‘Mary Poppins’ Gets More Restrictive Rating in UK for ‘Discriminatory Language’ 60 Years After Release

The previously-rated U movie is now labelled as PG

Mary Poppins
Dick Van Dyke as Bert/Mr. Dawes, Sr. and English actress Julie Andrews in the title role from 'Mary Poppins', (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The rating for “Mary Poppins,” the 1964 classic starring Julia Andrews, has been changed in the U.K. due to “discriminatory language.” The film, which was previously rated as U for universal audiences, will now be a PG movie, according to the BBC.

This change has to do with a derogatory term to refer to the soot-covered chimney-sweeps. The term was originally used by white Europeans to talk about nomadic peoples in southern Africa.

The film now “exceeds our guidelines” for U film, the British Board of Film Classification said.

This isn’t the first time a Disney movie has been re-evaluated to keep up with the current day. In 2020, several classic animated and live-action movies, including “The Aristocats,” “Dumbo,” “Peter Pan” and “Swiss Family Robinson,” were given a content warning on Disney+ due to their “negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures.”

This reevaluation also hasn’t been limited to Disney or content from the ’40s though the ’60s. Several episodes from shows in the 2000s, including “30 Rock,” “Community” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” have been pulled from various streaming services due to their use of blackface.

Directed by Robert Stevenson and starring Dick Van Dyke alongside Andrews, the original “Mary Poppins” was a massive commercial and critical success that revolutionized the process of blending live-action and animation. The movie follows Mary Poppins (Andrews), a whimsical and magical nanny who sweep into the lives of a dysfunctional London family.

The original movie earned $44 million when it was first released theatrically, becoming the highest-grossing movie of 1964. It was also nominated for a total of 13 Academy Awards, a record for any film released by Walt Disney Studios. It ultimately won five Oscars: Best Actress for Andrews, Best Film Editing, Best Original Music Score, Best Visual Effects and Best Original Song for “Chim Chim Cher-ee.”

Two movies inspired or based on this original movie have been released in the years since, 2013’s “Saving Mr. Banks” and 2018’s “Mary Poppins Returns.”

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