Classic “Mary Poppins” Has Age Rating Raised

Adam Calaitzis /
Adam Calaitzis /

I think most of us can agree that “Mary Poppins” is a classic and likely one of the most family-friendly movies ever made. And yet, it’s now being scrutinized as something maybe not all ages should see.

According to Variety, an entertainment news publication, the 1964 classic has always been classified as U, meaning it’s suitable viewing material for all ages. However, the United Kingdom has recently decided that’s no longer the case.

Instead, it will now be reclassified with a PG rating, meaning parent guidance is recommended, according to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).

Why? Well, apparently, it has a racially charged word that maybe children shouldn’t hear.

Now, if you’re anything like me, and you’ve seen Mary Poppins in all its glory quite a few times over the years, including as an adult, you are likely asking yourself, ‘What racially charged word?’

Believe me, I was right there with you. I don’t remember hearing, or seeing anything that sounds like that in the film. And I certainly don’t remember hearing anything like that as a child watching it.

So, what’s this bad word: “Hottentots.”

Again, it’s more than likely that you don’t even remember hearing this word in the film, probably because neither children nor adults of this era even know the word exists, let alone what it means.

As Variety explains it, it is a word originating as a slur for a nomadic South African tribe known as the Khoekhoe. It was first used by Dutch settlers who were trying to imitate their language. Eventually, it became a general term for black people.

So yeah, not the greatest of words.

In the 1964 film, Admiral Bloom, who Reginald Owens played, uses the term twice, both in reference to the black soot-stained faces of chimney sweeps.

However, as I said, it’s also one that no one even uses anymore, let alone knows about it.
But apparently, just like anything else even remotely offensive, it should be stricken from the record.

It’s almost as ridiculous as putting gay scenes in children’s films…