main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
YMMV: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
  • Accidental Innuendo: This article has a few from the film.
  • Adaptation Displacement: The 1971 film is more familiar to many people than the book — to the point that there were complaints about the 2005 film making stuff up when what it was actually doing was restoring things that were in the book but left out or changed for the 1971 film.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Was Wonka's infamous rant (under Memetic Mutation) an Out of Character moment, or a subconcious Berserk Button?
    • Some people think Grandpa Joe is a selfish jerk. He says that he'd help Charlie support the family if he could get out of bed, but the only time we actually see him trying is so he can go to the chocolate factory. Him taking the fizzy lifting drinks and willingness to sell out to Slugworth after Wonka's rant are also sometimes held against him.
    • Also Grandpa Joe accuses Wonka of being an inhuman monster for crushing Charlie's dream.
      • Justified with them not knowing that it was a test. Gene Wilder overselling his false anger (and coming off as a Jerkass), when he berates Charlie (everyone's "favorite meme") doesn't help matters either.
    • Is Charlie really any better than the other kids?
      • Would any of the other kids had returned the gobstopper, instead of selling it for profit out of spite?
  • Awesome Music: "Pure Imagination". The Other Wiki has a good list of cover versions and variations at its entry for the song. Among other things, it's been:
    • The basis for a production number in the Ben Vereen episode of The Muppet Show.
    • Given a second verse and chorus in The Nineties. Leslie Bricusse wrote it for Michael Feinstein when he decided to record the song as the title track of a compilation of children's songs. Most subsequent covers just stick with the original set of lyrics, though Jackie Evancho used the longer version when she covered it in 2012.
    • Repurposed for advertisements for the Encore movie networks and, more recently, AT&T.
    • The basis for a cheeky opening number for Sarah Jessica Parker at the 2000 MTV Movie Awards — she sang the song as a montage of Toilet Humor and Stuff Blowing Up from the past year's films ran on a screen behind her.
    • Incorporated into the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics; Russell Brand sang the song's opening lines as the lead-in to a rendition of "I Am the Walrus"!
    • The basis for the opening sequence of the dance troupe JABBAWOCKEEZ's Las Vegas production Prism.
    • The Eleven O'Clock Number in the 2013 West End stage adaptation of the source novel, which otherwise has a completely new lineup of songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. This pretty much confirms that the song's the Bootstrapped Theme not only for this particular movie adaptation, but the story as a whole.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The tunnel scene, which comes and then is never mentioned again, even though realistically such an event would likely cause the characters to demand to be let out of this factory. Ironically, it's probably the movie's most famous scene.
  • Broken Aesop: Wonka's final line in the film. "You remember what happened to the boy who got everything he wanted? He lived happily ever after." Oh, okay. So when the girl gets everything she wants, she is a Spoiled Brat and gets punished for it?
  • Covered Up: "The Rowing Song", whose cover as "Prelude (The Family Trip)" was made a bit more disturbing by Marilyn Manson.
    • "The Candy Man" became a huge hit and Signature Song for Sammy Davis, Jr.
  • Cue Irony: Julie Dawn Cole, who played the rich Spoiled Brat Veruca Salt, actually comes from a very poor family, she and her sister being raised by a single mother.
  • Ear Worm: "Oompa-Loompa-Doopa-de-do, I've got another puzzle for you..."
  • First Installment Wins: As evidenced by the thirty-four year head start, the Nostalgia Filter, Vindicated by Cable, a soundtrack full of Ear Worms, a higher score on the Tomatometer (especially among general audiences), a career highlight performance from Gene Wilder (even the most ardent Johnny Depp fans will usually concede that he was miscast as Wonka), and being the basis of a parody trope... the only edges that the modern adaptation has is being more faithful to the book, the advanced special effects, having a more famous director, and the box-office grosses, which is a pretty decent consolation prize for the studio. Besides, it owns the rights to both versions!
  • Genius Bonus: After Wonka plays the musical lock, Mrs. TeeVee says "Rachmaninoff" knowledgeably. The joke is that the music is actually from the overture to Mozart's opera Le nozze di Figaro, a rather obscure reference to non-musicians/opera fans.
    • The man from Paraguay who gets caught counterfeiting a Golden Ticket is represented by a picture of Martin Bormann, the former chairman of the Nazi Party, who at the time was widely believed to be living under an assumed name in South America.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Despite being known as "the amazing chocolatier", the most popular defictionalized Wonka-brand candy is fruit flavored, like Runts and Nerds (especially the banana Runts- fans apparently lobby Wonka all the time for a banana-only box). You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who's eaten a Wonka bar, and the other candy mentioned in the book, the Everlasting Gobstopper, seems to have seriously dipped in popularity since the 1990s.
      • There were a few candy bars, all from 1999-2010. They were: the original Wonka Bar, which had graham crackers; the Xploder Bar, with Pop Rocks; Wonka Donutz (exactly what it sounds like); and the Wonka Exceptionals line of upscale treats.
      • The latest ones seem truer to the books though. They are actually chocolate, for one thing.
    • Before Gene Wilder played a candy factory owner who seldom went out in public, he appeared in this Tootsie Roll commercial as a candy factory employee who feared going out in public.
    • Later in her acting career, Julie Dawn Cole appeared in the ensemble of the 1983 British stage musical Bashville (an adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's The Admirable Bashville). The title character was played by Douglas Hodge...who, 30 years later, originated the role of Willy Wonka in the 2013 stage musical adaptation of this story, which includes several internal homages to, and one song from, this film.
  • Informed Wrongness: Wonka is portrayed as cold and heartless for denying Charlie the factory and Grandpa Joe begins shouting at him. Except... Wonka has every right to deny Charlie his prize because Charlie did drink the soda. The worst thing is that trying the drinks was Grandpa Joe's idea!
  • Magnificent Bastard: Wonka takes sadistic delight in punishing children in his whimsical death-traps and then mocking parents afraid for their offspring's lives!
    Mrs. Gloop: (as her son drowns in a river of chocolate) He can't swim!
    • Slugworth's prompt appearance wherever the tickets are found seems to imply that Wonka knew where said tickets were going to go. True, the first four tickets are filmed, so time could have passed between a finding and the news report, but Slugworth appearing in Charlie's path stretches coincidence a bit far...unless Wonka planned for the tickets to be placed in certain locations.
    • The commentary even points out that there was already a news crew waiting for one of Mr. Salt's workers to find a ticket. Although buying over a million chocolate bars in order to find said ticket does raise the stakes to an interesting degree.
  • Memetic Molester: The Candy Man...the Candy Man can? Seriously, kids, haven't you learned not to take candy from strangers? Why can't he just sell them and be done with it? No...he has to practically seduce these kids with SUGAR and dance around them very suspiciously!
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "You get nothing! You lose! Good day, sir!"
    • The "Condescending Wonka" snark humor account on Twitter has grown popular as well. It's commonly used in the "You Must Be New Here" meme.
    • There's also Wonka's half-hearted "Stop. Don't. Come back", which is semi-frequently posted on message boards as a response to a poster angrily threatening to leave a discussion after an argument.
  • Older Than They Think / Weird Al Effect: Many people attribute Wonka's many literary quotes to this film.
  • One-Scene Wonder
    • Several examples during the worldwide scramble for the Golden Tickets, but the standout is probably the English comedy-actor Tim Brooke-Taylor as a... peeved... computer operator.
    • David Battley as the teacher Mr. Turkentine...who can't seem to do a lick of math (or chemistry). The director mentioned that Battley's part was originally going to be very small, but was expanded slightly because he did such a wonderful job.
    • The Half Room, Wonka's office, is a visual treat. Wonka's balancing on half a chair, retrieves papers from half a safe, even the wallpaper is in half strips. (It even comes into play during the emotional climax; when Wonka is angrily reading back the fine print of the contact Charlie signed, he interjects et cetera, et cetera! every couple of words because the copy of the document is also in half!)
  • Pandering To The Fanbase: The 30th Anniversary DVD originally did not include an option to watch the movie in widescreen. Fans petitioned and implored Warner Bros. to rectify this, and they released a widescreen version just in time for the holidays. Tropes Are Not Bad!
  • They Just Didn't Care: The HD-DVD and Blu-ray transfers fit some elements of Digital Destruction, minus the digital causes. The movie was shot using the entire 35mm film frame, including the portions on the left reserved for the soundtrack, but framed for the usual width (not including the left), so that extra stuff on the left is not intended to be seen. The new HD transfers use the entire film width, meaning that everything that should be centered is off to the right; more is not always better. (Other sections, such as the main title and certain Oompa Loompa songs, didn't have that extra space but are transferred at the same size, then windowboxed! That is, the movie starts out obviously sloppy.) WB has not shown any interest in fixing this.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Wonka uproots a tribe of beings and moves them to his factory to work there... The Oompa Loompas may or may not be paid, but they're certainly not allowed to leave.
  • Values Dissonance: Charlie being upset by Grandpa Joe's vow to quit tobacco.
  • Vindicated by History / Vindicated by Cable: A box-office disappointment when initially released, it found its audience through TV and home video, becoming the 1970s equivalent of The Wizard of Oz. (Curiously enough, Roger Ebert's original review outright praised it as being the best kids' film since Oz!)
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Augustus Gloop's fate, the boat ride...
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: The reason why it has earned a reputation as a Stoner Flick.
  • The Woobie: A minor example in Mr. Salt. Did he and his wife spoil Veruca? You bet. Are they responsible for her monstrous personality? No doubt. Even knowing this, does the look on his face when she calls him a "rotten mean father" (as though he were about to burst into tears) make you feel legitimately bad for the guy? Absolutely.
    • Charlie himself is another example. Poor, comes from a broken family, can barely afford the chocolate that gets him in the factory, well-meaning but admonished by Wonka for the Fizzy Lifting Drinks incident. He does win out in the end, though.

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy