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Purple Rain (1984) (Courtesy Warner Bros)

The National Film Registry announced the latest group of 25 movies inducted to its list on Wednesday, December 11. It’s a class that includes silent shorts, beloved independent features, big studio films, and rare slices of American history. The new additions now bring the total number of movies in the Registry to 775.

Among this year’s inductees, there’s a noticeable uptick in the number of women filmmakers and diverse talent in front of and behind the camera. Seven of the 25 new movies to the Registry feature women directors, like Elaine May for her landmark studio comedy A New Leaf; Claudia Weill for her independent movie on female friendship Girlfriends; and Kimberly Pierce for her drama based on the story of Brandon Teena, Boys Don’t Cry.

Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It, Oscar Micheaux’s Body and Soul, Patricia Cardoso’s Real Women Have Curves, and Luis Valdez’s Zoot Suit were a few of the selected movies to feature Black and Latinx protagonists and filmmakers. Prince’s semi-autobiographical musical biopic Purple Rain also received the royal treatment in joining the Registry.

One of the four documentaries to be added to the Registry, Greta Schiller and Robert Rosenberg’s Before Stonewall, focused on the years leading up to the US LGBTQ movement. Another, Madeline Anderson’s I Am Somebody, is believed to be the first documentary on civil rights issues directed by a woman of color. The film captured the strike of hundreds of hospital workers, the majority of whom were Black women.

“With this year’s National Film Registry selections, Dr. Hayden recognizes the importance of amplifying cinematic voices and stories that have been marginalized for far too long,” said Jacqueline Stewart, chair of the National Film Preservation Board’s task force on diversity, equity, and inclusion, in the NFR press release.

Since 1988, the National Film Registry has added an annual set of 25 films based on “their cultural, historic and aesthetic importance to the nation’s film heritage” in order to “ensure the survival, conservation and increased public availability of America’s film heritage.” As a program within the Library of Congress, the National Film Registry handles the process of selecting these 25 movies each year and keeping up with the latest in preservation. The list ranges from early groundbreaking films like The Great Train Robbery and Nanook of the North, as well as popular hits like Star Wars and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. The selections also include newsreels like that of the Hindenburg disaster and experimental works like Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon.

Here’s the full list of 2019 inductees in alphabetical order:

  • Amadeus (1984)
  • Becky Sharp (1935)
  • Before Stonewall (1984)
  • Body and Soul (1925)
  • Boys Don’t Cry (1999)
  • Clerks (1994)
  • Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)
  • Emigrants Landing at Ellis Island (1903)
  • Employees Entrance (1933)
  • Fog of War (2003)
  • Gaslight (1944)
  • George Washington Carver at Tuskegee Institute (1937)
  • Girlfriends (1978)
  • I Am Somebody (1970)
  • The Last Waltz (1978)
  • My Name Is Oona (1969)
  • A New Leaf (1971)
  • Old Yeller (1957)
  • The Phenix City Story (1955)
  • Platoon (1986)
  • Purple Rain (1984)
  • Real Women Have Curves (2002)
  • She’s Gotta Have It (1986)
  • Sleeping Beauty (1959)
  • Zoot Suit (1981)

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Monica Castillo is a writer and critic based in New York City. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Village Voice,, Remezcla, the Guardian,...