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These Amazing Shadows
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These Amazing Shadows (2011) More at IMDbPro »

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These Amazing Shadows -- As the government-appointed protector of our cinematic legacy, the National Film Registry selects culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant works for preservation in the Library of Congress. Through interviews with Registry board members, archivists, and notable filmmakers, they demonstrate the way film documents artistic and societal milestones.
These Amazing Shadows -- Trailer for These Amazing Shadows
These Amazing Shadows -- Clip: Rocky Horror Picture Show
These Amazing Shadows -- What do the films Casablanca, Blazing Saddles, and West Side Story have in common? Besides being popular, they have also been deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant," by the Library of Congress and listed on the National Film Registry. These Amazing Shadows tells the history and importance of The Registry, a roll call of American cinema treasures that reflects the diversity of film, and indeed the American experience itself. The current list of 525 films includes selections from every genre - documentaries, home movies, Hollywood classics, avant-garde, newsreels and silent films. "These Amazing Shadows" reveals how American movies tell us so much about ourselves...not just what we did, but what we thought, what we felt, what we aspired to, and the lies we told ourselves.
These Amazing Shadows -- Clip: The National Film Registry


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Culturally, historically or aesthetically significant See more »
Tells the history and importance of The National Film Registry, a roll call of American cinema treasures that reflects the diversity of film, and indeed the American experience itself. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
3 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
They're just like your family pictures See more (8 total) »


Jeff Adachi ... Himself
James H. Billington ... Himself
Robin Blaetz ... Herself
Brooks Boliek ... Himself

Ernest Borgnine ... Himself (archive footage)

Charles Burnett ... Himself
Jay Carr ... Himself
Martin Cohen ... Himself

Peter Coyote ... Himself
Arlene Damron ... Herself

Julie Dash ... Herself
Allen Daviau ... Himself

Caleb Deschanel ... Himself

Zooey Deschanel ... Herself
Kristine Fong ... Herself
Robert A. Harris ... Himself

Amy Heckerling ... Herself

Jan-Christopher Horak ... Himself
Jennifer Horne ... Herself

Gale Anne Hurd ... Herself

Steve James ... Himself

Barry Jenkins ... Himself

Barbara Kopple

Mick LaSalle ... Himself

John Lasseter ... Himself
Stephen Leggett ... Himself
Heather Linville ... Herself
Patrick Loughney ... Himself

John Magary ... Himself

Leonard Maltin ... Himself

Roger Mayer ... Himself
Farran Smith Nehme ... Herself

Christopher Nolan ... Himself
Stephen Peck ... Himself

Jennifer Phang ... Herself
Rick Prelinger ... Himself
John Ptak ... Himself

Rob Reiner ... Himself
Del Reisman ... Himself

Debbie Reynolds ... Herself
Robert Rosen ... Himself (as Prof. Robert Rosen)

Tim Roth ... Himself

James Schamus ... Himself

Paul Schrader ... Himself
Eric J. Schwartz ... Himself

John Singleton ... Himself
Anthony Slide ... Himself
Michael Smith ... Himself
Shelley Stamp ... Herself
Liz Stanley ... Herself

James Stewart ... Himself (archive footage)

George Takei ... Himself

Wayne Wang ... Himself

John Waters ... Himself

John Wayne ... Himself (archive footage)
George R. Willeman ... Himself
Jan Yarbrough ... Himself
Kevin Yost ... Himself

Directed by
Paul Mariano 
Kurt Norton 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Douglas Blush 
Paul Mariano  written by
Kurt Norton  written by

Produced by
Douglas Blush .... associate producer
Suzanne Chapot .... executive producer
Barbara Grandvoinet .... line producer
Paul Mariano .... producer
Kurt Norton .... producer
Christine O'Malley .... producer
Original Music by
Peter Golub 
Cinematography by
Frazer Bradshaw 
Film Editing by
Douglas Blush 
Alex Calleros 
Art Department
Natella Kataev .... motion graphics
Brian Oakes .... director of motion graphics
Sound Department
Larry Ellis .... sound editor
Visual Effects by
Brian Oakes .... director of motion graphics
Camera and Electrical Department
Alan Hereford .... additional cinematographer
Russ Jaquith .... camera operator
James Laxton .... additional cinematographer
Chris McGuinness .... additional cinematographer
Editorial Department
Michael Jorgensen .... additional editing
Chris Martin .... senior colorist
Music Department
Peter Golub .... orchestrator
Nicholas Greer .... music copyist
Richard Hein .... conductor
Ted Hinckley .... music contractor
Scott Johnson .... music editor
Philip Klein .... orchestrator
Vitek Kral .... score engineer assistant
Mike Roskelley .... score mixer
Staniaslave Vomacko .... translator
Other crew
Daniel J. Clark .... production assistant
Michael Donaldson .... legal services
Lindsay Horowitz .... intern
Marian Koltai-Levine .... publicist
Jennifer Moscoso .... intern
Matt Radecki .... post production consultant
Tessa Rexroat .... social media coordinator
Travis Rexroat .... production assistant
Jessica Schwartz .... intern
Stephen Clark .... consultant: (uncredited)
Denise Bostrom .... special thanks
Sheryl Cannady .... special thanks
Basia Countway .... special thanks
Patrick Creadon .... special thanks
Sarah Jackson .... special thanks
Theodore James .... special thanks
Lisa J. Klein .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
88 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.78 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
USA:Not Rated | USA:TV-G (TV-Rating)

Did You Know?

At the Library of Congress, the vaults that hold the highly flammable nitrocellulose footage are maintained at 39 degrees F, and 30% relative humidity.See more »
[first lines]
John Ptak:There is nothing like going to a theater, a communal atmosphere, watching something that is bigger than life.
Robin Blaetz:It's dark, you don't look at anybody...
John Ptak:And then the movie started, and it was really, really magical.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Features Adam's Rib (1949)See more »


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2 out of 7 people found the following review useful.
They're just like your family pictures, 21 April 2012
Author: Steve Pulaski from United States

These Amazing Shadows takes an in-depth look at an underrated organization that is dedicated to preserving and maintaining films in their current form. The National Film Registry was founded in 1988, coinciding with the passing of the National Film Preservation Act, after a suit at MGM threatened to colorize classic black and white pictures after his purchase of the company. The NFR has been devoted to preserving films that are "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." Since '88 they have preserved over five-hundred films, along with quite a few short films and minor, culturally significant snippets.

I'd rather spend this time discussing my thoughts on the registry rather than the documentary itself. There isn't a whole lot to say about the film, but there's a plethora to discuss about the registry itself. First off, let me say this is an organization that needs to exist. It may seem pointless to some; an organization that collects movies? What's the point? Speaking more as a common-man than an avid film reviewer, it is important to preserve an art form so we can not only gain knowledge of the thing itself, but gain knowledge of the time period it is portraying or when it was made. Here's a good question to ponder for those still unconvinced; why do we have history textbooks? There are a plethora of films in the registry now that absolutely deserve to be in there, and several still waiting to be recognized (my main recommendations would be De Niro's underrated and unsung A Bronx Tale and Scorsese's masterpiece Casino). Films like Citizen Kane, Close Encounters, Do the Right Thing, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, The Godfather, Goodfellas, Malcolm X, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars, To Kill a Mockingbird, and even The Rocky Horror Picture Show exist in the registry, all serving a unique and valid purpose.

What I love about the organization is that it isn't biased. If the NFR had an attitude like the MPAA, if I proposed the inclusion of Rocky Horror, it would most likely be met with sneers and laughs. I had the same reaction to its placement as did another member. If it can have a run at midnight showings all across the country, with people dressing up as characters, playing games, and having fun, it must speak to people in some way. For that reason, it is culturally, historically, and aesthetically different. And boy is it more than aesthetically different.

I was fascinated by the inclusion of many short films as well. There is a short film in the registry called H20, directed by Ralph Steiner. The short is thirteen minutes, and involves shots of flowing water that gradually become closer and closer to the point where it becomes almost unrecognizable. "You forget it's water" says a woman working in the registry. The short is captivating in every sense of the word and can be found on Youtube to this day. People can't see themselves enjoying such a flimsy, basic idea, but anyone with an open mind and a strong appreciation for cinema will definitely be entranced.

Another short I desperately would like to see is called Topaz, depicting life in the Topaz War Relocation Center in Utah during World War II. We are shown brief shots of the film, but to my knowledge, it is not commercially available, most likely because it was shot illegally. Another short I'd like to see is called Cologne: From the Diary of Ray and Esther. The short depicted life with the German-American community with the approach of World War II in sight. Unfortunately, like Topaz, it is not commercially available. Another charming short on the list was an old ad played at theaters to hopefully have a run on concession stand items; Let's All Go to the Lobby.

As far as the documentary These Amazing Shadows goes, it is nothing shy of wonderful. Eighty-eight minutes races by as we are shown the painstaking process of preserving a film, a room full of cold, well-kept film reels, and the concept of how films are elected in the registry (they are in a very democratic procedure by voting online). This is a must see documentary for those concerned with film's future and where it stands today.

Starring: Christopher Nolan, John Waters, Barbara Kopple, Tim Roth, John Lasseter, Wayne Wang, and Julie Dash. Directed by: Paul Mariano and Kurt Norton.

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