Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced today (Dec 11, 2019) the annual selection of 25 of America's most influential motion pictures to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. Selected because of their cultural, historic and aesthetic importance to the nation's film heritage, the films in the class of 2019 range from Prince's 1984 autobiographical hit "Purple Rain" and Spike Lee's 1986 breakout movie "She's Gotta Have It" to Disney's 1959 timeless fairy tale "Sleeping Beauty" and this year's biggest public vote getter, Kevin Smith's 1994 "Clerks."
"The National Film Registry has become an important record of American history, culture and creativity," said Hayden. "Unlike many other honors, the registry is not restricted to a time, place or genre. It encompasses 130 years of the full American cinematic experience – a virtual Olympiad of motion pictures. With the support of Congress, the studios and other archives, we are ensuring that the nation's cinematic history will be around for generations to come."
The story of the sleeping princess Aurora, awakened by a kiss, already was widely known to theater audiences. But Disney transformed this timeless fable from the original Charles Perrault fairy tale ("The Sleeping Beauty of the Wood") and The Brothers Grimm ("Little Briar-Rose") by tweaking plot elements and characters (such as the number and role of the fairies), as well as with the film's magnificent score. Along with its vivid images and charming details, the film introduced movie audiences to one of Disney's most enduring villainesses — Maleficent (voiced in the 1959 film by Eleanor Audley). "Beauty" was the last of classic animated fairy-tale adaptations produced by Walt Disney, whose influence suffuses the film.