W is for Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

For this year’s A-To-Z Challenge, my theme is MOVIES. I will be working my way through the alphabet during the month of April with movie titles and short blurbs about each movie. Today’s movie is “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.”

“Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” was a 1971 American musical fantasy film directed by Mel Stuart. It was an adaptation of the 1964 novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. The film and starred Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson, and Peter Ostrum.

In 1972, the film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score, and Wilder was nominated for a Golden for Globe as Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy. Although the movie received generally positive reviews, it remained in relative obscurity until the 1980s, where it gained a cult-like following and became highly popular due to repeated television airings and home video sales. In 2014, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.

The movie follows five children who find the handful of golden tickets hidden across the globe by famed and reclusive candy tycoon Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder). Nobody wants the prize more than young Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum), but as his family is so poor that buying even one bar of chocolate is a treat, buying enough bars to find one of the five golden tickets is unlikely in the extreme. But thanks to his Grandpa Joe (Jack Albertson), Charlie gets the prize of his dreams! Charlie, along with four somewhat odious other children, get the chance of a lifetime and a tour of the factory, led by Wonka himself, who shows them fantastical rooms and unbelievable inventions. Wonka guides the children through the facility, glibly leading the party as the naughty children get picked off the tour one-by-one.

I really enjoyed the movie when I first saw it and each time I’ve seen it since then. I thought Gene Wilder was outstanding and the movie was fun and imaginative.

In an interesting factoid, Dahl was credited with writing the film’s screenplay. However, David Seltzer was brought in to do an uncredited rewrite. Against Dahl’s wishes, changes were made to the story and other decisions made by the director led Dahl to disown the film.

There was a 2005 remake of the movie, titled “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” from director Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka. I did not see that remake, but while some claimed it was more true to Dahl’s book, the film met with mixed reviews. If any of you saw both the original with Gene Wilder in the title role and the remake with Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka, please share your thoughts in the comments.

Previous A2Z 2022 posts: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

22 thoughts on “W is for Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

  1. kajmeister26 April 27, 2022 / 8:28 am

    This Gene Wilder version is close to my heart (and my childhood)–love the poster you found. The director changed some things from the book, which I didn’t like at the time, but American audience who knows? Classic scene where the teacher yells at Charlie for being so poor that he only bought one chocolate bar. Then explains multiplication in a completely confusing way. I love this movie, but mostly for sentimental reasons.

    The updated version is very weird. It is sort of truer to the book, changes less of the story, but the CGI effects and psychedelic color didn’t improve anything. I felt like they missed an opportunity to improve the flaws from Wolper’s earlier version, and instead just created other problems.

    I used to use the movie, though, in explaining points of view to high school students, about how to compare A and B reading passages for the SAT. Imagine the A passage is about the Oompa Loompas: rescued from peril, good at making chocolate, like to sing. But what if the B passage is about Oompa exploitation–they were enslaved from Africa, they aren’t allowed any other work or paid wages, and the singing? Doesn’t that seem a little “Dear Leader” North Korean to you? Always got a laugh from the 17-year-olds.

    Now it’s an earworm… Oompa Loompa Doopadee Doo…


  2. JT Twissel April 27, 2022 / 10:08 am

    I much prefer the Gene Wilder version … although the Depp version is closer to Dahl’s darker vision.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. rugby843 April 27, 2022 / 10:59 am

    I always thought it very funny but some parents forbid it.

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

      • rugby843 April 27, 2022 / 12:06 pm

        Ronald Dahl works were often viewed as not good for children because they brought out prejudices, issues they didn’t want their children to know, etc, as were Shel Silverstein’s, because of the authors’ personal beliefs. I read all of these books to my kids and saw no content where they didn’t learn something. It was a different time, but look what’s happening now? Dejavu😖

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Nope, Not Pam April 27, 2022 / 1:13 pm

    I saw the remake and I thought it was better than the original. Very dark, my daughter loved it

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Maria Michaela April 28, 2022 / 6:15 am

    I saw the remake and only snippets of the first one. It’s probably high time I watch the first one fully

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Carol anne May 15, 2022 / 5:12 am

    the remake was awful. I much prefer the original movie!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. leigha66 June 14, 2022 / 3:53 am

    Although true to the book, it is hard to top the original and Wilder’s Wonka. Johnny Depp’s character was more demented than fun.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.