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Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant’s 'Charade' added to Library of Congress list

“Charade” starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant is among the 25 movies inducted to the National Film Registry, the Library of Congress announced Wednesday, December 14. 

The list, which adds 25 movies every year since 1989, aims to make sure landmark films and classic movies are preserved for future generations. Movies from all eras were included in this year’s movie list, including “When Harry Met Sally” (1989), “Carrie” (1976), “Iron Man” (2008) and “Little Mermaid” (1989).

But classic movie lovers will most likely recognize 1963’s “Charade,” the Stanley Donen directed caper that is part romance, part spy thriller and part comedy. 

Hepburn snagged the starring role of Reggie, a recent widow who is reluctantly pulled into intrigue after a group of men hunt down the fortune stolen by her murdered husband. Among the gang: James Coburn, Walter Matthau and George Kennedy. Grant’s Brian/Peter/Alexander/Adam may or may not be who he claims to be but is at Reggie’s side. 

Grant is at his most Cary Grant-esque, charmingly moving from scene to scene, and Hepburn’s deft comic timing keeps the film entertaining. The chemistry between the two superstars – despite their 25-year age difference – also makes the movie hum, despite a convoluted plot. Paris locations and Hepburn’s Givenchy wardrobe add to the appeal.

1963’s “Charade” is right in the middle of Hepburn’s iconic movie streak. She was coming off “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” in 1961 and “My Fair Lady” was ahead in 1964. In contrast, “Charade” is among Grant’s last movies. After decades as a star, Grant would make only two more movies before retiring from the big screen – 1964’s “Father Goose” and 1966’s “Walk, Don’t Run.”

The movie was remade in 2002 as “The Truth About Charlie” with Mark Wahlberg and Thandiwe Newton.

Grant and Hepburn's work was already well-represented on the film registry. Each has numerous entries, including "Breakfast at Tiffany's," "Sabrina" and "My Fair Lady" for Hepburn and "His Girl Friday" and "Bringing Up Baby" for Grant.

Also making the National Film Registry this year for classic movie fans: “Cyrano de Bergerac” from 1950, notable for its best actor Academy Award-winning performance by José Ferrer, the first Hispanic actor to win the award. In a review at the time of the movie’s release, Variety praised Ferrer’s performance as the standout:  

“Michael Gordon’s direction doesn’t always fulfill the romantic, tragic, comedic and action possibilities, but permits a number of players to account for solid moments in a story that, essentially, belongs to one performer, Ferrer.”

Other early films selected by the Library of Congress include:

  • Mardi Gras Carnival (1898)
  • Cab Calloway Home Movies (1948-1951)
  • Scorpio Rising (1963)
  • Behind Every Good Man (1967)
  • Titicut Follies (1967)
  • Mingus (1968) 
  • Manzanar (1971)
  • Betty Tells Her Story (1972)
  • Super Fly (1972)
  • Attica (1974)

See the complete 2022 list from the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress as well as all the movies added since 1989.

Watch "Charade" on Amazon Prime Video

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