Rare Disease Report

5 Rare Disease Movies (and 4 of them are worth watching)

AUGUST 12, 2016
James Radke, PhD

There are numerous documentaries about rare diseases but what grabs people's interest in a rare condition, and the struggles that patients and their families must endure, is when Hollywood takes over.

Below are 5 movies that focus on rare diseases. Feel free to email us to expand the list.

Extraordinary Measures

This is the story of pharmaceutical executive John Crowley as he tries to find a treatment for his two girls who have a rare lysosomal disorder.
Rare Disease: Pompe Disease
Based on a true story
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Harrison Ford


The Elephant Man

"The Elephant Man" is a 1980 film starring John Hurt as Joseph Merrick, nicknamed “the Elephant Man” due to the disfigurement.
Rare Disease: Proteus syndrome
Based on a true story
Starring: John Hurt, Anthony Hopkins




Lorenzo’s Oil

This is based on a true story in which Augusto and Michaela Odone struggle to find treatment for their son Lorenzo who has a deadly genetic disease.
Rare Disease: Adrenoleuodystrophy
Based on a true story
Starring: Susan Sarandon, Nick Nolte




The Mighty

This story is about the friendship between a boy with a rare lysosomal disease and a boy with a common one (dyslexia).
Rare Disease: Morquio A
Starring: Sharon Stone, Gena Rowlands




The Boy in the Plastic Bubble

This is the story of a teenage boy who lives his life in a plastic bubble to avoid infection.
Rare Disease: Severe combined immunodeficiencies (SCID)
Starring: John Travolta



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