The National Film Registry is where the Library of Congress stores the movies they'd like us all to watch when the world is overrun with zombies or some other apocalyptic mayhem. These are the flicks deemed worthy of preservation because of their significance to American culture, and we're always happy when some of our favorite sci-fi flicks make the list.
Since 1988 the film registry has named up to 25 films each year to be included on its list of films worthy of preservation. The class of 2011 has just been named, bringing the total number of films on the list up to 575. Among predictable choices like Walt Disney's Bambi and John Cassavetes' indie classic Faces is a sci-fi film from the 1950s: George Pal and Byron Haskin's adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel War of the Worlds.
Released in 1953, the film is the first screen adaptation of Wells' novel and stars Gene Barry and Ann Robinson. It won an Academy Award for its special effects and is widely considered one of the greatest and most important genre films of the sci-fi-rich '50s.
War of the Worlds joins the likes of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars, Planet of the Apes, Night of the Living Dead and Invasion of the Body Snatchers among the sci-fi films on the list. Among other notable additions on the 2011 list are Jonathan Demme's Oscar-winning horror thriller The Silence of the Lambs and A Computer Animated Hand, a one-minute film of a human hand turning, opening and closing made in 1972 by Ed Catmull, who would go on to become one of the co-founders of Pixar Animation Studios. The footage was incorporated into the film Futureworld in 1976 and serves as a key foundation for many of the concepts that made Pixar groundbreaking.
You can view the full registry, as well as nominate films for inclusion on the 2012 list, here. Which sci-fi classics are still missing from the list?