WASHINGTON (AP) — "Breakfast at Tiffany's," ''Dirty Harry" and "A League of Their Own" will be preserved for their enduring significance in American culture at by the Library of Congress, along with "A Christmas Story" and some pioneering sports movies.
They are among 25 selections the library is inducting Wednesday into the National Film Registry. Congress created the program in 1989 to preserve films for their cultural or historical significance. The latest additions bring the registry to 600 films that include Hollywood features, documentaries, independent films and early experimental flicks.
The newest film chosen for preservation is 1999's "The Matrix," noted for its state-of-the-art special effects and computer-generated animation with a style that drew on Hong Kong action films and Japanese anime to change science fiction filmmaking, curators noted.
The oldest film being preserved, "The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Title Fight," dates back 115 years to 1897. Film curators said the boxing movie helped establish the film industry as a successful business, drawing on the sport's popularity and controversy to generate $750,000 in income. Boxing was illegal in many states at the time but recently had been made legal in Nevada, which hosted the fight. The film, with a running time of about 100 minutes, became the longest movie ever produced at the time, showing the full course of the fight.
Another pioneering sports film, "They Call It Pro Football" from 1967 was chosen for how it changed the way football was portrayed on screen. Before then, football films were mostly highlight reels. National Football League commissioner Pete Rozelle decided the success of the NFL depended on its television image, to capture the struggle of the sport and not just the end result on the scoreboard.
The Librarian of Congress makes the selections each year after conferring with members of the National Film Preservation Board and receiving public nominations. To be considered, the films must be at least 10 years old.