Latin Heat Entertainment #2

Latino Films Inducted To The National Film Registry

By Justina Bonilla

Since 1988, the National Library of Congress’ National Film Registry has chosen 25 films a year to preserve for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant. This list in the past has inducted iconic and groundbreaking films from To Kill a Mockingbird to The Godfather and Disney’s Snow White. The 2019 film inductions are more diverse than ever, with ten films directed and/or featuring ethnic talent, including five Latino/Hispanic talent.

Director/Writer Luis Valdez
Writer Josefina Lopez

Inducted this year, are two highly regarded films in Latino American and Chicano cinema, Zoot Suit and Real Women Have CurvesZoot Suit is the second film written and directed by the Father of Chicano theater Luis ValdezReal Women Have Curves is a modern classic by Chicana playwright Josefina Lopez, who created the story and co-wrote the screenplay.  Both Real Women Have Curves and Zoot Suit began as plays, showing the significant influence of plays in Latino American film history.

Latino/Hispanic talent was also featured in other inducted films, namely Purple Rain (leading actress Apollonia Kotero), Boys Don’t Cry (actress Hillary Swank), and Platoon (actor Charlie Sheen).

Past inductees featuring significant Latino/Hispanic stories and/or talent include:


West Side Story Rita Moreno, Jose de Vega
The Revenge of Pancho Villa Edmundo Padillo (Dir)
Dracula (Spanish Version) Lupita Tovar
Ben Hur(Silent Version) Ramon Novarro (Lead)
Stand & Deliver Edward James Olmos
El Mariachi Robert Rodriguez (Dir)
Chulas Fronteras Doc Mexican Border Music
High Noon Katy Jurado (Lead)
Night of the Living Dead George Romero (Dir)
Gilda Rita Hayworth
Salt of the Earth Rosaura Revueltas, Juan Chacon
El Norte Gregory Nava (Dir.)
La Bamba Luis Valdez (Dir)

In 2018, the National Film Registry faced criticism, due to its lack of diversity in its list of 750 films. According to TIME Magazine Only 36 films were directed by people of color. Now, the National Film Registry is adding more films with ethnic talent behind and in front of the camera. Solidifying the importance and impact of ethnic talent and stories in American cinema. Contributions that have been overlooked for years, due to preferences for non-ethnic stories and limited and/or stereotypical ethnic roles.

Latino oriented films and significant films with Latino talent that should be evaluated for consideration by the National Film Registry for induction include:


Alambrista Domingo Ambriz, Trinidad Silva
American Me Edward J. Olmos (Dir. & Actor), Sal Lopez
Blood In Blood Out Benjamin Bratt, Jessie Borrego, Enrique Castillo
Born In East L.A. Cheech Marin (Writer, Director, Actor)
Crossover Dreams Leon Ichaso (Dir.), Ruben Blades
Desperado Robert Rodriguez (Dir), Antonio Banderas
Kiss of the Spider Woman Hector Babenco (Dir.), Raul Julia
Mi Familia Gregory Nava (Dir.), Jimmy Smits, JLO
Requiem for a Heavyweight Anthony Quinn
Selena Gregory Nava (Dir.), Jennifer Lopez
The Book of Life Jorge Gutierrez (Dir.), Zoe Saldana
The Bronze Screen Nancy de Los Santos (Dir. +2)
The Girl From Mexico Lupe Velez
The Three Caballeros Aurora Miranda, Carmen Molina

Significant Films featuring Latino talent:

The Goucho Lupe Velez
Ocean’s 11 (’60) Cesar Ramiro, Henry Silva, Sammy Davis Jr.
Star Trek II: Wrath of Kahn Ricardo Montalban
Anna Lucasta Sammy Davis Jr.
The Fugitive Dolores del Rio, Pedro Armendariz


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