Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was a part of my childhood, probably just like yours. I never owned it on VHS or DVD but would watch it whenever it was on tv. I still remember times we’d have sleepovers at friends’ houses and watch it. 

Gene Wilder had a fantastic career in film, with a handful of roles that people look back fondly at. No matter what I ever saw him in, he was always the corky Willy Wonka to me. He was the ringmaster of this crazy chocolate factory where all your dreams came true, and if they didn’t, the Oompa-Loompas were there to clean it up with a joyful song. As a kid, you just had to think that the Oompa-Loompas were creepy, and Wonka was a mad man, like a scientist who created weird things. None of it really mattered, though, because the story was fun and filled with catchy songs that you would find yourself randomly singing. 

You could be jealous of these kids who got to live out their dreams in the chocolate wonderland, but except for Charlie, no one deserved any of it. Whether it was the parents or the kids themselves, greed was the root of their evil. Some wanted everything; some bought everything, while others showed disregard for rules. For all those who didn’t make it to the end of the journey, you can’t even be upset about the way things played out for them. Everyone got what was coming to them, and they all deserved it. 

Now some may argue that Charlie didn’t deserve the grand prize because he too broke the rules, but at the end of it all, he was the only one with a pure heart. No one could have known that Wonka was going to give his pride and joy (unless you read the book), although he wasn’t going to give it away to just about anyone. Charlie Bucket indeed had the rags to riches story come true. 

People have gone on to mock this movie, and it’s characters for some time now. Tim Burton even tried to give us a modern-day version of the story that just sunk to the bottom of his chocolate river. No matter who comes up with what, there will always be only one classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and it is this 1971 film that was preserved for the national film registry in 2014. 8/10

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