'Rocky,' 'Saddles' join registry

Titles for preservation span silent classics to home movies

As Rocky Balboa makes his big-screen comeback, the movie that launched the franchise 30 years ago and made Sylvester Stallone a household name was among 25 films named to the National Film Registry by the Librarian of Congress (HR 12/29).

"Rocky," the Oscar winner for best picture of 1976, joined Mel Brooks' outrageous comedy "Blazing Saddles" (1974), John Carpenter's slasher classic "Halloween" (1978), the Coen brothers' black comedy "Fargo" (1996) and Steven Soderbergh's groundbreaking "sex, lies, and videotape" (1989) on this year's selection of treasures that are guaranteed to be preserved forever.

The 2006 entrants span the years 1913-96 and feature performances by Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, Bill Murray, Ingrid Bergman, John Wayne and late soul great James Brown and directors Alfred Hitchcock, Rouben Mamoulian and Raoul Walsh.

The National Film Registry list, begun in 1989, now numbers 450.

While the choices by Librarian of Congress James Billington spotlights some well-known films, it also features many lesser-known lights of the filmmakers' art, including the only film recording of pioneering blues artist Bessie Smith, a 1913 exploitation film about the white slave trade, one of the first rock concert movies and even a home movie.

Billington made his selections from more than 1,000 titles nominated by the public after lengthy discussions with the library's motion picture division staff and members of the National Film Preservation Board.

Congress created the registry in 1989 to preserve films of cultural, historical and artistic significance.

The 25 titles making this year's list are "Applause" (1929), "The Big Trail" (1930), "Blazing Saddles (1974), "The Curse of Quon Gwon" (1916-17), "Daughter of Shanghai" (1937), "Drums of Winter" (1988), "Early Abstractions #1-5, 7, 10" (1939-56), "Fargo" (1996), "Flesh and the Devil" (1927), "Groundhog Day" (1993), "Halloween" (1978), "In the Street" (1948), "The Last Command" (1928), "Notorious" (1946), "Red Dust" (1932), "Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania" (1971-72), "Rocky" (1976), "sex, lies, and videotape" (1989), "Siege" (1940), "St. Louis Blues" (1929), "The T.A.M.I. Show" (1964), "Tess of the Storm Country" (1914), "Think of Me First as a Person" (1960-75), "A Time Out of War" (1954) and "Traffic in Souls" (1913).