From ‘Iron Man’ to ‘When Harry Met Sally,’ These Are the 25 New Additions to the National Film Registry

Every year, the Library of Congress selects 25 films of “cultural, historic or aesthetic importance”

View of the atmosphere inside The 30th Anniversary Screening of "When Harry Met Sally…"
When Harry Met Sally, written by Nora Ephron, is one of 25 films to be added to the National Film Registry this year. Stefanie Keenan / Getty Images for TCM

Iron Man (2008), The Little Mermaid (1989) and When Harry Met Sally (1989) are among the 25 movies the Library of Congress inducted into its National Film Registry this year, the library announced in a statement on Wednesday.

Every year, 25 films are added to the National Film Registry for preservation and posterity, selected based on their cultural legacy within American film history. Films must be at least ten years old to be selected. This year’s selections bring the grand total of films on the registry to 850.

The Librarian of Congress—a position Carla Hayden has held since 2016—and the National Film Preservation Board work together to select films for the registry, taking input from the public via an online nomination form

“Films have become absolutely central to American culture by helping tell our national story for more than 125 years,” says Hayden in a statement. “We are proud to add 25 more films by a group of vibrant and diverse filmmakers to the National Film Registry as we preserve our cinematic heritage.”

As the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to make the cut, Iron Man paved the way for the Marvel machine that has come to dominate ticket sales in the last decade.

Iron Man was the very first film Marvel Studios independently produced,” Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, says in a statement. “It was the first film that we had all of the creative control and oversight on and was really make or break for the studio.”

US actor Robert Downey Jr. poses by a life-size Iron Man model
Iron Man is the first film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to make the cut. Toshifumi Kitamura / AFP via Getty Images

Perhaps the most famous film added this year is The Little Mermaid, Disney’s animated musical about a teenage mermaid who dreams of being human. The film’s induction comes ahead of Disney’s live-action remake starring Halle Bailey, which is currently slated for a 2023 release.

Another notable addition is When Harry Met Sally, Nora Ephron and Rob Reiner’s genre-defining rom-com starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal.

“My initial reaction was, ‘What took so long?’” Crystal tells the Washington Post’s Thomas Floyd. “In some way I thought, ‘Wait, isn’t it in already?’ I mean, it’s a lovely thing.”

Other films added to the registry this year include the prom-gone-wrong Stephen King novel adaptation Carrie (1976), the original Hairspray (1988), the Blaxploitation crime drama Super Fly (1972) and Cyrano de Bergerac (1950), for which José Ferrer became the first Latino to win an Oscar for Best Actor.

The oldest film inducted this year is Mardi Gras Carnival (1898), a recording of the New Orleans parade that was thought to be lost but was recently rediscovered in the Netherlands. Pariah (2011), a low-budget coming-of-age drama directed by Dee Rees, is the most recent film added. 

This year, at least 15 of the 25 films were directed or co-directed by filmmakers of color, queer filmmakers or women. 

“I am especially proud of the way the Registry has amplified its recognition of diverse filmmakers, experiences and a wide range of filmmaking traditions in recent years,” says Jacqueline Stewart, chair of the National Film Preservation Board, in a statement.

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