The Top 15 Most Famous TV and Film Nannies

The Top 15 Most Famous TV and Film Nannies

Sometimes called a nanny, other times a governess or even a babysitter, those who look after children in movies are popular characters who stay with the viewer long after the closing credits have finished rolling.

Whether their character is sweet, kooky or a little bit ‘unusual’, the nanny has been the centre of the action in films across the decades.

Here are the Top 15 most famous on-screen nannies:


1. Mary Poppins: Mary Poppins

This Edwardian perennial favourite Mary Poppins float in on an umbrella to look after the two children of a London banker lacking in kindness and his Sufragette wife. It’s all about a magic carpet bag, instantly known songs and the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious dancing moves of a Cockney chimney sweep.


2. Mrs Doubtfire: Mrs Doubtfire

The result of a bitter divorce means lack of access for the father. He comes up with a unique and life-changing way to see his children as there is a vacancy for a housekeeper in his previous home. One pair of thick tights, a woollen skirt and a strangely wavering Scottish accent later and the vacancy is filled.


3. Nanny McPhee: Nanny McPhee

A magical adventure which sees the mysterious Nanny McPhee have to use all the powers of her magic stick to rein in the behaviour of the gaggle of seven unruly children. She’s left in charge as their widowed father is unable to cope with working as an undertaker as well as looking after the children. Can she be the first in a series of quickly departing nannies to change how they live their lives?


4. Maria: The Sound of Music

How do we solve a problem like Maria ask the nuns in frustration? The answer is to send her to be governess to a troupe of children being raised by the widowed naval father. Having fun is not part of life in this house, but Marie is determined to change this with a guitar, singing lessons and some costumes innovatively made from curtains.


5. Annie Braddock: The Nanny Diaries

A comedy classic based on real life recollections of life being a nanny, the film sees a recent graduate mistakenly thought to be a nanny and is hired to look after the very privileged Grayer.

Things don’t really turn out as nanny thinks they could and a webcam is all it takes to change everything.


6. Molly Gunn: Uptown Girls

Forced to find work after her life of luxury is snatched away from her due to her rock and roll father’s accountant embezzling the family fortune, previously fun-loving and childlike Molly is hired to look after 8 year old neat freak Lorraine. It’s a role reversal comedy as Lorraine acts like the adult and Molly has to teach her that it’s fine to have fun, even if the odds are stacked against you.


7. Shane Wolfe: The Pacifier

Disgraced navy SEAL Shane Wolfe is assigned the task of looking after five children as their mother is escorted by his superiors to find a secret safety deposit box.  The children aren’t happy and decide that Wolfe isn’t really nanny material. It’s not until a group of ninja’s turn up to cause trouble that things change.


8. Rosina da Silva: The Governess

Mourning the loss of her father and set in pre-Victorian Britain, Rosina looks to pass herself off as a Governess as far away from her old life as possible. It’s employment fraught with emotions as the boundaries of employer and employee are tested to their limits and Rosina finds herself with difficult decisions to make about her role in the family and who she really is.


9. Jane Ayre: Jane Ayre

Classic tale where the life of the central character is followed through her various appointments as governess and the dramas unfold with each employer. It’s a love story with trials and tribulations as Jane shows her determination to be independent as well as her passion for life.


10. Miss: Turn of the Screw

A classic gothic ghost story where governess Miss is sent to look after Miles and Flora in a sprawling mansion to take charge of them in lieu of their absent uncle. Ghostly figures begin to emerge as she looks to try to get to know the children, in particularly Miles. Events which seem strange and sinister reflect the gothic period the film is set in.


11. Kate Hewitt: The Nanny Express

A busy widowed father struggles to find a nanny who will stay longer than a few weeks. Already working as a carer for her father, Kate is offered what seems like the hardest vacancy in Beverley Hills to fill.


12. Becky Sharp: Vanity Fair

After leaving finishing school, Becky Sharp starts her career as a governess which sends her to a life of love and hope during the time Napoleon is fighting to take parts of Europe which changes her life forever.


13. Anna Leonowens: The King and I

Widower Anna arrives in Siam to take on the overwhelming role of governess to the children of the cold and emotionless King.  She takes it on herself to change how they all see life, but in doing this gives herself a difficult predicament to face when love and tradition clash.


14. Charlie Hinton, Phil: Daddy Day Care

When redundancy strikes, two dads are left at home with the responsibility of childcare. They decide to take matters into their hands for a new career and make the unusual decision to open a daycare centre which they decide to manage themselves.


15. Noah Griffith: The Sitter

A babysitter who doesn’t really want to work, will do anything other than sit for the children he’s in charge of. He’s a college boy who’s suspended, but needs to fund an income so reluctantly agrees to look after the neighbour’s children. It’s a night he’ll never forget.