Why Was Mary Poppins' Age Rating Raised To PG In UK? Here's What We Know

The British Board of Film Classification has upgraded the age rating of Mary Poppins from U certificate to PG. This decision was taken after almost 60 years since the film was released.

Updated on Feb 27, 2024  |  06:21 PM IST |  38.8K
BBFC Upgrades the Ratings of Mary Poppins
Mary Poppins (IMDb)

The old and most loved tale that was depicted in a movie called Mary Poppins had children loving her, especially because of her magic. The movie was amongst the most appreciated works of art in the 60s. 

But recently, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) decided to give this children's movie a PG rating, which was earlier, at the time of its release, given a U certificate.

Mary Poppins receives a PG rating

The BBFC came up with a decision to upgrade the movie rating after almost 60 years. Previously, a certificate that depicts no language or material that could harm the feelings of its viewers or could offend them in any certain way was provided for the movie. 

But recently, the same board decided to rate the movie with a Parental Guidance certificate. BBFC was forced to change the rating due to an offensive term used for the Khoikhoi group. The said group is the first inhabitant of southern Africa.

The word is Hottentot, which was used by the character named Admiral Boom in the movie. It was noticed that the character used this term to refer to the child stars whose faces have been blackened with soot. 

When considering the depth of severity, the word Hottentot is actually a name used for the Khoikhoi group by the Dutch settlers. The same word was also used to refer to all the black people. 


In their statement, the BBFC stated to the Mail, “We understand from our racism and discrimination research … that a key concern for … parents is the potential to expose children to discriminatory language or behavior which they may find distressing or repeat without realizing the potential offense.”

The spokesperson further claimed, “Content with immediate and clear condemnation is more likely to receive a lower rating.”

Movies besides Mary Poppins that were subject to a change of rating

Although the change in the rating of Mary Poppins affects the cinema version, the movie would be rated as U for home entertainment, the BBFC stated. 

Meanwhile, Mary Poppins is not the first movie to go through this process of change. As per the 2022 annual report by BBFC, a 1978 animated flick, Watership Down which portrays a tale of rabbits, was too upgraded and is now classified as a movie with a PG rating. 

As per the classifiers, the movie Watership Down did not meet the current policies related to violence under the current guidelines. Similarly, the 1979 film Star Trek: The Motion Picture was too upgraded. 

ALSO READ: ‘I flew back every single weekend’: When John Krasinski opened up about flying 6,000 miles to see wife Emily Blunt when she was shooting for USD 349 million film



When was Mary Poppins released?
The UK version of Mary Poppins was released on August 26, 1964.

Who played the role of Mary Poppins?
In the 1964 version of Mary Poppins, Julie Andrews was the one to play the lead role.

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