13 Animated Movies Preserved In The National Film Registry

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13 Animated Movies Preserved In The National Film Registry

Since its establishment in 1988, The National Film Registry (NFR) has also preserved animated films. These selected films are chosen because they are culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films. However, besides the criteria for significance, films are only eligible for selection ten years after their original release.

The Library of Congress is open to receiving nominations for all types of films. One which has been part of the selection since the National Film Registry was established is animated films. Although several have been nominated, the Library of Congress has yet to select any animated feature films in the National Film Registry. These are the 13 animated feature-length films preserved in the National Film Registry.

Editor’s Note: The list is subject to the Library of Congress selection as of December 2022

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) became the first animated feature film to be selected by the Library of Congress in the National Film Registry. The film was included in part of the first 25 film selections added to the registry. Besides its cultural, historical, and aesthetic significance, the film was a record-breaker in its own right. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is Walt Disney’s first animated feature film. Also a commercial success, the film grossed $418 million on a $1.5 million budget. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1932) was selected by the Library of Congress in 1989 to be preserved in the National Film Registry.

Fantasia (1940)

Fantasia (1940)

Fantasia (1940) is a musical anthology animated film released on November 13, 1940. The 126-minute movie is Walt Disney’s third animated film. A masterpiece in plot and soundtrack, Fantasia was another box-office success for Walt Disney. The Library of Congress selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1990.

Pinocchio (1940)

Pinocchio (1940)

Unsurprisingly, Walt Disney’s animated films were the first animated films to be preserved in the National Film Registry. The nature and popularity of their animations have strongly reflected the American culture and heritage. Although the second feature film from Walt Disney, Pinocchio (1940) became the third to be selected for preservation. This was done in 1994.

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Beauty and the Beast (1991) became the first animated film for Best Picture at the 64th Academy Awards. The animated musical romantic fantasy was a commercial success. With a production budget of $25 million in 1991, it grossed $424 million at the Box Office. 11 years later, after its release, it was selected by the Library of Congress in 2002 to be preserved in the National Film Registry.

Toy Story (1995)

Toy Story (1995)

1995 Toy Story was produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The concept and storyline were greatly received by critics and audiences. Toy Story (1995) became the first installment in what became the Toy Story franchise. It wasted no time in being preserved. A decade after its release, it was selected for preservation in 2005.

Bambi (1942)

Bambi (1942)

The Walt Disney animated film was based on Felix Salten‘s 1923 novel, Bambi, a Life in the Woods. With a production budget of less than a million dollars ($858,000), Bambi (1942) grossed $267.4 million at the Box Office. The film’s soundtrack was as popular and successful as the film. All of its three Academy Awards nominations (Best Sound, Best Song, and Original Music Score) were for its music. The Library of Congress included Bambi (1942) in its 2011 selection for preservation.

The Lion King (1994)

The Lion King (1994)

Unarguably, it is one of Disney’s most popular animated films. The transgenerational masterpiece has been a delight for kids and animation audiences since its original release on June 15, 1994. Until Finding Nemo was released in 2003, The Lion King was the highest-grossing animated film. However, it wasn’t until 2016 that the Library of Congress selected it for preservation.

Dumbo (1941)

Dumbo (1941)

1941 Dumbo was created to help Disney Studios recoup some of the losses it made from Pinocchio (1940) and Fantasia (1940). Dumbo is also one of Disney’s shortest animated feature films, with only 64 minutes of runtime. Dumbo (1941) was preserved in the National Film Registry in 2017

Cinderella (1950)

Cinderella (1950)

Historically, the success of the 1950 Cinderella helped save the Walt Disney Studios from bankruptcy. After suffering losses in the 40s due to the effects of the war, Cinderella grossed $182 million on a $2.2 budget. Over the years, Cinderella has become one of Disney’s popular animated features and characters. It was preserved in the National Film Registry in 2018.

Sleeping Beauty (1959)

Sleeping Beauty (1959)

Having come a long way from their first animated feature film, Sleeping Beauty (1959) is Walt Disney’s sixteenth animated film. Although released on January 29, 1959, Sleeping Beauty took almost a decade to produce. Although a popular film, it bombed during its release. However, like several other Disney films, it has enjoyed success over the years. The Library of Congress selected it for preservation in 2019 in the National Film Registry.

Shrek (2001)

Shrek (2001)

Shrek is the first animated feature film released in the 21st century to be preserved in the National Film Registry. Released on May 18, 2001, it became the first installment in the Shrek film series. It is also the first non-Walt Disney-produced or distributed animated feature film to be preserved in the National Film Registry. Shrek (2001) is also the first animated feature film to win the first-ever Academy Award for Best Animated Feature category. Shrek (2001) was selected by the Library of Congress in 2020.

WALL-E (2008)

WALL-E (2008)

WALL-E (2008) became Pixar Animation Studios’ second animated film to be preserved in the registry. Widely considered one of the greatest animated films ever produced, WALL-E won Best Animation Film at the Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and Saturn Awards. Its $180 million production budget was also a record for an animated film at the time. The Library of Congress selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2021.

The Little Mermaid (1989)

The Little Mermaid (1989)

Released in the year the National Film Registry was established, The Little Mermaid (1989) only became eligible for selection in 1999. However, it would take an additional 22 years before it was preserved in the National Film Registry in 2022. The Little Mermaid is one of Walt Disney’s animated feature films to have received a live-action adaptation, The Little Mermaid (2023). The Little Mermaid (1989) was critically acclaimed and commercially successful.

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