Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang

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Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang
Nanny mcphee and the big bang ver2.jpg
UK theatrical release poster
Directed bySusanna White
Produced byTim Bevan
Eric Fellner
Lindsay Doran
Screenplay byEmma Thompson
Based onNurse Matilda
by Christianna Brand
Music byJames Newton Howard
CinematographyMike Eley
Edited bySim Evan-Jones
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • 2 April 2010 (2010-04-02) (Europe)
  • 20 August 2010 (2010-08-20) (North America)
Running time
109 minutes[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom
United States
Budget$35 million[2]
Box office$93.2 million[3]

Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang (released in the United States and Canada as Nanny McPhee Returns) is a 2010 fantasy comedy family film directed by Susanna White, produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Lindsay Doran with music by James Newton Howard and co-produced by StudioCanal, Relativity Media, Working Title Films and Three Strange Angels. It is a sequel to the 2005 film Nanny McPhee. It was adapted by Emma Thompson from Christianna Brand's Nurse Matilda books.[4] Thompson reprises her role as Nanny McPhee, and the film also stars Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ralph Fiennes, Rhys Ifans, Ewan McGregor, Asa Butterfield and Maggie Smith.[4] The film was theatrically released on August 20, 2010 by Universal Pictures.

The film received positive reviews from critics and it earned $93.2 million on a $35 million budget. It also received a Young Artist Award nomination for Best Performance in a Feature Film. The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK on 19 June 2010.


On a farm during World War II In 1943 while her husband is away at war, Isabel Green is driven to her wits end by her hectic life. Between trying to keep the family farm up and running and her job in the village shop, run by the slightly mad Mrs. Docherty, she also has three boisterous children to look after, Norman, Megsie and Vincent. When her children's two wealthy cousins, Cyril and Celia, also then come to live with them and start fighting with them, Isabel requires childcare help.

When the magical Nanny McPhee arrives, the children at first do not listen and carry on fighting, which she soon puts a stop to with her magic. Meanwhile, Isabel's brother-in-law, Phil, has gambled away his half of the farm, and is being chased by two hired female assassins working for casino owner Mrs. Biggles. He desperately attempts to make Isabel sell her half of the farm, using mean and spiteful schemes to leave her no choice. The children find out one of his schemes and leads them to work together to fix it. Isabel takes the children on a picnic during which an ARP Warden, Mr. Docherty, warns them about bombs and how he imagines a pilot might accidentally release his bomb. At the end of the picnic, Uncle Phil delivers a telegram saying Isabel's husband was killed in action. Isabel and everyone else believes the telegram, but Norman says that he can "feel it in his bones" that his father is not dead. He tells this to Cyril, who at first says it is just because he is upset, but then agrees that Norman might be right, so the two boys ask Nanny McPhee to take them to the War Office in London, where Cyril and Celia's father works.

There, Nanny McPhee and the boys ask Cyril and Celia's father Lord Gray, who is very important in the War Office, what has happened to Mr. Green. At first Lord Gray sneers at Norman's disbelief at his father's death, but after Cyril blurts out that he knows his parents are getting a divorce, Lord Gray checks what has happened. While he is gone, Cyril tells Norman that he and Celia have been sent away because their parents will be splitting up, and Norman asks where Cyril and Celia will live. When Cyril replies that their parents only want to show each other off, Norman tells Cyril that he and Celia are welcome to live on the farm with the Greens. Lord Gray returns and tells Norman that his father is not dead, but is missing in action, and that there is no record of a telegram being sent to his mother. After the boys leave, Norman deduces that Uncle Phil forged the telegram.

While the boys are at the War Office, Megsie, Celia and Vincent try to stop Isabel from signing the papers and selling the farm. Just as she is about to do so, a German pilot accidentally drops a huge bomb; it shakes everything but does not explode and is left sticking out of the barley field. When Nanny McPhee returns with Norman and Cyril, Norman accuses Phil of forgery, which he admits to, and Isabel handcuffs him to the stove. The children go out to watch Mr. Docherty dismantle the bomb, but he falls from the ladder. Megsie takes over, and succeeds with the help of the other children and Nanny McPhee's jackdaw, Mr. Edelweiss. After Nanny McPhee helps to harvest the barley with a little magic, saving Phil from Mrs. Biggles' hitwomen in the process, it is revealed that old Mrs. Docherty is in fact baby Agatha from the first film and that she remembers Nanny McPhee. As Nanny McPhee walks away from the now happy family, the children and Isabel chase after her, only to see Mr. Green, in army uniform with an injured arm, making his way to them. He runs to his family and they embrace.

In the mid-credits scene, Ellie, Vincent's elephant, is seen enjoying the magically operated Scratch-o-matic.


  • Emma Thompson as Nanny McPhee, the magical nanny who changes the lives of the Green and Gray children.
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal as Isabel Green (née Carrington), the frazzled mother of Norman, Megsie and Vincent.
  • Rhys Ifans as Phil Green, Norman, Megsie and Vincent's uncle, Rory's brother, and Isabel's brother-in-law, who tries to sell the farm because he gambled it away at a casino.
  • Asa Butterfield as Norman Green, the eldest of the Green children.
  • Lil Woods as Megsie Green, the middle and only girl of the Green children.
  • Oscar Steer as Vincent Green, the youngest of the Green children.
  • Eros Vlahos as Cyril Gray, the spoiled cousin of Norman, Megsie and Vincent. He becomes kinder throughout the film and makes friends with Norman.
  • Rosie Taylor-Ritson as Celia Gray, the other spoiled cousin of Norman, Megsie and Vincent. She also becomes kinder throughout the film and makes friends with Megsie.
  • Maggie Smith as Agatha Rose Doherty (née Brown), the owner of the shop at which Mrs. Green works. She is baby Aggie from the first film grown up.
  • Ewan McGregor as Rory Green, Isabel's husband, Phil's brother and the father of the Greens, away fighting in World War II.
  • Ralph Fiennes as Lord Gray, Cyril and Celia's father, who is very high up in the War Office.
  • Sam Kelly as Mr. Algernon Doherty, Mrs. Doherty's husband, who’s an ARP (Air Raid Precautions) Warden.
  • Sinead Matthews as Miss Topsey, a henchwoman of Mrs. Biggles, the woman who owns the casino at which Phil gambled the farm away.
  • Katy Brand as Miss Turvey, the colleague of Miss Topsey.
  • Bill Bailey as Farmer MacReadie, the farmer who buys the piglets from the Greens.
  • Nonso Anozie as Sergeant Ralph Jeffreys - the guard at the War Office, and a former charge of Nanny McPhee.
  • Daniel Mays as Blenkinsop - Cyril and Celia's chauffeur.
  • Ed Stoppard as Lieutenant Addis, a coworker of Lord Gray.
  • Toby Sedgwick as an enemy plane pilot.


Filming locations[edit]

Hambleden was one of the film's locations.

The village in the film is Hambleden in Buckinghamshire, the farm set and scenes were filmed in Hascombe, near Godalming in Surrey and the War Office scenes, both interior and exterior, were filmed at the University of London, and the motorbike scenes on various London roads. Senate House.[citation needed][5] Dunsfold Aerodrome, the location of Top Gear, name Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang as being filmed there [6]

Relation to Nurse Matilda[edit]

The film is one of a wave of adaptations of the book trilogy by children's author Christianna Brand, Nurse Matilda. The books are not directly connected to the film, but most scenes in the film are adapted from the books. Emma Thompson started to write the script based on Brand's books in the spring of 2007.[citation needed]


  • The Best Things In Life Are Free - Performed by Bing Crosby
  • Pick Yourself Up - Performed by Harry Roy and His Band



Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang was theatrically released on August 20, 2010 by Universal Pictures (April 2, 2010 in the UK).

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK on 19 June 2010. Nanny McPhee Returns, as the film was renamed for the North American market, was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 14 December 2010.


Critical response[edit]

Maggie Gyllenhaal was praised by critics for her performance

Critical response for the film was positive. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a rating of 76% based on 115 reviews, with the site's consensus stating: "Emma Thompson's second labor of love with the Nanny McPhee character actually improves on the first, delivering charming family fare with an excellent cast."[7] News of the World gave it 4/5 stars, stating the film was "smart, witty and beautifully crafted – exactly what you want from a family film" and excited about the next film said "Roll on Nanny McThree".[8] The Independent gave a very favourable review, stating "the film is an ingenious entertainment machine fuelled by a profound understanding of what children enjoy, whether it's cowpats, talking welly boots or piglets doing synchronised swimming. Thompson has written a properly funny script, which is performed superbly by Ifans, Maggie Smith, Bill Bailey, Ralph Fiennes and some estimable child actors."[9] Eros Vlahos was nominated for Best Leading Young Actor at the Young Artist Awards 2011 against Noah Ringer for The Last Airbender, Zachary Gordon for Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Jaden Smith (winner) for The Karate Kid.

Box office[edit]

In the UK, the film opened at number one, with £2,586,760[10] outperforming fellow new release The Blind Side, grossing a total of £16,211,057. In the United States and Canada, it debuted in seventh position with a $8.4 million.[3] Gross exceeded $27 million.[11]


2010 International Film Music Critics Awards (IFMCA)
Award Category Nominee Result
IFMCA Award Best Original Score for a Comedy Film and Film Composer of the Year James Newton Howard for The Last Airbender, Love & Other Drugs, Salt, and The Tourist Nominated
2011 New York Festival
Award Category Nominee Result
Silver Medal Introductions and Lead-in titles Paul Donnellon (Director)
David Z. Obadiah (Producer)
Andrew White (Designer)
Noel Donnellon (Producer)
2011 Young Artist Awards
Award Category Nominee Result
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actor Eros Vlahos Nominated

Nanny McPhee's five lessons[edit]

In the course of the story, Nanny McPhee teaches the children five lessons: (1) to stop fighting; (2) to share nicely; (3) to help each other; (4) to be brave; and (5) to have faith.[12]

Cancelled sequel[edit]

A third film was planned, and it was to be set in modern-day England. However, despite the second film taking-in $93 million at the box-office, it under-performed to studio expectations and plans were cancelled for any future films.[13]


  1. ^ "Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  2. ^ Fritz, Ben (19 August 2010). "Movie projector: Five new movies open, but 'Expendables' may kick butt again". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved 23 August 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Nanny McPhee Returns (2010)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. 28 October 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  4. ^ a b Ali Jaafar (14 April 2009). "Maggie Gyllenhaal boards 'Nanny'". Variety. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
  5. ^ "Nanny McPhee Returns". 20 August 2010 – via IMDb.
  6. ^ Edwards, Nancy. "Film location from small to large productions in the South East".
  7. ^ "Nanny McPhee Returns". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Barber, Nicholas (28 March 2010). "The Blind Side, John Lee Hancock, 128 mins, (12A) Nanny McPhee & the Big Bang, Susanna White, 117 mins, (U) Nightwatching, Peter Greenaway, 134 mins, (18)". The Independent. London.
  10. ^ "Box-Office for the film (Nanny McPhee and The Big Bang)". Screenrush. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  11. ^ "Nanny McPhee Returns".
  12. ^ "FAQ for Nanny McPhee Returns". IMDb. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  13. ^ "Emma Thompson Says There Won't Be a 'Nanny McPhee 3' - Movies With Butter". Retrieved 4 October 2014.

External links[edit]