Mary Poppins rating changed for “discriminatory language”

The film was released 60 years ago…

The classic children’s film Mary Poppins has just had its rating changed in the UK, 60 years after its release.

Originally rated U, which means a film has been deemed to contain “no material likely to offend or harm” and similar to Australia’s G rating, Mary Poppins is now rated PG for “discriminatory language.”

A spokesperson from the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) explained the recent decision to Variety.

“[The film] includes two uses of the discriminatory term ‘hottentots’. While Mary Poppins has a historical context, the use of discriminatory language is not condemned and ultimately exceeds our guidelines for acceptable language at U.

mary poppins rating
Dick Van Dyke as Bert, Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins, Karen Dotrice as Jane Banks and Matthew Garber (1956 – 1977) as Michael Banks in the Disney musical ‘Mary Poppins’, directed by Robert Stevenson, 1964. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“We therefore classified the film PG for discriminatory language.”

For further context, ‘hottentots’ is a racially insensitive term for an indigenous group in South Africa, the Khoekhoe.

“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 behaviour which they may find distressing or repeat without realising the potential offence.

“Some language or behaviours are therefore not permitted at U or PG in any circumstance, or are wholly dependent on context,” the BBFC spokesperson continued.

mary poppins rating

Mary Poppins is currently rated G – “suitable for everyone” – in Australia, so The Weekly reached out to the Classification Board to see whether or not it plans to follow its UK equivalent’s suit.

“Neither the Classification Board or the Classification Review Board plan to reclassify Mary Poppins as no application to do so has been received,” a spokesperson said.

First released in 1964, Mary Poppins follows a magical nanny who helps two neglected children become closer with their distant father and stars Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke.

The film won 5 Oscars, including Best Actress in a Leading Role.

Stream Mary Poppins now on Disney Plus with a mth-to-mth no lock-in contract. Subscribe here.

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