National Film Registry adds Michael Jackson, Muppets and Spaghetti


The music video for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is widely known as one of the greatest music videos of all time. Well, the video made history again today when it was named as one of 25 motion pictures to be included in the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry.

I was only two when the music video appeared on MTV (back when music videos were a staple for the network and people had longer attention spans), but I have watched it numerous times. “Thriller” was a landmark video that revolutionized the music industry. Directed by John Landis (The Blues Brothers, Animal House), the video was 14 minutes long, and it told a story with pitch-perfect narration by Vincent Price.

Twenty-six years after the video premiered it joins such memorable films as The Terminator, In a Lonely Place, and The Asphalt Jungle in this year’s National Film Registry roster. The Library of Congress established the registry in 1989 as part of the National Film Preservation Act, to spotlight films that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant and deserve to be preserved for all time, according to Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. As of this year, 525 films have been selected for the registry.

The “Thriller” video, some may not realize, was the first music video to be released in theaters. It featured Michael Jackson as a werewolf and his back-up dancers were made up as zombies. The choreography of the dances has been intimated in films like 13 Going on 30 and in prison yards across the globe.

Other selections to this year’s registry include Al Pacino’s Dog Day Afternoon (dir. Sidney Lumet), Mrs. Miniver, The Muppet Movie and the popular spaghetti Western Once Upon a Time in the West (dir. Sergio Leone).

Films Selected to the 2009 National Film Registry

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
The Exiles (1961)
Heroes All (1920)
Hot Dogs for Gauguin (1972)
The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
Jezebel (1938)
The Jungle (1967)
The Lead Shoes (1949)
Little Nemo (1911)
Mabel’s Blunder (1914)
The Mark of Zorro (1940)
Mrs. Miniver (1942)
The Muppet Movie (1979)
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Pillow Talk (1959)
Precious Images (1986)
Quasi at the Quackadero (1975)
The Red Book (1994)
The Revenge of Pancho Villa (1930-36)
Scratch and Crow (1995)
Stark Love (1927)
The Story of G.I. Joe (1945)
A Study in Reds (1932)
Thriller (1983)
Under Western Stars (1938)

Credit: Library of Congress

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