10 Movies To Watch As A Family


Need something to do on a rainy day or a new film for family movie night? Here are 10 different family friendly movies with deaf/koda characters and themes. From #deaftalent to bringing up valuable conversations about ASL, deaf history, and/or deaf culture, these movies showcase various topics that can discussed together as a family.

As always, we encourage parents to preview these movies before sharing them with their children. The films below include a variety of topics and some subjects may be too mature for young children. We have attempted to impose some order to these texts by posting the Motion Picture Association of American rating system when available, but of course parents are urged to use their own discretion.

1) Sandlot 2 (Rated- PG)

[Image description: Movie cover for Sandlot 2. Red text against a blue sky reads, “Sandlot 2.” Below, a group of children pose for a photo wearing various pieces of baseball equipment. Behind them is a tall fence with signs reading “keep out” and “ beware of dog”. Behind the fence peeks out the head of a large dog. At the bottom of the image white text reads, “A home run of family fun!”]

Sequel to the family classic Sandlot, Sandlot 2 offers another nostalgic glimpse at a group of youngsters and their summer spent on the neighborhood baseball diamond. This time the rag-tag baseball team must work together to retrieve a model rocket from the clutches of a dangerous dog. Sean Berdy, a deaf actor, plays the role of  Sammy “Fingers.”

This light, family film is accessible to younger children and provides an opportunity to discuss language use and #deaftalent.


2) Mr. Holland’s Opus (Rated- PG)

[Image description: Movie cover for Mr. Holland’s Opus. Text at the top reads, “Richard Dreyfuss Mr. Holland’s Opus.” The text is printed next to a gold outline of a male conductor, with arms spread wide. Below is a picture of a white man surrounded by many young men and women in their blue graduation caps and gowns.]

Mr. Holland’s Opus, tells the story of a struggling composer and music teacher who learns that his son, Cole is deaf. Passionate about music, the main character wrestles with the linguistic and cultural conflicts of a hearing-deaf family dynamic. Cole is played, at various points in the film by; Nicholas John Renner, Joseph Anderson, and Anthony Natale.

The film provides an opportunity to discuss with your family ways to resolve linguistic differences and cultural experiences, as well as the challenges of addressing audism and phonocentrism in interpersonal relationships.


3) The Hammer (Rated- PG-13)

[Image description: Movie cover for The Hammer. In the foreground, a white man in a black wrestling uniform and headgear stands with one arm raised in triumphant fist. To the right, a referee is partially visible, their arm extends to hold the wrestler’s wrist, signaling the winner of a match. At the top of the image, black text reads, “The Hammer.”]

A biographical film, The Hammer, tells the story of Matt Hamill, a deaf, mixed martial artist and wrestler, as he strove to become a UFC (ultimate fighting championship) fighter. Throughout the movie, Hamill is shown challenging preconceived notions about deaf people’s capabilities.

The Hammer is a great way to engage as a family in conversation about current stereotypes regarding deaf people, as well as an opportunity to consider language choices and opportunities.


4) Through Deaf Eyes (Rated- PG)

[Image description: DVD cover for Through Deaf Eyes. A sepia-toned photo of a group of people, mostly children, standing in front of a large American flag. Their hands are frozen in sign language. Black text on the bottom of the image reads, “Through Deaf Eyes.”]

This film offers a broad overview of American deaf culture and deaf history featuring many deaf and coda leaders. Learn about the origin of the football huddle, the Deaf President Now movement, and many other historical events within the deaf community.

A great way for families to share deaf history, cultural norms, and values. Watch together for a discussion about the challenges of oralism and linguistic recognition of signed languages.


5) See What I’m Saying (Rated- PG-13)

[Image description: Movie cover for See What I’m Saying. Four images frame the cover. In the top left corner, a middle-age African-American male wearing a blue shirt and black hat is signing “understand.” In the top right corner a middle-age white male in a black shirt and black hat is signing “what.” In the bottom left corner an older white male in a blue jacket and white undershirt is signing “I.” In the bottom right corner a white female in a black and white striped shirt and black top hat is signing “say.” Across the center of the cover, white text reads, “See What I’m Saying” and red text below reads, “The Deaf Entertainers Documentary.”]

In this documentary film, four deaf performers reveal their struggles and successes as they as they battle various challenges of working in the entertainment industry. The film features CJ Jones, Robert DeMayo, T.L. Forsberg, Bob Hiltermann, among others. In particular, each addresses the linguistic and cultural assumptions members of the deaf community frequently face, all the while, attempting to cross into to the mainstream.

This film offers an excellent opportunity to discuss and explore differences within the deaf community in terms of language and culture, while also examining the ways in which deaf people dispel assumptions about the deaf experience.


6) The Rosa Lee Show (Rated-N/A)

[Image description: Movie cover for The Rosa Lee Show. Set against a dark background, a woman of color with short curly hair leans forward. At the bottom, amber text reads, “The Rosa Lee Show.”.]

A blend of funny stories with various characters and excellently signed songs, The Rosa Lee Show is a collection of ASL storyteller Rosa Lee’s best work. The DVD includes material from five years of touring in front of thousands of people in various cities.

Watch as a family for entertaining examples of language play, as well as humorous anecdotes regarding deaf and hearing cultures.


7) Passport Without a Country (Rated- N/A)


This documentary filmed in Australia, explores the experiences of Codas (Children of Deaf Adults). The movie offers insight on the personal experiences of individuals that grew up in two very different worlds – both hearing and deaf. This film provides an opportunity to discuss, as a family, the unique experiences and challenges growing up in a bicultural/bimodal/bilingual household can bring. In honor of the 25th anniversary of its release, ‘Passport Without a Country’ has been digitally remastered and is now accessible online on Vimeo.


8) Audism Unveiled (Rated- N/A)

[Image description: Movie cover for Audism Unveiled. On a red and black background, two hands form the sign “oppression.” Below, in red, several silhouetted figures stand with their arms raised. White text breaks up this images, reading, “Audism Unveiled.”]

This film defines and describes the pervasive impact of audism on deaf people’s lives. Audism is the belief that one is superior based on hearing/speaking status. Several different aspects of the deaf experience are covered and the movie aims to educate the audience about the features of oppression.  

View this film as a family and unpack attitudes and beliefs in broader society regarding deaf people and language. Take care to define the dynamics of audist oppression and empower members of the family to acknowledge and address instances of audism in their lives. Due to the complexity of content covered, this movie may not be suitable for all ages.


9) Signs of the Time (Rated- N/A)

[Image description: Movie cover for Signs of the Time. Two sepia toned portraits of white men, wearing baseball caps, are highlighted above an image of a baseball nestled in a patch of grass. Text at the top of the cover reads, “Signs of the Time.” ]

Today the use of hand signals in baseball is taken for granted. In this documentary, the development of hand signals in American baseball is examined. Did these originate with umpire Richard Klem, or were these embraced for deaf baseball player William Dummy Hoy? There is controversy about who exactly is responsible!

Watch as a family for an interesting examination of deaf people and America’s greatest pastime- baseball! Find more information here: http://www.signsofthetimemovie.com/


10) Legend of Mountain Man (Rated- PG)

[Image description: Movie cover for Legend of Mountain Man. The image at the center of the cover looks outward from a darkened cave. Visible at center are three white children, staring upward in awe. Yellow text at the bottom reads, “Legend of Mountain Man.”]

This is a family friendly movie that all ages will enjoy. The film follows a family of five, as the three children are sent to stay with grandparents for the summer. Soon the kids find themselves in the middle of an adventure that ultimately brings the family closer together!

Filmed entirely in American Sign Language, the film is a great way to promote language and cultural knowledge at home. Discuss how the film would be different if filmed with speaking and hearing actors, or a mixture of deaf and hearing actors.


We have just scratched the surface on the list of c/koda and deaf films available! If you have additional c/koda or deaf community films to recommend, please share them with us on facebook, twitter, or instagram and we will add them to our future lists!