10 Disability Aware Movies To Binge In Lockdown

As it doesn’t look like we will be able to visit a cinema anytime soon due to the Coronavirus outbreak, we thought we would compile a list of 10 of our favourite movies to portray disabilities on the big screen. Get the popcorn and tissues ready…

The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything is a compelling movie. It dramatises the life of the late popular theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking as set out in the Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, written by his ex-wife Jane Hawking.

The movie gives us a close look into the personal life of the genius, chronicling his relationship with his then wife, his struggles with ALS and their divorce. This critically acclaimed tale thrilled audiences all over the world with its touching portrayal of the blooming of bittersweet love and its eventual demise.

Inside I’m Dancing (Rory O’Shea Was Here)

You may know this movie by the alternate title, Rory O’Shea Was Here. It follows two young men with disabilities as they revolt against the way they were being treated in a home for the disabled and chronicles their quest for independence.

The movie is driven by a stellar performance by a young James McAvoy, who gives it the gravity and nuance that it required. 

disabilities in film

My Left Foot

One of the most critically acclaimed movies of all time, My Left Foot stars Daniel Day-Lewis in a thrilling performance that earned him an Oscar.

It tells the tale of an Irish cerebral palsy victim Christy Brown, who overcame all the challenges thrown in his path by his illness. Christy rises to become a well-known painter, author and fundraiser. 

One of the groundbreaking features of My Left Foot was its portrayal of a disabled character as an individual who did not have to fit into the likeable mould, previously forced upon disabled people in Hollywood. 

Love & Other Drugs

This movie stars Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal in a modern love story which features a pharmaceutical rep that falls in love with a woman who has Parkinson’s. 

As flawed as the movie may be in its execution of its various plot points, it excels in the overall story it tries to tell; the tale of two hearts who find love despite all odds. 

Forrest Gump

You’ve probably seen Forrest Gump before, and you need to see it again. This movie follows Forrest,  as played by Tom Hanks, through his struggles, triumphs and defeats.

Although it is never actually states specifically what Forrest’s disability is, supporting character Lieutenant Dan lost both of his legs in Vietnam and Jenny, Forrest’s love interest contracts HIV/AIDS.

Rain Man

Another stellar movie driven by powerful characters and a superb plot, Rain Man follows fast-talking car salesman, Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) as he tracks down his father’s estate to the institution caring for his older brother Raymond (Dustin Hoffman).

In an Oscar winning performance, Hoffman’s portrayal of an individual with autism awed Hollywood when the movie was released and has contributed to Rain Man’s seeming ubiquitous nature in pop culture references to this day.

movies featuring disabilities

The Scent of a Woman

This movie features a prep school student, wealth and a blind Colonel with his own agenda.  Featuring a great performance from Al Pacino, a visually impaired man who is sick of living and wants to have one last adventure before he commits suicide.

The Upside

A wealthy paraplegic in need of a caregiver hires a destitute Parolee to help tend to his day to day needs.

The ensuing tale features reconciliation, love, regret, and the overwhelming passion to live every second of life like it was the very last.

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?

The titular character, Gilbert Grape struggles between his love for his paramour Becky, and his responsibilities towards his mentally-challenged brother Arnie and Bonnie, his morbidly obese mother.


Ray follows the life of Ray Charles as he loses first his brother, then his sense of sight. Instilled with words of encouragement from his mother, he is inspired to overcome adversity and make his mark on the world as a Pianist.

We hope you enjoyed our list of 10 disability aware movies to binge in lockdown. If TV shows is more your thing, check out our post on 4 Awesome TV Shows Featuring Disabilities: Netflix Edition

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