the best deaf movies

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 This post is a collection (list post) of the best deaf movies – including deaf narrative movies and ASL movies – as well as the best deaf documentaries. I am deaf myself, but this post was compiled by the input from the deaf community on Facebook. This post has been updated to weed out some movies with hearing actors playing Deaf roles. There may be affiliate links in this post, meaning if you make a purchase using my link, I make a small commission and you don’t pay more – so thank you!

For the purpose of this post, “deaf movies” can be movies that have actual deaf characters in roles meant for the deaf, they can be movies by or specifically for deaf consumption (usually but not always in signed language), they can be movies about the deaf or Deaf culture.  I will not be talking about movies that deaf people watch, as that’s just anything that has captions.

Most of the movie links below are with Amazon, so it’s easier for you to tell exactly what movie I’m talking about. They are available for purchase, but many of them are also available through Amazon Prime Video. If you don’t have Prime membership, get a month trial here: Amazon Prime Free One-Month Trail. There is a student special membership – get the 6 month trial membership (and only $6.49/month after the trial expires, and also an EBT and Medicaid Card Holder’s in which you can get Prime for $5.99/month- find out more by clicking here.

Deaf Movies on Streaming Services

Many of the movies are also available on streaming services. If they are only available on one particular streaming service, I have included the trailer on YouTube.

That way you can see what the movie is about, and follow the link to the relevant streaming service that is under the trailer. 

The movies below are documentaries, narrative movies and TV shows. There is ASL (American Sign Language), BSL (British Sign Language) and Ukrainian Sign Language represented.

I tried to make sure that the roles were played by actual Deaf people. Without further ado, here is the great big list of movies with deaf characters!

Great Big List of Movies with Deaf Characters

Product Name / Description / Primary Button Product Image
  • Description:

    French CODA (Child of Deaf Adult) story of a young woman’s battle for independence and her deaf parents’ struggle to understand her gift for music.

  • Description:

    "A young woman struggles with her own need for independence and the obligation she feels for her Deaf parents in this depression-era drama."

  • Description:

    Jonah is a lonely deaf child who has been misdiagnosed as having an intellectual disability and institutionalized. Jonah’s mother and father struggle to establish communication with their son.

  • Description:

    "Explore 200 years of deaf life in America - a story of conflicts, prejudice and affirmation that reaches the heart of what it means to be human"

  • Description:

    A coming of age drama following the life of Matt Hamill, the first deaf wrestler to win a National Collegiate. 

  • Description:

    A passionate musician pulls away from composing and toward a teaching career, and struggles to reconcile his son's Deafness with his own desires for his son to hear music.

  • Description:

    Two families, one deaf and one hearing, make decisions about cochlear implants for their children. Deep exploration in Deaf community, ASL and culture.

Watch
  • Description:

    "The outgoing and eccentric Stone family unites in common cause when their favorite son brings home his uptight and reserved girlfriend to meet the family at Christmas".The favorite son has a deaf brother and the family knows ASL.

  • Description:

    "This award-winning documentary follows four extraordinary Deaf entertainers – an actor, comic, drummer and a singer – over the course of one year, giving viewers a rare and powerful glimpse into the lives of Deaf artists. New York Times Critics’ Pick."

  • Description:

    "Gracefully guided by the Grammy Award-winning percussionist Evelyn Glennie, who also happens to be deaf, this groundbreaking film opens the door to a world where sight, sound, and touch magically converge to elevate our everyday sensory experiences."

  • Description:

    "With unerring curiousity and sensitivity, director Philbert portrays the difficulties and joys of being deaf, offering vivid portraits of people of all ages coping with and surmounting their challenges."

  • Description:

    "The deeply personal memoir about 65-year-old deaf couple who decide to undergo surgery to have their hearing restored."

  • Description:

    the story of a relationship between a hearing special education teacher and an angry deaf graduate of the school.

  • Description:

    The Superdeafy Movie – SuperDeafy must reveal the man behind the cape to find true love and inspire a young deaf boy to believe in himself.

  • Description:

    "Three predominantly deaf families are followed as they raise their children in a hearing world. With many differing opinions about how deaf children should be raised swirling in the social consciousness, these families work to forge their own paths forward and combat the daily social stigmas many deaf people face."

  • Description:

    Family drama about a deaf and hearing couple who struggle to decide whether or not to give their deaf son a cochlear implant.

  • Description:

    terrifyingly suspenseful thriller in which a family must navigate their lives in silence to avoid mysterious creatures that hunt by sound.

  • Description:

    "A young deaf man gets trapped in his house when he becomes entangled in a nasty real estate dispute with his murderous next-door neighbor. As he struggles to overcome his fears, open captions take the audience inside our deaf hero's head." Horror movie.

  • Description:

    Deaf U is a coming-of-age reality series following a tight-knit group of Deaf students at Gallaudet University. As the group of friends navigate the high, lows, and hookups of college life together, their stories offer an unprecedented, unfiltered, and often unexpected look inside Deaf community.

  • Description:

    A deaf couple keeps a tragic secret from their nephew, debating the child’s future in a language not as private as they believe, whilst on a road trip home to Tehran.

  • Description:

    "Football player Amaree McKenstry-Hall and his Maryland School for the Deaf teammates attempt to defend their winning streak while coming to terms with the tragic loss of a close friend. A Netflix short movie."

  • Description:

    Set in the world of a Ukrainian high school for the deaf as a new student realizes immediately that he must prove himself worthy to be brought under the protective wing of the school gang's leader to survive. 

Description:

French CODA (Child of Deaf Adult) story of a young woman’s battle for independence and her deaf parents’ struggle to understand her gift for music.

Description:

"A young woman struggles with her own need for independence and the obligation she feels for her Deaf parents in this depression-era drama."

Description:

Jonah is a lonely deaf child who has been misdiagnosed as having an intellectual disability and institutionalized. Jonah’s mother and father struggle to establish communication with their son.

Description:

"Explore 200 years of deaf life in America - a story of conflicts, prejudice and affirmation that reaches the heart of what it means to be human"

Description:

A coming of age drama following the life of Matt Hamill, the first deaf wrestler to win a National Collegiate. 

Description:

Dysfunctional family, kids are sent to grandparents and encounter a creature, one that has never been seen. American Sign Language, No audio.

Description:

A passionate musician pulls away from composing and toward a teaching career, and struggles to reconcile his son's Deafness with his own desires for his son to hear music.

Description:

Two families, one deaf and one hearing, make decisions about cochlear implants for their children. Deep exploration in Deaf community, ASL and culture.

Watch
Description:

"The outgoing and eccentric Stone family unites in common cause when their favorite son brings home his uptight and reserved girlfriend to meet the family at Christmas".The favorite son has a deaf brother and the family knows ASL.

Description:

"This award-winning documentary follows four extraordinary Deaf entertainers – an actor, comic, drummer and a singer – over the course of one year, giving viewers a rare and powerful glimpse into the lives of Deaf artists. New York Times Critics’ Pick."

Description:

Nowness – Short documentary, part of the Nowness project "The cult photographer and filmmaker profiles the intriguing world of deaf performance artist Christine Sun Kim and her experiments with sound." 

Description:

"Gracefully guided by the Grammy Award-winning percussionist Evelyn Glennie, who also happens to be deaf, this groundbreaking film opens the door to a world where sight, sound, and touch magically converge to elevate our everyday sensory experiences."

Description:

"With unerring curiousity and sensitivity, director Philbert portrays the difficulties and joys of being deaf, offering vivid portraits of people of all ages coping with and surmounting their challenges."

Description:

"The deeply personal memoir about 65-year-old deaf couple who decide to undergo surgery to have their hearing restored."

Description:

the American version of the same film (Beyond Silence). The story of a 17 year old CODA's music gift and coming to terms with her life and growth within the context of her Deaf family. Available only on Apple+.

Description:

the story of a relationship between a hearing special education teacher and an angry deaf graduate of the school.

Description:

The Superdeafy Movie – SuperDeafy must reveal the man behind the cape to find true love and inspire a young deaf boy to believe in himself.

Description:

"Three predominantly deaf families are followed as they raise their children in a hearing world. With many differing opinions about how deaf children should be raised swirling in the social consciousness, these families work to forge their own paths forward and combat the daily social stigmas many deaf people face."

Description:

Family drama about a deaf and hearing couple who struggle to decide whether or not to give their deaf son a cochlear implant.

Description:

terrifyingly suspenseful thriller in which a family must navigate their lives in silence to avoid mysterious creatures that hunt by sound.

Description:

"A young deaf man gets trapped in his house when he becomes entangled in a nasty real estate dispute with his murderous next-door neighbor. As he struggles to overcome his fears, open captions take the audience inside our deaf hero's head." Horror movie.

Description:

Heartbreaking Oscar winner short film about a Deaf child with hearing parents and no supports. A must-watch, and free on YouTube

Description:

Deaf U is a coming-of-age reality series following a tight-knit group of Deaf students at Gallaudet University. As the group of friends navigate the high, lows, and hookups of college life together, their stories offer an unprecedented, unfiltered, and often unexpected look inside Deaf community.

Description:

A deaf couple keeps a tragic secret from their nephew, debating the child’s future in a language not as private as they believe, whilst on a road trip home to Tehran.

Description:

"Football player Amaree McKenstry-Hall and his Maryland School for the Deaf teammates attempt to defend their winning streak while coming to terms with the tragic loss of a close friend. A Netflix short movie."

Description:

Set in the world of a Ukrainian high school for the deaf as a new student realizes immediately that he must prove himself worthy to be brought under the protective wing of the school gang's leader to survive. 

In Summary

There are a hell of a lot of good movies that relate to us deaf in some way. There is also a hell of a lot of appropriation out there, with hearing people acting in ASL-driven roles. This frankly really gets my goat; I can’t stand it.

My best loves here are the ASL ones and the ones that I had an impossible time finding links for – ones made by the super talented people over at the Rochester Institute of the Deaf. Art films or independent movies are my favorites. They can be hard to find. When I do though, better believe I’ll come on back and update this post so that it will REALLY include all the best deaf movies!

In the meantime, I hope you find new content here that will stimulate discussion, provoke thought, make you feel something and do all the great things that great movies do.  I know I have.

Reminder About Amazon Prime & there Ways to Watch the Best Deaf Movies for Free or Cheap:

I just have to write this reminder, because I don’t want money or not being able to afford to buy a movie to come in the way of enjoying great deaf movies.

Library: Check out your local library and if they don’t have the movies, request them. Most libraries will order content that you want, sometimes for $1 and sometimes for free.

Netflix: If you have a Netflix subscription, some of these titles are available via DVD or streaming. I’m currently catching up on the super awesome Switched at Birth that way.

Amazon Prime Video: Get a month trial here: Amazon Prime Free One-Month Trail. There is a student special membership – get the 6 month trial membership or  an EBT and Medicaid Card Holder’s special,  Prime for $5.99/month- find out more by clicking here.

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3 Comments

  1. I’d wondered if THE TRIBE would be on the list, as it really impressed me.

    And so do the Zoom Focus two.

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