Mary Poppins Joins Star Wars and Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky as BBFC Changes Age Rating for Discriminatory Language to Protect Children

Under the recent BBFC guidelines, Mary Poppins' cinema rating has been dropped from U to PG due to the film having discriminatory language.

Mary Poppins Joins Star Wars and Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky as BBFC Changes Age Rating for Discriminatory Language to Protect Children


  • The BBFC age restriction guideline changes affected several movies, including Mary Poppins, the Star Wars franchise movies, the Rocky film series, and many others.
  • 1964's Mary Poppins' cinema rating has been dropped from U - "no material likely to offend or harm" to PG - "discriminatory language."
  • The guideline updates have been brought keeping in mind the absolute welfare of the young generations.
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The BBFC has made headlines as it recently updated its guidelines which resulted in many movies getting demoted because of the age ratings to protect children. 1964’s Mary Poppins is one of the big names as it joins fan favorites like the Star Wars franchise and Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky films.


1964’s Mary Poppins by combining live action and animation, was a sweet film that attracted every viewer to their hearts, be it young or old. The film tells us the story of a magical nanny who appears in the Banks family to bring order and hope to the dysfunctional family. The film unquestionably was a huge success, both financially and commercially, during its time.

Mary Poppins (1964)
1964’s Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins Gets Caught Up in BBFC’s Recent Age Ratings to Protect Children

The British Board of Film Classification revealed that the age ratings of films like Mary Poppins, Star Wars, and the Rocky series will be adjusted. As reported by Variety, the 1964 film had to be notched down because of the use of discriminatory language that may be hurtful or offensive to the youth.

Star Wars
Star Wars

While the film remains a beloved classic, BBFC admits the presence of some language considered unacceptable by today’s standards. This includes references to racially insensitive terms, which could potentially cause offense or discomfort to younger audiences. A BBFC spokesperson said,

“The film includes two uses of the discriminatory term ‘hottentots’. While ‘Mary Poppins’ has a historical context, the use of discriminatory language is not condemned, and ultimately exceeds our guidelines for acceptable language at U. We therefore classified the film PG for discriminatory language.”

Similarly, according to Sky News, the Star Wars trilogy will carry a warning for moderate violence and mild threat. The movie series has certainly become famous for its space battles and lightsaber duels.

However, the BBFC strongly urges parents to inform other parents of the relevant scenes in the movie because of its potential effect on younger viewers. The Rocky franchise, reputed for its realism on the very nature of the sport of boxing, is updated as well in terms of ratings.


Rocky’s theatrical re-release has also been upgraded to a 12A and will carry a warning for moderate violence, mouthed strong language, and domestic abuse. This reflects the increasing intensity of the fight scenes throughout the franchise that are somewhat gory for children.

Protect Young Ears: BBFC Tightens Grip on Discriminatory Language

The British Board of Film Classification, responsible for age-rating media in the UK, has taken a stricter stance on discriminatory language. This move aims to shield younger audiences from potentially harmful content. The decision comes after recent research conducted by the BBFC revealed a shift in societal attitudes towards prejudice and offensive language.

Mary Poppins
Mary Poppins

While audiences may acknowledge the historical context and the product of their time’s argument for older films, the research emphasizes a clear preference for stricter categories of discriminatory language, especially in contemporary settings. This translates to a tougher stance on certain terms, particularly the n-word.


The BBFC will now, in most cases, assign a 12A rating or higher to content having this term, unless a strong educational message justifies its inclusion. Documentaries, for example, might be granted a lower rating if the context challenges and condemns racism. Their updated policies also emphasize the importance of intent and context within scenes.

Disney's Mary Poppins
Disney’s Mary Poppins

This decision stems from the worry that young individuals could imitate or be swayed by representations. The BBFC aims to find a foot, between liberty and safeguarding younger viewers from content that could pose risks by adjusting its tactics to align with changing societal norms.

Rajdeep Majumder

Written by Rajdeep Majumder

Articles Published: 675

On top of all things music and pop culture, Rajdeep has a vested interest in the world of film and television. As a dedicated writer, he stays informed about the day-to-day happenings in Hollywood as well as the world of manga. Currently, Rajdeep has accumulated more than 600 published articles on FandomWire under his byline. Looking ahead, he can envision himself leaving a mark in the highly competitive and rapidly evolving world of entertainment journalism.