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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mary Poppins is a classic 1964 musical about a nanny with supernatural powers. Though the pace is rollicking and sometimes chaotic, there are no dangerous or dark elements. Melodic music, fancy dancing, and cartoon segments will engage even the youngest viewers. The father of the family is shown drinking brandy, but isn't drunk; minor characters smoke cigars.
What's the story?
In 1910 Britain, a British family seeks a new nanny for young Jane and Michael, and in flies magical MARY POPPINS (Julie Andrews, in an Oscar-winning performance). She's 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 artist, 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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Mary Poppins gets her messages across. What's easier to hear, a command or a song? How does Poppins get respect from others?
Why is it important to spend time together? What happens if people get too busy sometimes to "go fly a kite"?
- In theaters: August 29, 1964
- On DVD or streaming: 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
- Character strengths: Communication, Compassion, Empathy, Gratitude, Integrity
- Run time: 140 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.