Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

willy wonka

“Little surprises around every corner, but nothing dangerous!”

The Scoop: 1971 G, directed by Mel Stuart and starring Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson, Peter Ostrum, and Julie Dawn Cole

Tagline: Enter a world of pure imagination.

Summary Capsule: Children explore the eccentric Wonka’s candy paradise/hell

DnaError’s rating: Gene Wilder Insanity Level 8

DnaError’s review: Okay, there’s this guy and he lures children into his house with promise of candy. And in there him and his army of dwarves slowly pick them off one by one. A Rob Zombie nightmare? No! The delightful children’s tale of mirth and sugar and moralizing midgets. Since Andie is off cavorting and capering, I’ve taken up her role as Official MRFH Children Reviewer (I misunderstood the title and gave little Timmy a scathing review. After which his mother have me a concussion). And I start with the most beloved movie that’s bad for your teeth. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory or WWatCF, (which sounds really funny if you say it fast) occupies a warm fuzzy node in my childhood memories.

Everyone above the age of 12 is legally required to see this movie, so no rehash for you. Check out Lore’s ratings of the characters. He says more on them then I’d never care to. Gene Wilder hasn’t done this kind of descent into madness since Young Frankenstein. I’m sure that row boat scene was only the tip of his insane iceberg. The only thing in question are the little moral songlets that accompany every kid’s demise. Greed, gluttony and brattiness I can understand, but poor manners and compulsive TV watching? Lets face it, we’re all Mike Teevee when he said “boy what a great series this would make!”

It’s pretty easy to see why WW would be so memorable, bright, tasty and colorful and full of possible danger. And it was written by the master Raold Dahl whose books I devoured as a kidlet. (Not literally mind you, the pages get stuck in my teeth). The opening summery shows that the best children’s tales are things that would never get approved today. You think Elmo or Arthur would ever be threatened by anything more dangerous then low self-esteem? Nay I say. Great kids movies can be viewed by both adults and kids and stoned college kids with equal joy. Who hasn’t wanted to turn someone into a gigantic blueberry from time to time?

Who wouldn't entrust their child to Mr. Wonka?
Who wouldn’t entrust their child to Mr. Wonka?


  • The rock band Veruca Salt takes their name from the bratty little character played here by Julie Cole. Originally a dual-grrl chick band, Nina Gordon left the group in ’98, leaving Louise Post to continue on her own (under the same name).
  • Peter Ostrum, who plays Charlie Bucket, made no other films. He later became a veterinarian.
  • Oompa Loompas come from Loompaland, but Willy Wonka secretly transported them to live and work safely in his factory. Loompaland had creatures called horn swagglers, rotten vermicious kinids, and swangdoodles that would eat 10 oompas for breakfast and think nothing of it (as seen in the sequel to Chocolate Factory). Wonka called upon the oompas by playing a short tune on his flute. There were 10 oompas in all, 9 male and 1 female, some of which are dead now, all of which were from all over Europe.
  • Literary quotes abound in this flick. “Where is fancy bred…” and “So shines a good deed…” are from Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice”, and “Sweet lovers love the spring time…” are from “As You Like It”.
  • When Wilder spins around and tries to push the button for the Wonkavator doors, he misses the button. Surprisingly enough, the doors still open.
  • The combination to the first door in the chocloate factory is 99-44/100% pure, which was an ad slogan for Ivory Soap.
  • The picture held up by the Paraguyan newscaster announcing the finder of the last golden ticket is of Nazi henchman Martin Bormann.
  • The quote, “We are the music-makers…” is from Arthur O’Shaughnessy’s “Ode,” which also gave us the phrase “movers and shakers.” The quotes “Where is fancy bred…” and “So shines a good deed…” are Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice.”
  • Willy Wonka’s line, “The suspense is terrible, I hope it will last” is a quote from Oscar Wilde’s play, “The Importance of Being Earnest.”
  • The quote “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker” is from a poem entitled “Reflections on Ice Breaking” by Ogden Nash.
  • At the same time as the end credits are playing, the film shows the Wonkavator rising higher and higher.

Groovy Quotes

Willy Wonka: Little surprises around every corner, but nothing dangerous!

Mr. Turkentine: I’ve just decided to switch our Friday schedule to Monday, which means that the test we take each Friday on what we learned during the week will now take place on Monday before we’ve learned it. But since today is Tuesday, it doesn’t matter in the slightest.

Willy Wonka: Oh, you should never, never doubt what nobody is sure about.

Mr. Salt: Wonka! Butterscotch? Buttergin? You running something on the side here?
Willy Wonka: Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker!

Mr. Salt: What is this, Wonka, some kind of funhouse?
Willy Wonka: Why, are you having fun?

Willy Wonka: If the good Lord had intended us to walk he wouldn’t have invented roller-skates.

Willy Wonka: Don’t you know what this is?!
Violet: By gum, it’s gum!

Willy Wonka: Invention, my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation, and 2% butterscotch ripple.
Mrs. Teevee: That’s 105 percent!

Willy Wonka: It happens every time, they all become blueberries!

Sam Beauregarde: Violet, you’re turning violet, Violet!

Willy Wonka: No other factory in the world mixes its chocolate by waterfall. But it’s the only way if you want it just… right.

Charlie Bucket: What was that we just went through?
Willy Wonka: Hsawaknow.
Mrs. Teavee: Is that Japanese?
Willy Wonka: No, that’s Wonkawash spelled backwards.

Charlie Bucket: Mr. Wonka, they won’t really be burned in the furnace, will they?
Willy Wonka: Well, I think that furnace is only lit every other day, so they have a good sporting chance, haven’t they?

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