Stair lifts have enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame in film and television over the years. It’s exciting to see such an important mobility tool that brings utility to so many appear in pop culture. But, unfortunately, the exposure is a double-edged sword. On the one side, it’s great to show the general public how a stair chair lift can help someone get up and down the stairs; on the other side, many of the depictions of stair lifts play on negative stereotypes disrespectful toward people with disabilities.
If it were up to us, Hollywood would always portray stair lifts more positively to show how they can help people in meaningful and life-changing ways — avoiding “cringe-worthy” scenes altogether. That said, it can be fun to see where stair lifts have shown up in pop culture. We’ve created a list of the top 10 stair lift appearances below, and even installed one of the stair lifts featured!
Enjoy this look at stair lifts in movies and television. Then, we encourage you to consider how real-life stairway chairlifts help millions safely navigate the stairs. That’s why we’ve also included some of our favorite Arrow Lift stair lift reviews.
Top 10 Stair Lift Appearances in Pop Culture
Over the years, popular culture has seen iconic scenes and portrayals of stair chair lifts. In no particular order, here are 10 of the most prominent:
1. Stair lift in the movie UP
The stair lift in the movie Up moves comedically slow — and requires the main character to mash a button midway down the stairs. Fortunately, in most cases, stair lifts help people who need them to move faster than they would without the lift. And, more importantly, there’s no need to mash buttons!
2. Stair lift in Gremlins
Not to overanalyze a scene in a comedy/horror movie, but there are several safety features on the high-quality stair lifts that Arrow Lift installs that would prevent a lift from “going off the rails,” as depicted in this famous Gremlins scene. To name a few:
- Electronic limit switches at each end of the rail would cut off power to the stair lift motor if ever necessary.
- An overspeed governor would physically stop the chair if it exceeded its rated speed.
- Mechanical stops — made of thick, structurally tested metal bolted to the stair lift rail — at both ends of the rail would provide additional security.
So remember, Gremlins is fiction! Arrow Lift has installed tens of thousands of stairlifts since the 1980s, and not one has ever derailed (or been tampered with by a Gremlin).
3. Stair lift on The Sopranos
We chose the briefest Sopranos scene we could find because it was the only one with Tony Soprano’s mother on the stair lift and without profanity or violence. Suppose that’s a show about the mob for you! But, since The Sopranos is widely considered among the most successful television series ever made, we had to include Mrs. Soprano’s stairlift on our list, which we believe to be a curved rail Bruno Elite stairlift.
4. Kayak commercial with a stair lift
Get ready for cringe! Not our idea of comedy (specifically, showing the person who needs the stair lift struggling midway while her son laughs and rides the chair lift past her) — but with Kayak.com being among the most popular travel websites on the internet, this advertisement got a lot of views and certainly raised some eyebrows.
5. Stair lift on The Farmer’s Daughter
From the annals of classic television circa 1963, skip to the 2:30- and 7:30-minute marks in this show’s first episode to see the stair lift debut. What we especially love about the second scene is how the home’s occupants enjoy the stair lift. We are fortunate to witness this daily enjoyment when serving our stair lift clients.
6. Stair lift on Seinfeld
In typically tacky fashion, George Costanza uses a stair lift in this Seinfeld scene as part of his effort to fake a disability. Like we said, tacky! Though for Seinfeld fans, it’s also “classic” George Costanza behavior.
7. Stair lift on Two and a Half Men
It may not be the most positive portrayal of a stair lift, but we like the description of the stair lift on Two and a Half Men as a “private escalator.” Stair lifts go by many names, so we’ll add private (in-home) escalator to the list!
8. Stair lift on Better Call Saul
Though we appreciate the original writing in Breaking Bad and its spin-off Better Call Saul, Bob Odenkirk’s character checking his watch as the stair lift moves slowly down the staircase is a tired cliche, in our opinion. And it appears that the show intentionally slowed down the stair lift for cinematic effect. However, we’d like to award bonus points for demonstrating the utility of a folding rail in this scene! It is a valuable stair lift option that many people do not know about, designed to avoid a tripping hazard at the bottom of the stairs when the stair lift chair is at the top.
9. Stair lift on The Conners
We appreciated the opportunity to install this particular custom curved rail Stannah stair lift for the Roseanne reboot, The Conners (although we are still waiting for our star on the Hollywood “Walk of Fame”). And we are honored to have John Goodman operate a chair lift we installed, even if we enjoyed his performances in the Coen brothers’ films and Disney cartoons more than in this scene.
10. Stair lift in Witness for the Prosecution
In this film based on an Agatha Christie story, we cringe at the use of the term “helpless invalid.” Still, we absolutely adore how the person using the lift has a change of heart once he experiences the safety and convenience of the stair lift first-hand. The character states, “This is remarkable… Smoothest flight I’ve had in years!”
Many of our Arrow Lift Clients can attest to the benefits of the “try before you buy” experience offered by our local Arrow Lift stair lift showrooms. If your spouse or family member is opposed to purchasing a stair lift, perhaps consider showing them this clip from an Oscar-winning movie, and then call us to schedule an appointment to try a stair lift in person!
So, while many of these fictional Top 10 Stair Lifts in Pop Culture come off as belittling, we encourage you to remember the wonderful benefits that stair lifts bring to individuals who use them in reality.
Real-Life Stair Lift Reviews
To illustrate the point, we’d like to share some recent real-life feedback from actual Arrow Lift clients. Here are 10 of Arrow Lift’s Top Real-Life Stair Lift Reviews:
1. Flawless installation
“Beautiful and efficient and reliable chair lift system. It enhanced the architecture of our house. Care was taken in measuring, and the installation was flawless. Our lift climbs three floors.” – Kent S., Minnesota
2. Worthwhile investment
“We would highly recommend Arrow Lift for a chair lift! My father had surgery and unexpectedly could not do the stairs once he returned home. Arrow Lift had a chair lift installed within the week. Everything was extremely professional, from the initial visit to installation. The product is very high quality, and my dad is happy to be back in his house. We wish we would have done this 10 years ago! Very worthwhile investment! Thank you, Arrow Lift, for keeping my dad in his home as long as possible.” – Richard R., Wisconsin
3. Comfortable and confident
“First, we were very pleased to meet David and hear about your product. He was very professional, explaining the install process and the several safety features, including the footrest, seat, and armrests. The installers were very good and fast. But they did take time to explain the process and even let me try it out several times. It has only been a week since my new Cadillac lift was installed, and I am so comfortable and confident going down to the basement. I can now do my laundry and shower without my daughter having to come over a couple of times a week. Now when she comes, we can visit or go out for lunch. Thank you to Arrow Lift and your great team for making me feel 10 years younger.” – Judy M., Ohio
4. Smooth, easy process
“The installer was very efficient. I asked him a few questions before he started and let him have at it without bothering him, and he came back a couple of hours later, and everything was perfect. The salesman was always great. He was very professional and never made me feel pressured. He gave me all the information I needed to make an informed decision and let me decide what fit my budget. I couldn’t ask for a smoother or easier process. My only regret is that I don’t need another lift. This company should be anyone’s first choice for stair lifts. 10.5 stars.” – Shawn E., California
5. No regrets
“Yours is one of the high-cost products I’ve purchased (e.g., cars, appliances) where every point of contact with your company was a pleasure — starting from the salesman who visited my home. He was polite and pleasant and explained everything clearly. So much so that, at that early stage in my search for a chair lift system, I stopped looking at other companies and decided to proceed with Arrow Lift. Similar experience when we made a short visit to the showroom, where all questions were answered and, again, no hard-sell effort.
Finally, the young man who installed the lift was very articulate, covered all aspects of the system, and explained the system well. Often, when one purchases an expensive product, one has regrets. Was it a good decision? Did I make the right choice? But this is a case where I am glad I did purchase it and chose your company.” – Manuel G., Wisconsin
6. A joy to work with
“Arrow Lift stands behind its products and services because they understand the value of quality. For most people, this is a one-time purchase, and you want to get it right, and they understand that. From sales to installation, everyone was professional, friendly and a joy to work with. The options I chose are perfect for me, and I couldn’t be happier!” – Bob K., Iowa
7. Incredibly technologically designed
“We like everything about our Arrow chair lift. From the very beginning, we have had a positive experience. Every staff member is knowledgeable, helpful and courteous. Our chair lift is easy to operate and incredibly technologically designed. We use it for safety, but we also have lightened our load when we have been to the market. We no longer have to figure out how to get heavy products upstairs. We recommend Arrow Lift to everyone.” – Susan P., California
8. Safe enjoyment
“Having the stair lift is giving my husband a safe way to get to our car now that winter is settling into the north woods. He doesn’t have to struggle with our outside stairs now that snow and ice will become a problem. It is helping him continue to be able to live in our home. We both are very grateful for the safe way he can enjoy our two-story home.” – Charmaine P., Wisconsin
9. Small footprint
“Our Bruno Stairlift is easy to operate, takes up very little space on stairs, and is quiet. We also love the way it’s installed. It looks like removal would be easy, requiring no major repairs.” – Wilma S., Ohio
10. Ease of use
“The installers were friendly and made sure I was comfortable with the use of the chair, which was good because minor adjustments were needed. I love the ease of use of the chair lift, and it doesn’t dominate the stairway.” – Kristina R., California
Reality Tells the Best Stair Lift Story
While our Top 10 Stair Lift Reviews are all positive, it’s important to note that when our stair lift clients are asked how likely they’d be to recommend Arrow Lift to a friend or family member, over 90% respond with a 9 or 10 out of 10. In fact, 99% of our clients respond with a 7, 8, 9, or 10 out of 10. So these, indeed, are real-life examples. Read more of our clients’ feedback here.
As you can see, there is quite a difference between the Hollywood stair lift experience and the actual experiences of everyday people who purchase and use stair lifts. To learn more about how a stair lift can assist you or a loved one, start by contacting us. We look forward to serving you!