TCM National Film Registry Tribute 2020

Each year, the National Film Preservation Board (NFPB) announces a set of films to be deserving of preservation and adds them to the National Film Registry. In order to ensure the survival, conservation, and increased public availability of American film heritage, the National Film Registry grows by up to 25 “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films” annually, depicting the range and diversity of American films.

The list of film includes a broad array of films, from Hollywood classics to orphan films, or motion pictures that have suffered neglect or have been abandoned by their copyright holders. Films need not be feature length or theatrically released, though they do become eligible for inclusion ten years after their original release. The public nominates up to 50 films for selection, leading the NFPB and Librarian of Congress for consideration. To date, there are 800 films in the National Film Registry, including newsreels, silent films, student films, experimental films, short films, music videos, orphan films, public domain films, film serials, documentaries, independent films, and animated films.

The 2020 inductees are as follows:

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)

On Tues., Dec. 15, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) celebrates these films by having TCM Host Jacqueline Stewart and Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden introduce six films from this year’s honorees. Stewart and Hayden will be introducing the following films:

The Battle of the Century (1927) – TCM Premiere
8:00pm ET

Laurel and Hardy star in this silent film, famous for using 3,000 pies in its fight scene, that was largely missing until 2015.

Lilies of the Field (1963)
8:30pm ET

An itinerant handyman in the Southwest gets a new outlook on life when he helps a group of German nuns build a chapel.

Illusions (1982) – TCM Premiere
10:15pm ET

In 1942, a Black woman studio executive who appears to be white and an African American woman who is the singing voice for a white Hollywood star are forced to come to grips with a society that perpetuates false images as status quo.

The Joy Luck Club (1993) – TCM Premiere
11:00pm ET

Four Asian-American women work through complicated relationships with their mothers.

Cabin in the Sky (1943)
1:30am ET

God and Satan battle for the soul of a wounded gambler.

The Man with the Golden Arm (1955)
3:15am ET

A junkie must face his true self to kick his drug addiction.

For further enjoyment, I highly recommend viewing the documentary These Amazing Shadows (2011), which showcases the history and importance of the National Film Registry, the diversity of films included, as well as films as a documentation of the American experience.

About Annette Bochenek

Dr. Annette Bochenek of Chicago, Illinois, is an avid scholar of Hollywood’s Golden Age. She manages the Hometowns to Hollywood blog, in which she writes about her trips exploring the legacies and hometowns of Golden Age stars. Annette also hosts the “Hometowns to Hollywood” film series throughout the Chicago area. She has been featured on Turner Classic Movies and is the president of TCM Backlot’s Chicago chapter. In addition to writing for TCM Backlot, she also writes for Classic Movie Hub, Silent Film Quarterly, Nostalgia Digest, and Chicago Art Deco Society Magazine.
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