BY KENDALL ERICKSON
Year Released: 1964
How It Fared Back Then: Ridiculously well! There’s a reason this is considered to be such a Disney classic. It earned $28.5 million in 1965, making it the most profitable film of the year. Little bit of trivia for you, the second was The Sound of Music, which earned $20 million. (Go Julie Andrews!) Critics adored the movie unanimously, and Time magazine said: “The sets are luxuriant, the songs lifting, the scenario witty but impeccably sentimental, and the support cast only a pinfeather short of perfection.” The film was also nominated for 13 Academy Awards that year and won 5, including Best Actress for Julie Andrews.
Why It’s Lasted: Oh, a number of reasons really–though I think the main one is the sheer Disney magic of it all. This is a movie that most of our parents grew up with, and in turn, they showed it to us-and it’s likely that this cycle will continue. When Disney has a great product, they know it–and they give it all the promotion and press that it deserves. Even now, 50 years after its release, people still remember this movie as being one of the best, and they still find themselves singing “A Spoonful of Sugar” when they have to take Buckley’s Cold & Flu medicine. (Well, at least, I do.)
- Mary saying supercalifragilisticexpialidocious backwards. I have tried more times than I would like to mention to do this and I’ve never been able to.
- All of the scenes where the animation melded with the live-action. At the time, this was cutting edge and, honestly, it still looks good.
- Dick Van Dyke and all of his crazy, musical instrument playing, chimney sweeping perfection.
- Julie Andrews being flawless. Though, then again, what else is new?
- Mary flying in with her umbrella. So iconic.
Does It Hold Up? Yes. Definitely. Even people who have never seen this movie know what it is. They may not know the general story, but it’s likely that they know that Julie Andrews played a magical nanny named Mary Poppins and that she sang and there were children involved. Disney has this trend of resurrecting old classics from the vault and re-releasing them with the birth of every new generation. It’s the same reason all of us likely have seen Snow White and Fantasia. Disney doesn’t let its classics die, and for that reason alone, I still think this movie does, and will continue to hold up.