The National Film Registry, which was established in 1988 by the National Film Preservation Act, ensures the survival, conservation, and increased public availability of America’s film heritage, adding up to 25 “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films” each year. In 2019, one of those films is Prince‘s 1984 musical drama Purple Rain, which helped launch the Minnesota singer from mere pop star to cultural icon and was also the last film to receive an Oscar for Best Original Song Score. The film was also a promotional vehicle for Prince’s classic album of the same name, which had two No. 1 hits: “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy.”
According to Variety, the list also includes 1944’s “Gaslight,” the 1955 film noir “The Phenix City Story,” Disney’s 1959 classic “Old Yeller,” Oliver Stone’s 1986 Best Picture winner “Platoon,” and Luis Valdez’s “Zoot Suit,” which tells the story of the 1943 Sleepy Lagoon Murder and the racially charged riots that followed.
The Purple Rain album was selected for preservation in the Library of Congress National Recording Registry in 2012. The film’s director Albert Magnoli said, “I am deeply honored that Purple Rain has been selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry in 2019. All of us strived to create a film that would capture the attention of what we believed at the time was a small audience. None of us expected this longevity. We simply worked hard every day to get it right, and this honor is a testament to the music, story and characters that were created by all of us so many years ago.”
Seven films directed by women — including Boys Don’t Cry and Real Women Have Curves — were also selected, marking a record for the Registry, whose mandate is to showcase “the range and diversity of American film heritage.”
Just for the heck of it, check out Prince’s video for “Purple Rain” above.