Saving Mr. Banks
Saving Mr. Banks is a 2013 period comedy-drama film directed by John Lee Hancock from a screenplay written by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith. Centered on the development of the 1964 film Mary Poppins, the film stars Emma Thompson as author P. L. Travers and Tom Hanks as film producer Walt Disney, with supporting performances by Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, and Colin Farrell. Deriving its title from the father in Travers' story, Saving Mr. Banks depicts the author's fortnight-long meetings during 1961 in Los Angeles, during which Disney attempts to obtain the screen rights to her novels.
|Saving Mr. Banks|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Lee Hancock|
|Music by||Thomas Newman|
|Edited by||Mark Livolsi|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Studios|
|Box office||$117.9 million|
Essential Media Entertainment and BBC Films initially developed Saving Mr. Banks as an independent production until 2011, when producer Alison Owen approached Walt Disney Pictures for permission to use copyrighted elements. The film's subject matter piqued Disney's interest, leading the studio to acquire the screenplay and produce the film. Principal photography commenced the following year in September before wrapping in November 2012; the film was shot almost entirely in the Southern California area, primarily at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, where a majority of the film's narrative takes place.
Saving Mr. Banks premiered at the London Film Festival on October 20, 2013, and was released theatrically that same year in the United Kingdom on November 29 and in the United States on December 13. Upon release, the film received positive reviews, with praise directed towards the acting, screenplay, and musical score. Thompson's performance garnered a BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and Critic's Choice Award nominations for Best Actress, while composer Thomas Newman earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score. The film was named one of the top ten best films of 2013 by the National Board of Review and the American Film Institute, and was also commercially successful, grossing $118 million at the worldwide box office.
In 1961, the financially strapped author Pamela "P. L." Travers reluctantly travels from her home in London to Los Angeles to work with Walt Disney at the urging of her agent, Diarmuid Russell. Disney has pursued the film rights to her Mary Poppins stories for twenty years, having promised his daughters that he would produce a film based on them. Travers has steadfastly resisted Disney's efforts because she fears what he would do to her character. However, she has not written anything in a while and her book royalties have dwindled to nothing, so she risks losing her house. Still, Russell has to remind her that Disney has agreed to two major stipulations—no animation and unprecedented script approval—before she agrees to go.
Travers' difficult childhood in Allora, Queensland, Australia, is depicted through flashbacks, and is the inspiration for much of Mary Poppins. Travers idolized her loving, imaginative father, Travers Robert Goff, but his chronic alcoholism resulted in his repeated firings, strained her parents' marriage, and caused her distressed mother to attempt suicide. Goff died at an early age from tuberculosis when Travers was seven years old. Prior to his death, her mother's sister who is notably firm yet practical came to live with the family, who later served as Travers's main inspiration for the character of Mary Poppins.
In Los Angeles, Travers is irritated by what she perceives as the city's unreality and the inhabitants' intrusive friendliness, personified by her limousine driver, Ralph. At the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Travers meets the creative team that are developing Mary Poppins for the screen: screenwriter Don DaGradi, and music composers Richard and Robert Sherman. She finds their presumptions and casual manners highly improper, a view she also holds of the jocular Disney.
Travers' working relationship with Disney and his team is difficult from the outset, with her insistence that Mary Poppins is the enemy of sentiment and whimsy. Disney and his people are puzzled by Travers' disdain for fantasy, given the nature of the Mary Poppins story, as well as Travers' own rich imagination. She particularly objects to how the character George Banks, the estranged father of the children in Mary Poppins' charge, is depicted, insisting that he is neither cold nor cruel. Gradually, they grasp how deeply personal the Mary Poppins stories are to her and how many of the characters were inspired by her past.
The team realize Travers has valid criticisms and make changes, though she becomes increasingly disengaged as painful childhood memories resurface. Seeking to understand what troubles her, Disney invites Travers to Disneyland, which, along with her developing friendship with Ralph, the creative team's revisions to the George Banks character, and the addition of a new song and a different ending, help dissolve Travers' opposition. Her creativity reawakens, and she begins working with the team; however, when Travers discovers that there is to be an animation sequence, she confronts Disney over his broken promise and returns home.
Disney learns that Travers is actually her pen name, taken from her father's given name. Her real name is Helen Goff, and she's actually Australian, not English. This gives Disney new insight into Travers, and he follows her to London. Arriving unexpectedly at her door, Disney tells her that he also had a less-than-ideal childhood, but stresses the healing value of his art. He urges Travers not to let deeply-rooted past disappointments dictate the present. That night, after Disney has left, Travers relents and grants him the film rights.
Three years later, in 1964, Mary Poppins is to have its world premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Disney has not invited Travers, fearing how she might react with the press watching. Prompted by Russell, Travers shows up unannounced at Disney's office; he reluctantly issues her an invitation. Initially, she watches Mary Poppins with a lack of enthusiasm, particularly during the animated sequences. She gradually warms to the rest of the film, however, becoming deeply moved by the depiction of George Banks' personal crisis and redemption.
- Emma Thompson as Pamela "P. L." Travers, birth name Helen Goff.
- Annie Rose Buckley as seven-year-old Helen, also referred to as "Ginty"
- Tom Hanks as Walt Disney
- Colin Farrell as Travers Robert Goff, Helen's father
- Ruth Wilson as Margaret Goff, Helen's mother
- Paul Giamatti as Ralph, Travers' chauffeur
- Bradley Whitford as Don DaGradi, co-writer of the screenplay for Mary Poppins
- Jason Schwartzman as Richard M. Sherman, composer and lyricist
- B. J. Novak as Robert B. Sherman, composer and lyricist who co-wrote the film's songs with his brother Richard
- Kathy Baker as Tommie, Disney's executive assistant
- Melanie Paxson as Dolly, Disney's secretary
- Rachel Griffiths as Ellie, Helen's hard-hearted maternal aunt, who serves as the model for Mary Poppins
- Ronan Vibert as Diarmuid Russell, Travers' publisher.
- Kristopher Kyer as Dick Van Dyke
- Victoria Summer as Julie Andrews
In 2002, Australian producer Ian Collie produced a documentary film on P. L. Travers titled The Shadow of "Mary Poppins". During the documentary's production, Collie noticed that there was "an obvious biopic there" and convinced Essential Media and Entertainment to develop a feature film with Sue Smith writing the screenplay. The project attracted the attention of BBC Films, which decided to finance the project, and Ruby Films' Alison Owen, who subsequently hired Kelly Marcel to co-write the screenplay with Smith. Marcel's drafts removed a subplot involving Travers and her son, and divided the story into a two-part narrative: the creative conflict between Travers and Walt Disney, and her dealings with her childhood issues, describing it as "a story about the pain of a little girl who suffered, and the grown woman who allowed herself to let go". Marcel's version, however, featured certain intellectual property rights of music and imagery which would be impossible to use without permission from The Walt Disney Company. "There was always that elephant in the room, which is Disney," Collie recalled. "We knew Walt Disney was a key character in the film and we wanted to use quite a bit of the music. We knew we'd eventually have to show Disney." In early 2010, Robert B. Sherman provided Owen with an advance copy of a salient chapter from his then upcoming book release, Moose: Chapters From My Life. The chapter entitled, "'Tween Pavement and Stars" contained characterizations and anecdotes which proved seminal to Marcel's script rewrite, in particular, the anecdote about there not being the color red in London. In July 2011, while attending the Ischia Film Festival, Owen met with Corky Hale, who offered to present the screenplay to Richard M. Sherman. Sherman read the screenplay and gave the producers his support. Later that year, Marcel and Smith's screenplay was listed in Franklin Leonard's The Black List, voted by producers as one of the best screenplays that were not in production.
In November 2011, Walt Disney Pictures' president of production, Sean Bailey, was informed by executive Tendo Nagenda of Marcel's existing script. Realizing that the screenplay included a depiction of the studio's namesake, Bailey conferred with Disney CEO Bob Iger and Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn, the latter of whom referred to the film as a "brand deposit," a term adopted from Steve Jobs. Together, the executives discussed the studio's potential choices; purchase the script and shut the project down, put the film in turnaround, or co-produce the film themselves. With executive approval, the studio acquired the screenplay in February 2012 and joined the production with Owen, Collie and Philip Steuer as producers, and Christine Langan, Troy Lum, Andrew Mason, and Paul Trijbits serving as executive producers. John Lee Hancock was hired to direct the film later that same month.
Iger subsequently contacted Tom Hanks to consider playing the role of Walt Disney, which would become the first-ever depiction of Disney in a mainstream film. Hanks accepted the role, viewing it as "an opportunity to play somebody as world-shifting as Picasso or Chaplin". Hanks made several visits to the Walt Disney Family Museum and interviewed some of Disney's former employees and family relatives, including his daughter Diane Disney Miller. The film was subsequently dedicated to Disney Miller, who died shortly before it was released. In April 2012, Emma Thompson entered final negotiations to star as P. L. Travers, after the studio was unable to secure Meryl Streep for the part. Thompson said that the role was the most difficult one that she has played, describing Travers as "a woman of quite eye-watering complexity and contradiction." "She wrote a very good essay on sadness, because she was, in fact, a very sad woman. She'd had a very rough childhood, the alcoholism of her father being part of it and the attempted suicide of her mother being another part of it. I think that she spent her whole life in a state of fundamental inconsolability and hence got a lot done." Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, B. J. Novak, and Ruth Wilson were cast in July 2012.
—John Lee Hancock on his initial thoughts of Disney's involvement
With Disney's backing, the production team was given access to 36 hours of Travers' audio recordings of herself, the Shermans, and co-writer Don DaGradi that were produced during the development of Mary Poppins, in addition to letters written between Disney and Travers from the 1940s through the 1960s. Richard M. Sherman also worked on the film as a music supervisor and shared his side of his experiences working with Travers on Mary Poppins. Initially, Hancock had reservations about Disney's involvement with the film, believing that the studio would edit the screenplay in their co-founder's favor. However, Marcel admitted that the studio "specifically didn't want to come in and sanitize it or change Walt in any way." Hancock elaborated, "I was still worried that they might want to chip away at Walt a little bit ... I thought the portrayal of Walt was fair and human so I came in and they said, 'No, we like it.' But still, every step of the way, I had my fist balled up behind my back ready to fight in case it happened, but it didn't." Although the filmmakers did not receive any creative interference from Disney regarding Walt Disney's depiction, the studio did request that they omit any onscreen inhalation of cigarettes (a decision that Hanks himself disagreed with) due to the company's policy of not directly depicting smoking in films released under the Walt Disney Pictures banner, and to avoid receiving an R-rating from the Motion Picture Association of America. Instead, Disney is shown extinguishing a lit cigarette in one scene, stating that nobody can see him smoking due to the effect it would have on his image. Additionally, his notorious smoker's cough is heard off-screen several times throughout the film.
Principal photography began in September 2012 in Los Angeles. Although some scenes were originally planned to be shot in Queensland, Australia, all filming, except for two establishing shots in London, took place in the Southern California area, including the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, Disneyland Park in Anaheim, Big Sky Ranch in Simi Valley, the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia, Heritage Square Museum in Montecito Heights, Ontario International Airport in San Bernardino, Courthouse Square at Universal Studios, and the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. The largest set built for the film was the interior of the Walt Disney Studios' Animation Building, which production designer Michael Corenblith referred to as "a character in the story". The exterior of the Beverly Hills Hotel and Disney's personal office were also recreated, with the Langham Huntington in Pasadena acting as an interior double for the Beverly Hills Hotel. To ensure authenticity, Corenblith used photographs and a furniture display from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library as references for Disney's office; the set was also adorned with Disney's personal Academy Awards loaned from a Walt Disney World Resort exhibit. For the Disneyland sequences, scenes were shot during the early morning with certain areas cordoned off during the park's operation, including the park's entrance courtyard, Main Street U.S.A., Sleeping Beauty Castle, Fantasyland, and the King Arthur Carrousel attraction. Extra roles were filled by Disneyland Resort cast members. In order for the park to be portrayed accurately in the story's time period, Corenblith had the Main Street storefronts redressed to reflect their 1961 appearance; post-1961 attractions were kept obstructed so they would not show up on camera. To recreate the original film's premiere at the Chinese Theatre, set designers closed Hollywood Boulevard and recreated the street and theater to resemble their 1964 appearances. After scheduled filming in Australia had been scrapped, cinematographer John Schwartzman compared the landscape of Queensland with that of rural Southern California, and realized that both had similar traits in natural lighting.
—Tom Hanks in regards to portraying Disney.
Emma Thompson prepared for her role by studying Travers' own recordings conducted during the development of Mary Poppins, and also styled her natural hair after Travers', due to the actress's disdain for wigs. To accurately convey Walt Disney's midwestern dialect, Tom Hanks listened to archival recordings of Disney and practiced the voice while reading newspapers. Hanks also grew his own mustache for the role, which underwent heavy scrutiny, with the filmmakers going so far as to match the dimensions of Hanks' mustache to that of Disney's. Jason Schwartzman and B. J. Novak worked closely with Richard M. Sherman during pre-production and filming. Sherman described the actors as "perfect talents" for their roles as himself and his brother, Robert. Costume designer Daniel Orlandi had Thompson wear authentic jewelry borrowed from the Walt Disney Family Museum, and ensured that Hanks' wardrobe included the Smoke Tree Ranch emblem from the Palm Springs property embroidered on his neckties, which Disney always wore. The design department also had to recreate several of the costumed Disney characters as they appeared in the 1960s. Filming lasted nine weeks and was completed on November 22, 2012. Walt Disney Animation Studios reproduced an animation of Tinker Bell for the scene that recreates an opening segment from an episode of Walt Disney Presents.
Thomas Newman composed the film's original score. In regards to incorporating his own musical style to the film's period setting, Newman stated that "there was room for a real tune-based score here that could reflect the basic joy in that kind of writing that the Sherman Brothers brought to Mary Poppins. Newman, however, refrained from creating an "adaptation score" of the Shermans' music from the original film. Newman's process of scoring the film included playing themes to filmed scenes, so that he could "listen to what the music does to an image", and not wanting to "clutter the proceedings with music." The flashback sequences to Travers' childhood provided the most work for Newman. He explains that, "You had to turn on a dime to make the transition back to the 'present,' when Travers and the Sherman brothers are working on the script for Mary Poppins. And that was fun, but also musically challenging." For the score's instrumentation, Newman primarily employed a string orchestra with some woodwinds and brass, as well as including piano and hammered instruments that were "appropriate to the time period", such as dulcimers. The film's score was recorded at the Newman Scoring Stage in Los Angeles, while the cast recorded several of the Shermans' songs at Capitol Studios for use as playback during the film's diegetic music scenes, including "Chim Chim Cher-ee", "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious", "A Spoonful of Sugar", "Fidelity Fiduciary Bank", "Feed the Birds", and "Let's Go Fly a Kite". Walt Disney Records released two editions of the soundtrack on December 10, 2013: a single-disc and a two-disc digipak deluxe edition, containing original demo recordings by the Shermans and selected songs from Mary Poppins.
Saving Mr. Banks depicts several events that differ from recorded accounts. The premise of the script, that Walt Disney had to convince P.L. Travers to hand over the film rights, including the scene when he finally persuades her, is fictionalized. Disney had already secured the film rights (subject to Travers' approval of the script) when she arrived to consult with the Disney staff. In fact, Disney left Burbank to vacation in Palm Springs a few days into Travers' visit and was not present at the studio when several of the film's scenes depicting him to be present actually took place. As such, many of the dialogue scenes between Travers and Disney are adapted from letters, telegrams, and telephone correspondence between the two. Although Travers was assigned a limousine driver, the character of Ralph is fictionalized and intended to be an amalgamation of the studio's drivers. In real life, Disney story editor Bill Dover was assigned as Travers' guide and companion during her time in Los Angeles.
The film also depicts Travers coming to amicable terms with Disney, implying her approval of his changes to the story. In reality, she never approved of softening the harsher aspects of Mary Poppins' character, remained ambivalent about the music, and never came around to the use of animation. Disney overruled her objections to portions of the final film, citing contract stipulations that he had final cut privilege. Travers had initially not been invited to the film's premiere, until she embarrassed a Disney executive into extending her an invitation; this is depicted in the film as coaxing Disney himself. After the premiere, she reportedly approached Disney and told him that the animated sequences had to be removed. Disney dismissed her request, saying, "Pamela, the ship has sailed."
Although the film portrays Travers as being emotionally moved during the premiere of Mary Poppins, overlaid with images of her childhood, which is implied to be attributed to her feelings about her father, co-screenwriter Kelly Marcel and several critics note that in real life, Travers' show of emotion was actually a result of anger and frustration over the final product. Reportedly, Travers felt that in the end, the film betrayed the artistic integrity of her work and story's characters. Resentful over what she considered poor treatment at the hands of Walt Disney, Travers vowed to never permit Disney to adapt her other novels for any purpose. Travers' last will bans all American adaptation of her works to any form of media. According to the Chicago Tribune, Disney was "indulging in a little revisionist history with an upbeat spin", adding, "the truth was always complicated" and that Travers subsequently viewed the film multiple times.
English writer Brian Sibley found Travers still gun-shy from her experiences with Disney when he was hired in the 1980s to write a possible Mary Poppins sequel. Sibley reported that Travers told him, "I could only agree if I could do it on my own terms. I'd have to work with someone I trust." Regardless, while watching the original film together, the first time Travers had seen it since the premiere, she became excited at times and thought certain aspects were excellent, while others were unappealing. The sequel never went to production, and when approached to do a stage adaptation in the 1990s, she only acquiesced on the condition that English-born writers and no one from the film production were to be directly involved with the musical's development.
The film also depicts Travers' Aunt Ellie (her mother's sister), who comes to help the family when her father becomes terminally ill, as Travers' model for Mary Poppins, with the actress even using several of Poppins' catchphrases from the film. In fact, Travers identified her great aunt Helen Morehead (her mother's aunt), as the model for Poppins.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures released a trailer for the film on July 10, 2013. Saving Mr. Banks held its world premiere at the London Film Festival on October 20, 2013. On November 7, 2013, Walt Disney Pictures held the film's U.S. premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre during the opening night of the 2013 AFI Film Festival, the same location where Mary Poppins premiered. The original film was also screened for its 50th anniversary.
Saving Mr. Banks also served as the Gala Presentation at the 2013 Napa Valley Film Festival on November 13, and was screened at the AARP Film Festival in Los Angeles on November 17, as Disney heavily campaigned Saving Mr. Banks for Academy Awards consideration. On December 9, 2013, the film was given an exclusive corporate premiere in the Main Theater of the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank. The film was released theatrically in the United States on December 13, 2013, and in general theatrical release on December 20.
Saving Mr. Banks grossed $83.3 million in North America and $34.6 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of $117.9 million, against a budget of $35 million. The film grossed $9.3 million in its opening weekend in the United States, finishing 5th at the box office behind The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ($31.5 million), Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues ($26.2 million), Frozen ($19.6 million), and American Hustle ($19.1 million).
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released Saving Mr. Banks on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital download on March 18, 2014. The film debuted at No. 2 in Blu-ray and DVD sales in the United States according to Nielsen's sales chart. The home media release included three deleted scenes that were cut from the film.
Saving Mr. Banks received positive reviews from film critics, with major praise directed to the acting; particularly Thompson, Hanks, and Farrell's performances. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 78% based on 241 reviews (189 fresh, 52 rotten), with an average rating of 7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Aggressively likable and sentimental to a fault, Saving Mr. Banks pays tribute to the Disney legacy with excellent performances and sweet, high-spirited charm." Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 65 out of 100, based on 46 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Leslie Felprin of The Hollywood Reporter praised the film as an "affecting if somewhat soft-soaped comedy drama, elevated by excellent performances." The Reporter wrote that "Emma Thompson takes charge of the central role of P. L. Travers with an authority that makes you wonder how anybody else could ever have been considered." Scott Foundas of Variety wrote that the film "has all the makings of an irresistible backstage tale, and it's been brought to the screen with a surplus of old-fashioned Disney showmanship ...", and that Tom Hanks's portrayal captured Walt Disney's "folksy charisma and canny powers of persuasion — at once father, confessor and the shrewdest of businessmen." Overall, he praised the film as "very rich in its sense of creative people and their spirit of self-reinvention."
The Washington Post's Ann Hornaday rated the film three out of four stars, writing: "Saving Mr. Banks doesn't always straddle its stories and time periods with the utmost grace. But the film — which John Lee Hancock directed from a script by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith — more than makes up for its occasionally unwieldy structure in telling a fascinating and ultimately deeply affecting story, along the way giving viewers tantalizing glimpses of the beloved 1964 movie musical, in both its creation and final form." The New York Times' A. O. Scott gave a positive review, declaring the film as "an embellished, tidied-up but nonetheless reasonably authentic glimpse of the Disney entertainment machine at work."
Mark Kermode writing for The Observer awarded the film four out of five stars, lauding Thompson's performance as "impeccable", elaborating that "Thompson dances her way through Travers' conflicting emotions, giving us a fully rounded portrait of a person who is hard to like but impossible not to love." Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune felt similarly, writing: "Thompson's the show. Each withering put-down, every jaundiced utterance, lands with a little ping." In regard to the screenplay, he wrote that "screenwriters Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith treat everyone gently and with the utmost respect." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone also gave the film three out of four stars and equally commended the performances of the cast.
Alonso Duralde of TheWrap described the film as a "whimsical, moving and occasionally insightful tale ... director John Lee Hancock luxuriates in the period detail of early-'60s Disney-ana". Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B+" grade, explaining that "the trick here is how perfectly Thompson and Hanks portray the gradual thaw in their characters' frosty alliance, empathizing with each other's equally miserable upbringings in a beautiful three-hankie scene late in the film." Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the film "does not strictly hew to the historical record where the eventual resolution of this conflict is concerned," but admitted that it "is easy to accept this fictionalizing as part of the price to be paid for Thompson's engaging performance."
David Gritten of The Daily Telegraph described the confrontational interaction between Thompson and Hanks as "terrific", singling out Thompson's "bravura performance", and calling the film itself "smart, witty entertainment". Kate Muir of The Times spoke highly of Thompson and Hanks's performances. Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal, however, considered Colin Farrell to be the film's "standout performance". IndieWire's Ashley Clark wrote that the film "is witty, well-crafted and well-performed mainstream entertainment which, perhaps unavoidably, cleaves to a well-worn Disney template stating that all problems—however psychologically deep-rooted—can be overcome." Another staff writer labeled Thompson's performance as her best since Sense and Sensibility, and stated that "she makes the Australian-born British transplant a curmudgeonly delight." Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian enjoyed Hanks' role as Disney, suggesting that, despite its brevity, the film would have been largely "bland" without it.
The film did receive some criticism. Geoffrey Macnab of The Independent gave the film a mixed review, writing: "On the one hand, Saving Mr. Banks (which was developed by BBC Films and has a British producer) is a probing, insightful character study with a very dark undertow. On the other, it is a cheery, upbeat marketing exercise in which the Disney organization is re-promoting one of its most popular film characters." Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle concluded that if the film ""were 100 percent false and yet felt true, that would be fine. But this has the self-conscious whiff, if not of mendacity, then of public relations." Lou Lumenick of the New York Post criticized the accuracy of the film's events, concluding that "Saving Mr. Banks is ultimately much less about magic than making the sale, in more ways than one." American history lecturer John Wills praised the film's attention to detail, such as the inclusion of Travers' original recordings, but doubted that the interpersonal relations between Travers and Disney were as amicable as portrayed in the film. Landon Palmer of Film School Rejects also described several moments where the film had a "shrewd consumption of [the company's] own criticisms", only to later negate them and Disney-fy Travers as a character.
Saving Mr. Banks was nominated for several awards and earned accolades from various organizations, critics' groups and circles, particularly in recognition of Emma Thompson. The film received five nominations at the 67th British Academy Film Awards, including Best British Film, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer, Best Film Music, and Best Costume Design.
The film received a Best Original Score nomination at the 86th Academy Awards, where, despite not earning a nomination, the film was widely considered by pundits to be a front-runner for Best Picture and Best Actress. The film also received single nominations at the 71st Golden Globe Awards and 20th Screen Actors Guild Awards, where Thompson was nominated for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama and Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role, respectively. Additionally, Thompson won both the Empire Award for Best Actress and the National Board of Review Award for Best Actress for her performance, while the film itself was selected by the National Board of Review as one of the year's top 10 films. Saving Mr. Banks was named by the American Film Institute as one of the top ten films of 2013.
- "SAVING MR. BANKS (PG)". Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. British Board of Film Classification. September 18, 2013. Retrieved September 30, 2013.
- Barnes, Brooks (October 16, 2013). "Forget the Spoonful of Sugar: It's Uncle Walt, Uncensored". The New York Times. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
- "Saving Mr. Banks (2013)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
- "BBC Films unveils upcoming slate at Cannes". BBC. BBC Films. Retrieved July 16, 2012.
- Fleming, Mike (February 8, 2012). "Disney Acquiring Black List Script 'Saving Mr. Banks,' On Making 'Mary Poppins'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
- Cunningham, Todd (December 19, 2013). "'American Hustle' and 'Saving Mr. Banks' Face Mainstream Box-Office Exams This Weekend". TheWrap. Retrieved December 20, 2013.
- Gettell, Oliver (December 18, 2013). "'Saving Mr. Banks' director: 'Such an advantage' shooting in L.A." Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
- "Saving Mr. Banks (2013)". The New York Times. Retrieved August 27, 2015.
- Shaw, Lucas (December 17, 2013). "How 'Saving Mr. Banks' Overcame Disney's Resistance to a Movie About Disney". TheWrap. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
- Pond, Steve (December 17, 2013). "Director John Lee Hancock on 'Saving Mr. Banks': We Went for the Truth, Not the Facts". TheWrap. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
- Marcel, Kelly (December 23, 2013). "'Saving Mr. Banks' screenwriter finds purpose in the tale". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 14, 2015.
- Sciretta, Peter (December 13, 2013). "Interview: Kelly Marcel On Writing 'Saving Mr. Banks'". /Film. Retrieved July 14, 2015.
- Sherman, Robert B. "Tween Pavement and Stars" ("No Red In London") in Moose: Chapters From My Life, AuthorHouse Publishing, Bloomington, IN, p. 372-375.
- Kilday, Gregg (December 16, 2013). "Bringing Walt Disney (and Mary Poppins) Back to Life: The Making of 'Saving Mr. Banks'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
- Child, Ben (April 11, 2012). "Tom Hanks to play Walt Disney in Saving Mr Banks". The Guardian. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
- Kit, Borys (October 16, 2014). "'Cinderella' and 'Saving Mr. Banks' Executive Tendo Nagenda Promoted at Disney". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 7, 2016.
- Lewis, Hilary (October 28, 2013). "AARP Film Festival to Include 'August: Osage County,' 'Saving Mr. Banks' and 'Labor Day'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
- Hammond, Pete (April 17, 2013). "CinemaCon: Disney's Vegas Act Includes Johnny Depp And 'Lone Ranger' Footage". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
- Chmielewski, Dawn C. (October 6, 2011). "Steve Jobs brought his magic to Disney". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
- Fleming, Mike (February 27, 2012). "John Lee Hancock In Talks For Making Of Mary Poppins Pic 'Saving Mr. Banks'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
- Palmer, Martyn (September 28, 2013). "'I still get to make fantastic films — and that's perplexing to me': Tom Hanks on guns, God ... and hanging out with The Beatles". Daily Mail UK. London. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- Riefe, Jordan (October 18, 2012). "Tom Hanks on Becoming Walt Disney for 'Saving Mr. Banks'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 25, 2012.
- Kaufman, Amy (November 8, 2013). "AFI Fest 2013: Tom Hanks back in spotlight for 'Saving Mr. Banks'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
- Jay Weston (December 9, 2013). "Tom Hanks IS Walt Disney in "Saving Mr. Banks"!". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
- Fleming, Mike (April 9, 2012). "Tom Hanks Now Getting Serious For 'Saving Mr. Banks'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
- Rothman, Lily (July 10, 2013). "Exclusive First Look: Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson in Saving Mr. Banks". Time. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- Lewis, Hilary (November 16, 2013). "'Saving Mr. Banks' Star Emma Thompson Shares P. L. Travers Insights, Favorite Films". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
- Kit, Borys (June 15, 2012). "Colin Farrell in Talks for 'Saving Mr. Banks'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 16, 2012.
- Graser, Marc (July 25, 2012). "Trio loan talents to 'Saving Mr. Banks'". Variety. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
- Sneider, Jeff (July 12, 2015). "Bradley Whitford in talks for 'Mr. Banks'". Variety. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
- Kit, Borys (July 31, 2012). "B.J. Novak Joins Disney's 'Saving Mr. Banks' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
- Goldsmith, Jeff (December 24, 2013). "Saving Mr. Banks Q&A" (Podcast). Unlikely Films, Inc. Retrieved May 1, 2014.
- Barker, Andrew (December 20, 2013). "Variety Creative Impact Award in Directing: John Lee Hancock". Variety. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
- Khatchatourian, Maane (December 10, 2013). "Tom Hanks: P.L. Travers Would Hate 'Saving Mr. Banks'". Variety. Retrieved August 24, 2015.
- Buerger, Megan (December 12, 2013). "Why 'Saving Mr. Banks' Didn't Save Walt Disney From Smoking". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
- McClintock, Pamela (November 16, 2013). "Disney's Smoking Ban Means No Puffing for Walt Disney in 'Saving Mr. Banks'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
- Sacks, Ethan (December 8, 2013). "Tom Hanks goes toe-to-toe with Emma Thompson in 'Saving Mr. Banks'". New York Daily News. Retrieved December 9, 2013.
- "Saving Mr. Banks: Press Kit" (PDF). The Walt Disney Studios. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- "Production Begins on Saving Mr. Banks". Collider. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
- "Saving Mr. Banks: Production Fun Facts" (PDF). The Walt Disney Studios. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- Gray, Tim (December 9, 2013). "Directors on Their Teams: John Lee Hancock on 'Saving Mr. Banks'". Variety. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
- Verrier, Richard (December 18, 2013). "For 'Mr. Banks,' Simi Valley works as Australian outback". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
- Tully, Sarah (November 7, 2012). "Tom Hanks as Walt Disney closes parts of Disneyland". Orange County Register. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
- Tully, Sarah (October 24, 2012). "Tom Hanks' movie to film at Disneyland". Orange County Register. Retrieved October 25, 2012.
- Rich, Katey (December 11, 2013). "Exclusive Video: How The Saving Mr. Banks Team Re-Created 1960s Disneyland". Vanity Fair. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- Rochlin, Margy (January 3, 2014). "Not Quite All Spoonfuls of Sugar". The New York Times. Retrieved August 24, 2015.
- Setoodeh, Ramin (November 19, 2013). "How 'Saving Mr. Banks' Saved Emma Thompson". Variety. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
- Mandell, Andrea (November 8, 2013). "Tom Hanks read newspapers in Walt Disney's voice". USA Today. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
- Keegan, Rebecca (January 2, 2014). "Leaps of faith and appetites for work attract Tom Hanks". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- King, Susan (November 1, 2013). "Sherman brothers of 'Saving Mr. Banks' get in tune with a real one". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 2, 2013.
- Kinosian, Janet (December 5, 2013). "'Saving Mr. Banks' costume designer Daniel Orlandi digs deep". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
- Ross, L.A. (December 20, 2013). "TheWrap Screening Series: Recreating Disney's World for 'Saving Mr. Banks'". TheWrap. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
- Miller, Julie (December 19, 2013). "From Sketch to Still: Recreating Vintage Disney for Saving Mr. Banks". Vanity Fair. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
- Lussier, Germaine. "Marvel and Disney Release Info: 'Ant-Man' Gets Official Release Date, 'Iron Man 3' and 'Thor: The Dark World' Will Be 3D". /Film. Retrieved October 15, 2012.
- "Thomas Newman Scoring 'Saving Mr. Banks'". Film Music Reporter. April 25, 2013. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
- Schweiger, Daniel (December 3, 2013). "Interview with Thomas Newman". Film Music Magazine. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- Fahy, Patrick (December 5, 2013). "Thomas Newman: a composer's life in Hollywood". British Film Institute. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- Kilday, Gregg (February 28, 2014). "Oscars: John Williams, Jill Scott Spotlight Song and Score Nominees at Academy's First-Ever Concert". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
- Fusilli, Jim (February 25, 2014). "Will His 12th Oscar Nomination Be Thomas Newman's Charm?". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- "Oscars: From 'Philomena' To 'Saving Mr. Banks', Composers Show Creativity And Agility With This Year's Scores". Deadline Hollywood. January 5, 2014. Retrieved August 24, 2015.
- "Walt Disney Records Presents Saving Mr. Banks Original Motion Picture Score Soundtrack And Saving Mr. Banks 2-Disc Deluxe Edition Soundtrack Features Previously Unreleased Song Demos By The Sherman Brothers Both Available On December 10" (Press release). Walt Disney Records. November 26, 2013. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
- Zeitchik, Steven (January 3, 2014). "Does 'Saving Mr. Banks' contain a hidden agenda?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- Sabina Ibarra (December 12, 2013). "Interview: 'Saving Mr. Banks' Screenwriter Kelly Marcel". Screen Crave.com. Archived from the original on February 8, 2014. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
- Kubersky, Seth (January 7, 2014). "Fact-checking Saving Mr. Banks with Disney historian Jim Korkis". Orlando Weekly. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- Corliss, Richard (December 12, 2013). "Saving Mr. Banks: When Movies Lie and Make You Cry". Time. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- Keegan, Rebecca (December 28, 2013). "Is 'Saving Mr. Banks' too hard on 'Mary Poppins' creator?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- Mandell, Andrea (December 10, 2013). "Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson duel in 'Saving Mr. Banks'". USA Today. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
- Newman, Melinda (November 7, 2013). "'Poppins' Author a Pill No Spoonful of Sugar Could Sweeten". Variety. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
- Lyons, Margaret (December 26, 2013). "Saving Mr. Banks Left Out an Awful Lot About P.L. Travers". New York. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- Caitlin Flanagan (December 19, 2005). "Becoming Mary Poppins". The New Yorker. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
- Landon Palmer (December 24, 2013). "Landon Palmer Saving Mr. Disney: The Conflicting Arts of Adaptation and Brand Management". Film School Rejects. Archived from the original on March 10, 2014. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
- Nance, Kevin (December 20, 2013). "Valerie Lawson talks 'Mary Poppins, She Wrote' and P.L Travers". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 21, 2014.
- Jones, Chris (December 20, 2013). "With 'Mary Poppins,' there's more to know under the umbrella". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
In fact, Travers went to see "Mary Poppins" plenty of times after that premiere, so maybe there is some truth to the screenplay. The only person who could verify that died in 1996
- Vincent Dowd (October 20, 2013). "Mary Poppins: Brian Sibley's sequel that never was". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved April 27, 2014.
- Gettell, Oliver (December 19, 2013). "'Saving Mr. Banks' cast on Walt Disney and P.L. Travers' clashes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- Shae McDonald (December 18, 2013). "PL Travers biographer Valerie Lawson says the real Mary Poppins lived in Woollahra". Wentworth Courier. The Daily Telegraph. Event occurs at 12:30PM.
- Kevin Nance (December 20, 2013). "'Mary Poppins, She Wrote' author discusses P.L Travers, 'Saving Mr. Banks'". Chicago Tribune. p. 2. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
- Abramovitch, Seth (July 11, 2013). "'Saving Mr. Banks' Trailer: Tom Hanks as Walt Disney in 'Mary Poppins' Biopic". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
- Kemp, Stuart (October 20, 2013). "Tom Hanks Starrer 'Saving Mr. Banks' Closes BFI London Film Festival". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 22, 2013.
- Barraclough, Leo (August 8, 2013). "'Saving Mr. Banks' to Close London Film Fest". Variety. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
- Szalai, Georg (August 8, 2013). "Disney's 'Saving Mr. Banks' to Close BFI London Film Festival". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
- Hammond, Pete (September 4, 2013). "AFI Fest Selects Disney's 'Saving Mr Banks', Bennett Miller's 'Foxcatcher' For Opening Slots". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
- Kilday, Gregg (September 4, 2013). "Tom Hanks' 'Saving Mr. Banks' to Open AFI Fest". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
- Borys Kit; Scott Feinberg (November 9, 2013). "'Saving Mr. Banks' Adds to Momentum at Sing-Along with 'Mary Poppins' Legend". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
- Pond, Steve (October 22, 2013). "AFI Fest Adds Oscar Foreign Contenders, Eli Roth, 'Mary Poppins'". TheWrap. Retrieved October 22, 2013.
- McClintock, Pamela (September 19, 2013). "'August: Osage County', 'Saving Mr. Banks' Heading to Napa Valley Film Festival". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
- Hammond, Pete (December 10, 2013). "Julie Andrews And Dick Van Dyke Light Up 'Saving Mr. Banks' Premiere As Disney Goes All Interactive With 'Mary Poppins' (Exclusive)". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
- Schillaci, Sophie; Pamela McClintock (June 13, 2013). "Disney Dates Musical 'Into the Woods' Opposite 'Annie' in December 2014". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
- "Weekend Box Office: December 20-22, 2013". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
- Murray, Noel (March 15, 2014). "New releases: Disney's Oscar-winning heartwarmer 'Frozen'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
- Arnold, Thomas K. (March 26, 2014). "'Frozen' Easily Tops Home Video Sales Charts". Variety. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
- Labrecque, Jeff (June 13, 2013). "'Saving Mr. Banks': See the deleted scene that explains everything". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- "Saving Mr. Banks (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
- "Saving Mr. Banks Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 21, 2013.
- Felperin, Leslie (October 20, 2013). "Saving Mr. Banks: London Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
- Foundas, Scott (October 20, 2013). "Film Review: 'Saving Mr. Banks'". Variety. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
- Hornaday,, Ann (December 12, 2013). "'Saving Mr. Banks' review: The affecting story of how 'Mary Poppins' reached the screen". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
- Scott, A.O. (December 12, 2013). "An Unbeliever in Disney World". The New York Times. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
- Kermode, Mark (November 30, 2013). "Saving Mr Banks – review". The Observer. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
- Phillips, Michael (December 12, 2013). "Review: 'Saving Mr. Banks'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
- Travers, Peter (December 12, 2013). "Saving Mr. Banks: Review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
- Duralde, Alonso (November 6, 2013). "'Saving Mr. Banks' Review: Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks Are Spit-Spot-On in This Hollywood Valentine". TheWrap. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
- Nashawaty, Chris (December 11, 2013). "Movie Review: Saving Mr. Banks". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
- Turan, Kenneth (December 12, 2013). "Review: Emma Thompson is a ripsnorter in 'Saving Mr. Banks'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 15, 2013.
- Gritten, David (October 20, 2013). "Saving Mr Banks, first review". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
- Muir, Kate (October 21, 2013). "Saving Mr Banks, London Film Festival". The Times. London. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
- Morgenstern, Joe (December 12, 2013). "Review: Saving Mr. Banks". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
- Clark, Ashley (October 20, 2013). "Review: 'Saving Mr. Banks,' With Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, Puts an Enjoyable Spin On the 'Mary Poppins' Saga Without Romanticizing Disney". Indie Wire. Retrieved October 22, 2013.
- Mueller, Matt (November 8, 2013). "Review: Thompson Triumphs in 'Saving Mr. Banks,' which Adds Spoonful of Sugar to Backstage 'Mary Poppins' Tale (TRAILER)". Thompson on Hollywood. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
- Bradshaw, Peter (October 20, 2013). "Saving Mr Banks: London film festival – first look review". The Guardian. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
- Macnab, Geoffrey (November 28, 2013). "Saving Mr Banks: Film review — a sugar coated, disingenuous marketing exercise for Disney". The Independent. London. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
- LaSalle, Mick (December 12, 2013). "'Saving Mr. Banks' review: Some will love it". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- Lumenick, Lou (December 10, 2013). "'Saving Mr. Banks' more like 'Selling Mary Poppins'". New York Post. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
- "Historian at the Movies: Saving Mr. Banks reviewed". History Extra Magazine. Immediate Media Company. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
- Barraclough, Leo (January 7, 2014). "Battle for BAFTAs: 'Gravity,' '12 Years,' 'Hustle,' 'Phillips' in Kudos Fight". Variety. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
- Feinberg, Scott (November 8, 2013). "AFI Fest: 'Saving Mr. Banks' Aims to Become Third Consecutive Movie About Hollywood to Win Top Oscar". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
- Hammond, Pete (November 8, 2013). "AFI Fest: A "Practically Perfect" U.S. Premiere For Disney's 'Saving Mr. Banks' Steps Up Oscar Talk". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
- Tim, Gray (November 8, 2013). "Cheers, Tears and Awards Buzz for the 3-Hankie 'Banks'". Variety. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
- Whipp, Glenn (December 5, 2013). "'Saving Mr. Banks' and 'Nebraska' are safe bets for Oscar nods". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
- Duboff, Josh (January 16, 2014). "2014 Oscar Nominations: Who Was Snubbed?". Vanity Fair. Retrieved August 7, 2016.
- "Golden Globe Awards Nominations: '12 Years A Slave' & 'American Hustle' Lead Pack". Deadline Hollywood. December 12, 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- "Nominations Announced for the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards®". December 11, 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
- "Jameson Empire Awards 2014: The Winners". Empire. March 31, 2014. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
- Lewis, Hilary (December 4, 2013). "'Her' Named Best Film by National Board of Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- Hammond, Pete (December 9, 2013). "AFI Awards 2013: Top 10 Films List Is Good News For Major Studios". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 21, 2015.