Paris Is Burning is serving some historical landmark realness this morning, as the Library of Congress has announced that the iconic drag documentary is one of 25 films chosen for induction into its National Film Registry for 2016. The Registry’s mission is is to preserve films that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant, which this year means multiple generations of youth in revolt as well as the usual Old Hollywood masterworks and essential historical documents of early silent filmmaking.
One of the more unexpected entries this year is also a documentary: future Wayne’s World and Suburbia director Penelope Spheeris’ 1981 film The Decline Of Western Civilization, a vital documentary on the punk scene in Los Angeles in the early ‘80s. Long condemned to bootleg obscurity thanks to the ever-complex problem of music rights, the film received its first official DVD and Blu-ray release just last year. In the same anti-authoritarian spirit is The Atomic Cafe (1982), an experimental documentary that puts ‘50s and ‘60s atomic safety films into new and terrifying contexts. These documents of the punk generation sit alongside two relics of an earlier generation of rebels: Robert Downey Sr.’s countercultural satire Putney Swope (1967) and early rock ‘n’ roll teen film The Blackboard Jungle (1955).
Some other entries in this year’s registry are Life Of An American Fireman (1903), one of the first narrative films, whose offbeat approach to continuity pairs oddly well with the fractured aesthetic of the Vine era; John Boorman and Lee Marvin’s stone-cold revenge thriller Point Blank (1967), set against the backdrop of swinging ‘60s Los Angeles; Ridley Scott’s feminist revenge thriller Thelma & Louise (1992); East Of Eden (1955), featuring the screen debut of one James Dean; Wes Anderson’s breakout hit Rushmore (1998); ‘80s slumber-party favorites The Breakfast Club (1985) and The Princess Bride (1987); highly GIF-able Disney hits Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988) and The Lion King (1994); and Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963), which joins his films Vertigo, Psycho, North By Northwest, Rear Window, Notorious, and Shadow Of A Doubt in the registry.
You can see the full list of this year’s inductees, with links so you can learn more about each of them, below.
1. The Atomic Cafe (1982)
2. Ball Of Fire (1941)
3. The Beau Brummels (1928)
4. The Birds (1963)
5. Blackboard Jungle (1955)
6. The Breakfast Club (1985)
7. The Decline Of Western Civilization (1981)
8. East Of Eden (1955)
9. Funny Girl (1968)
10. Life Of An American Fireman (1903)
11. The Lion King (1994)
12. Lost Horizon (1937)
13. The Musketeers Of Pig Alley (1912)
14. Paris Is Burning (1990)
15. Point Blank (1967)
16. The Princess Bride (1987)
17. Putney Swope (1969)
18. Rushmore (1998)
19. Solomon Sir Jones films (1924-28)
20. Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)
21. Suzanne, Suzanne (1982)
22. Thelma & Louise (1991)
23. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916)
24. A Walk In The Sun (1945)
25. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)