x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

US Library of Congress drafts Forrest Gump for posterity

Tom Hanks's award-winning portrayal of an everyman caught up in historic events is among the 25 films selected annually for special preservation.

Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump. Courtesy Paramount Pictures
Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump. Courtesy Paramount Pictures

Forrest Gump's oft-quoted line, "My momma always said, 'Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get' " is to be immortalised among America's treasures in the world's largest archive of film, television and sound recordings.

The Library of Congress announced on Wednesday that 1994's Forrest Gump, starring Tom Hanks, was one of 25 films chosen to be included this year in the National Film Registry.

The oldest reels are two silent films from 1912. The Cry of the Children is about the child labour reform movement and A Cure for Pokeritis features the industry's earliest comic superstar, John Bunny.

Also from the silent era is Charlie Chaplin's first full-length feature, The Kid, from 1921.

Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian of Congress names 25 films that are "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant. This year, 2,228 films were nominated.

"These films are selected because of their enduring significance to American culture," the librarian, James Billington, said in a statement. "Our film heritage must be protected because these cinematic treasures document our history and culture and reflect our hopes and dreams."

For each title, the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation works to ensure that the film is preserved for posterity.

Forrest Gump is the most recent of the chosen films. About an everyman who gets caught up in many of the most significant events of the 1960s and 1970s, it won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and also starred Sally Field, known for her role as Norma Rae in the 1979 film of that name, which also made the list. She won an Academy Award for her portrayal of a poorly educated single mother who fought successfully to make her southern textile mill a union shop.

Also selected were the animated Disney classic Bambi (1942), The Big Heat (1953), a post-war noir film, and 1991's The Silence of the Lambs, which won Oscars for its stars Jody Foster and Anthony Hopkins, who plays a cannibalistic serial killer in the psychological and violent thriller.

Lesser known films were chosen for their significance to the art. A Computer Animated Hand from 1972 is by Pixar Animation Studios co-founder Ed Catmull. The minute-long film, is one of the earliest examples of 3D computer animation, displays the hand turning, opening and closing, pointing at the viewer and flexing its fingers.