Critic Reviews



Based on 10 critic reviews provided by
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is probably the best film of its sort since The Wizard of Oz. It is everything that family movies usually claim to be, but aren't: Delightful, funny, scary, exciting, and, most of all, a genuine work of imagination. Willy Wonka is such a surely and wonderfully spun fantasy that it works on all kinds of minds, and it is fascinating because, like all classic fantasy, it is fascinated with itself.
Like all the best and most beloved family films, there's plenty in this film for adults to appreciate as well as kids.
Roald Dahl's immortal, sugar-coated morality play finds Gene Wilder as disturbing and fault-ridden but compelling as the book described. Okay, so its pacing may be slightly off (taking nearly 40 minutes to arrive at the factory gates), but this is still a Golden Ticket if ever there was one.
Great fun, with Wilder for once giving an impeccably controlled performance as the factory's bizarre owner.
Adapted (with some changes) by Roald Dahl from his famous children's book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Willy Wonka creates a marvelous world as close to heaven as any kid can imagine and never talks down to its young audience. The film is sometimes dark in its tone but by the end (when Wonka's motives and true nature are revealed) it is fabulously uplifting.
For a children's film, Willy Wonka is surprisingly malevolent, which is most of its fun. But the refreshing malice and twisted whimsy only kick into high gear after 45 minutes of plodding setup and film-padding songs.
An okay family musical fantasy featuring Gene Wilder as an eccentric candymaker who makes a boy's dreams come true.
The crazy color schemes and visual effects once made this a popular head picture, though you'd have to be stoned to tolerate the score, which includes The Candy Man.
Slant Magazine
There is, of course, Gene Wilder as Wonka, the reason most people think they like this movie, and he’s a wonderful actor quite capable of hitting Dahl’s ambivalences (and he has a lovely entrance), but Stuart’s clunky stop-and-start pace and sketchy tone give him nowhere to go.
The New Yorker
A fantasy with music for children that never finds an appropriate style; it's stilted and frenetic, like Prussians at play.

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