Care or Cure?

For centuries, both disabled people and becoming disabled were viewed as a fearful burden, both to the family and to society at large. This collection reflects this underlying world view, which often switches between seeking a cure for impaired bodies and minds, and if a cure isn't found, to care for them.

But it's not all black and white. As these films show, there is evidence of some emerging fresh ideas around the rights to independence of disabled people - and conversely some much grimmer reflections about casting disabled people as the 'socially dead', and about that most fundamental human right - the right to be alive.

Graham Findlay (disability equality consultant)

Please note: titles in this collection may contain language or other content that reflect views prevalent in their time but that may cause offence today. They are included here for historical reasons and are in no way endorsed by the BFI or its partners.

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Rehabilitation at Roffey ParkRehabilitation at Roffey Park

194629 mins Location: Roffey Park (College)

The treatment of World War II Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – filmed, astonishingly, in full colour.

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Education of the DeafEducation of the Deaf

Documentary194651 mins Location: Manchester

A brisk look at the tests and education practices for deaf people in 1940s

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Something to OfferSomething to Offer

Documentary196922 mins

An interesting documentary on psychiatric provision, set at a Plymouth day hospital and originally produced for nursing recruitment.

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Plans for LivingPlans for Living

Amateur film196622 mins

The Pinner Cine Society looks at the work of Northwood's welfare services.

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Faith HealerFaith Healer

News19766 mins Location: Erdington

Does Danny Gallagher really have healing hands?

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His Fighting ChanceHis Fighting Chance

Government sponsored film194910 mins

Eleanor Roosevelt and Michael Redgrave narrate this optimistic post-war film on the rehabilitation of disabled people with polio.

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Beware of PityBeware of Pity

Drama1946102 mins

A romantic drama in which an Austrian Lieutenant befriends a disabled Baroness.

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Tuppence for TomorrowTuppence for Tomorrow

Documentary198222 mins

Enter Peter’s world of awkward conversations, resentful bosses and psychedelic pub carpets as he comes to terms with being newly-disabled.

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A Place in ScoutingA Place in Scouting

Promotional196629 mins Location: Potters Bar

One of the Troop - awkward attempts at including disabled young people in Scouting in the Sixties

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Cry of the Crippled ChildrenCry of the Crippled Children

Charity appeal192112 minsSilent

Johnny Be Good... a silent docudrama about curing disabled children, set in 1920s London

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Documentary197115 mins Location: East Anstey

A village for the mentally impaired, with residents working on a local farm in a progressive project aimed at a fully flourishing life for all.

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Percy Hedley SchoolPercy Hedley School

News197017 mins Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

Being wheelchair users is not a barrier to these children doing slaloms or throwing javelins, gaining confidence and changing perceptions.

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Out of TrueOut of True

Instructional film/TV programme195141 mins

An innovative drama-doc, one of the first to deal seriously with clinical depression

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Hospital Sports 1938Hospital Sports 1938

Amateur film19389 minsSilent Location: Bracebridge Heath

A reminder of pre-war institutional care as the patients of Bracebridge Mental Hospital go for gold in their annual hospital sports.

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Why Us?Why Us?

Documentary197725 mins

Kindly doctors and caring professionals – a view from the Seventies into how children with learning difficulties were treated.

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No Winners, No LosersNo Winners, No Losers

Documentary198525 mins Location: Botton Head

This timely documentary about Botton Village community raises key issues around the principles of care of those with learning difficulties.

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Annual Sports Storthes Hall AthletesAnnual Sports Storthes Hall Athletes

Amateur film193014 minsSilent Location: Kirkburn Grange

Despite mental health problems, these patients enjoy themselves as they tackle an obstacle race and have pillow fights sat on a greasy pole.

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The Opening of the Prince of Wales Hospital at CardiffThe Opening of the Prince of Wales Hospital at Cardiff

Non-Fiction191813 minsSilent Location: Cardiff/Caerdydd

Miss Clara Deacon, matron (or 'commandant' as the press refer to her) of this pioneering hospital, accompanies the royal patron on his visit.

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Wasted LivesWasted Lives

Current affairs197227 mins

A shocking and powerful edition of This Week focusing on women unnecessarily institutionalised for decades for defying societal conventions.

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Stress: Parents with a Handicapped ChildStress: Parents with a Handicapped Child

Documentary196629 mins

Acclaimed author Bernice Rubens’ hard-hitting film about disabled children and the family.

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Take Your PartnerTake Your Partner

Amateur film19588 minsSilent Location: Romiley

Refusing to take 'no' for an answer, a young woman takes matters into her own hands, with embarrassing results.

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Amateur film195912 mins

This amateur film meets children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities at a Bristol school.

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Understanding AggressionUnderstanding Aggression

Documentary196023 mins

Eye-opening drama-doc, originally used in psychiatric nursing training.

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Heredity in ManHeredity in Man

193714 mins

A chilling insight into the brave new world of pre-Holocaust eugenics

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Learning in Slow MotionLearning in Slow Motion

Documentary196129 minsSilent

Patients at Epsom’s Manor Hospital learn new skills: an important record of changing attitudes about learning difficulty

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Against the Odds The Land Can ProvideAgainst the Odds The Land Can Provide

Documentary198626 mins Location: Botton Cross

By a mixture of bio-dynamics and patience, the co-workers and those with special needs of Botton Village gain satisfaction in eking a living.

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Half the Battle's WonHalf the Battle's Won

Documentary198026 mins Location: Botton Cross

An early example of integrating people with learning difficulties at a time when ideas of normalisation and community care were emerging.

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Handicapped Gathering, Salesbury Hall, 22nd AugHandicapped Gathering, Salesbury Hall, 22nd Aug

Amateur film19709 minsSilent Location: Ribchester

An afternoon of balloons, song and dance with the Gang Show in Ribchester.

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Halliwick Girl's SchoolHalliwick Girl's School

Amateur film194612 minsSilent Location: Winchmore Hill

Join the disabled girls from the Halliwick Girls School, Winchmore Hill, on a day out to the seaside for boating, yo-yos and ice cream.

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Lufton Manor for the Learning DisabledLufton Manor for the Learning Disabled

News197219 mins Location: Yeovil

Lufton Manor offers residential care for the mentally handicapped.

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Hesley HallHesley Hall

Documentary197018 mins Location: Tickhill

An affecting film of children with severe physical impairments, segregated in a special school, at play and coping with their class work.

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The Trefoil School - UndauntedThe Trefoil School - Undaunted

194917 minsSilent Location: Hermiston

Undaunted under canvas: Girl Guides help push the boundaries for disabled children

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"...And Then There Was One""...And Then There Was One"

Training film/TV programme196530 mins

Who will be the ‘one’? This medical drama-doc, exploring mental health and illness, is stylish, nail-biting stuff.

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Alone with the MonstersAlone with the Monsters

Animation & Artists Moving Image195816 minsSilent

A study of people's unconscious cruelty towards those who appear to be different.

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Spina BifidaSpina Bifida

News19815 mins Location: Sutton Coldfield

Living with Spina Bifida: two survivors who have overcome being labelled "doomed to die" by doctors.

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Arise and Walk: A Film Illustrating the Prevention and Cure of CripplesArise and Walk: A Film Illustrating the Prevention and Cure of Cripples

19299 minsSilent

A morality lesson from the 1920s to teach us that it is sinful to not attempt to cure disability.