The Academy Film Archive is part of the Academy Foundation, established in 1944 with the purpose of organizing and overseeing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ educational and cultural activities, including the preservation of motion picture history. Although the current incarnation of the Academy Film Archive began in 1991, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences acquired its first film in 1929. Located in Hollywood, California at the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study, the Archive has a diverse range of moving image material. The Archive's collection comprises 85,000 titles and 190,000 separate items, including early American cinema, a vast collection of documentary films, filmed and taped interviews, amateur and private home movies of Hollywood legends, makeup and sound test reels, and a wide selection of experimental film, as well as Academy Award-winning films, Academy Award-nominated films, and a complete collection of every Academy Awards show since 1949. Since acquiring the Packard Humanities Institute Collection, the Archive has the world's largest known trailer collection. The Archive is also concerned with the preservation and restoration of films, as well as new technologies and methods of preservation, restoring over 800 titles  of historical and artistic importance.
The Academy Film Archive features an extensive preservation program, safeguarding films across all genres. Notable preservation projects include Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s All About Eve (1950); many Stan Brakhage films from the original elements; and with support from the Film Foundation, Curtis Harrington's Night Tide (1961), and 18 films by Satyajit Ray.
The Archive's restoration of Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon (1950), in conjunction with the National Film Center of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo and Kadokawa Pictures, Inc., won the 2009 National Society of Film Critics's Heritage Award . Funding for "Rashomon" provided by Kadokawa Culture Promotion Foundation and The Film Foundation.
The Archive offers access to its collections to researchers and scholars. Based on availability, preservation status and condition of the materials, visitors may visit the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study to arrange appointments through the Access Center. Additionally, the Academy Film Archive lends prints to non-profit institutions for screenings.
In some circumstances, the Archive may be able to make collection materials available for licensing.