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What's as Good as 10 Mothers?

"Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers," according to Les Blank's hilarious and affectionate 1980 film homage to "the stinking rose." Here, garlic is the benevolent dictator of pungent herbs, always enhancing food rather than dominating it. The rallying cry is "Fight Mouthwash, Eat Garlic." Gastronomic, zestful, tasty and memorable, the film often is screened in "AromaRound" with a pot of garlic butter boiling at the back of the theater.

Poster art from the film, " Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers," 1980. a still from "Going My Way" with Bing Crosby

The film is also one of 25 just named to the National Film Registry, bringing the total to 400 films.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington chose this year's selections after evaluating nearly 1,000 titles nominated by the public and conducting intensive discussions with the Library's Motion Picture division staff and the distinguished members and alternates of his advisory group, the National Film Preservation Board. The board also advises the Librarian on national film preservation policy.

Naming titles to the National Film Registry is not intended to be an event like the Oscars, which will be awarded this month.

"The films we choose are not necessarily the 'best' American films ever made or the most famous, but they are films that continue to have cultural, historical or aesthetic significance -- and in many cases represent countless other films also deserving of recognition," Billington observed. "The selection of a film, I stress, is not an endorsement of its ideology or content, but rather a recognition of the film's importance to American film and cultural history and to history in general. The Registry stands among the finest summations of American cinema's wondrous first century."

The 400 films in the National Film Registry represent a stunning range of American filmmaking - including Hollywood features, documentaries, avant-garde and amateur productions, films of regional interest, ethnic, animated and short film subjects -- all deserving recognition, preservation and access by future generations. Click here to access a complete list of National Film Registry selections.

For each title named to the registry, the Library of Congress works to ensure that the film is preserved for all time, either through the Library's massive motion picture preservation program or through collaborative ventures with other archives, motion picture studios and independent filmmakers. The Library of Congress contains the largest collections of film and television in the world, from the earliest surviving copyrighted motion picture to the latest feature releases. For more information, consult the National Film Preservation Board Web site.


Poster art from the film, "Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers" (A), 1980; and a still from "Going My Way" with Bing Crosby (B), 1944, two of the films on the National Film Registry. No reproduction information available.

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