Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is the classic 1971 musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It stars Gene Wilder as the eccentric creator of a candy empire. Charlie Bucket, the tenderhearted, penniless English boy from a loving home often stops by the local candy store to window shop while the other kids buy their favorite treats.
Wonka became quite the recluse after an attempt to steal his secrets and no one can tell how the chocolate is made at the factory as no one is ever seen coming in or out. But the word is outóWonka is releasing five golden tickets hidden in chocolate bars. The lucky ones who find them will be allowed a tour of the factory and awarded a lifetime supply of chocolate.
Charlie dreams of being one of the winners. The first four are examples of the worst of the worst of spoiled brats. We meet two Americansóan obnoxious gum chewing girl and a TV-obsessed, little wannabe cowboy, a very hungry German boy, and the unforgettable Verruca Salt whose daddy buys her anything she wants when she wants it. Charlie's chances seem minuscule, but of course, he finds the final gold ticket.
At different points in the film, we're warned about the dangers of spoiling children. When they fail to heed Willy Wonka's instructions throughout the tour, each kid falls victim to a punishment unique to their own personality.
I had forgotten the cynical moments in the film highlighting how the prospect of winning a prize can bring out the worst in people. Yet, we do hear stories of how unhappy some lottery winners end up, so there is definitely an element of truth in that. In fact, the crux of the story is that the prize does bring out the true character of each of the five golden ticket winners. Each one of them are offered riches beyond their dreams to steal Willy Wonka's secret formula once they're inside the factory. Will they resist the urge to do the wrong thing? Will Charlie pass this test of character or go the way of his gluttonous and money grubbing counterparts?
We do find out that Charlie is the honest one of the bunch. He has the chance to smuggle the secret out of the factory but chooses the high road to which Willy Wonka responds with one of my favorite quotes in the film, "So shines a good deed in a weary world." I won't spoil it completely for you, but Charlie receives a prize that any kid would treasure. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. It may be a kid's story but there is definitely an adult edge to it. There's music, humor and a story with a moral.
I own this film and haven't been compensated for this review, but it's available from Amazon.com, as well as the book:
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory