Fact sheet on movies, books and cartoons featuring Autism, an Autism Spectrum Disorder


The popular depiction of autism in the media has been of relatively severe cases, for example, as seen in the films Rain Man (autistic adult) and Mercury Rising (autistic child), and in turn many relatives of those who have been diagnosed in the autism spectrum choose to speak of their loved ones as having Asperger’s syndrome rather than autism.

A well known example of an autistic savant is Daniel Tammet, the subject of the documentary film The Brain Man. Bright Splinters of the Mind is a book that explores this savantism further. It is interesting to note that Kim Peek, one of the inspirations for Dustin Hoffman’s character in the film Rain Man, is not autistic.


Fictional characters with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Dr. Kio Masada from C. S. Friedman's This Alien Shore is an autistic savant with a talent for computer science. The book also mentions his deceased wife, a musically gifted autistic savant, and includes Masada's musings on the nature of their relationship. Within the text, members of their culture refer to them as iru, but Friedman has confirmed that this term is meant to be analogous to autism.


Darryl McAllister from A Wizard Alone, part of Diane Duane's Young Wizards series. His autism gives him an unusual perspective of the world that in turn gives him unique abilities as a wizard.

Other fictional characters in books include:

• Christopher John Francis Boone in the book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

• Lou Arrendale and his associates from The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon.



Although it is not made explicit, Mr Darcy and the parson in the movie version of Pride and Prejudice are excellent examples of two adults with Asperger's syndrome and encountering difficulties with non-autistic people. It can be quite distressing to see the parson being ridiculed by other characters in the film for his difficulty in social interactions. Other films include:

• Raymond Babbitt from the film Rain Man played by Dustin Hoffman

Mercury Rising, with Bruce Willis protecting an autistic child from killers

• Elvis Presley does some early intervention for a girl with autism in Change of Habit
• Cody from the film Bless the Child

• An autistic boy is lost in the woods and looked after by a hermit in Silence
• Ellen Ripley in Alien: Resurrection, described as "emotionally autistic" after her resurrection
• Linda Freeman from the film Snow Cake, played by Sigourney Weaver

• A gangster looks after his autistic son in Backstreet Dreams
House of Cards - a girl shows autistic tendencies after her father dies

The Boy Who Could Fly features an autistic teenager befriended by the girl next door.



In Star Trek, Mr Spock has long been regarded as an extraterrestrial example of Asperger's syndrome. Interestingly, he is regarded as completely normal on his own planet, but cool, aloof and far too logical by humans.


On House in the episode "Lines in the Sand" the team suspects that House may have low-level Asperger Syndrome in order to explain his unwavering protests at having the carpet in his office changed; however, Dr. Wilson later tells House that House "wishes" he had Asperger's Syndrome so that he would have an excuse for his rudeness and dislike of people. The focus of this episode is an autistic child.


On Law and Order: Criminal Intent, the episode "Probability" features an insurance fraud expert named Wally Stevens (played by Mark Linn-Baker) who suffers from Asperger Syndrome and is eventually betrayed by his own tics and behaviors. Other examples include:

• Lily Montgomery (Jackson Montgomery's daughter) on the television show All My Children
• Laurence Burrell, an autistic teenager appearing as a one off character on A Touch of Frost
• Dr. Bob Melnikov on ReGenesis has Asperger's and discusses it in episodes 1, 11 and 17.



Legion (Marvel Comics)
• The DC Comics supervillain Black Manta
• Johnny Do, in Psi-Force was a severely autistic young paranormal with pyrokinetic abilities
• The character Seth in the comic strip Clear Blue Water has been diagnosed with autism
Marvel series Fantastic Four - Invisible Woman thinks her husband may have Asperger's.


Click here: closes Autism information fact sheet

Click here for the full range of autism and Asperger's fact sheets at www.autism-help.org
This autism fact sheet is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation. It is derivative of autism and Aspergers--related articles at http://en.wikipedia.org

Autism and Asperger's have featured in movies and books such as Rain Man and Mercury Rising.