Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) - Rotten Tomatoes

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)




Critic Consensus: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is strange yet comforting, full of narrative detours that don't always work but express the film's uniqueness.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Promoted as a family musical by Paramount Pictures, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is more of a black comedy, perversely faithful to the spirit of Roald Dahl's original book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Enigmatic candy manufacturer Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) stages a contest by hiding five golden tickets in five of his scrumptious candy bars. Whoever comes up with these tickets will win a free tour of the Wonka factory, as well as a lifetime supply of candy. Four of the five winning children are insufferable brats: the fifth is a likeable young lad named Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum), who takes the tour in the company of his equally amiable grandfather (Jack Albertson). In the course of the tour, Willy Wonka punishes the four nastier children in various diabolical methods -- one kid is inflated and covered with blueberry dye, another ends up as a principal ingredient of the chocolate, and so on -- because these kids have violated the ethics of Wonka's factory. In the end, only Charlie and his grandfather are left. Ostensibly set in England, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was lensed in Germany (as revealed by the film's final overhead shot). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovimore
Rating: G
Genre: Kids & Family, Musical & Performing Arts, Classics, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: David Seltzer, Roald Dahl
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 28, 2001
Box Office: $4.0M
Paramount Pictures


Gene Wilder
as Willy Wonka
Jack Albertson
as Grandpa Joe
Peter Ostrum
as Charlie Bucket
Michael Bollner
as Augustus Gloop
Denise Nickerson
as Violet Beauregarde
Ursula Reit
as Mrs. Gloop
Leonard Stone
as Mr. Beauregarde
Julie Dawn Cole
as Veruca Salt
Roy Kinnear
as Mr. Salt
Paris Themmen
as Mike Teevee
Nora Denney
as Mrs. Teevee
Diana Sowle
as Mrs. Bucket
David Battley
as Mr. Turkentine
Gunter Meissner
as Mr. Slugworth
Ernest Ziegler
as Grandpa George
Dora Altmann
as Grandma Georgina
Franziska Liebing
as Grandma Josephine
GŁnter Meisner
as Mr. Slugworth
Dodo Denney
as Mrs. Teevee
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Critic Reviews for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (3)

Great fun, with Wilder for once giving an impeccably controlled performance as the factory's bizarre owner.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

With a single gleam of his eye, Wilder pulls off more hints at a devious personality than all Johnny Depp's white make up, and bad wigs combined.

Full Review… | October 4, 2014
Cinema Crazed

It's Gene Wilder, at the top of his form, who makes this uneasy amalgam work, but [Mel] Stuart must surely deserve some of the credit...

Full Review… | May 4, 2012

A polarizing, but classic piece of children's entertainment filled with whimsy, horror, comedy and imagination.

Full Review… | January 29, 2012

When the movie does actually reach the factory, and Gene Wilder takes the stage, the movie is saved.

Full Review… | October 21, 2011
Combustible Celluloid

... that rare breed: an imaginative live-action kid's film that engages and delights adults.

Full Review… | October 19, 2011

Audience Reviews for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory


Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is based on the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. As is the case with the author's children's books, there is a sinister element that is most subversive. It is a recurring theme in his works and this adaptation is no different. The movie was filmed in Munich and this gives the town a puzzling hard-to-place feel before anyone even sets foot in the factory. Five lucky kids get the opportunity to tour Will Wonka's wondrous plant but the experience isn't quite what they were anticipating. The bright colorful production design stirs the imagination with possibilities. There's a chocolate river, giant edible mushrooms, lickable wallpaper, a Wonkamobile that shoots soap. It's all rather enchanting. Only the Fizzy Lifting Drinks sequence is snooze. When the picture was released in 1971 it was a box office disappointment. Despite garnering positive reviews it only earned a mere $4 million in 1971. Over the years, however, the film achieved the status as a cult film and is now widely accepted as an outright classic. It's easy to see why. I love this film.


Mark Hobin

Super Reviewer


Classic fantasy film based on Roald Dahl's book, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a standout film with some truly engaging performances, amusing musical numbers and impressive visuals. Gene Wilder is great in the lead role, and the film has the perfect balance of dialogue and musical numbers to make it a truly engaging experience. This is an eccentric fantasy film, one that should be seen by anyone that enjoys a bizarre, story. For fans of the book, they should check this out, and with that being said, I think that Gene Wilder was the perfect choice to play Willy Wonka, and he delivers one of his strongest performances of his career. This is a well crafted picture with some memorable moments that is sure to entertaining you from start to finish. This is a classic film that is constantly entertaining, and boasts a truly unique story. If you want a fantasy film that can capture your imagination, then this is the one to watch. The film has strong performances from everyone involved, and is a fun film to be enjoyed by anyone that loves this genre. Gene Wilder, like I said steals the show and he makes this film a truly memorable picture. Roald Dahl disowned the script that he wrote, but I think that it's still a strong picture, one that makes you want to read the book. The film boasts a strong sense of visuals, which are impressive for its time, and it also adds so much to the film's atmosphere. If you want a standout fantasy picture, then this is a perfect film to watch. The amount of musical numbers is fairly minimal, and it's a good thing because it permits to focus a lot on the story as well. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a cinematic classic, and one that is near perfect.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer

Roald Dahl's story about candymaker's contest ("free chocolate for the rest of your life!") and subsequent factory tour is little more than slight morality tale, but is told like part reality show, part psychedelic hallucination. Wilder's personal sinister charm is the spoonful of sugar, and the songs are not too bad either.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Quotes

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