Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Film and Plot Synopsis
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory begins with the eccentric candy maker, Willy Wonka. When he announces a contest where he hid five golden tickets in chocolate bars around the world that will grant the finder access to his factory, it sets off a world-wide craze. Charlie Bucket lives with his poor family, but his deadbeat Grandpa Joe encourages him to keep participate in the frenzy; even to the point he gives Charlie false hope. Charlie uses his extra money on one chocolate bar after the other. Surprisingly, he finds the last ticket. On the day of the event, five children enter the factory with one adult in tow. There they find a wonderland of candy and chocolate beyond their dreams. However, even though Willie Wonka seems like a kind man, it’s quickly obvious he’s testing each child for something greater. Will Charlie pass the test?
Buy the Film
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital) [4K UHD]
$19.99 in stock
12 used from $12.86
‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ Movie Summary
Mr. Jopeck (Werner Heyking) gives Charlie his first paycheck, and Charlie buys a loaf of bread for the family after delivering the days news. He then meanders down the streets until he passes Willy Wonka’s magical chocolate factory. As he stares through it’s locked gates, a creepy tinker walks up to Charlie and says, “nobody ever goes in … and nobody ever comes out!” Charlie runs home to give his widowed mother the bread he bought. This delights her and his four grandparents: Grandpa Joe (Jack Albertson), Grandma Josephine (Franziska Liebing), Grandma Georgina (Dora Altmann), and Grandpa George (Ernst Ziegler). With all of them bedridden in their 90s, and no father to support the family, this loaf of bread is an absolute feast for them.
Later that night, Charlie tells Grandpa Joe about what he saw at Wonka’s factory, and what the Tinker told him. Grandpa Joe then tells Charlie the story of how and why Wonka closed his factory years ago. After spies stole all his secrets, he shut down the factory. Three years passed, and one day, the factory suddenly popped back to life. It began churning out chocolate faster than ever before, but to this day, no one knows who the workers are. No one has seen Willy Wonka either.
Willy Wonka and His Contest
Many afternoons later, Charlie sits in class listening to his odd ball teacher rabbit on about chemistry. There is a great commotion that comes from the hall, and Charlie’s teacher stops a student running down it to ask why everyone is going mad. Willy Wonka has just announced that he has hidden 5 golden tickets in his Wonka Bars, and whoever finds one will be given a special tour of the chocolate factory, and one lucky child of the five will receive a lifetime supply of chocolate.
The entire world goes crazy looking for the tickets, but poor Charlie Bucket can not participate. His family can only afford to give Charlie one Wonka Bar a year, and that’s on Charlie’s birthday. There’s no hope for this little boy to find a ticket. One by one, lucky children find the tickets. The first is Augustus Gloop (Michael Bollner), a plump German boy with an endless appetite. Next Veruca Salt (Julie Dawn Cole), a spoiled English brat whose dad orders his entire nut factory to shell Wonka Bars finds a golden ticket.
The gum-chewing, Violet Beauregarde (Denise Nickerson), finds the third one, and Mike Teevee (Paris Themmen), a television-addicted, cap-gun toting shit-head finds the fourth. Eventually, a Paraguayan millionaire finds the fifth and final ticket. It crushes poor Charlie Bucket. He has only been able to open two chocolate bars during the contest, and no luck for him.
On Charlie’s way home from school the next day, he glumly walks the streets with his head down. Off in the gutter, he spots some money fluttering in the wind. He decides to buy a Wonka Bar with the cash. He scarfs it down before the shopkeeper has a chance to collect his money. Still hungry, Charlie decides to buy one more bar, and heads out, but as he leaves, he overhears a group of people madly reading the afternoon newspaper to find out that the fifth ticket has been forged, and that dirty, stinking Paraguayan millionaire is revealed to be a complete fraud.
The Last Golden Ticket
Excited once again, Charlie immediately opens up his chocolate bar. In a flash, the wrapper is off, and Willy Wonka’s fifth and final ticket shimmers in Charlie’s hands. He runs home as fast as he can, but Arthur Slugworth (Günter Meisner), one of Wonka’s competitors stops him first. Slugworth says he will pay Charlie a large sum of money if he can get his hands on Wonka’s greatest invention…the Everlasting Gobstopper.
Once home, the aged Grandpa Joe leaps out of bed with all the excitement and energy of a little boy, and asks to take Charlie to the factory, but there is much to do, and little time to do it. Charlie has to make preparations at once! Wash his face, comb his hair, scrub his hands, brush his teeth, blow his nose, cut his nails, polish his shoes, iron his shirt, and for heaven’s sake, get all that mud off his pants!
The Factory Gates Open
The next day, the eccentric Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) greets the ticket holders and their guardians from the same factory gates that poor Charlie Bucket solemnly stared through those weeks ago. Wonka leads them inside the factory, and they sign a contract before the tour can begin. Wonka’s factory is straight out of a late 1960’s acid trip filled with rivers of chocolate, giant edible mushrooms, snozzberries that taste like actual snozzberries, and a collection of little orange men called Oompa-Loompas that are always good for a rehearsed song and dance that teach us a moral lesson.
Wonka gives each child one Everlasting Gobstopper…the very same gobstopper that old Slugworth would kill to have, but as the tour continues one child after another has to leave because they fail to heed Wonka’s warnings. Augustus Gloop is the first to go after he falls into the chocolate river before an extraction pipe sucks him up to the Fudge Room.
Next to go is Violet. Her gum-chewing addiction leads her to become a big blueberry when she tries to chew an experimental gum that tastes like a three course dinner. Veruca is gleefully dropped down a garbage chute after her temper tantrum in the Chocolate Golden Egg Sorting Room, and finally, Mike Teevee is reduced to an inch tall television star when he is shrunk by Willy’s “Wonkavision.”
Only Charlie Remains
Poor Charlie is the only one who remains, but Wonka does not declare him the winner of the lifetime supply of chocolate. Because he and Grandpa Joe secretly tried the Fizzy Lifting Drink back in the Bubble Room, he has been disqualified. Charlie only learns of this disqualification after Grandpa Joe follows Wonka into his office, and Wonka angrily reads them back the contract Charlie signed.
Grandpa Joe then tells Charlie that he should sell old Slugworth the gobstopper since Wonka is an Oompa-Loompan sized dick. Instead, Charlie Bucket does the unexpected. He gives Wonka back the gobstopper, and unknowingly passes Wonka’s final test.
Wonka becomes giddy, and tells Charlie he has won. Slugworth, one of Wonka’s employees…and probably only employee without orange skin, enters the office. He has been in on the plot the whole time. Wonka takes Charlie Bucket and Grandpa Joe to his “Wonkavator”, an elevator that not only goes up and down, but also sideways, and longways, and slantways, and any other way you can think of.
Charlie presses the only button that Wonka has never dared press, and the Wonkavator shoots up and out of the factory as fast as it can. As it soars above Charlie’s town, Wonka reveals that the Golden Ticket contest is not about a lifetime supply of chocolate. It’s about finding Wonka a worthy apprentice and heir for when he retires. Charlie Bucket and his family can now live happily ever after.
Additional Film Information
- Add the film to your collection today
- Listen to our Movie House Memories episode
- Peruse IMDb’s article on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
- Learn more Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory information at Wikipedia
- Get Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory numbers at Box Office Mojo
- Find out what people think about Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at Metacritic
- Read Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory reviews from the folks at Rotten Tomatoes
Rate the Film!
Paramount Pictures released Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory to theaters on June 30, 1971. Mel Stuart directs the film which stars Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson, and Peter Ostrum.