‘Purple Rain,’ ‘Last Waltz,’ ‘Clerks’ Added to National Film Registry

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Daniel Kreps
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Purple Rain, The Last Waltz, Platoon, She’s Gotta Have It and Clerks were among the 25 films added to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry, the organization announced Wednesday.

2019’s list of motion pictures — selected for their “cultural, historic and aesthetic importance to the nation’s film heritage” — include an “unprecedented” seven films by female directors, including Kimberly Peirce’s Boys Don’t Cry, Elaine May’s A New Leaf and Patricia Cardoso’s Real Women Have Curves.

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In addition to Prince’s 1984 classic and Martin Scorsese’s documentary about the Band’s all-star farewell gig, which Rolling Stone named the greatest concert movie of all time, this year’s list includes a pair of renowned music biopics: Coal Miner’s Daughter, about Loretta Lynn, and Amadeus, Milos Forman’s film about Mozart.

“The National Film Registry is an essential American enterprise that officially recognizes the rich depth and variety, the eloquence and the real greatness of American cinema and the filmmakers who have created it, film by film,” Scorsese said in a statement.

“I’m proud to serve on the National Film Preservation Board, which advises the Librarian of Congress on registry selections and preservation policy. The board is comprised of representatives from across the film community — studios, archives, guilds and artists — and that’s vitally important because it allows all of us to work together on one great cause: the preservation of one of our most precious sources of sustenance and inspiration — our cinema.”

Purple Rain director Albert Magnoli said in a statement, “I am deeply honored that Purple Rain has been selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry in 2019. All of us strived to create a film that would capture the attention of what we believed at the time was a small audience. None of us expected this longevity. We simply worked hard every day to get it right, and this honor is a testament to the music, story and characters that were created by all of us so many years ago.”

Apollonia Kotero, Prince’s co-star in Purple Rain, added, “As a young Latina actress, being cast in Purple Rain was the opportunity of a lifetime. Roles for women that looked like me were scarce in the Eighties. Prince was never afraid of taking risks. He created a melting pot of cultures and racial interactions within his purple worlds. … Prince would be thrilled.”

This year’s 25 National Film Registry inductees span a century, from 1903 (“Emigrants Landing on Ellis Island”) to Errol Morris’ 2003 documentary on Robert McNamara, The Fog of War.

“The National Film Registry has become an important record of American history, culture and creativity,” Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said. “Unlike many other honors, the registry is not restricted to a time, place or genre. It encompasses 130 years of the full American cinematic experience – a virtual Olympiad of motion pictures. With the support of Congress, the studios and other archives, we are ensuring that the nation’s cinematic history will be around for generations to come.”

2019 National Film Registry Selections

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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