Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a 1971 American musical fantasy film directed by Mel Stuart, and starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. It is an adaptation of the 1964 novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, who himself wrote the film's screenplay. The film tells the story of Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum) as he receives a Golden Ticket and visits Willy Wonka's chocolate factory with four other children from around the world.
Filming took place in Munich in 1970, and the film was released by Paramount Pictures on June 30, 1971. With a budget of just $3 million, the film received generally positive reviews and earned $4 million by the end of its original run. Paramount distributed the film until 1977, and beginning in the 1980s, Warner Bros. assumed control of the rights for home entertainment purposes. The film then made an additional $21 million during its re-release by Warner Bros. under its Family Entertainment banner in 1996. The film became highly popular in part through repeated television airings and home entertainment sales. In 1972, the film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score, and Wilder was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, but lost both to Fiddler on the Roof. The film also introduced the song "The Candy Man", which went on to become a popular hit when recorded by Sammy Davis Jr. In 2014, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
In an unnamed town, children visit a candy shop. Charlie Bucket, whose family is poor, stares through the window as the shop owner sings "The Candy Man". Walking home, he passes Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. A mysterious tinker recites the first lines of William Allingham's poem "The Fairies", and tells Charlie, "Nobody ever goes in, and nobody ever comes out." Charlie rushes home to his widowed mother and four bedridden grandparents. After he tells Grandpa Joe about the tinker, Joe tells him that Wonka locked the factory because other candy makers, including archrival Arthur Slugworth, sent in spies disguised as employees to steal his recipes. Wonka disappeared, but three years later began selling more candy; the origin of Wonka's labor force is unknown.
Wonka announces to the world that he has hidden five "Golden Tickets" in chocolate Wonka Bars. The finders of these tickets will be given a factory tour and a lifetime supply of chocolate. Four of the tickets are found by Augustus Gloop, a gluttonous German boy; Veruca Salt, a spoiled British girl; Violet Beauregarde, a gum-chewing American girl; and Mike Teavee, a television-obsessed American boy. As each winner is heralded to the world on TV, a man whispers to them. Meanwhile, Charlie opens two Wonka Bars but finds no Golden Ticket and loses hope, despite wanting it more than anyone. Soon, the newspapers announce the fifth ticket is supposedly found by a millionaire in Paraguay.
Charlie finds money in a gutter and uses it to buy a Scrumdidilyumptious. With the change, he buys a Wonka Bar for Joe. The newspapers reveal that the Paraguayan millionaire's ticket is a forgery; when Charlie opens the Wonka Bar, he finds the fifth golden ticket. While rushing home, he is confronted by the same man seen whispering to the other winners, who introduces himself as Slugworth and offers to pay for a sample of Wonka's latest creation, the Everlasting Gobstopper.
Charlie returns home with his news. Joe is so elated that he finds he can walk; Charlie chooses him as his chaperone and they sing "I've Got A Golden Ticket". The next day, Wonka greets the ticket winners and leads them inside where each signs an extensive contract before the tour. The factory includes a river of chocolate, edible mushrooms, lickable wallpaper, and other sweets and inventions. As the visitors sample these, Wonka sings "Pure Imagination". The visitors then see Wonka's workers who are small men with orange painted faces and green hair known as Oompa-Loompas, who sing the first verse of "Oompa-Loompa".
Augustus falls into the chocolate river and is sucked up a pipe to the Fudge Room. In the Inventing Room, everyone in the group is given an Everlasting Gobstopper. Violet becomes a large blueberry after chewing an experimental gum containing a three-course meal despite Wonka's warnings. She is taken to another room where she is drained of blueberry juice and the Oompa-Loompas sing another verse of their song. The group reaches the Fizzy Lifting Drinks Room, where Charlie and Grandpa Joe ignore Wonka's warning and sample the drinks. They are not caught, but have a near-fatal encounter with an exhaust fan. In the Chocolate Eggs Room, Wonka uses geese to lay golden eggs. Veruca demands one and sings, "I Want It Now", then falls into a garbage chute leading to the furnace. Her father falls in while trying to rescue her. The group tests out Wonka's Wonkavision, only to have Mike teleport himself and become only a few inches tall.
Only Charlie and Grandpa Joe remain, but Wonka dismisses them without the promised chocolate. When Grandpa Joe asks him why, Wonka angrily replies they violated the contract by stealing Fizzy Lifting Drinks and will receive nothing. Joe suggests to Charlie that he should give Slugworth the Gobstopper, but Charlie returns the candy to Wonka.
When Charlie puts the candy on the desk, Wonka changes his tone and declares Charlie the winner. He reveals that "Slugworth" is an employee, and the offer to buy the Gobstopper was a morality test which only Charlie passed. The trio enter the "Wonkavator", a multi-directional glass elevator that flies out of the factory. Soaring over the city, Wonka reveals that his actual prize is the factory; Wonka created the contest to find a child worthy to be his heir and Charlie and his family can immediately move into the factory.
Why it Rocks
- Gene Wilder does a great job as Willy Wonka.
- The acting is amazing.
- Timeless score by both Leslie Bricusse and Walter Scharf.
- The songs are timeless and catchy.
- The plot is just like the original book by Roald Dahl.
- Excellent supporting cast.
- Decent morals.
- The boat ride scene is far scarier than the one in the remake, complete with the word "hell."
- Peter Ostrum also does a great job as Charlie Bucket.
- The look for the Oompa-Loompas in this movie has become the iconic look for the Oompa-Loompas.
- The scene where Violet swells up into a blueberry became a popular fetish.
- Roald Dahl hated it.
- The tunnel scene is very creepy for a G-Rated movie.
- Some of the effects don't hold up today. Plus, the Gobstopper design is wrong.