Washington, Dec 29 (DPA) The US Library of Congress clearly has a sense of humour. Movies including “The Pink Panther” and “Airplane!” on a list of 25 iconic movies from the last century have been added to its National Film Registry.

Also inducted this year were: “The Empire Strikes Back”, the second in George Lucas’ hugely popular “Star Wars” trilogy; “The Exorcist”, one of the most successful horror movies ever made; and “All The President’s Men”, a film about the two journalists who uncovered the Watergate scandal that brought down US president Richard Nixon.

The Library of Congress, the Washington-based guardian of US cultural heritage, names 25 movies to its national registry each year that are considered “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant”. The 2010 list brings to 550 the number of movies in the registry.

The country’s top librarian, James Billington, gets the naming rights. He also chose to add John Travolta’s disco-era film “Saturday Night Fever”, and a biography of civil rights leader Malcolm X that won actor Denzel Washington an Oscar nomination.

Many of the movies’ key protagonists will not get to enjoy the induction. Directors Blake Edwards of “The Pink Panther” and Irvin Kershner of “The Empire Strikes Back” passed away this year, as well as “Airplane!” star Leslie Nielsen.

The oldest movie added to the registry was the 1891 film “Newark Athlete”, a film made at the Edison Laboratory in New Jersey. The film’s creators would go on to help make the world’s first motion picture camera, the Edison Kinetograph, according to the library.

Billington noted that about 50 percent of films made before 1950 and as many as 90 percent of those made before 1920 have been lost.

“The National Film Registry is a reminder to the nation that the preservation of our cinematic creativity must be a priority,” Billington said in a statement.


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