George Banks is the anti- antagonist in Mary Poppins. In the film, he is portrayed by David Tomlinson.
George Banks is a junior officer in one of London's banks. According to dialogue, he has worked there for many years. It is also mentioned that his father had worked at the same banks. George believes that his family should be run like a bank, making the family efficient, but also making him a distant husband and father. He is a practical man, and initially believes that his children should be prepared for adult life, rather than allowed to have fun. However, after the events of the film, he changes and becomes a much more caring and devoted family man.
According to the Special Edition Soundtrack Bonus Disc, it was orginially intended that the script hint in several places that Mary Poppins was George's nanny when he was a child. However, this seems to have been largly left out of the film.
Role in film
George Banks is initially seen at the beginning of the film walking home from work. He runs into Katie Nanna on his way in, but does not know she has quit. After his introductory song, which reveals his opinions on how a family must be led, he realizes that Jane and Michael are missing and thus takes matters into his own hands. As he is calling the police, Constable Jones brings the children home; they had become separated from Katie Nanna while having trouble with their kite. He tells Ellen to take the children to the nursery, and declares that he intends to discuss the matter with Katie Nanna, only to find out that she had quit due to the children's unruliness.
Noting that his wife's choices for nanny have failed for 6 months, he decides that he will select the next person himself. He drafts an advertisement, calling for a strict nanny who "can give commands." Jane and Michael come with their own advertisement, calling for a kind nanny who will play with them. Mr. Banks dismisses the advertisement, and throws it in the fireplace after tearing it up.
The next day, he prepares to interview the nanny applicants. However, the only applicant is Mary Poppins, who mysteriously has the advertisement that Jane and Michael had written. Furthering Mr. Banks's confusion, Mary Poppins effectively hires herself, leaving him befuddled.
In the morning, Mr. Banks is puzzled by the unusual cheerfulness of the rest of the household, and is rather annoyed by it, as he expects everyone to be more practical. He is accused of being out of sorts, which angers him, and he storms out the door to work. That night, he becomes worried by his children's outrageous tales of their adventures with Mary Poppins. He asks to speak to Mary Poppins, and dialogue from Ellen and Mrs. Brill suggest that he is preparing to fire her. However, Mary Poppins turns the discussion, and is able to make him believe that he has suggested that he take the children to the bank. Mr. Banks is pleased with the idea, as he believes that it will help the children to grow up.
The next morning, Mr. Banks walks with his children to the bank. On the way, the children see the Bird Woman, whom Mary Poppins had told them about the night before. They ask permission to feed the birds, but the practical Mr. Banks refuses, believing it to be a waste of money. At the bank, he introduces the children to his bosses: Mr. Dawes's Sr and Jr. Alongside the other officers, Mr. Banks attempt to convince Michael to deposit his tuppence into the bank by telling them about the world of finance. Michael refuses, but Mr. Dawes, Sr, find an opportunity, and takes the tuppence from Michael. Michael's attempts to retrieve the money cause a run on the bank. In the chaos, the children run away.
That night, Mr. Banks returns home, to find Mary Poppins, Bert, and a swarm of chimney sweeps partying in his home. Bert sends the sweeps away, and talks to Mr. Banks while he is gathering his brooms. Mr. Banks recounts his belief that Mary Poppins had tricked him into the bank outing in order to embarrass him. Bert sympathizes, but hints that Mr. Banks has become so consumed by work, that he has failed to be a loving father to his children. After Bert leaves, the children come and give their father the tuppence to give to the bank, innocently believing that that will fix everything.
Mr. Banks is called back to the bank. There, the bank's senior officers hold him responsible for the bank run, which Michael had caused. As punishment, Mr. Banks is fired, and is initially somber. When asked if he had anything to say, he remembers and for the first time correctly pronounces Mary Poppins's special word, "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious". Laughing, because the word serves to make him feel better, he leaves in a better mood, even stopping to tell a joke to the senior Mr. Dawes. Notably, the joke was one that Michael had told him earlier, but one that George had shrugged off at the time. The next morning, it is revealed that he had spent the night in the basement, fixing Jane and Michael's broken kite. He then takes his entire family kite-flying, having apparently resolved to be a better father. While kite-flying, he is met by the junior Mr. Dawes, who informs Banks that the senior Mr. Dawes has died laughing the night before. Mr. Banks expresses his condolences, but Mr. Dawes, Jr, notes that his father had died happier than ever in his life as a result of hearing Mr. Banks's joke. In gratitude, the junior Mr. Dawes makes Mr. Banks a senior partner at the bank, replacing the deceased senior Mr. Dawes. At the film's close, Mr. Banks is seen happily flying kites with his family.