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Entertainment

The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film 

Ranker Characters
Updated November 26, 2019 1.3k votes 388 voters 11.7k views

In films as well as in real life, people with disabilities face unique challenges. Disabled characters in film often must overcome prejudices about their abilities, or struggle against health conditions. Whether these handicapped movie characters suffer from physical disabilities or genetic disorders that affect their minds, their stories capture audiences' imaginations. With such rich roles, it's no wonder that many famous actors and actresses have won Oscars after playing disabled characters in movies.

What fictional figure should top the list of the greatest disabled characters in film? Both mental and physical disabilities were showcased in the 1994 film, Forrest Gump. The title character excelled despite having below average intelligence. As a child, Gump wore leg braces and later in life, he was able to help his friend Lt. Dan cope with the loss of his legs. The real-life Ray Charles was memorably played by Jamie Foxx in the biopic Ray, demonstrating that conditions such as blindness can't limit talent. In 1990, Daniel Day Lewis won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Christy Brown in My Left Foot. Other memorable disabled characters that appear on this list include Jeffery “Big” Lebowski from The Big Lebowski and Ron Kovic from Born on the Forth of July.

Which disabled movie character do you think deserves to be number one on this list? Let your voice be heard by voting your favorite roles up to the top and add any characters that are missing.

list ordered by
1
Forrest Gump is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film
Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump
2
Stephen Hawking is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film
Benedict Cumberbatch in Hawking
3
Lieutenant Dan Taylor is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film
Gary Sinise in Forrest Gump
4
Helen Keller is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film
Hallie Kate Eisenberg in The Miracle Worker
5
Professor X is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film
6
Baby is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film
Luthien added Baby

Baby Driver

7
Bucky Barnes is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film
Luthien added Sebastian Stan in Captain America: The First Avenger
8
Matt Murdock is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film
kvisa.heyra added Matt Murdock
9
Christy Brown is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film
10
Raymond Babbitt is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film
Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man
11
Arnie Grape is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film
Leonardo DiCaprio in What's Eating Gilbert Grape
12
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film
Jamie Foxx in Ray
13
John Merrick is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film
John Merrick John Hurt in The Elephant Man
14
Temple Grandin is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film
Luthien added Temple Grandin Claire Danes in Temple Grandin
15
Jake Sully is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film
Sam Worthington in Avatar
16
Annie Sullivan is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film
RobLein added
17
Rory O'Shea is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film
Tim Schild added James McAvoy in Rory O'Shea Was Here
18
Imperator Furiosa is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film
Tim Schild added Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road
19
Chirrut Imwe is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film
starwarssuperfan added Chirrut Imwe
20
Regan Abbott is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film
kvisa.heyra added Regan Abbott
21
Alice Daly-Howland is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film
Alice Daly-Howland
22
Elijah Price is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film
kvisa.heyra added Samuel L. Jackson in Unbreakable
23
Maddie is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film
kvisa.heyra added Maddie
24
Lincoln Rhyme is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film
Tim Schild added Denzel Washington in The Bone Collector
25
Fang Kang is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Disabled Characters in Film
kvisa.heyra added Fang Kang