‘Home Alone’ & ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ Among the 25 Selections for the 2023 National Film Registry

promotional image from the Library of Congress touting its 2023 selections for preservation in the National Film Registry. It is a collage of images from various selected titles, including Lady and the Tramp, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Home Alone, Desperately Seeking Susan, Terminator 2, Dinner at Eight and Apollo 13.
Courtesy Library of Congress

Each year, the Library of Congress (LOC) inducts a number of movies into the National Film Registry (NFR), where they are preserved because of their cultural, historic or aesthetic importance to our nation’s film heritage.

The LOC has announced its 2023 inductees, 25 titles representing a diverse group of films, filmmakers and Hollywood landmarks exploring the drama of history, social justice and reform, the experiences of immigrants and more.

The oldest of this year’s selections dates back more than 100 years to a 1921 Kodak educational film titled A Movie Trip Through Filmland, about how film stock is produced and the impact of movies globally. The most recent films added to the registry are Best Director Oscar nominee Steve McQueen’s Best Picture-winning 12 Years a Slave (2013), and the Oscar-winning 2013 documentary 20 Feet from Stardom.

Some Hollywood releases selected for preservation this year include Ron Howard‘s fact-based 1995 space drama Apollo 13; director Chris Columbus and writer John Hughes‘ 1990 holiday classic Home Alone; Disney’s beloved 1955 animated feature Lady and the Tramp; James Cameron‘s groundbreaking sci-fi action sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day; the 1993 stop-motion-animated Halloween and holiday favorite The Nightmare Before Christmas, from producer Tim Burton; Gina Prince-Blythewood’s 2000 romantic sports drama Love & Basketball; Susan Seidelman‘s 1985 comedy/drama Desperately Seeking Susan; and Spike Lee‘s 2000 satire Bamboozled.

image from the 1990 movie "Home Alone." It is the famous shot of star Macaulay Culkin looking surprised after he slaps some stinging aftershave on his face.

Courtesy of Fox/Disney/Macaulay Culkin/Library of Congress

The selections bring the number of films in the registry to 875. Some of these films are among the 2 million moving image collection items held in the Library. Others are preserved by the copyright holders or other film archives.

“Films are an integral piece of America’s cultural heritage, reflecting stories of our nation for more than 125 years. We are proud to add 25 diverse films to the National Film Registry as we preserve our history through film,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, in a release. “We’re grateful to the film community for collaborating with the Library of Congress in our goal to preserve the heritage of cinema for generations to come.”

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will host a television special on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023, starting at 8pm ET to screen a selection of films named to the registry this year. Hayden will join TCM host, film historian and Academy Museum of Motion Pictures director and president Jacqueline Stewart, who is chair of the National Film Preservation Board, to discuss the films.

The selected films that TCM will be airing and discussing on Dec. 14, in order, are Ang Lee‘s Oscar-nominated 1993 romantic comedy The Wedding Banquet; George Cukor‘s 1993 comedy/drama Dinner at Eight, led by an ensemble of stars including Marie Dressler, John Barrymore, Wallace Beery, Jean Harlow and Lionel Barrymore; We’re Alive, a powerful 1974 documentary that still serves as a blueprint for prison reform; Edge of the City (1957), Martin Ritt‘s film noir drama starring John Cassavetes, Sidney Poitier and Jack Warden; and Fame (1980), Alan Parker‘s musical drama featuring the Oscar-winning title song performed by costar Irene Cara.

Stewart said this year’s selections highlight the “breadth of experiences in American culture, in American history.”

“I’m delighted to see several films this year that recognize a diversity of Asian American experiences,” she said. “There’s Cruisin’ J-Town, a film about jazz musicians in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo community, specifically the band Hiroshima. There’s also the Bohulano Family Film collection, home movies from the 1950s-1970s shot by a family in Stockton, California’s Filipino community. Also added is the documentary Maya Lin:  A Strong, Clear Vision, about one of our most important contemporary artists who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.”

The Library plans to screen two newly selected holiday films for audiences at Live! at the Library in December, including The Nightmare Before Christmas on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023, at 6:30pm, and Home Alone on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023, at 6:30 pm Free timed-entry passes are available at loc.gov/visit.

Select titles from 35 years of the National Film Registry are also freely available online in the National Screening Room.

Films Selected for the 2023 National Film Registry (in chronological order)

Details about each film and the rationale behind their inclusions into the National Film Registry can be found at this LOC link.

A Movie Trip Through Filmland (1921)

Dinner at Eight (1933)

Bohulano Family Film Collection (1950s-1970s)

Helen Keller: In Her Story (1954)

Lady and the Tramp (1955)

image from the 1955 Walt Disney animated feature "Lady and the Tramp." it is from the famous scene where the title dog characters are having a romantic spaghetti dinner in an alley, serenaded by a singing cook and a man playing an accordian.

Courtesy Walt Disney Company/Library of Congress

Edge of the City (1957)

black and white image from the 1957 film "Edge of the City," with characters played by John Cassavetes (on left) and Jack Warden looking intense.

Courtesy Warner Bros./Library of Congress

We’re Alive (1974)

Cruisin’ J-Town (1975)

¡Alambrista! (1977)

Passing Through (1977)

Fame (1980)

Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)

image from the 1985 movie "Desperately Seeking Susan" depicting star Madonna looking down at a skateboard while wearing sunglasses

Courtesy MGM/Library of Congress

The Lighted Field (1987)

Matewan (1987)

Home Alone (1990)

Queen of Diamonds (1991)

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

image from the 1993 stop motion-animated film "The Nightmare Before Christmas." It depicts the character Jack Skellington, a thin, skeleton figure, dressed as Santa and leaving presents under a Christmas tree in a living room in front of a lit fireplace.

© Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

The Wedding Banquet (1993)

Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision (1994)

Apollo 13 (1995)

image from the 1995 movie "Apollo 13." Sitting in a space capsule are astronauts portrayed by, left to right, Bill Paxton, Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon.

Courtesy NBC Universal/Library of Congress

Bamboozled (2000)

Love & Basketball (2000)

image from the 2000 film "Love & Basketball." Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps' characters are laughing as they go one-on-one at basketball.

Courtesy of Warner Bros./New Line/40 Acres and a Mule/Criterion/Library of Congress.

12 Years a Slave (2013)

20 Feet from Stardom (2013)

Public Nominations for the National Film Registry

According to the LOC, the public submitted 6,875 titles for consideration this year, and several titles that were selected drew significant public, including Home Alone and Terminator 2.

The public can submit nominations throughout the year on the Library’s web site. Nominations for next year will be accepted until Aug. 15, 2024. You can cast your vote at loc.gov/film.