Women in Film & Video continues its multi-year initiative to have more women-made films included in the National Film Registry housed at the Library of Congress.  Although women have been involved with movies since the movie camera was invented, their work is severely underrepresented in this national collection.

The Library of Congress maintains the National Film Registry to honor “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant films” that are at least 10 years old at the time of their inclusion in the Registry.  The selected films are “works of enduring significance to American Culture.”  More information about the National Film Registry can be found here.

Get started with your nominations (or viewing list) here with these films that deserve to be in the National Film Registry.  You just need to include title and year the film was made.  The deadline for submissions in September 15, 2020.  The nomination form is here – https://www.research.net/r/national-fim-registry-nomination-form

A WOMAN’S ERROR (1922) written and directed by Tressie Souders
THE CHAMP (1931) written by Frances Marion
THE MIRACLE WORKER (1962) about Helen Keller
THE WOMEN’S HAPPY TIME COMMUNE (1972) directed by Sheila Page
HE’S ONLY MISSING (1978) directed by Robin Smith
OTHELLO (1980) directed by Liz White
VICTOR VICTORIA (1982) starring Julie Andrews
YENTL (1983) written, directed, and produced by Barbra Streisand
DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN (1985) written by Leora Barish and directed by Susan Seidelman
DIRTY DANCING (1987) written by Eleanor Bergstein
CROSSING DELANCEY (1988) written by Susan Sandler and directed by Joan Micklin Silver
MYSTIC PIZZA (1988) written by Amy Holden Jones
FAST FOOD WOMEN (1992) directed by Anne Lewis
JUST ANOTHER GIRL ON THE IRT (1992) written and directed by Leslie Harris
SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE (1993) written and directed by Nora Ephron
MAYA LIN: A STRONG CLEAR VISION (1994) written and directed by Freida Lee Mock
CLUELESS (1995) written and directed by Amy Heckerling
MATILDA (1996) screenplay by Robin Swicord and Nicholas Kazan
THE WATERMELON WOMAN (1997) written and directed by Cheryl Dunye
SLUMS OF BEVERLY HILLS (1998) written and directed by Tamara Jenkins
THE PARENT TRAP (1998) directed by Nancy Meyers
BUT I’M A CHEERLEADER (1999) starring Natasha Lyonne
ERIN BROCKOVICH (2000) written by Susannah Grant
LOVE AND BASKETBALL (2000) written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF HANK GREENBERG (2000) directed by Aviva Kempner
5 GIRLS (2001) written and directed by Maria Finitzo
LEGALLY BLONDE (2001) screenplay by Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith
BACK TO GOMBIN (2002) written and directed by Minna Packer
FRIDA (2002) written by Hayden Herrera and directed by Julie Taymor
SISTERS IN CINEMA (2003) written and directed by Yvonne Welbon
D.E.B.S. (2004) written and directed by Angela Robinson
MAKING TROUBLE: Three Generations of Funny Jewish Women (2006) directed by Rachel Talbot
STEPHANIE DALEY (2006) written and directed by Hilary Brougher
BILLY THE KID (2007) directed by Jennifer Venditti
HER NAME IS SABINE  (2007) written and directed by Sandrine Bonnaire
UNDER THE SAME MOON / LA MISMA LUNA (2007) written by Ligiah Villalobos and directed by Patricia Riggen
WHIP IT (2009) written by Shauna Cross and directed by Drew Barrymore

Thanks to WIFV Interns (Summer 2019) Lucia Fox-Shapiro, Julia Hay, and Nicole Spriggs-Moye for their research, descriptions, advocacy, and promotion of the 2019 nominations.

2020 Selections to the National Film Registry

The record-setting 10 films directed by women on the 2020 list include the 1913 silent film SUSPENSE co-directed by Lois Weber; the 1918 silent film BREAD about a woman struggling to pull herself out of poverty, directed by Ida May Park; the 1929 film WITH CAR AND A CAMERA AROUND THE WORLD  by Aloha Wanderwell; the 1950 film OUTRAGE about the once verboten topic of sexual assault directed by Ida Lupino; one of the first feature films directed by a Black woman with Kathleen Collins’ LOSING GROUND from 1982; groundbreaking director Julie Dash’s student film ILLUSIONS confronting Hollywood racism from 1982; the 1994 film THE DEVIL NEVER SLEEPS by Lourdes Portillo; SHREK co-directed by Vicky Jenson in 2001; the 2006 film MAUNA KEA: Temple Under Siege co-directed by Joan Lander; and the atypical war film THE HURT LOCKER about soldiers in Baghdad dismantling unexploded bombs, directed by Kathryn Bigelow in 2008. Read the press release here.  Thank you for the support you have shown for the last several years to get LOSING GROUND and THE HURT LOCKER into the Registry!

2019 Selections to the National Film Registry

Finally, BOYS DON’T CRY written and directed by Kimberly Peirce has been included in the National Film Registry!  WIFV has nominated it every year since we started this initiative.  The title on the official press release is Women Rule 2019 National Film RegistryRead the press release here.  The record-setting seven women-centric films included this year are: BEFORE STONEWALL (1984) by Greta Schiller, BOYS DON’T CRY ((1999) by Kimberly Peirce; GIRLFRIENDS (1978) by Claudia Weill, I AM SOMEBODY (1970) by Madeline Anderson, MY NAME IS OONA (1969) by Gunvor Nelson, A NEW LEAF (1971) by Elaine May, REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES (2002) directed by Patricia Cardoso, Other films that WIFV has nominated in the past that were included in this year’s selections are:  A NEW LEAF, REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES, and SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT.   To see all the films included in 2019 click here.  Thank you for your long time support of BOYS DON’T CRY, A NEW LEAF, SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT and REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES!

BOYS DON’T CRY (1999) was the first feature written and directed by Kimberly Peirce based on her short of the same name. With its main theme about finding the courage to be who you truly are, the story is about female born Teena Brandon who adopts the male identity of Brandon Teena, and attempts to find himself and discover love in Nebraska. The film has outstanding performances from the cast including Hilary Swank’s win of the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role and Chloë Sevigny’s nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. At the Golden Globes, in the same year, Swank won for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama and Sevigny was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture. BOYS DON’T CRY is one of the first films to realistically and respectfully explore transgender identity.

2018 SelecTIONS TO THE NATional film registry

WIFV is delighted that EVE’S BAYOU written and directed by Kasi Lemmons was included in the National Film Registry.  Thank you for your multi-year support of that film.
EVE’S BAYOU (1997) Set in the 1960’s Louisiana, EVE’S BAYOU tells the story of the death of the Batiste family’s patriarch from the perspective of the youngest daughter, Eve (Jurnee Smolett-Bell). When Eve catches her father (Samuel L. Jackson) cheating on her mother (Lynn Whitfield) at a dinner party, family secrets come to light and relationships crumble. The film is culturally significant for its complex portrayal of an affluent African-American family and was Kasi Lemmons’ critically-acclaimed feature directorial debut. Among seven Independent Spirit Awards nominations, it won for Best First Feature.

To see what other films were included in 2018 click here.


To see what was chosen in 2017 click here.


WIFV is thrilled that PARIS IS BURNING directed by Jennie Livingston was finally included in the National Film Registry!  Thank you for your multi-year support of that project.

2015 selections of the national film registry

In 2015, among chosen films with women involvement were HUMORESQUE (1920), story by Fannie Hurst and written by Frances Marion; OUR DAILY BREAD (1934) with scenario by Elizabeth Hill; THE STORY OF MENSTRUATION (1946) narrated by Gloria Blondell; IMITATION OF LIFE (1959) with story by Fannie Hurst and co-written by Eleanore Griffin; PORTRAIT OF JASON (1967) directed by Shirley Clarke; THE INNER WORLD OF APHASIA (1968) written by Naomi Feil; EADWEARD MAYBRIDGE, ZOOPRAXOGRAPHER (1975) co-written and co-directed by Fay Andersen; and SINK OR SWIM (1990) written and directed by Su Friedrich.


WIFV is delighted to announce that MOON BREATH BEAT (1980) directed by Lisze Bechtold, SHOES (1916) directed/produced by Lois Weber and written by Stella Wynne Herron, and UNMASKED (1917) directed/written by Grace Cunard have been included in the 2014 selections by the Library of Congress. Other selected films with women involvement were DOWN ARGENTINE WAY (1940) edited by Barbara McLean; THE DRAGON PAINTER (1919) co-written by Mary McNeil Fenollosa; FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF (1986) co-produced by Jane Vickerilla; THE GANG’S ALL HERE (1943) co-written by Nancy Wintner; INTO THE ARMS OF STRANGERS: STORIES OF THE KINDERTRANSPORT (2000) produced by Cayce Callaway, Alicia Dwyer, and Deborah Oppenheimer; LITTLE BIG MAN (1970) edited by Dede Allen; RIO BRAVO (1959) co-written by Leigh Brackett; ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968) co-produced by Dona Holloway; SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1998) co-produced by Bonnie Curtis and Allison Lyon Segan; and STATE FAIR (1945) adapted by Sonya Levien. Click here for a full list of films added to the registry in 2014.

2013 Selections of the national film registry

WIFV is pleased to announce that Martha Graham’s Dance Films have been included in the 2013 selections by the Library of Congress.  Among other chosen films with women involvement were GILDA (1946) produced by Virginia Van Upp; THE HOLE (1962) written by Faith Hubley and produced by Pat Byron; PULP FICTION (1994) executive produced by Stacey Sher and edited by Sally Menke; THE RIGHT STUFF (1983) edited by Lisa Fruchtman; ROGER & ME (1989) associate produced by Wendey Stanzler and edited by Jennifer Beman White; and A VIRTUOUS VAMP (1919) co-written/co-produced by Anita Loos. Click here for a full list of films added to the registry in 2013.

2012 Selections of the National Film Registry

WIFV is honored to announce that A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN (1992) directed by Penny Marshall has been included in the 2012 selection by the Library of Congress.  Can’t believe it took nearly four years of campaigning for this one to get in.  So appreciate your support and that of the All-American Girls Baseball League!

Among other chosen films with women involvement we included DIRTY HARRY (1971) written by Rita M. Fink, THE MATRIX (1999) written/directed by Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski, ONE SURVIVOR REMEMBERS (1995) directed by Kary Antholis and written by Gerda Weissmann Klein, SAMSARA: Death and Rebirth in Cambodia (1990) directed by Ellen Bruno, and THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK (1984) written by Judith Coburn.  Click here for a full list of films added to the registry in 2012.

2011 Selections of the National Film Registry

WIFV is delighted that GROWING UP FEMALE co-written and directed by Julia Reichert and Jim Klein has been included in the 2011 selections by the Library of Congress.   Thank you for your support of this film.  Your support made it happen!

Other women-centric films added to the National Film Registry are FAKE FRUIT FACTORY (1986) by Chick Strand, HESTER STREET (1975) written and directed by Joan Micklin Silver and NORMA RAE (1979).  Click here for a full list of films added to the Registry in 2011.