Nearly 25 years after its release, Selena, the 1997 biopic of Tejano legend Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, has been added to the the National Film Registry, alongside other cultural touchstones including Return of the Jedi and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
Selena, which featured star Jennifer Lopez in her first major role, was largely shot in San Antonio and remains a South Texas favorite. The late singer’s music continues to resonate with audiences, and this year she received a posthumous Grammy for Lifetime Achievement.
The Library of Congress adds 25 new movies annually to the National Film Registry, which helps shine a spotlight on the library’s efforts to archive and protect American movie history.
Selena tells the story of the young musician’s rise to fame in her family band and her tragic death when she was murdered by the head of her fan club after an argument.
Edward James Olmos, who played Selena’s father in the film, told the Library of Congress the movie resonates because it’s a universal family story that happens to be about South Texas Mexican-Americans.
“It will stand the test of time,” Olmos said. “It’s a masterpiece, because it allows people to learn about themselves by watching other peoples’ culture.”
Selena’s legacy lives on in the world through a Netflix series (Selena: The Series); through comic books (as part of TidalWave Comics’ “Female Force” series, pictured below); a children’s book, Sing with Me!, by author Diana Lopez; and in other artistic representations.
Other films added to the registry this year range from the classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller Strangers on a Train and ’80s horror flick A Nightmare on Elm Street to taboo-breaking John Waters’ cult classic Pink Flamingos and Sounder, a portrayal of an African-American family persevering through poverty and racism.
Some of the 825 titles included in the NFR are available to view online for free in the National Screening Room. Turner Classic Movies will host a television special screening of a selection of films named to the registry this year on Dec. 17 at 7 p.m.