Talking Heads ‘Stop Making Sense’ Joins National Film Registry

Talking Heads 'Stop Making Sense' Joins National Film Registry

Photo: ROY J BARON /

The Talking Heads legendary documentary film Stop Making Sense was just awarded the highest honor that any film can achieve as it was just added to the United States National Film Registry. The Library of Congress announced on Tuesday the selection of films to be inducted into the National Film Registry for 2021. Twenty Five films were announced to be inducted into the National Film Registry. In a the very wide selection of films with the oldest one dating back  almost 120 years ago all the way to 1902 the Library of Congress will be preserving films across many genres. The oldest film to be preserved in the National Film Registry is the 1902 Ringling Brothers Parade Film. The most recent film release induction belongs to the 2008 motion picture Wall-E.

The Talking Heads movie was a surprise pick to many, but not for fans and critics of the band who have always known what a brilliant film the Talking Heads released back in 1984. The film has been widely hailed for decades as one of the greatest concert films ever made. Stop Making Sense was directed by the brilliant filmmaker Jonathan Demme. The Long Island New York native won an Academy Award for Best Director seven years later in 1991 for his sensational  motion picture The Silence of the Lambs. Jonathan Demme also directed Neil Young’s 2006 film Heart Of Gold as well as so many other brilliant films.

Stop Making Sense was filmed over a series of four concert appearances by the Talking Heads at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre in Hollywood California in in December of  1983. The concerts served as a retrospective of the Talking Heads musical career up to that point. However, it was the David Byrne’s theatrical performance that was off the charts in the film and served as perfect fodder for Jonathan Demme’s brilliant direction and cinematography.

The Stop Making Sense film featured all the members of the Talking Heads at the time including David Byrne on lead vocals and guitar and Tina Weymouth on bass, keyboard bass and guitar.Tina Weymouth also is featured singing  lead vocals on the song “Genius of Love” which also features lead vocals by drummer Chris Frantz. Other musicians in the film include the legendary Jerry Harrison on guitar, keyboards and backing vocals, Steve Scales on percussion and backing vocals, Bernie Worrell on keyboards, Alex Weir on guitar and backing vocals and Lynn Mabry and Ednah Holt on backing vocals.

The energy displayed by David Byrne as well as the other musicians is what makes the film so special. David Byrne is not just a visual artist but a musician, performer and songwriter that seemed to be celebrating every single moment of time. The band’s performance is just so extraordinary in the film and Jonathan Demme’s ability to capture it as an artist himself is what made Stop Making Sense one of the greatest concert films ever made. A film that will now be preserved forever in the great halls of the Library Of Congress.

Each years, the National Film Registry selects twenty five films to be preserved in its grand hall. The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame should take note of that number. The National Film Registry selection process chooses films based on “their cultural, historic or aesthetic importance to preserve the nation’s film heritage.” The process involves choices made by the head Librarian of Congress. Carla Hayden now serves as Librarian of Congress. Of course there are multiple committees that go over the selections such as the National Film Preservation Board. The Library of Congress also allows nominations from the public on their website. For 2021 there were over six thousand films nominated. So far, there have been eight hundred and twenty five films that have been chosen to be preserved in the Library Of Congress National Film Registry. Below is a list of the twenty five films that are to be honored and preserved.


Ringling Brothers Parade Film

Released in 1902


Released in 1919

The Flying Ace

Released in 1926

Hellbound Train

Released in 1930

Flowers and Trees

Released in 1932

Strangers on a Train

Released in 1951

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Released in 1962


Released in 1965


Released in

The Murder of Fred Hampton

Released in 1971

Pink Flamingos

Released in 1972


Released in 1972

The Long Goodbye

Released in 1973

Cooley High

Released in 1975

Richard Pryor: Live in Concert

Released in 1979


Released in 1979

The Wobblies

Released in 1979

Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi

Released in 1983

A Nightmare on Elm Street

Released in 1948

Stop Making Sense

Released in 1984

Who Killed Vincent Chin?

Released in 1987

The Watermelon Woman

Released in 1996


Released in 1997

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Released in 2001


Released in 2008

Talking Heads ‘Stop Making Sense’ Makes National Film Registry article published on Classic© 2021 claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business or any organizations is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain creative commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with All photo credits have been placed at end of article. Protection Status


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