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 Ex, The 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 Replacements, As it is in Heaven)
  • Disabled people are filled with a murderous rage. Especially amputees. (Men in Black 3, Hook, The Secret of the Urn, The Oxford Murders, Centurion)
  • 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! (Wildflower, Pumpkin, Heart of Dragon)

Got another cliche for inclusion? Drop it in the comment box!

  1. The disabled person always has some tragic heart shattering life story, for example they were in a horrible accident and one or both parents die. It’s never simply because that’s how they were born. The only film that did that was Mac and Me, it was a horrible film but it is never questioned, or made a big deal that the main character is in a wheelchair, it’s just part of his and his family life…. Well the father has died but it is not connected to the kid being in a wheelchair.

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