Mary Poppins



World's coolest nanny celebrates family and fun.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Review Date: September 19, 2005
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1964
  • Running Time: 140 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Some of the songs have phrases which have become mainstream lore, as: "A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down."

Positive messages

Kindness to all people, whether rich or poor, is advocated. Also, the value of play, fun, and hard work is underscored by Poppins, as is the dignity and importance of children. A minor quibble: The fight for women's right to vote is shown in a somewhat frivolous light.

Positive role models

Mary Poppins is mysterious, firm, kind, and caring. She's the very picture of an independent woman. Even without her magical ways, she's the perfect nanny. Though Mr. Banks begins as an aloof father, he sees the error of his ways and engages with his children in the end.

Violence & scariness

One of the neighbors pretends to be in battle and fires canons from his rooftop -- it's loud and jolting, but no one gets hurt.

Sexy stuff

A little flirting and hand holding between Bert and Mary Poppins.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Father drinks what looks like brandy. Minor characters smoke cigars.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that though the pace is rollicking and sometimes chaotic, there are no dangerous or dark elements in Mary Poppins. Melodic music, fancy dancing, and cartoon segments will engage even the youngest viewers.

What's the story?

In 1910 Britain, a British family seeks a new nanny for young Jane and Michael. In flies magical Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews, in an Oscar-winning performance), not at all what proper Mr. Banks was looking for, but precisely what the children ordered! Mary takes control and takes the children on glorious adventures. The kids also frolic with Bert (Dick Van Dyke), a one-man-band, sidewalk artists, and chimney sweep. Wonderful singing, dancing, and animation bring the story to life as somehow this unusual nanny helps Mr. Banks show love to his children, and the whole family appreciate each other all the more.

Is it any good?


Rarely does a movie manage to be so much fun while delivering a simple, heartwarming story. While songs in today's Disney's musicals, though sometimes good, only serve to explain the characters' emotions or intentions, the best songs in Mary Poppins use the feelings of the characters as starting points from which to take off and explore, often in wildly whimsical directions.

The story follows suit, using small plot events to take viewers to many unexpected places. The end result is one of the all-time great family movies.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about if they get too busy sometimes to "go fly a kite." Why is it important to spend time together? What's your favorite kind of laugh? And can you make up your own very long, silly word?

  • How does Mary Poppins get her messages across? What's easier to hear, a command or a song? How does Poppins get respect from others?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 29, 1964
DVD release date:December 14, 2004
Cast:David Tomlinson, Dick Van Dyke, Julie Andrews
Director:Robert Stevenson
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Book characters, Music and sing-along
Run time:140 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of Mary Poppins was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 2 and 5 year old Written byTomDarla October 12, 2009

Kids love the music, magic, and fun

Kids at a very young age will enjoy this magical classic. Our child loved watching this movie soon after he turned 4. He is sensitive to tense scenes and conflict, which are scarcely seen in this film, so we often chose this movie over so many others deemed acceptable for young ones.
What other families should know
Great messages
Parent Written byannielight January 13, 2011

Enchanting for a 4-year old

My 4-year old has a great attention span, and so this movie (which is a bit long and can seem slow in places) worked well for him. He just delights in the songs and animation/live action sequences.
Kid, 8 years old December 5, 2010
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide