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“Empire Strikes Back,” “Airplane!” added to National Film Registry

By Sean O’Connell “Airplane!” has been added to the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry? Surely you can’t be serious.

I am serious. And because the comedy is such a part of our nation’s pop culture, you don’t even need me to finish Leslie Nielsen’s iconic line.

It’s unfortunate Nielsen, who recently passed, wasn’t around to hear that his film – along with 24 others – had been deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant. “As the nation’s repository of American creativity, the Library of Congress — with the support of Congress — must ensure the preservation of America’s film patrimony,” Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said.

“The National Film Registry is a reminder to the nation that the preservation of our cinematic creativity must be a priority because about half of the films produced before 1950 and as much as 90% of those made before 1920 have been lost to future generations.”

Joining “Airplane!” on this year’s list of additions are Irvin Kershner’s “The Empire Strikes Back;” Robert Altman’s “McCabe and Mrs. Miller;” Blake Edwards’ first “The Pink Panther;” Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X;” Elie Kazan’s “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn;” William Friedkin’s “The Exorcist;” Alan J. Pakula’s “All the President’s Men;” and John Badham’s “Saturday Night Fever.”

Currently, there are 550 film’s on the registry. To recommend titles for inclusion, visit

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