The 2022 selections date back 124 years in filmmaking to an 1898 film of the “Mardi Gras Carnival” parade in New Orleans. The most recent film now added to the registry is 2011’s “Pariah,” directed by Dee Rees.
This year’s selections include at least 15 films directed or co-directed by filmmakers of color, women or LGBTQ+ filmmakers. The selections bring the number of films in the registry to 850.
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden
We’re grateful to the entire film community for collaborating with the Library of Congress to ensure these films are preserved for the future.
Films Selected for the 2022 National Film Registry
- Mardi Gras Carnival (1898)
- Cab Calloway Home Movies (1948-1951)
- Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)
- Charade (1963)
- Scorpio Rising (1963)
- Behind Every Good Man (1967)
- Titicut Follies (1967)
- Mingus (1968)
- Manzanar (1971)
- Betty Tells Her Story (1972)
- Super Fly (1972)
- Attica (1974)
- Carrie (1976)
- Union Maids (1976)
- Word is Out: Stories of Our Lives (1977)
- Bush Mama (1979)
- The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1982)
- Itam Hakim, Hopiit (1984)
- Hairspray (1988)
- The Little Mermaid (1989)
- Tongues Untied (1989)
- When Harry Met Sally (1989)
- House Party (1990)
- Iron Man (2008)
- Pariah (2011)
“The Little Mermaid,” the 1989 film that kicked off Disney’s renaissance of animated musical films, has been an iconic part of the nation’s culture ever since. Jodi Benson was a young Broadway actress when Howard Ashman, the lyricist and musical visionary behind many Disney films of that period, convinced her to audition for the lead role of Ariel after a Broadway play the two had worked on fizzled.
Some 33 years later in an illustrious career, Benson said she still performs Ariel’s big song, “Part of Your World,” every week.
“I'm thrilled and honored on behalf of my character and the Walt Disney Company for the Library selecting our very special film,” Benson said in an interview. The film “was the last hand-painted, hand-drawn, full-length feature film for the Walt Disney Studios. So that is really amazing and such an honor.”
'The Little Mermaid' Trailer
Sissy Spacek, the star of “Carrie,” makes her third appearance on the registry, joining her earlier films “Badlands” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Her role as Carrie White, the telekinetic teen misfit who is abused by her mother and taunted by her classmates, drew an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress and a lasting image in pop culture as a vengeful, blood-soaked prom queen.
She credits Stephen King’s novel, the basis for the film, as striking a nerve with teenagers in each generation who are desperate to fit in with their peers for the film’s lasting resonance. The other factor, she said, was a superb cast that included Piper Laurie (also nominated for an Oscar), John Travolta and Amy Irving.
“Brian De Palma was just such a wonder to work with,” Spacek said in a recent interview, crediting the film’s director. “He would tell us exactly what he needed and then he’d say, ‘Within those parameters, you can do anything you want. That was just so wonderful.”
'Carrie' Movie Trailer
Kevin Feige, Marvel Studios president, was delighted that “Iron Man,” the film that launched Marvel Studios as a daily presence in American popular culture, made the list. The film was directed by Jon Favreau.
“Iron Man was the very first film Marvel Studios independently produced,” Feige said in an interview. “It was the first film that we had all of the creative control and oversight on and it was really make or break for the studio.
“All of our favorite movies are the ones that we watch over and over again and that we grow up with,” he said. “The notion that here we are, almost 15 years after the release of ‘Iron Man,’ and to have it join the Film Registry tells us it has stood the test of time and that it is still meaningful to audiences around the world.”
'Iron Man' Trailer
Several selections were defining works in their genres. Among romantic comedies, “When Harry Met Sally” from 1989 is a classic — Vanity Fair named it this year as the best American rom-com ever made — that brought together several major talents. Screenwriter Nora Ephron, director Rob Reiner, actor Billy Crystal and actress Meg Ryan all cemented their status in pop culture fame with the film. And the film remains one of the most quoted films of the 1980s with lines like “I’ll have what she’s having.”
“I just felt so plugged into the process of making the movie,” Crystal said in an interview. “…not that anything is ever easy, but it was just such a joy to see it come to life.”
But what makes the movie such an enduring romance?
“The movie is beautiful and simple and appropriate and every shot is just right,” Crystal said. “The timing, which is in the hands of Rob, who is, for this movie, a modern-day Billy Wilder … and it’s New York, it's the fall, it’s the music.”
'When Harry met Sally' Trailer
“Hairspray,” the quirky story of a plus-sized Baltimore teen and her friends integrating a local television dance show in the early 1960s, wasn’t a huge success at first but has gone on to have a life of its own. It was remade as a Tony Award-winning musical on Broadway, a megahit musical film in 2007 and a live TV version in 2016. But in John Waters’ 1988 original, it was an 18-year-old Ricki Lake who was first tapped to play the lead role of Tracy Turnblad.
“I didn’t even really process that I was the star of the movie,” Lake said in a recent interview from her home in Malibu, “until the movie was made and we were seeing right before it came out. I was like, ‘Oh, WOW.”
Audiences did the same. As the “pleasantly plump” teen misfit, her charming performance gave the nation a cultural marker about acceptance for plus-sized women that reverberates to this day: The heavyset girl could win the dance contest and land the good-looking guy.
Among Latino films, “The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez” from 1982 is one of the key feature films from the 1980s Chicano film movement. Edward James Olmos was a working actor but not yet a star when he and several friends, meeting at what would become the Sundance Film Festival, decided to make a film about a true story of injustice from the Texas frontier days.
Shot on a tiny budget for PBS, “The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez” accurately tells the story of a Mexican-American farmer who in 1901 was falsely accused of stealing a horse. Cortez killed the sheriff who tried to arrest him, outran a huge posse for more than a week, barely escaped lynching and was eventually sentenced to more than a decade in prison. The incident became a famous corrido, or story-song, that is still sung in Mexico and Texas.
“This film is being seen more today than it was the day we finished it,” Olmos said in an interview. “‘The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez’ is truly the best film I’ve ever been a part of in my lifetime.”
'The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez' Trailer
As a classic of the “Blaxploitation” genre, “Super Fly” was also a searing commentary on the American dream in 1972. Directed by Gordon Parks Jr., son of the renowned photographer and filmmaker Gordon Parks, the film revolves around a Harlem drug pusher with style who aims to make one final score and then leave the business; criminals and corrupt police have other ideas. Some criticized the film as glorifying drug dealers or for reinforcing stereotypes. Curtis Mayfield’s score, however, received universal acclaim.
'Super Fly' Trailer
“House Party” joins the registry as a 1990 comedy landmark, as it put Black teenagers, hip-hop music and New Jack swing culture directly into the American cultural mainstream. It spawned the pop-culture careers of stars Kid ‘n Play, sequels and imitations — and the career of Reginald Hudlin, its writer and director. Hudlin is now a major player in Hollywood — but “House Party” was his first film.
“The day we shot the big dance number in ‘House Party’ is easily one of the best days of my life,” he said in a recent interview, still gushing about how much fun it all was. “We had all the enthusiasm in the world, all the commitment in the world.”
In avant-garde/experimental cinema, Kenneth Anger’s “Scorpio Rising” from 1963 is a mesmerizing collage of songs from early 1960s pop artists and a fast-paced exploration of symbolism and ideas about religion, Nazism, biker subculture, gay life and more.
'House Party' Trailer
About the National Film Registry
Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian of Congress names to the National Film Registry 25 motion pictures that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant. The films must be at least 10 years old.