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A.I.D.S

Amnesia

Amputee

Autism

Blind

Cancer

Deaf

Disfigurement

Dwarf

General

Learning Difficulty

Limb

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Polio

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Recommended by Title

Recommended by Disability

Limb & Spinal Conditions: Major Films  
TitleElephant Man, The (1980)
Alternative/Original Title
DisabilityLimb facial speech Dwarf
CountryUSA
Length125
GenreBiography
Rating5
DirectorDavid Lynch
CastAnthony Hopkins John Hurt Anne Bancroft John Gielgud
NotesB/W. A film about an extremely deformed man, John Merrick, who is kept as a freak in a Victorian carnival show until a compassionate Doctor finds him. This film is a landmark in cinema about disabilities. Superb acting from John Hurt and Anthony Hopkins, and excellent direction from David Lynch. Note the film is deliberately shot in B/W. Despite such praise there are criticisms. The opening scene for example being a metaphorical intro. to a film which then plumps for realism. And the film does appear to distort some truths, like Merrick's ability to speak (in reality he is supposed to have needed an operation before this was possible). Also it's possible he committed suicide. That kind of ending would have negated the film's general premise that Merrick is courageous to have overcome such disabilities. It is a matter of debate whether or not one's actions are courageous when one's disability is not a matter of choice. But we do see Merrick making a tremendous effort to survive against a tide of prejudice. Kenny Baker, Marcus Powel, and Gilda Cohen play dwarfs.

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