Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

willy wonka and the chocolate factory poster 1971 movie
10 Overall Score
Story: 10/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 10/10

Weirdness abounds in the great movie


Movie Info

Movie Name:  Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Studio:  Wopler Pictures

Genre(s):  Musical/Family

Release Date(s):  June 28, 1971 (Premiere)/June 30, 1971 (US)

MPAA Rating:  G

willy wonka and the chocolate factory golden ticket charlie bucket peter ostrum

I’ve got a Golden Ticket!

Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) has a surprise for the world.  For the first time in years, he’s opening his chocolate factory to the public. The catch is that there are only five Golden Tickets, and they have been hidden in Wonka candy bars around the world.  The rush is on to find the Golden Tickets, and everyone is looking.  The person who wants the Golden Ticket the most is Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum), but he has no means to get one because Charlie and his family are poor.  When Charlie lucks into a ticket, Charlie and his Grandpa Joe (Jack Albertson) find their way to the chocolate factory with a bunch of other greedy children.  Willy has more secrets in the chocolate factory, but not all the children and their parents may make it out.

Directed by Mel Stuart, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a family musical.  The film adapts the popular 1964 novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. The movie was well received though Dahl disowned it.  The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score.  The movie has become a family classic and was inducted into the National Film Registry for preservation by the Library of Congress in 2014.  The film was remade in 2005 with Johnny Depp in the Willy Wonka role.

willy wonka and the chocolate factory candy room cast gene wilder pure imagination

Enter a world of pure imagination!

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is one of those movies (and books) that work because they are allowed to scare kids a little.  The chocolate factory is crazy and Willy Wonka seems out-and-out unbalanced.  The ride is a roller coaster when many kids’ movies just seem like a monotone and bland.

The story is honestly weird.  The beginning segment with the rush for the tickets is just as good as the chocolate factory (I might actually enjoy that part a bit more now as an adult).  Then you have Grandpa Joe who can’t walk, but suddenly is in great shape to go to the chocolate factory while Charlie’s mom works her butt off to support the family.  He also corrupts Charlie along the way (Fizzy Lifting Drink, trying to sell the Everlasting Gobstopper), but the gift of the chocolate factory is a double-edge sword. It has essentially ruined Willy Wonka’s life and made him a recluse.  Now he wants to pass the curse on to Charlie…nice guy.

willy wonka and the chocolate factory boat ride gene wilder poem

Who wants off?

Gene Wilder is at his best.  His Willy Wonka kills Johnny Depp’s weird later portrayal because it just seems so much more honest and joyous.  He is naturally weird and creepy without being over-the-top visually weird.  With the weirdness however, is a hint of sadness and Wilder plays that aspect perfectly.  Willy Wonka is almost a tragic character…he’s spent most of his life cooped up in the chocolate factory instead of enjoying the world.

The kids are also fun. Recent copies of the movie have commentary by the adult kids which is a great bonus.  Augustus Gloop (Michael Boullner), Violet Beauregarde (Denise Nickerson), Veruca Salt (Julie Dawn Cole), and Mike Teavee (Paris Themmen) are all the perfect brats.  Veruca’s “I Want It Now!” song is the only solo song for the kid characters and puts her ahead of the other kids.

willy wonka and the chocolate factory oompa loompas violet beauregarde bluberry denise nickerson

Violet, you’re turning violet!

The movie looks fantastic and sounds great.  The visuals are just what you want from the chocolate factory…who wouldn’t want to get lost in the candy room and eat giant candy (I wanted the gummi bears)?  Added to the perfect visuals are the Oompa Loompas’ fun songs that become hypnotically memorable through the film (the remake used the actual lyrics from the book, but these are far better and much catchier)…plus, you have the nightmare boat ride.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a great film.  With the retro feel, it is just a fun movie to sit down and watch over and over again.  I actually was ok with the remake as something different…It wasn’t as good, but it still was enjoyable.  This is one of those movies that kids and adults can have a lot of fun with.

Related Links:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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