National Film Registry Criterion Titles

by Eric Levy

Created 07/14/12

Edit List

These Criterion titles are on the Library of Congress National Film Registry, which began in 1989. Films are sorted by year of entry in the Registry, which is listed in the notes, followed by the year of release. In three cases, shorts from collections are included. Because titles cannot be added twice on Criterion lists, the 1990 addition PRIMARY and the 2011 addition CRISIS are both listed under 1990, and the 1993 addition HIS GIRL FRIDAY and the 2010 addition THE FRONT PAGE are both listed under 1993.

The Registry featured 575 films when I created this list, 45 of which were Criterion titles. There are now 725 films in the Registry, 100 of which are Criterion titles. I will continue to update as necessary.

PS. 8/1/14: I have recently read both volumes of AMERICA'S FILM LEGACY by Daniel Eagan. I highly recommend Mr. Eagan's books to my fellow Film Registry enthusiasts.

See also ColemanShedman's Criterion & The National Film Registry and Sean Ramsdell's These Amazing Shadows, Some Films Not On The Film Registry, and Recording Registry lists.

Directors with multiple films: Chaplin 5, Cassavetes 3, Ford 3, Hawks 3, Kubrick 3, Altman 2, Ashby 2, Drew 2, Frankenheimer 2, Lubitsch 2, Malick 2, Albert and David Maysles 2, McCarey 2, Newmeyer and Taylor 2, Sternberg 2, Sturges 2

Cross-references to my other lists are included in the notes.

Personal statistics: S=Seen, D=Own on DVD, B=Own on Blu-ray Disc, *=non-Criterion edition. Totals: Films: 100, Seen 100, Own 71, DVDs 38, BDs 42. (And of the 725 titles currently in the Registry, I've seen 709.)

2/15/18: Added MIDNIGHT COWBOY, bringing the total to 100 titles.
1/16/18: Added THE AWFUL TRUTH, bringing the total to 99 titles.
12/15/17: Added KING OF JAZZ, bringing the total to 98 titles.
12/13/17: The 2017 additions were announced today. Three Criterion titles were added: ACE IN THE HOLE, which was my fifth pick below (see my December 1, 2014 comment), ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS, and SPARTACUS. There are now 97 Criterion titles on the Registry.
11/16/17: Added NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, bringing the total to 94 titles.
10/16/17: Added THE BREAKFAST CLUB, bringing the total to 93 titles.
8/18/17: Added THE PHILADELPHIA STORY, bringing the total to 92 titles.
1/18/17: Added WOMAN OF THE YEAR, bringing the total to 91 titles.
12/15/16: Added BEING THERE, bringing the total to 90 titles.
12/14/16: The 2016 additions were announced today. Two Criterion titles were added: PUTNEY SWOPE (the first Eclipse Series addition) and RUSHMORE, which was my eleventh pick below (see my December 1, 2014 comment). There are now 89 Criterion titles on the Registry.
11/16/16: Added MILDRED PIERCE, bringing the total to 87 titles.
10/14/16: Added HIS GIRL FRIDAY and THE FRONT PAGE, bringing the total to 86 titles.
9/16/16: Added THE ASPHALT JUNGLE, bringing the total to 84 titles.
6/17/16: Added CAT PEOPLE, bringing the total to 83 titles.
5/16/16: Added McCABE & MRS. MILLER, bringing the total to 82 titles.
3/17/16: Added DR. STRANGELOVE and IN A LONELY PLACE (thanks ericgarfield31!), bringing the total to 81 titles.
1/16/16: Added PRIMARY and CRISIS, bringing the total to 79 titles.
12/18/15: Added THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, bringing the total to 77 titles.
12/16/15: The 2015 additions were announced today. Two Criterion titles were added: SECONDS and SYMBIOPSYCHOTAXIPLASM TAKE ONE. There are now 76 Criterion titles on the Registry.
11/16/15: Added THE KID and THE GRADUATE, bringing the total to 74 titles.
10/17/15: Added GILDA, bringing the total to 72 titles.
8/18/15: Added IN COLD BLOOD and DONT LOOK BACK, bringing the total to 71 titles.
4/16/15: Added THE BLACK STALLION, bringing the total to 69 titles.
12/17/14: The 2014 additions were announced today. ROSEMARY'S BABY, which was my first pick below (see my December 1, 2014 comment), is the only Criterion film. There are now 68 Criterion titles on the Registry.
12/16/14: Added THE THIN BLUE LINE, bringing the total to 67 titles.
8/16/14: Added IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, TOOTSIE, and GARLIC IS AS GOOD AS TEN MOTHERS, bringing the total to 66 titles.
7/16/14: Added MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, bringing the total to 63 titles.
6/17/14: Added ERASERHEAD, bringing the total to 62 titles.
5/16/14: Added ALL THAT JAZZ, bringing the total to 61 titles.
2/18/14: Added RED RIVER, bringing the total to 60 titles.
12/23/13: I've looked at the Martha Graham disc. The Film Registry added four films of Graham's work this year, including APPALACHIAN SPRING. The film added to the Registry is a silent version from 1944, not the 1958 sound version included on Criterion's MARTHA GRAHAM-DANCE ON FILM set. As it happens, there are excerpts from the 1944 version included on the Criterion disc as a bonus, but as it is not the entire film, it is not eligible for this list. So, alas, we are back to a total of 59 titles.
12/18/13: The 2013 additions were announced today. Just one Criterion title was added: the Martha Graham short APPALACHIAN SPRING (I'm researching whether this is the same film). There are now 60 Criterion titles on the Registry.
12/17/13: Added THE FRESHMAN, bringing the total to 59 titles.
9/16/13: Added NASHVILLE, bringing the total to 58 titles.
8/15/13: Added CITY LIGHTS, bringing the total to 57 titles.
5/15/13: Added TO BE OR NOT TO BE, bringing the total to 56 titles.
3/19/13: Added SAFETY LAST!, bringing the total to 55 titles.
2/15/13: Added MEDIUM COOL and 3:10 TO YUMA, bringing the total to 54 titles.
12/19/12: The 2012 additions were announced today. Four Criterion titles were added: ANATOMY OF A MURDER, SLACKER, THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK, and TWO-LANE BLACKTOP. There are now 52 Criterion titles on the Registry.
12/16/12: Added BADLANDS, bringing the total to 48 titles.
11/15/12: Added ON THE WATERFRONT, bringing the total to 47 titles.
10/31/12: Added THE NAKED CITY (thanks briclegg!), bringing the total to 46 titles.
9/18/12: Added KOYAANISQATSI, bringing the total to 45 titles.


  • By ericgarfield31
    December 14, 2017
    12:25 PM

    This list inspires me! Because of you, I voted for the first time in 2016. One of my 25 votes was The Birds (1963) which made the list the same year! This year, three films made the list that I have been voting on the past two years: Dumbo (1941), Spartacus (1960), and Memento (2000)! I couldn't believe it. Thank you for introducing the NFR to me. I feel good to know I have helped preserve these films in the Library of Congress for all time. :)
  • By Eric Levy
    December 14, 2017
    02:53 PM

    O Eric! Thank you so much. Your message really touches me. And well done! Pretty exciting list this year. I've seen 14 so far. Keep sending those suggestions. I voted for DUMBO too. Talk about being overdue for inclusion! The most glaring omission in my mind now is THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI. I'm going to vote again soon too. And while SPARTACUS probably wouldn't have been my first choice for another Kubrick film, I'm overjoyed he finally has a fourth film on the list. Hope it starts a trend! Thanks again for your message my friend. Made my day :-)
  • By Sean Ramsdell
    December 15, 2017
    04:59 PM

  • By Eric Levy
    December 15, 2017
    05:58 PM

    Thanks as always Sean. Looks like I was wrong about TO SLEEP WITH ANGER, but it was another out-of-print-never-released-on-DVD Registry title. That one was completely out of left field. And KING OF JAZZ is a great film too! I'm so excited about it joining the collection. Keep those surprises coming Criterion!
  • By Eric Levy
    December 16, 2017
    05:04 AM

    Sean, looks like you replied, and it didn't show up. Let's see if this helps.
  • By Eric Levy
    December 16, 2017
    05:05 AM

    Hmm... Not sure what happened. Can you re-post it?
  • By Sean Ramsdell
    January 01, 2018
    05:45 AM

    Wonder what April will bring?
  • By Eric Levy
    January 02, 2018
    05:28 AM

    Happy New Year Sean! Me too. We've sure got a lot of hints from the New year's comic now. And THE AWFUL TRUTH (and possibly BRINGING UP BABY) will get added to this list! I'm guessing DEAD MAN will be announced this time and hopefully the long-rumored full-length UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD. Beyond that, it's anybody's guess...
  • By Sean Ramsdell
    January 20, 2018
    12:34 PM

    Check out my lists for these registry titles: BLADE RUNNER, GHOSTBUSTERS, BACK TO THE FUTURE and PRINCESS BRIDE
  • By Eric Levy
    January 21, 2018
    06:06 AM

    Excellent work my friend!
  • By Collection
    March 01, 2018
    07:45 PM

    Interesting email today and good news that sex, lies, and videotape will be joining The Criterion Collection and, at the same time added to this list! The offer to participate in the Q&A hearkens back to the 2007 and 2009 Jarmusch events; if you remember those. Also coming over here for safe haven as "Be True to Your School" is currently under a spammer attack. Beware not just the Ides of March, but the Curse of the "Pumpkin"! "Superstition, everywhere..."
  • By Sean Ramsdell
    March 03, 2018
    09:50 AM

    Made Zimmy list if you like DONT COME BACK
  • By Eric Levy
    March 04, 2018
    06:09 AM

    Colly: Yes, very exciting about SL&V! And I already sent questions in for Jim and Steve. We'll see if mine get picked. Sorry that jerk is abusing your list. You should report him! They listen. Sean: Another awesome list! Can't think of any additions, but I'll let you know if I do.
  • By Sean Ramsdell
    March 04, 2018
    03:49 PM

    My old email got spammed, too ):(
  • By Sean Ramsdell
    March 06, 2018
    07:22 PM

    I think my old email is blocked
  • By Eric Levy
    March 07, 2018
    04:48 AM

    So sorry Sean. Don't these people have anything better to do with their time?
  • By Computerscope
    March 11, 2018
    10:24 AM

    I really freakin' hope "Porgy and Bess" releases from this banner sometime soon — it's as important, if not moreso, to American history and film history as "Gone with the Wind."
  • By Eric Levy
    March 13, 2018
    09:51 AM

    You and me both! Unfortunately, that film is in limbo. There are no prints in mint condition, and neither is the original negative. Also, apparently the film is controlled by the Gershwin estate, and they won't allow a home video version to be released. Such a shame! It would be wonderful if all of this could be worked out, and a proper restored version was released. There are poor prints that circulate, and I was able to get one through inter-library loan. Hopefully someone is listening...
  • By Sean Ramsdell
    March 16, 2018
    02:54 PM

    Don't forget to mention my Some Films Not On The Film Registry list
  • By Eric Levy
    March 17, 2018
    07:22 AM