2016 National Film Registry Inductees Include Films That Aren't Die Hard
Die Hard didn't make it onto the National Film Registry this year and I'm a little upset. But first, some background...
The National Film Registry was set up in 1988 in order to preserve films they deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” Films included have to be at least 10 years old and are selected by the National Film Preservation Board, whose members consists of filmmakers, archives, scholars, and others representing the American film industry. The most notable member on the Board is non other than the biggest film preservation advocate around, Martin Scorsese. The public, and this is important, makes recommendations to the board on what they want in the Registry through an online ballot.
Each year, the board selects up to 25 films for entry in the Registry. Previous inductees include Star Wars, Citizen Kane, Casablanca, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. More modern films like L.A. Confidential, Fargo, Groundhog Day and The Matrix have managed to make this list. Now, the Registry has announced 2016’s batch of films that will be added to the ever-growing list of important American films.
Not on the list this year: Die Hard.
What made the list? Some honest-to-goodness classics, including The Birds and The Decline of Western Civilization. Also, some modern greats made the list, like Rushmore and The Lion King.
Here's the complete list:
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916)
The Atomic Cafe (1982)
Ball of Fire (1941)
The Beau Brummels (1928)
The Birds (1963)
Blackboard Jungle (1955)
The Breakfast Club (1985)
The Decline of Western Civilization (1981)
East of Eden (1955)
Funny Girl (1968)
Life of an American Fireman (1903)
The Lion King (1994)
Lost Horizon (1937)
Musketeers of Pig Alley (1912)
Paris Is Burning (1990)
Point Blank (1967)
The Princess Bride (1987)
Putney Swope (1969)
Solomon Sir Jones films (1924-28)
Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)
Suzanne, Suzanne (1982)
Thelma & Louise (1991)
A Walk in the Sun (1945)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Missing from the list? Die Hard.
Full disclosure: I run the campaign Die Hard for the National Registry, having started it in 2012 after watching the documentary These Amazing Shadows, which chronicles the creation of the Registry. Right after watching the film and noticing one glaring omission on the Registry list. I decided to created Twitter account @DieHardNFR and since then I’ve held a screening of Die Hard, participated in a 24-hour marathon watching nothing but Die Hard, and produced a 10-part podcast series trying to convince people to vote for Die Hard.
Honestly, the inclusion of Die Hard to the Registry feels like a no-brainer to me. Few films have entered the pop culture like Die Hard has. Few films have been as influential as Die Hard; the film spawned countless imitators and created a new action sub-genre. Few film have created as iconic characters as John McClane and Hans Gruber. The late great Alan Rickman's Gruber stands as one of cinema's greatest villains, there's no denying that. The list of reasons go on and on. But, I don't think you need me to tell you all this, you should already know it.
It's a Christmas go-to for many, right up there with Rudolph and Frosty. And now that many of you are planning on revisiting it this holiday season, I implore you to take some time to vote for Die Hard for the National Film Registry. Take some time and fill out the Registry's online ballot. Also take some time to recognize other films not yet in the Registry (notable films include The Thing, Robocop, Wrath of Khan), you can nominate up to 50!
The campaign continues. I'll keep tweeting about Die Hard and the National Film Registry, and I'll continue the Die Hard NFR podcast with new guest and episodes in 2017. The fight isn't over, not yet. Like McClane, I'm willing to go to extraordinary heights to make sure I reach my goal, that includes walking barefoot on broken glass. But, let's hope it doesn't come to that.