Words: Will Stroude
Brokeback Mountain's legacy is set to live on for generations to come with the news that Ang Lee's romantic epic has been added to the US National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
The archive, which currently includes just 750 titles, protects influential films deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant".
Brokeback Mountain, which tells the love story of two ranchers, Ennis (Heath Ledger) and Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal), in 1960s Wyoming, was among the 25 films added to the list this year, alongside classics like Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park (1993), and Disney's Cinderella (1950).
As well as being the most modern film in this year's list of inductees, the 2005 drama also stands as the most modern film in the entire National Film Registry, where films are eligible for inclusion 10 years after release.
Adapted from the 1997 short story of the same name by Annie Proulx, Brokeback Mountain scored eight Academy Award nominations following its release, winning three - for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score.
Despite overwhelming critical accalim, the film controversially missed out on the coveted Best Picture Award, losing to the Sandra Bullock-starring Crash in an historic Oscars night upset.
While the cultural impact of Brokeback Mountain continues to be felt well over a decade since it hit cinemas, the film's producers have since revealed that they struggled to find leading men in Hollywood willing to play star-crossed lovers Jack and Ennis.
Screenwriter Dianna Ossana admitted earliert his year that a host of "prominent young actors" toyed with the idea of appearing in the film, but that "no one would commit".
"They didn't give us any real excuse why they wouldn't," the writer recalled.
"I guess they saw it as too difficult."
However, Brokeback Mountain did eventually find two A-list stars unfazed by the film's LGBT subject matter in the form of Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, who scored Oscar nominations for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively.
Earlier this year, footage of Ledger eloquently shutting down homophobes 'disgusted' by the movie's gay content reserfaced on social media, reminding fans of the Australian actor's LGBT allyship before his untimely death in January 2008 at the age of 28.
"I think it's a real shame - I think it's immature for one," the then 26-year-old told journalists during a recorded press junket.
Heath Ledger's response to calling the relationship in "Brokeback Mountain" disgusting pic.twitter.com/CF71NGDvmD— Izzie (@Izzie177) January 17, 2018
"I think it's an incredible shame that people go out of their way to voice their disgust or their negative opinions against the ways in which two people choose to love each other.
"At least voice your opinions about how two people show hate and violence and anger towards one another."