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British Board of Film Classification Increases Age Rating on ‘Mary Poppins’

Mary Poppins

“Mary Poppins” is being re-released in select UK cinemas next month to celebrate the film’s 60th anniversary, and the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has made the decision to upgrade its age classification for the first time since 1964.

The Details

After sixty years, “Mary Poppins” has been deemed potentially unsuitable for young children.

The BBFC has taken another look at the Disney classic film pending its re-release into cinemas, and decided to change the age rating for “Mary Poppins” from U-rated, meaning it contains no material likely to offend or harm, to PG (parental guidance), meaning some scenes may be unsuitable for young children.

The reason? Well, it’s not the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

According to the Daily Mail, which first reported on the change, the word that spurred the age rating change was “hottentots,” which is now regarded as a racial slur.

In the film, Admiral Boom (Reginald Owen) utters the slur twice, including using it to describe when everyone’s faces are blackened with soot.

Mary Poppins

It was originally used by Europeans as a derogatory way to refer to the Khoekhoe, a group of nomadic herders in South Africa.

The BBFC reportedly told the Daily Mail that it wasn’t just the use of the word, but also a lack of condemnation for the admiral’s language that was considered to be a reason for raising the age limit.

“We understand from our racism and discrimination research, and recent classification guidelines research, that a key concern for people, parents in particular, is the potential to expose children to discriminatory language or behavior which they may find distressing or repeat without realizing the potential offense,” the BBFC spokesperson continued.

I’d like to remind Disney fans the ratings change doesn’t affect parent’s ability to watch the film with their children. It merely alerts them to something they may want to discuss with them following the film.

If you disagree with the change, you can tell them at their website.

And UK fans can enjoy “Mary Poppins” in over 100 cinemas starting on March 29, 2024