Airplane! among 25 films added to National Film Registry

Dec 28, 2010 at 1:15 p.m. ET

The Library of Congress has added 25 new films to the National Film Registry including the 1980's iconic film Airplane!

The late Leslie Nielsen-starring movie, Airplane!, spun its fair share of cultural references and now it's joining 24 other films in the National Film Registry. Surely, Leslie Nielsen would have been proud.

Leslie Nielsen in Airplane!

Joining Airplane! are 24 other flicks that are considered "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant," including The Empire Strikes Back, Malcolm X and the frighteningly creepy, The Exorcist.

So, just how does a film become preserved in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry? It all comes down to one man -- James H. Billington. Billington has picked all the relevant films sitting in the National Film Registry based on suggestions from the National Film Preservation Board and the devoted masses. In fact, the public put an estimated 2,100 movies up for nomination this year. "The most interesting thing for me is not seeing something I like make the list, but getting educated by the list that comes out of this process," he marveled.

Other films that made it into the Library of Congress' National Film Registry included John Travolta's 1977 disco classic Saturday Night Fever and Robert Altman's Western, McCabe & Mrs. Miller. The 1964 Peter Sellers hit The Pink Panther also made it into preservation status.

Who knew uttering five little words, "No, I am your father," could make such an impact?

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