Every year, the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress chooses 25 films that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films.” These are American films that are considered revolutionary and important to filmmaking, American cinema, and American culture. This year, one of the 25 lucky films chosen for significant preservation is Andy & Lana Wachowski’s The Matrix.
In 1999, the Wachowskis dazzled audiences with The Matrix. The film showcased a new way to make action films that would set the trend in Hollywood for the next decade. The Wachowskis’ trademark “bullet time” gave audiences something they’d never seen before, a 360-degree view of a man who can dodge bullets with the ease of Superman.
The Matrix followed Neo (Keanu Reeves), a man who learns that his life is a lie, but when confronted by the truth, he must choose to live up to his full potential and embrace his destiny. This is a story as old as time and can be seen in other movies including Star Wars and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. But the Wachowskis made it modern. Even watching The Matrix today, it feels as fresh as it was in 1999.
Although The Matrix spawned two inferior sequels, the original will forever be a stamp in American cinematic history. And with the National Film Registry selecting The Matrix as a “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant film,” it will ensure that important status for years to come. You can check out the complete list of films selected by the National Film Registry for preservation in 2012 below.
3:10 to Yuma (1957)
Anatomy of Murder (1959)
The Augustas (1930s – 1950s)
Born Yesterday (1950)
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
A Christmas Story (1983)
The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Title Fight (1897)
Dirty Harry (1971)
Hours for Jerome: Parts 1 and 2 (1980 – 1981)
The Kidnappers Foil (1930s – 1950s)
Kodachrome Color Motion Picture Tests (1922)
A League of their Own (1992)
The Matrix (1999)
The Middleton Family at the New York World’s Fair (1939)
One Survivor Remembers (1995)
Samsara: Death and Rebirth of Cambodia (1990)
Sons of the Desert (1993)
The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1973)
They Call It Pro Football (1967)
The Times of Harvey Milk (1984)
Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)
Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1914)
The Wishing Ring; An Idyll of Old England (1914)