James Cameron's seminal SF movie The Terminator said he'd be back, and it's only taken the Library of Congress 24 years to recognize what the rest of us have known all along: The movie is a classic.
The original Terminator is one of 25 movies that Librarian of Congress James H. Billington on Dec. 30 added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. Other sci-fi movies to make the cut include the genre classics The Invisible Man (1933) and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958). Given how long it took those movies to be recognized, maybe Cameron shouldn't complain.
This year's selections bring the number of motion pictures in the registry to 500.
The registry recognizes movies that are "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant, to be preserved for all time.
Of The Invisible Man, the library said director James Whale "brought a dazzling stylishness to what were essentially low-budget horror films and, in the case of The Invisible Man, produced sophisticated special effects, aided by John P. Fulton." The library also praised the casting of Claude Rains in his American film debut to star.
For The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, the library praised the work of special-effects master Ray Harryhausen, who created a giant cyclops, fire-breathing dragons and a sword-wielding animated skeleton, all in glorious Technicolor, as well as the film's score by Bernard Herrmann.
The library said that Cameron's Terminator became one of the sleeper hits of 1984, blending an ingenious, thoughtful script--clearly influenced by the works of sci-fi legend Harlan Ellison--and relentless, nonstop action. The library singled out the movie's "outstanding synthesizer and early techno soundtrack" and star Arnold Schwarzenegger's star-making performance as the mass-killing cyborg with a laconic sense of humor ("I'll be back") and calls the movie one of "the finest science fiction films in many decades."
The full list of this year's additions to the National Film Registry can be found here.