Top Ten Movies with a Blind Hero

A Countdown of the Best Movies With Blind Characters

I turned to my friend, DevoGirl, to help me develop this list. These movies were all recommended by her. I've watched many of them, but some I've never heard of. The previews all look great to me, and knowing her great taste, I'm looking forward to seeing them all.

Most of the descriptions and reviews here are hers.

Scroll down to vote on which one you think should be number one!

#10: Butterflies Are Free (1972)

Based on a Broadway play, this movie tells the story of a young blind man in 1960s San Francisco who, desperate for independence, moves into his own apartment in order to live by himself for the first time. The hippie chick next door (played by Goldie Hawn) teaches him to free his mind.

This movie is very much of its time, though not just because of all the groovy clothes and talk about hippies. The cinematography and acting style all seem very dated. The movie feels like a film recording of the stage play. Nearly all the action takes place in Don's apartment, and the delivery of the lines is very stage-y. The clever quips are charming but also are very typical of a Broadway play.

However, I still really enjoyed the movie. While it seemed stiff in many ways, the characters are amazingly complex. Don, the young blind man, doesn't just want to be independent of his mother but rather wants to be treated like a regular person by everyone. Jill is a free spirit, but her flightiness is a mask for real emotional scars. And even Don's mother who comes off as a stereotype at first grows and changes over the course of the film. Check out the trailer below.

[Review from DevoGirl]

#9: The White Countess

Set in 1930s Shanghai, this 2005 Merchant/Ivory movie stars Ralph Fiennes as a former US diplomat who lost his family and eyesight in a terrorist bombing. He teams up with an exiled Russian noble, played by Natasha Richardson, to open a high-class nightclub for the city's cosmopolitan set, called "The White Countess." While both begin to develop feelings for each other, neither acts on them until the Japanese invasion brings everything to a head. A beautifully shot, sumptuous film with a screenplay from the acclaimed novelist Kazuo Ishiguro (Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go).

#8: At First Sight

Very loosely based on a story of one of neurologist Oliver Sacks' patients, the main character goes through surgery to restore his sight and finds it very difficult to interpret what he sees. It's very fascinating to realize that if you have no framework to understand what seeing is, then being able to see doesn't help.

The love story is moving and beautiful, and Val Kilmer is definitely one of my celebrity crushes.

#7: Love and Honor (2007)

Japanese superstar Kimura Tatsuya plays a low-ranking samurai Shinnojo, employed as a food-taster for his feudal lord. One day, he suffers food poisoning from some bad shellfish, which leaves him blind. Fearing that Shinnojo will lose his salary, his wife Kayo accepts a dubious offer from a higher-ranking official. Is she being unfaithful or just trying to help Shinnojo? How can Shinnojo defend her honor? Can he maintain his honor as a samurai and fight a duel, while blind? Less action than the Zatoichi series, but a far more realistic portrayal of blindness.

[Review from DevoGirl]

#6: Blindsight

A documentary about blind mountain climbers in Tibet. In 2001, Erik Weihenmayer became the first blind person to summit Mt. Everest. Inspired by his climb, students at a school for the blind in Tibet ask him to visit them. In 2004, Erik decided not only to visit, but to take an expedition of six student on a hike to Lhakpa-Ri, near Everest. This film documents their climb, from Erik's first visit. Also joining them on the hike is the school's founder Sabriye Tenberken, who is blind herself. The film covers not only the physical demands of the climb, but attitudes in Tibet towards blind people, who are considered cursed. We also find out a lot about Erik, Sabriye, and each of the kids. As the hike becomes increasingly difficult, tempers flare in the group—are they doing this hike for the kids, or for themselves? It's very gripping and exciting film that offers a far more sensitive and nuanced exploration of blindness than in any fiction film.

There was also a fiction film made in 2006 about Erik's climb up Everest, called Touch the Top of the World, with Peter Facinelli as Erik, but it's really cheesy and not a good film. Facinelli is not convincing as a blind person.

[Review from DevoGirl]

#5: The Masseurs and a Woman (1938) and My Darling of the Mountains (2008)

A two for one here! The original, and a color remake.

The Masseurs and a Woman was made in Japan, in 1938, by Shimizu Hiroshi, one of Japan's top directors. It's set in a hot spring resort in the mountains, among a group of blind masseurs. One of them, Toku, falls in love with a beautiful young woman from Tokyo who comes to visit the hot springs. But can she return his love? This is a beautiful, charming film, and the actor who plays Toku gives one of the best, and most convincing portrayals of blindness in film. It's available as part of a larger box set with English subtitles.

My Darling of the Mountains: A 2008 remake of The Masseurs and a Woman. Shot for shot, it's almost identical to the original, except in color. Maybe not quite as outstanding as the original, but still a beautiful, touching film. It hasn't been released on DVD in the US, but it's worth searching out a subtitled copy.

[Review from DevoGirl]

#4: Blind Dating

This is a sweet and romantic movie that's not nearly as cheesy as I thought it would be from the title. Chris Pine is pretty cute, too! His character goes on several dates in an effort to find a girlfriend. He ends up in some crazy situations as he attempts to reassure his dates that his blindness isn't a big deal. In one date, he even pretends to be able to see so that it won't get weird (but it still does!). Eventually he falls for an Indian woman who works at his doctor's office. Complications inevitably come up when her family finds out about the romance, since they expect her to marry an Indian man.

#3: Daredevil

A superhero with a disability. I love it!

Matt Murdock is far from realistic as a blind man, since in this world it gives him special abilities, but the movie does a nice job showing some of the adaptive techniques he uses that are very similar to those that blind people who aren't superheroes would use!

#2: Proof (1991)

In this 1991 Australian film, Martin is an insecure blind man, who so distrusts the world around him that he takes photos of everything around him as proof. He enlists Andy, a young waiter, to describe the photos to him. But when Andy falls for Celia, Martin's housekeeper, he finds he can't always be truthful to Martin. For her part, Celia seems bent on seducing Martin, in her own strange way. This is a dark, cynical movie, not really a romance, but still very intriguing.

Starring very young Hugo Weaving and Russell Crowe!

[Review from DevoGirl]

#1: Blind

An appropriate title for the number one spot!

This is a beautiful, moving, haunting film, set around the turn of the century. Ruben, who is blind, lives alone with his mother on a huge, remote estate. He has regressed to a nearly feral state and driven away all the servants. But Marie, who has been hired to read to him, refuses to put up with his bad behavior because she wants to read the books in his library. As she reads to him from Hans Christian Anderson's "The Snow Queen," they begin to fall in love. But Marie, who is albino, is older than Ruben, and has scars on her hands and face, believes she is ugly, and that he only loves her because he can't see her. With the possibility of surgery to restore his sight, will Ruben still love her?

This may seem like a cliched plot line—normally I dislike the "ugly girl/blind guy, will he still love her if he can see" kind of story because it seems so trite. But this film manages to transcend the old cliches, to tell a fairy-tale like story that is powerful and moving. Lines from "The Snow Queen" are quoted throughout the film, which makes it even more like a fairy tale. Without giving anything away, the film deals with the story in a very original and satisfying way.

[Review from DevoGirl]

Honorable Mentions

Movies that didn't quite make the cut, mostly because the blind characters are not central enough to the story.

  1. Scent of a Woman (1992)
  2. Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy (1968)
  3. Sirens (1993)
  4. Places in the Heart (1984)
  5. Love! Valour! Compassion! (1997)
  6. Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman (1962)
  7. Sneakers (1992)

Vote for Your Favorite

Which movie do you like best?

  • Butterflies Are Free
  • The White Countess
  • At First Sight
  • Love and Honor (2007)
  • Blindsight
  • The Masseurs and a Woman
  • My Darling of the Mountains
  • Blind Dating
  • Daredevil
  • Proof
  • Blind
See results without voting

More by this Author

What movies am I missing? 26 comments

Nanny76 5 years ago

'Scent of a Woman' probably should be on here as well. The story around Charlie and his school problems is annoying, but Pacino's portrayal of blind ex Col Slade more than makes up for it

RuthMadison profile image

RuthMadison 5 years ago Author

@Nanny76: I have that one under honorable mention! I really liked it, but my friend didn't think Pacino's portrayal was very believable. lol. We compromised on putting it in the honorable mention :)

Nanny76 5 years ago

@RuthMadison: ah, now that you mention it... overlooked the honorable mention section. Good compromise :)

RuthMadison profile image

RuthMadison 5 years ago Author

@Nanny76: You should add it to the voting list, though! Maybe we can build support for it to move up

anonymous 4 years ago

You should watch A moment to remember movie. Very nice and a very touching movie. Fit for your husband and for your dates. Patience and trust is the key!

RuthMadison profile image

RuthMadison 4 years ago Author

@anonymous: I will look that up. Thank you.

anonymous 4 years ago

How could you not put Danny the dog! :(

RuthMadison profile image

RuthMadison 4 years ago Author

@anonymous: I don't know it... I'll look that up :)

anonymous 4 years ago

What love sees

If you can see what I hear

Can you feel me dancing?

anonymous 4 years ago

Love your website. I am including it in a pathfinder I am creating for my class Resources for Patrons with Disabilities for my Library Science Master's degree.

anonymous 3 years ago

Sneakers should totally have an honorable mention, at least.

RuthMadison profile image

RuthMadison 3 years ago Author

@anonymous: That's the one! Oh my gosh, I saw that as a child but I never knew what the name was! Thank you: )

Bartukas 3 years ago

Great movies thanks :P i like movies

Underrated profile image

Underrated 3 years ago

Scent of a woman is great.

Therestlesssoul profile image

Therestlesssoul 3 years ago

nice lens.........

anonymous 3 years ago

Ice Castles!

RuthMadison profile image

RuthMadison 3 years ago Author

@anonymous: That one is on my page for movies with blind heroines! This is just for male characters who are blind! :)

no-pain-5458 2 years ago

What about Ray? What number does it fall under?????

RuthMadison profile image

RuthMadison 2 years ago Author

@no-pain-5458: Oh, good suggestion!

Ibidii 2 years ago

I missed some of these movies, I will have to rent them! Daredevil is number one for me!

Jorge 2 years ago

Blind Fury

Joyce Choy 2 years ago

I like the movie BLIND was presented beautifully...Love is truly blind if it is real...

Joyce Choy 2 years ago

Do anyone knows about a movie about a blind who was taken care by a blonde short hair nurse. Then the man regains his sight but he couldn't recognise the nurse. I think it's a late 80's or early 90's movie...Please help...thanks.

Martina 19 months ago

What about The Village by M. Night Shyamalan? Such a beautiful movie.

ses 17 months ago

You should put in A Patch of Blue. Although it isn't a film I have fully scene, I have scene parts of it and I have read the plot.

Trish 11 months ago

Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken.

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