Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the iconic 1971 film featuring Gene Wilder at his zany best in the titular role, is easily one of the most humorously thought-provoking movies of its generation. Chock-full of tongue in cheek social commentary, outlandish comedic stunts and a chocolate vat of unforgettable Oompa Loompa action, it’s hard to pick just a few great moments, but here are five of the very best, in no particular order.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory great moment #1: Charlie’s golden discovery. Okay, so it’s completely contrived; I mean, how utterly unlikely is it that destitute Charlie would find money in the street, buy a couple of Wonka bars and then wham, news of a fraudulent fifth ticket breaks not even two minutes later? Only in fiction. But still, it’s heartwarming to see the downtrodden nice-guy catch a break. (That and it’s an essential plot element. If Charlie fails to find a ticket, he doesn’t visit the factory, doesn’t meet Willy Wonka… bad news.)
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory great moment #2: That first glimpse of the Wonka factory. It’s a deserted, gothic Disneyland, complete with an intimidating black wrought iron fence and a lonely sign that silently blinks out W-O-N-K-A in dull white lights. It’s everything that a candy factory shouldn’t be, which gives it that fabulously forbidden air. Oh, and the creepy guy with the cart full of knives and the freaky-deaky speech just adds to the bizarre sense of foreboding.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory great moment #3: Worth his weight in chocolate? It’s an ancillary little side bit intended to show just how gaga folks are over those elusive golden tickets and is easily overlook-able, but it’s 45 seconds of pure hilarity. A soap opera-animated woman desperate for her husband’s return from the hands of kidnappers promises to exchange anything at all – anything! – to get him back. However, she changes her tune when they crooks ask for her case of Wonka bars. Oh, what to do? A moment of greatness for any woman who’s silently contemplated swapping her hubby for a Coach bag or some Jimmy Choos.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory great moment #4: The Oompa Loompas’ first moralizing sing-along. Although many (many) more followed, the little orange guys’ first-ever musical foray, brought on by gluttonous Augustus Gloop’s unfortunate trip through the river fudge and up into a giant tube, is perhaps the best of the bunch. After all, how shocking is it to see a bunch of previously silent little worker bees bust into random song? Defintely a ‘what the dooce?’! moment to remember.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory great moment #5: The birth of Blueberry Head. Gum-obsessed Violet Beauregard really has it coming when she steals a piece of super-duper flavor-changing gum, going against Wonka’s half-hearted requests that she stop. I bust a gut laughing every time she swells into a giant, succulent blueberry and a team of singing Oompa Loompas roll her away for her just desserts: A hearty juicing.
There you have ’em: Five great moments from the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Hankering for more tidbits? Stay tuned for volume two!