Movies can be powerful because of the way they allow viewers to experience different viewpoints, providing insight into people who live different lives. It’s one thing to understand a certain condition or lifestyle simply by reading about it or hearing about it, but the medium of film can make such a depiction more visceral and personal. As such, films can become a powerful tool for inspiring understanding and spreading awareness.
This is certainly the case for on-screen depictions of blindness. Many film characters have been partially or completely blinded, with the following 10 being some of the most notable. For viewers unfamiliar with blindness in their personal lives, such on-screen depictions offer a way to understand the condition, and as long as the writers/actors are responsible and respectful, awareness is ultimately a good thing. .
Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade in “Scent of a Woman” (1992)
A film that presents by Al Pacino one and only Oscar-winning performance, The scent of a woman sees him play a blind Vietnam War veteran who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a college student hired to look after him. It’s the kind of movie that really doesn’t need to be longer than 2.5 hours, but it’s an entertaining watch and the acting is pretty strong.
Pacino steps into the role with the kind of ferocity and intensity for which he is famous (or perhaps infamous). Maybe less now, but there has been a history of actors winning Oscars for playing characters with difficult medical conditions. Whether Pacino won his Oscar because of this, or because the Oscars felt a win for Pacino was overdue, we may never know for sure.
Eli from ‘The Book of Eli’ (2010)
Set in a dark post-apocalyptic world, the book of eli centers on a lone wanderer named Eli, played by Denzel Washington. He has a book in his possession that he believes holds a secret to saving the planet, and he makes it his mission to deliver it to a safe place.
Eli is a brutally efficient survivalist, so it’s a plot twist when it’s revealed that he’s actually blind. It adds to the mystique and prowess of the character, given how hard he’s been able to endure in a tough world, even with his condition, and Washington is more than capable of playing the role convincingly.
The blind man from ‘Don’t Breathe’ (2016)
The central antagonist of don’t breathe is unnamed and credited simply as “The Blind Man”. His actions towards the end of the film become very dark, but before that some viewers might find themselves supporting him over the young people we are told are the protagonists.
This is because they broke into the blind man’s house, thinking it would be easy to rob him, given that he (obviously) can’t see. It turns out he’s actually ruthless and highly skilled, battling would-be burglars and turning hunters into the hunted remarkably quickly. For much of the film, it seems fair enough that he’s standing up for his property, to some degree…although, of course, the second half of the film changes things up considerably.
Chirrut Îmwe from “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (2016)
A thug has one of the most diverse and interesting casts of all star wars movie, which makes it a shame they’re all essentially doomed from the get-go, since it’s a prequel. Fans entering knew this had to be a movie about the dangerous mission to steal the Death Star’s blueprints, leading to its eventual destruction in the original film.
No matter how cool the characters were, there was no getting out alive. This also goes for Chirrut Îmwe, a blind warrior-monk played by the great Donnie Yen. He is perhaps best known for playing the title character in the Ip-Man series, and in A thughe brings the same collective spirit to his character, ending up being one of the best parts of the film.
Nick Parker from “Blind Fury” (1989)
While blind fury is not a particularly famous action film, it is more of a cult film. It’s a remarkably simple story, centering on a Vietnam War veteran who also happens to be a master swordsman, and his quest to help a fellow soldier save his son from the film’s obligatory villains.
Ruther Hauer stars as the unlikely warrior at the center of the film, Nick Parker. An iconic actor who often stole the show in supporting roles (blade runner being perhaps the best example), any starring role is worth celebrating. He can borrow a lot in the long run Zatoichi series, and not executing the premise of having a blind swordsman protagonist as effectively, but blind fury is still a pretty fun action movie.
The Blind Swordsman from ‘Ashes of Time’ (1994)
The Kar Wei people created quite an eclectic filmography during his career as a filmmaker. He specializes in character-driven stylistic dramas, but often blends this kind of story with other diverse genres, making comedies, romances, sci-fi films, crime films and, with ashes of timea sprawling action movie with a historical setting.
It’s something of an episodic film, with five separate stories all featuring the same main character, the warrior Ouyang Feng. He meets many people throughout his travels, including Tony Leung Chiu-wai character, an unnamed blind swordsman who works with Feng to defend a village against bandits.
Selma Ježková from ‘Dancer in the Dark’ (2000)
A dancer in the night earned a reputation as one of the most emotionally draining films of all time, and it earned it. It’s a very downbeat musical/crime/drama about a woman who gradually goes blind and will stop at nothing to earn enough money for her only son to have surgery to prevent him from going blind.
Unfortunately, the world of A dancer in the night is cruel and tough, and he has other plans for Selma, expertly played by Bjork. She finds solace in retreating into the music, with the film’s musical numbers being shot in a completely different way to the harshly realistic non-fantasy scenes. The central song, “I’ve Seen At All,” is about Selma coming to terms with her blindness and making sure she’s seen it all. It’s a sequence that’s both beautiful and heartbreaking, allowing the viewer to truly understand how they feel about what’s happening to them.
Zatoichi from ‘The Tale of Zatoichi’ (1962)
the Zatoichi The series is one that has aged fantastically, with these action-packed films focusing on a blind masseur who also enjoys gambling and is a skilled swordsman. Movies always offer great fight scenes with a fantastic main character at their center.
Zatoichi goes through a lot, with this series of 26 films full of humor, action and tragedy, all surprisingly well balanced. The Tale of Zatoichi is the first film in the series, and one of the best, serving as an excellent introduction to Zatoichi, who is arguably one of the most iconic and well-developed blind characters in movie history.
Neo from ‘The Matrix Revolutions’ (2003)
Mostly original Matrix trilogy, the protagonist, Neo, is not blind. It’s only towards the end of the third film, The matrix revolutionsthat Neo is blinded in combat and spends much of the final film in the trilogy sightless.
Given his unique relationship with the Matrix itself and everything around it, he can still go around the world, but being blind puts him at a disadvantage at a pivotal moment. When he was brought back to life in 2021 The Matrix Resurrectionshowever, he luckily regained his sight as well.
Matt Murdock/Daredevil from ‘Daredevil’ (2003)
While the most recent take on daredevil – played by Charlie Cox – proved more popular than the Ben Affleck take on the character, the less than stellar 2003 film is still worth mentioning. For better or worse, it was a way to introduce the character to many people who don’t typically read comics.
And as far as comic book characters go, Daredevil should be the most famous who is also blind. Not only can he fight with ruthless efficiency, he’s also a solid lawyer in his day-to-day business, practicing under his real name, Matt Murdock. Thanks in part to Cox’s portrayal, he’s become one of the most popular on-screen heroes in recent years and will hopefully continue to shine in his upcoming Disney-Plus series.
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The 10 Most Iconic Blind Movie Characters Of All Time – GameSpot