Mary Poppins (1964) Movie Review

By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

P.L. Travers created one of the most beloved heroines in children’s literature with Mary Poppins. Walt Disney saw potential in Travers’s enchanting books as a magical movie-going experience, but Travers was notoriously adamant about protecting her character from exploitation. Walt Disney was a real charmer, though, and somehow managed to convince Travers to grant him the film rights to her books. The final film has maintained a legendary status for more than fifty years (as of 2017), and continues to entertain audiences with magical adventures filled with heart and soul.

A Toast

Upon its release, many critics and audiences argued that it was Disney’s crowning achievement, and Mary Poppins has been living up to that praise for decades. Obviously, Julie Andrews is the real star of this film as she played her title character as a nanny who is “kind but extremely firm.” That firm but fair attitude, combined with angelic singing and magic tricks up her sleeve, are all reasons why Julie Andrews deserved her Academy Award even though it was her film debut. The entire film is one of the most magical Disney films ever produced, and received a record-making five Academy Awards, including the only “Best Picture” nomination for a film that Walt Disney personally worked on. It is no surprise that the Academy gave this film 13 nominations given the fact that it truly is a spectacular family film.


1964 was a very interesting year in film history because the two films that acquired the most praise that year were My Fair Lady and Mary Poppins. An even more interesting fact was that Julie Andrews couldn’t play the lead in the film adaptation My Fair Lady, which meant that she was available to play Mary Poppins. Audrey Hepburn didn’t even receive a nomination for playing Eliza Doolittle at the Academy Awards, which meant that Julie Andrews was a very formidable actress. The film itself had a spectacular premiere at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater in 1964, and it was Walt Disney’s most lavish premiere since the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at the Carthay Circle Theater in 1937.

Walt Disney unfortunately passed away in 1966, but he has truly blessed the world with one of the greatest motion pictures in cinematic history. Mary Poppins also inspired the Disney Company to make Saving Mr. Banks (2013), which provides an interesting backstory to the making of Disney’s masterpiece. Emily Blunt is also set to star in Mary Poppins Returns (2018). Because of the influence of this cultural phenomenon, it is no wonder that this magical flying nanny has entertained audiences for more than half a century, and will hopefully continue to entertain audiences with its whimsically magical tale.

Mary Poppins (1964) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Bert changes professions (which includes being a street chalk drawer, a hot chestnut salesman, and a chimney sweep)

Take a Drink: every time Admiral Boom shoots cannonballs punctually every hour on the hour

Take a Drink: during every reference to the suffragette (women’s rights) movement

Take a Drink: anytime anything magical happens on screen

Drink a Shot: when any of the characters say the word, “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (and have another shot when Mary Poppins says it backwards!)

About Alex Phuong

Alex Andy Phuong earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University-Los Angeles in 2015. His love affair with cinema began after discovering Turner Classic Movies in the summer of 2004. His favorite film director is Woody Allen, and his favorite movie star is Kate Winslet.

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