Autistic characters in film and television

Here’s my speculative list of autistic characters in film and TV. It’s just what I think.

Dwight Schrute (The Office)
Sheldon (Big Bang Theory)
Remy (Ratatouille)
Spike (The Land Before Time)
Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter)
Gregory House (House, MD)

I’m sure there are others. Can you think of some I’ve missed?

From the comments we have:
Monk (Monk)
Max (Max and Ruby)
Napoleon Dynamite (Napoleon Dynamite)
Joon (Benny and Joon)
Arnie (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape)
Forrest Gump (Forrest Gump)
Juno (Juno)
Gilligan (Gilligan’s Island)
Jerry Espenson (Boston Legal)

18 thoughts on “Autistic characters in film and television

  1. Monk. I know the commercials call him OCD, but that’s a common misdiagnosis of aspies, and the two are found together a lot anyway. Plus, his diagnosis is never made onscreen. He’s totally autistic, the producers just don’t know that. So is his nemesis, Harold.

  2. I watch Max and Ruby with my son- it’s a Nick cartoon. Max seems to have a really limited vocabulary for a three year old and my husband and I sometimes think that that was done intentionally to portray a child with Autism.

  3. See, I don’t think Luna really is very spectrumy, but I always thought Snape was. He has such a hard time, and the flash backs in the later books really emphasize the problems he had in relating to others. And he just gets so angry because people don’t understand him or misjudge him. He really likes things done his way.

    Joon, from Benny and Joon
    The boy from What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
    Forrest Gump

  4. Aspy’s in the movies…
    Valerie in The Princess Bride… she’s the wiry old woman who chants “Humperdink”. Her behavior seems normal to me so I know she must be off! lol
    Alan “Hippy” from the Abyss… the guy with the rat. He has super specific interests is hardheaded, loves his rat and is technologically inclined.
    Stitch from Lilo and Stitch! (and Jumba his creator, too)
    What about The Boy Who could Fly? Was he autistic?

  5. I agree with Melissa—I think Snape is more on the spectrum than Luna—-I think Luna is just lost in her world. I remember being very much like her in high school :).

  6. Cool list 🙂 And fwiw – things about Luna remind me of myself (when I was a kid) and my oldest boy (who reminds me of me times ten).

  7. ‘Anya’ from Buffy the Vampire Slayer!! I identify more with her than just about any other character on TV 🙂

  8. Don’t you think ALL the main Harry Potter characters (specially the kids) exhibit some sort of typical ASD traits?

    Have you read this — — VERY interesting speech, by a 18-year old autist? He traces insightful paralels between the main HPotter characters and himself.

    I also find “So Odd a Mixture: Along the Autistic Spectrum in ‘Pride and Prejudice'”, by Phyllis F. Bottomer (, very revealing.

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