Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

As I was feeling ashamed for having seen that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie with Johnny Depp (I saw it only once, by the way, I was a kid and I wasn't crazy about it) but not Gene Wilder's classic (I've only seen bits and pieces on TV), I decided to watch Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Chocolate and candy maker Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) announces that 5 golden tickets can be found in his chocolate bras granting a tour of his factory and, only for one of the five lucky people, a lifetime supply of Wonka chocolate. Nobody wants to find the golden ticket more than Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum), but he is poor and can't afford to buy a lot of chocolate. His grandpa, Joe (Jack Albertson), however, encourages him to keep a positive attitude and right when he thinks his dream will never come true, he finds a dollar on the street and buys the bar that happens to have the last remaining ticket, and gets to take a tour of the mysterious factory along with other four kids from around the world.

Though I already knew the plot and therefore I could anticipate what would happen, the story still managed to be very entertaining and engaging, the main reason being the way the story is told --quite clever lyrics to advance the plot --the songs are pretty catchy too. Also, the way the few eccentric twists are delivered is quite intriguing.

The lyrics aren't the only clever aspect of the film. The story is indeed simple but smart, and the credits for that go to Roald Dahl, the author of the book upon which Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is based on. The first part of the story is a brilliant satire on how people give so much importance to random, useless things, how media gets carried away with these things, and how everyone forgets about the important things. The overall story has a moral about being honest and true to yourself and shows that parents are the only to be blamed for a spoiled child.

Paramount Pictures
The film's greatest strength probably is the characters though. They all are memorable, especially the Oompa Loompas, and it's impossible not to like them, even the odious and annoying ones, like all those other kids and their parents basically. And Charlie is a character you really root for and care about as he is so sweet, selfless and good-natured, and Peter Ostrum plays him in such a way that makes him one of the most likeable child ever. Jack Albertson also does a good job as Charlie's energetic and loving grandpa Joe.

But there's another actor and character that steal the show, Gene Wilder and his Willy Wonka. His characterization is incredibly charming and funny, he finds the right balance between joy and creepiness, and the way he goes from calm and happy to outranged --which really reminded me of his performance in Young Frankenstein (I haven't seen the movie but I've seen clips everywhere)-- is mind-blowing. 


  1. I love this film. It's a childhood favorite that still resonates with me and it still has something new to offer. Plus, I just think Gene Wilder is the right guy for the role and I miss him so dearly.

    1. I agree. It feels like Willy Wonka was written so that Gene Wilder could play him. He is just perfect for the role.