When was the first Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory film made?

The first movie version of Roald Dahl's children's book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was made in 1971 and entitled Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Actor Gene Wilder played the eccentric character of Willy Wonka, and with a success on Broadway already behind him, including a role in the Broadway production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1963), his appearance in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory cemented his career. Prior to Willy Wonka, Wilder played roles in films Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and The Producers (1968), and later in Woody Allen's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, and Blazing Saddles. The 2005 version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory stars Johnny Depp.

For Peter Ostrum, the boy who played Charlie Bucket, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was his first and last movie. Although offered a multiple-movie contract after his appearance, he turned it down and is now a large-animal veterinarian.

The movie tells the story of the reclusive candymaker, Willy Wonka, who surprises the world by announcing that five people who find golden tickets wrapped with his merchandise will be treated to a full tour of his factory and its secrets. From a desperately poor family, young Charlie Bucket can barely afford to buy one chocolate bar, but when he does, it contains a winning ticket! Thus begins Charlie's fantastic adventure into the world of Willy Wonka, with disaster befalling those who cross him and a test of spirit for Charlie. Will he manage to beat the odds and win the ultimate prize?

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was remade in 2005, starring versatile actor Johnny Depp. Depp has often collaborated with director Tim Burton, including the memorable Edward Scissorhands (1990), as well as Ed Wood (1994) and Sleepy Hollow (1999). Depp appeared in the 1984 horror classic A Nightmare On Elm Street, but gained his popularity in the 1980s television series 21 Jump Street. Charlie Bucket is played by young actor Freddie Highmore, who at age 13 already has an impressive list of credits, including previous work with Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland.

Roald Dahl and the Candy Wars

On one level the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a typically cautionary children's tale of the consequences of bad behavior. However, according to a story published on canada.com on July 19, 2005, Roald Dahl had a much more worldly premise in mind. Drawing on information found in Dahl's autobiography, Boy, the canada.com article notes that the author had a lifelong obsession with sweets and those who make them. Growing up at a time when candy was made by family-owned, one-off candy stores, Dahl was dismayed by the shift towards large corporations manufacturing product en masse. Candy was no longer special, but merely another commodity.

Dahl also parodies the intense competition of the chocolate world by making Willy Wonka's factory a closed, secretive place, where no workers ever seem to arrive or leave. In the real world, because candy recipes cannot be patented, a practice of spying and stealing has sprung up between rival companies. The story in canada.com cites the example of a member of the Mars family stealing the idea of an American chocolate bar, renaming it and releasing it in the United Kingdom, where it remains popular today.

Depp's Version of Willy Wonka

Shortly after the recent movie's release, several reports came out that Depp had based his portrayal of Willy Wonka on Michael Jackson. Reportedly, Depp has denied this and has insisted that he formed the role based on children's hosts such as Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Rogers and Uncle Al, whom he grew up watching on TV.