WASHINGTON - One of Arnold Schwarzenegger's most famous one-liners will be back for generations to come, now that 1984's "The Terminator" has been selected for preservation in the nation's film archive.
The low-budget film, directed by James Cameron, set a new standard for science fiction and made Schwarzenegger, now California's governor, a star. The Library of Congress announced yesterday that it's one of 25 films being added to the National Film Registry.
The move will guard Schwarzenegger's deadpan, "I'll be back," against deterioration, along with the sounds and images of the other culturally significant picks. Other titles being added to the registry include the groundbreaking all-black-cast film "Hallelujah" from 1929; Richard Brooks' 1967 film adaptation of Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood"; and the 1972 film "Deliverance," based on James Dickey's novel about four businessmen on a nightmarish canoe trip in the remote Georgia wilderness.
"The registry helps this nation understand the diversity of America's film heritage and, just as importantly, the need for its preservation," Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said in announcing his 2008 selections. "The nation has lost about half of the films produced before 1950 and as much as 90 percent of those made before 1920."
As time passes, older nitrate- and acetate-based films begin to deteriorate, Billington said. The Library of Congress is working to digitize and preserve endangered film and audio files at its new Packard Campus of the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center, an approximately $250 million facility built in a bunker in the hills near Culpeper, Va.
With yesterday's additions, the total number of films in the registry will reach 500.
Curators select films based on their cultural, historical or aesthetic significance.
"The selection of a title for the registry is not meant to duplicate the Academy Awards or anything like that," said Patrick Loughney, head of the library's audio-visual center. *