Los Angeles - Bambi is about to rub shoulders with Hannibal Lecter, while The Kid will get acquainted with Forrest Gump, at the Library of Congress in Washington.

The four crowd-pleasing motion pictures are among 25 celluloid gems being added this year to the National Film Registry at the de facto national library of the United States.

“These films are selected because of their enduring significance to American culture,” chief librarian James Billington said on Wednesday in a statement.

“Our film heritage must be protected because these cinematic treasures document our history and culture and reflect our hopes and dreams.”

The Library of Congress - the world's biggest in terms of books in its collection - tops up the National Film Registry annually.

This year's picks span nine decades, from the silent The Cry Of The Children and A Cure For Pokeritis from 1912 to The Silence Of The Lambs from 1991 and Forrest Gump starring Tom Hanks from 1994.

Also making the list are Charlie Chaplin's first full-length feature The Kid from 1921 and Walt Disney's animated Bambi from 1942, which the library saluted for “its eloquent message of nature conservation”.

Among the others: John Ford's epic Western The Iron Horse from 1924, gritty crime drama The Big Heat from 1953, feminist documentary Growing Up Female from 1971, and festival indie favourite El Mariachi from 1992.

There's also a one-minute film from 1972 that foretold the possibilities of 3D movies: A Computer Animated Hand by Ed Catmull, a college student who went on to co-found the Pixar Animation Studios. - Sapa-AFP