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MARY POPPINS Age Rating Increased for ‘Discriminatory Language’

Photo from Vandy Days via Instagram

MARY POPPINS Age Rating Increased for ‘Discriminatory Language’

By Movieguide® Contributor 

The 1964 Disney classic MARY POPPINS has received an increased age rating in the U.K. 

Last Friday, the British Board of Film Classification changed the film from a U rating, which means “no material likely to offend or harm,” to PG for “discriminatory language” due to the use of the word “hottentots.”  

NBC News explained, “The word is a racially insensitive term for the Khoekhoe, an indigenous group in South Africa. The BBFC further explained that the word is used in the film by Admiral Boom (Reginald Owen), including when referring to the chimney sweeps whose faces are covered in soot.” 

A spokesperson from the BBFC said, “Most recently, the film was resubmitted to us in February 2024 for another theatrical re-release, and we reclassified it PG for discriminatory language… 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. We therefore classified the film PG for discriminatory language.” 

The BBFC expressed concerns over exposing children to this language:

“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. Some language or behaviors are therefore not permitted at U or PG in any circumstance, or are wholly dependent on context.

MARY POPPINS stars Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. A synopsis of the movie reads, “When Jane and Michael Banks are faced with the prospect of a new nanny, they are pleasantly surprised by the arrival of the magical Mary Poppins. Embarking on a series of fantastical adventures with her and her Cockney performer friend, Bert, they try to pass on some of her sunny attitude to their preoccupied parents.” 

Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.

What you listen to, watch, and read has power. Movieguide® wants to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support.

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Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.


Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.

What you listen to, watch, and read has power. Movieguide® wants to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support.

You can make a difference with as little as $7. It takes only a moment. If you can, consider supporting our ministry with a monthly gift. Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.


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