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25 films added to National Registry

Mean Streets November 18, 1997
Web posted at: 9:28 p.m. EST (0228 GMT)

Washington (CNN) -- In an annual rite intended to ensure that significant American films are preserved, the Library of Congress and the Association of Moving Image Archivists announced on Tuesday the addition of 25 films to the National Film Registry.

Among them were classics like the 1946 movie "The Big Sleep;" Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window," which came out in 1954; and the Romeo-and-Juliet tale "West Side Story" from 1961.

Raw newsreel footage was also listed on the National Film Registry for the first time. Footage of the infamous Hindenburg disaster in 1937 was among the raw film admitted.

A L S O :

Complete list of films admitted

"America's film heritage is an endangered species," Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said, noting that at least 50 percent of all films made before 1950 had been lost or destroyed.

Bridge Over the River Kwai

He said that the work behind the National Film Preservation Act of 1996 "ensures that film will survive as an art form ... and as a language of our times."

Since its founding eight years ago, the National Film Registry has placed a total of 225 films on its list. To be added to the registry, films must have some historic, cultural or aesthetic significance.

Films are chosen in a selection process that involves the general public, the National Film Preservation Board and the Library of Congress. Once any film is listed on the registry, the Library of Congress works with other archivists, studios and filmmakers to permanently preserve the film.

The Library of Congress and AMIA also announced plans to develop and implement new strategies to preserve film, television and video archives.

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