“Lion King” and “Roger Rabbit” Added To National Film Registry – Animation Scoop

“Lion King” and “Roger Rabbit” Added To National Film Registry

Twenty five new additions to the National Film Registry were announced this past week by The Library of Congress. Among the 2016 honorees are two now-classic Disney features that helped bring about the animation renaissance of the 1990s: The Lion King and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian of Congress names 25 films to the National Film Registry that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant. The films must be at least 10 years old. The Librarian makes the annual registry selections after reviewing hundreds of titles nominated by the public and conferring with Library film curators and the distinguished members of the National Film Preservation Board (NFPB).

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Among this year’s inductees:

The Lion King (1994)
Disney Studios further solidified its position as the producer of modern-day animated masterpieces with this lyrical 1994 offering. The story of a young lion cub destined to become King of the Jungle, but first exiled by his evil uncle, “The Lion King” was a triumph from the moment of its release and has charmed new generations of viewers. Like Disney’s beloved “Bambi,” “The Lion King” seamlessly blends innovative animation with excellent voice-actors (Jonathan Taylor Thomas, James Earl Jones, Moira Kelly, Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick and Whoopi Goldberg) and catchy, now-classic songs by Sir Elton John and Tim Rice. It is the film’s storytelling that resonates—funny, innovative, suspenseful—for both children and adults. Since its release, the film has spawned an animated TV series, two made-for-video sequels and a highly imaginative Broadway show.

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Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Described by Roger Ebert as “not only great entertainment but a breakthrough in craftsmanship,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” introduced a new sense of realism into the interactions between cartoons and live-action characters on screen. In this film noir comedy, set in a 1940s Hollywood where cartoon characters are real, private investigator Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) is hired to prove the innocence of the accused murderer and uncontrollably crazy ‘toon’ Roger Rabbit (voiced by Charles Fleischer), with memorable appearances by Roger’s voluptuous wife, Jessica Rabbit (voiced by Kathleen Turner), and the chillingly evil Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd). The film evokes a love for the golden age of animation, represented through the construction of Roger Rabbit himself, who embodies Disney’s high-quality animation, Warner Bros.’ character design and Tex Avery’s sense of humor. The spirit of the film is artfully summarized in this one line: “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.” Executive producer Steven Spielberg worked tirelessly to negotiate the use of over 140 beloved cartoon characters in the film, making this the first time Warner Bros. and Disney characters shared the screen and the last time Mel Blanc voiced Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck before his death in 1989.

The list of previous inductees is posted here. Already included from the animation world are such titles as Tex Avery’s Magical Maestro (1952), Chuck Jones’ What’s Opera Doc? (1957), Disney’s Fantasia (1940), Winsor McCay’s Gertie The Dinosaur (1912), and UPA’s Gerald McBoing Boing (1950). The complete list of this years selections are here.

Jerry Beck

Jerry Beck

Writer, cartoon producer and author of more than 15 books on animation history. A former studio exec with Nickelodeon and Disney; currently on the faculty at both CalArts in Valencia and Woodbury University in Burbank.
Jerry Beck
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  • Tony

    Two of my all time favorite films, and they’re in great company too. Other selections this year include The Princess Bride, The Birds and Steamboat Bill Jr (the inspiration for Mickey Mouse’s debut film Steamboat Willie, also on the Registry).