The Library of Congress on Monday announced that The Dark Knight is one of the 25 films chosen for induction in the National Film registry. The Batman movie is part of a class that includes the 1978 musical Grease, the 1980 comedy The Blues Brothers, and the 2001 animated hit Shrek. The Dark Knight received strong support in the public vote, according to the announcement from Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. "This is not only a great honor for all of us who worked on The Dark Knight, this is also a tribute to all of the amazing artists and writers who have worked on the great mythology of Batman over the decades," said Christopher Nolan, director of The Dark Knight, in a statement.
The films are selected based on "their cultural, historic or aesthetic importance to the nation's film heritage, the 2020 titles include blockbusters, musicals, silent films, documentaries and diverse stories transferred from books to screen. They bring the number of films selected for preservation in the registry to 800, a fraction of the 1.3 million films in the Library's collections."
The announcement also notes that this year's selection includes a record number of films from women directors and directors of color. Women directed nine, and people of color directed seven.
"The National Film Registry is an important record of American history, culture and creativity, captured through one of the great American artforms, our cinematic experience," Hayden said. "With the inclusion of diverse filmmakers, we are not trying to set records but rather to set the record straight by spotlighting the astonishing contributions women and people of color have made to American cinema, despite facing often-overwhelming hurdles."
Per the Library of Congress's description of The Dark Knight, "Bob Kane and Bill Finger's dark, enduring creation first flew onto the screen in a 1943 B-movie serial and would return to theaters several times in treatments both camp and action-oriented. But Christopher Nolan's evocative 2008 work reinvented the already vast Batman mythos thanks in no small part to its two intense, now legendary, lead performances: Christian Bale as the titular character and Heath Ledger, in a remarkable, Oscar-winning take on Bat super-villain 'The Joker.' Set in a dark, modern-day Gotham City, The Dark Knight is a visual feast of memorable set pieces, screenwriting flair, and characters and situations imbued with a soul and a conscience. 'Pitched at the divide between art and industry, poetry and entertainment, The Dark Knight goes darker and deeper than any Hollywood movie of its comic-book kind,' wrote Manohla Dargis of The New York Times. The theme of a world turned upside down by fear and dystopian chaos resonates eerily well in the pandemic havoc of 2020."
Here's the full list of films chosen for induction, in chronological order:
- Suspense (1913)
- Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914)
- Bread (1918)
- The Battle of the Century (1927)
- With Car and Camera Around the World (1929)
- Cabin in the Sky (1943)
- Outrage (1950)
- The Man with the Golden Arm (1955)
- Lilies of the Field (1963)
- A Clockwork Orange (1971)
- Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971)
- Wattstax (1973)
- Grease (1978)
- The Blues Brothers (1980)
- Losing Ground (1982)
- Illusions (1982)
- The Joy Luck Club (1993)
- The Devil Never Sleeps (1994)
- Buena Vista Social Club (1999)
- The Ground (1993-2001)
- Shrek (2001)
- Mauna Kea: Temple Under Siege (2006)
- The Hurt Locker (2008)
- The Dark Knight (2008)
- Freedom Riders (2010)
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will host a television special on Tuesday, December 15th at 8 p.m. ET to screen a selection of the chosen movies. Hayden will join TCM host and film historian Jacqueline Stewart to discuss the films.1comments