‘Stop Making Sense’ among 25 films added to National Film Registry in 2021


Every year, the Library of Congress adds 25 films to their National Film Registry. It’s often an eclectic group of films, but that’s the point. According to the Library of Congress, the selection is designed to “showcase the range and diversity of American film heritage” as well as “to increase awareness for its preservation.”

Among this year’s entries is Stop Making Sense, director Jonathan Demme’s 1984 concert film documenting the Talking Heads at the height of their popularity. “Nearly as inventive visually as it is sonically,” the The National Film Registry entry reads, “the film is directed by Jonathan Demme who, wisely, keeps his camera tightly focused on the stage, leaving the music and band members (and the members’ own unique theatrics) to speak completely for themselves.”  

The list also includes Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, the 1971 documentary The Murder of Fred Hampton, John Waters’ infamous Pink Flamingos, Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye, the 1975 comedy Cooley High (“a touchstone for filmmakers like John Singleton and Spike Lee”), A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Selena, the 1997 biopic starring Jennifer Lopez as Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, the young Tejano singer who was tragically murdered at age 23. 

The full list of 2021 entries is below.

1. Ringling Brothers Parade Film (1902)
2. Jubilo (1919)
3. The Flying Ace (1926)
4. Hellbound Train (1930)
5. Flowers and Trees (1932)
6. Strangers on a Train (1951)
7. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
8. Evergreen (1965)
9. Requiem-29 (1970)
10. The Murder of Fred Hampton (1971)
11. Pink Flamingos (1972)
12. Sounder (1972)
13. The Long Goodbye (1973)
14. Cooley High (1975)
15. Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (1979)
16. Chicana (1979)
17. The Wobblies (1979)
18. Star Wars Episode VI — Return of the Jedi (1983)
19. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
20. Stop Making Sense (1984)
21. Who Killed Vincent Chin? (1987)
22. The Watermelon Woman (1996)
23. Selena (1997)
24. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
25. WALL-E (2008)


Read more about this year’s additions to the National Film Registry on NPR.org.

Read descriptions of all films in the National Film Registry on the Library of Congress website.