One of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ most beloved princess films has just been added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.
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It’s not the first Walt Disney Animation Studios film to be added to the National Film Registry. In fact, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) was the first Disney film to be added to the National Film Registry in 1989, followed by other classic films such as Fantasia (1940), Pinocchio (1940), Steamboat Willie (1928), and many more.
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So what’s the importance of the National Film Registry? The National Film Registry was created in 1988 by the National Film Preservation Act. This program aims “to ensure the survival, conservation, and increased public availability of America’s film heritage,” according to the Library of Congress.
The program annually selects 25 movies that showcase “the range and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation.”
The Disney movie The Little Mermaid (1989) is among those 25 films this year.
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The Little Mermaid is beloved for its whimsical fairy tale storytelling, enchanting music, iconic characters, and how memorable it has become to those who watched it growing up. But The Little Mermaid is more significant to Disney movie history than many of us may realize.
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Anyone who knows the lineup of Disney princesses well will notice an obvious gap between the first princesses and those who were introduced during the Disney Renaissance. The Little Mermaid not only kicked off the Disney Renaissance but also revitalized animated musicals as a film genre, paving the way for our favorite Disney films of the 90s.
If your favorite Disney princess movies include Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), Pochahontas (1995), or Mulan (1998), you may owe it to The Little Mermaid!