National Film Registry

The National Film Registry (NFR) is the United States National Film Preservation Board's (NFPB) selection of films deserving of preservation. The NFPB, established by the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, was reauthorized by acts of Congress in 1992, 1996, 2005, and again in October 2008. The NFPB's mission, to which the NFR contributes, is to ensure the survival, conservation, and increased public availability of America's film heritage. The 1996 law also created the non-profit National Film Preservation Foundation which, although affiliated with the NFPB, raises money from the private sector.

The NFPB adds to the NFR up to 25 "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films" each year, showcasing the range and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation. A film becomes eligible for inclusion ten years after its original release. For the first selection in 1989, the public nominated almost 1,000 films for consideration. Members of the NFPB then developed individual ballots of possible films for inclusion. The ballots were tabulated into a list of 25 films which was then modified by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington and his staff at the Library for the final selection. Since 1997, members of the public have been able to nominate up to 50 films a year for the NFPB and Librarian to consider.

The NFR includes films ranging from Hollywood classics to orphan films. A film is not required to be feature-length, nor is it required to have been theatrically released in the traditional sense. The Registry contains newsreels, silent films, student films, experimental films, short films, music videos, films out of copyright protection or in the public domain, film serials, home movies, documentaries, animation, and independent films. As of the 2018 listing, there are 750 films in the Registry.