Thirty years ago, moviegoers were stunned when Darth Vader revealed in “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back” that he was Luke Skywalker’s father.
On Tuesday (December 28), however, there was no surprise when the venerable sci-fi flick was selected by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Film Registry, according to The Associated Press.
The honor recognizes the iconic 1980 movie for being artistically, culturally or historically significant. A copy of the original film will be preserved by the registry at the Packard Campus of the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, Virginia, for future generations.
“The Empire Strikes Back” was produced by “Star Wars” auteur George Lucas but directed by Irvin Kershner. It was joined by 24 other films; more than 2,500 were nominated. The John Travolta-powered disco vehicle “Saturday Night Fever,” the Watergate drama “All the President’s Men” and Spike Lee’s biopic “Malcolm X” were among the popular titles to make the cut.
The films will be added to a library that includes upwards of 550 titles, including Lucas’ “American Graffiti” and the first installment of “Star Wars.” Comedies including “The Pink Panther” and “Airplane!” were also selected by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, who has picked every film in the registry since its inception in 1989. “Airplane!” is a hilarious spoof of disaster movies that starred Leslie Nielsen, who died less than a month ago at the age of 84.