A Man Has Dreams

Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson, Disney

About A Man Has Dreams

"A Man Has Dreams" is a song from Walt Disney's film Mary Poppins, written by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. The song melody is a slowed down version of "The Life I Lead" which serves as Banks's leitmotif as he was fired. In both the motion picture and the stage musical, the song is performed as a conversational duet between Bert, the chimney sweep (Dick Van Dyke) and George Banks (David Tomlinson). It is operatic in nature, sung dialogue, and was highly unusual for a musical film of that era. The song incorporates a reprise of "A Spoonful of Sugar" which is Mary Poppins's leitmotif. The melody first appears as George Banks marches through the front door of his home. At that point in the film, the song is bouncy in nature to reflect Banks's triumphant spirit. The song is then titled "The Life I Lead". It is reprised several times throughout the film. The final reprise is sung when Banks thinks he has lost everything, during which the music is somber and the song itself retitled as, "A Man Has Dreams". 


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A man has dreams of walking with giants
To carve his niche in the edifice of time
Before the mortar of his zeal
Has a chance to congeal
The cup is dashed from his lips
The flame is snuffed aborning
He's brought to rack and ruin in his prime

My world was calm, well ordered, exemplary
Then came this person, with chaos in her wake
And now my life's ambitions go with one fell blow
It's quite a bitter pill to take

A spoonful of sugar that is all it takes
It changes bread and water into tea and cakes
A spoonful of sugar goes a long, long way
'Ave yourself a 'ealthy 'elpin' ev'ry day

You're a man of 'igh position
Esteemed by your peers
And when your little tykes are cryin'
You 'aven't time to dry their tears
And see them grateful little faces
Smilin' up at you
Because their dad, 'e always knows
Just what to do

You've got to grind, grind, grind
At that grindstone
Though child'ood slips like sand through a sieve
And all too soon they've up and grown
And then they've flown
And it's too late for you to give
Just that spoonful of sugar
To 'elp the medicine go down
The medicine go down, the medicine go down

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The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS), commonly referred to as Disney, is an American diversified multinational mass media corporation headquartered in Walt Disney Studios, Burbank, California, United States. It is the largest media conglomerate in the world in terms of revenue. Founded on October 16, 1923, by Walt and Roy Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, Walt Disney Productions established itself as a leader in the American animation industry before diversifying into live-action film production, television, and travel. Taking on its current name in 1986, The Walt Disney Company expanded its existing operations and also started divisions focused upon theatre, radio, music, publishing, and online media. In addition, it has created new divisions of t… more »

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Lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company

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10 facts about this song

Song Composition
"A Man Has Dreams" is a composition produced by Walt Disney Pictures for the film "Mary Poppins." It features music by Richard M. Sherman and lyrics by Robert B. Sherman.
Featured Film
The song was prominently featured in the iconic 1964 musical film "Mary Poppins," which starred stars Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. It can be heard in a scene between the character George Banks and Bert.
The song is sung in a duet by David Tomlinson, who played Mr. George Banks, and Dick Van Dyke, who portrayed Bert the Chimney Sweep.
Meaningful Lyrics
The song's lyrics depict a moment of self-reflection for Mr. Banks, who realizes he has neglected his family in favor of his job. It serves as an important turning point for the character in the film.
Combining Two Songs
Interestingly, "A Man Has Dreams" is actually a combination of two songs. They are "The Life I Lead," sung by George Banks, and "A Spoonful of Sugar," sung by Mary Poppins in different parts of the movie.
Emotional Impact
The song is considered as one of the most emotional moments in the movie, where Mr. Banks laments about the perils of adulthood and the loss of innocence. The scene is a critical moment in the film where Mr. Banks begins to understand the importance of imagination and play in children's (and his own) lives.
Broadway Adaptation
"A Man Has Dreams" also features in the Broadway adaptation of "Mary Poppins," in a slightly modified form. It is used as a soul-searching song for George Banks on the stage much like in the movie.
Dick Van Dyke's Singing Role
While Dick Van Dyke is best known for his role as a physical comedian in "Mary Poppins," his rendition of "A Man Has Dreams" is a reminder of his underrated singing abilities.
Original Soundtrack Album
The song is also included in the Original Soundtrack Album of "Mary Poppins," which reached number one on the Billboard Chart in 1965.
Nostalgic Appeal
Despite being over 50 years old, "A Man Has Dreams" continues to have a nostalgic appeal, encapsulating some of the key messages and themes of the movie "Mary Poppins," such as parenthood, work-life balance, and the importance of maintaining a youthful spirit.

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