple spinoffs – due to its subversion of fairy tales into fun, brash animation and its ability to entertain children and adults alike. In 2020, Shrek was added to the National Film Registry, fostered by its endless pop culture references that shaped animations to come.

“The Godfather” (1972)

The Godfather

Catalyst for the popularization of the gangster genre, The Godfather was selected for the National Film Registry in 1990, following its cult status and sequels based on its initial success. The detective film delves into the dynamics of the Corleone family and the rise of youngest son Michael (Al Pacino) from underdog to an esteemed mob boss.

Interpretation and psychological representations within The Godfather are what captured the hearts of viewers and critics alike, as well as its way of commenting on the American Dream as a trap for those of other ethnicities, who had to work even harder to survive tough times. The intimate look at the Mafia tells a story of loyalty and family like no other.

‘Jaws’ (1975)


Good thrillers frighten their viewers, but fantastic thrillers consume their audiences with genuine fear in their daily lives. That’s what Steven Spielberg says Jaws has done so since its 1975 release, creating an undercurrent of sheer terror for toothy villains lurking in a summer activity, and a lingering melody that kids hum as they catch themselves in the water.

A film where the acclaimed director uses realism rather than escapism, Jaws examines the hunt for the killer great white shark, led by police officer Brody (Roy Scheider), marine biologist Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and Shark Hunter Quint (Robert Shaw). Changing the blockbuster game by proving that movies released in the summer could be successful and creating an almost imperceptible villain referred to by cues rather than his physical self, Jaws was added to the National Film Registry in 2001.

‘Blade Runner’ (1982)

blade runner

Stylistically speaking, there is no other film more intrinsically beautiful than blade runner: from its futuristic architecture to its mixture of absolute black and neon. A neo-noir film about identity, the dystopian sci-fi depicts synthetic humans who are designed for a lifetime of work – known as replicants – who have escaped space colonies and live undetected on Earth.

The four rogue replicants, led by Roy Batty (Ruther Hauer), are advanced and retired Blade Runner Deckard (Harrison Ford) is forced to hunt them down. The film’s slow success is explained by its influence in the cinematic world – where its cyberpunk aesthetic became a hallmark of futuristic depictions for years to come for viewers. In 1993, blade runner was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry and is perhaps the most analyzed film of all time.

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