Segments in this Video

Cinematic Depiction (05:14)


On-screen portrayals of disabilities are changing. Some disability scenarios are tied to stereotypes; see examples in "Bride of Frankenstein," "The Fake Beggar," and "Trading Places."

Cinematic Disability Stereotypes (03:18)

In the early 20th century, filmmakers use disability-themed stories for comedic effect. The "sweet innocent" and "obsessive avenger" are common stereotypes.

Media Influence (04:54)

Images change society. Experts reflect on "The Hunchback of Notre Dame"; Lon Chaney portrays an array of disabled characters. "The Wizard of Oz" is a well-known film associated with little people.

Disability Portrayals (05:50)

Early animation perpetuates stereotypes. During the Golden Age of Hollywood, filmmakers want to honor disabled veterans; experts discuss "The Best Years of Our Lives" and "The Men."

Disabled Roles (02:26)

Jane Wyman portrays a deaf woman in "Johnny Belinda." Major Hollywood stars are eager to try disability roles. Susan Peters continues her career after a paralyzing accident; "Miss Susan" is the first television show with a disabled actor.

Television Roles (06:57)

TV shows explore unique characters including Dr. Miguelito Loveless. Michael Dunn is the only little person to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Experts discuss TV influence, racism, and "Ironside"; Ralph Braun invents a wheelchair lift for cars.

Impactful Movies (02:46)

In 1962, United Artists produces "The Miracle Worker." Other movies include "Wait Until Dark," "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter," and "Midnight Cowboy."

Complex Portrayals (08:21)

Disabled veterans influence cinema, provoking awareness. "Coming Home" reveals accessibility problems. Experts discuss "Born on the 4th of July," "My Left Foot," "Scent of a Woman," and "Forrest Gump."

"Ray" (02:56)

Ray Charles does not let blindness interfere with his goals. Jamie Foxx reflects on portraying Charles and gaining a new respect.

Increasing Disability Awareness (06:12)

During the 1970s and 1980s, television programs include more characters with disabilities. Gerry Jewell reflects on appearing in "The Facts of Life"; ABC creates "Life Goes On" for Chris Burke. Media influences society.

Disability Inclusion (07:30)

Representatives work to ensure disability rights; changing legislation requires changing perceptions. Several people share thoughts on casting able-bodied actors in disabled character roles.

Hiding Disabilities (03:14)

RJ Mitte keeps his disability a secret from the acting community for two years; David Lander hides his disability for 15 years. President Roosevelt conceals he had polio. Darryl "Chill" Mitchell returns to acting after an accident leaves him disabled.

Disability Themes in Cinema (08:41)

Jim Troesh writes and produces "The Hollywood Quad." Nick Vujicic reflects on the lack of media role models and providing inspiration. Experts discuss "The Other Side of the Mountain," "Door to Door," and realistic portrayals.

"Million Dollar Baby" (03:20)

An accident that results in a disability evokes emotion. Troesh relates to feelings expressed at the end of the movie. Experts believe the film sends the wrong message.

Disability and Sympathy (04:35)

Historically, cinema portrays characters with a disability as someone to pity; sexuality is often ignored. Marlee Matlin discusses reactions to her Academy Award, including responses from the Deaf Community.

Unique Portrayals and Humor (07:42)

Media can help or perpetuate social barriers. Diversity is prominent in films by the Farrelly brothers. Danny Murphy has portrayed able-bodied characters. Experts discuss the use of humor in various shows.

Opportunities in Cinema (03:25)

Few people with disabilities work in production. "The Amazing Race" celebrates diversity. Richard Finkelstein and Graeme Sinclair return to work with a disability.

Hollywood Impact (03:19)

Filmmakers with disabilities influence societal perceptions. Ben Lewin produces "The Sessions."

Credits: CinemAbility: The Art of Inclusion (05:44)

Credits: CinemAbility: The Art of Inclusion

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CinemAbility: The Art of Inclusion

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $199.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $299.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $199.95



CinemAbility: The Art of Inclusion is an award-winning and star-studded documentary that takes a thought-provoking and often humorous look at the evolution of disability portrayals in entertainment. From the early days of silent films to present-day, this insightful film goes behind the scenes to interview filmmakers, studio executives, historians, and celebrities as it utilizes vivid clips from Hollywood's most beloved motion pictures and television programs to focus on the powerful impact that media can have on the societal inclusion of people with disabilities.

Length: 97 minutes

Item#: BVL207284

Copyright date: ©2018

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

"The most entertaining and comprehensive history of disability in American film and television ever filmed." Scott Jordan Harris -, "this exhaustive and eye-opening documentary explores images of the physically disabled on TV and in the movies." Inkoo Kang -, ""CinemAbility" offers a valuable, wide-ranging survey of how the film and TV industries deal with "otherness" - whether it be based on race, sexual orientation, or virtually any category of physical impairment..." Peter Debruge, "Extensive, thorough and illuminating. It finds just the right balance between entertaining the audience and provoking them emotionally as well as intellectually." Avi Offer -

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