Disability in Film

The Disability Film Challenge


The Disabled Film Challenge was founded by actor and comedian Nic Novicki.  He's known from his roles in hit shows like Boardwalk Empire and The Sopranos, but as a little person he's often the only disabled person in the cast. He's hoping to change Hollywood by promoting inclusion.

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Novicki says this film challenge has grown exponentially every year, and that proves how capable disabled actors, producers and directors are.  He points out 1 in 5 people are disabled, however less than one percent are represented in film. 

"I want this film challenge to empower disabled filmmakers, by taking their careers into their own hands with the support of seasoned veterans."

— Nic Novicki, Founder Disability Film Challenge



Media and Disabilities Resources

Documentaries, TV, & film about people with disabilities and disability issues 


Disability Movies


Disability Movie Stereotypes and Cliches

  • The disabled person spends the entire movie whining about how they want to die. (Guzaarish)

  • The disabled person dies immediately after imparting a life lesson, inspiring the able-bodied to live their lives to the fullest.

  • The disabled person offs themselves so they won’t be a burden to others.

  • The disabled person was really faking it all along! (The ExThe In-Laws)

  • Disability, especially disfigurement, is used to indicate that a character is the villian. (The Girl Who Played With Fire)

  • The disabled person needs able-bodied people to teach them that their life isn’t over.

  • People with disabilities can cure themselves through sheer force of will.

  • If disabled people are included on a team or in a group, it indicates that they’re expected to fail. (The ReplacementsAs it is in Heaven)

  • Disabled people are filled with a murderous rage. Especially amputees. (Men in Black 3HookThe Secret of the UrnThe Oxford MurdersCenturion)

  • If a disabled person shows up on a blind date, the other person will be terrified and attempt to escape.

  • If a disabled person is proposed to, they must turn down the offer of marriage and flee in order to avoid burdening the potential spouse. (Magnificent Obsession)

  • Blind people have superhuman hearing and can use echolocation. (The Book of Eli)

  • Blind people always want to feel everyone’s face.

  • Deaf people can always lipread.

  • Need to make a non-disabled actor look disabled? Give them a bad haircut! (WildflowerPumpkinHeart of Dragon)

Source: http://disabilitymovies.com/disability-movie-cliches/

Portrayals of People with Disabilities in Film