Charlie (Peter Ostrum) is a humble, caring and hard-working boy, who spends his free time working as a paperboy to support his impoverished family. Each day, Charlie walks past Willy Wonka’s (Gene Wilder) famous chocolate factory which produces the world’s best candy. To protect his recipes, Wonka hasn’t allowed anyone inside the factory for years.
Wonka makes a surprise announcement that he has hidden five golden tickets in his chocolate bars. The five children who find the tickets will be invited on a tour inside the factory and given a lifelong supply of chocolate. Amazingly, Charlie finds one of the golden tickets and chooses his grandfather Joe (Jack Albertson) to come along.
Inside the factory, eccentric Willy Wonka not only shows his guests how his famous candy is made, but he also teaches them some lessons about the importance of being humble, honest and caring.
Honesty; humility; what goes around comes around; creativity; imagination
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory has some violence. In particular, some of the children are cheeky and greedy. They break Willy Wonka’s rules and learn some tough lessons as a result. For example
- Greedy Augustus falls into a lake of chocolate and gets sucked up into a pipe leading to the Fudge Room.
- Disobedient Violet eats an experimental three-course gum and blows up to the shape of a giant blueberry. Wonka explains that she needs to be squeezed or else she’ll explode.
- Spoiled Veruca throws a tantrum and falls into a garbage chute that leads to a furnace.
- TV-addicted Mike steps into a chocolate teleporting device and gets shrunk to only a few inches tall.
Initially, it isn’t clear what happens after these accidents and whether the children survive. But towards the end of the movie, Wonka reassures Charlie that all children will be ‘restored to their terrible old selves’.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Nudity and sexual activity
Ideas to discuss with your children
Musical fantasy Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a classic that still has the ability to entertain and amuse a family audience. Even though the sets are a little dated by 21st-century standards, they’re so creative and packed with detail that they still impress. The movie’s messages are also as current and important as ever.
The movie isn’t suitable for children under five years. Also, we recommend parental guidance for younger viewers because of a couple of scenes that are bit creepy and scary.
The main messages from this movie are that being kind, humble and honest will go a long way, and that the consequences of nasty, greedy and cheeky behaviour will eventually catch up with you.
Values in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory that you could reinforce with your children include honesty, humility, loyalty and selflessness.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like the following:
- Giving children everything they want doesn’t necessarily make them happy or give them the skills they need to grow and develop well.
- Greed, ingratitude and selfishness make it hard for you to get along with others.
- Dishonesty will catch up with you.