Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

[rate 4]

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (the Wilder original) is still campy, corny, and crazy. But watching it years after childhood, it takes on a new tone.


Yes, in my rewatch of this classic children’s flick I discovered just why it appeals to all ages. It’s not just the universal themes of rewarding honesty, punishing greed, and (of course) candy; it actually has a hilarious script with smart, witty dialogue that make it truly enjoyable for even those of us who learned its lessons long ago.

In this revisit, the opening act particularly struck me. It’s full of hilarious cutaways depicting news segments and eager ticket seekers. The bits have a dry, sarcastic tone that I’d never picked up on. Actually, much of the movie does – Wilder’s performance especially. When he emotionally and joyfully reveals that Charlie will be given the factory we too are surprised and our hearts are warmed thanks to the use of emotional contrast.

It’s definitely worth a revisit if you haven’t seen it in some time. And if you have seen it recently, you too can attest to the zest the movie adds with maturity.

4 stars out of 5.

Published by Chris Van Patten

I'm an entrepreneur and product lead, and owner of Tomodomo, through which I help companies build their digital publishing platform.

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