Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a 1971 musical film adaptation of the 1964 novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, directed by Mel Stuart, and starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. The film tells the story of Charlie Bucket as he receives a golden ticket and visits Willy Wonka's chocolate factory with four other children from around the world.
Filming took place in Munich in 1970, and the film was released on June 30, 1971. It received positive reviews, but it was a box office disappointment despite the fact that it was able to recoup its budget. However, it developed into a cult film due to its repeated television airings and home video sales. In 1972, the film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score.
Charlie Bucket is a poor boy living with his widowed mother and four bed-ridden grandparents in a dilapidated house in an industrial town. Charlie supplements the meager family income by delivering newspapers after school.
One day, the family, along with the rest of the world, learns that the local candy maker Willy Wonka has hidden five Golden Tickets amongst his Wonka Bars. The finders of these special tickets will be given a full tour of his tightly-guarded candy factory, as well as a lifetime supply of chocolate. Charlie wants to take part in the search, but cannot afford to buy vast quantities of chocolate like other participants. Four of the tickets are found by: Augustus Gloop, a gluttonous German boy; Veruca Salt, a spoiled English girl; Violet Beauregarde, a gum-chomping American girl; and Mike Teevee, a television-obsessed American boy. As they find their tickets, a sinister-looking man is observed whispering in their ears, to whom they listen attentively despite their preoccupations with their particular obsessions. Charlie's hopes are dashed when news breaks that the final ticket had been found by a Paraguayan millionaire.
The next day, as the Golden Ticket craze ends, Charlie finds a silver coin in a gutter and uses it to buy a Wonka Bar. Simultaneously, word spreads that the ticket found by the millionaire was forged and that one ticket is still about somewhere. When Charlie opens the bar, he finds the real golden ticket, and races home to tell his family, but is confronted by the same man who had been seen whispering to the other four winners. The man introduces himself as Arthur Slugworth, a rival confectioner who offers to pay Charlie a large sum of money for a sample of Wonka's latest creation, the Everlasting Gobstopper.
Grandpa Joe gets out of bed to serve as Charlie's tour chaperone. The next day, Wonka greets the children and their guardians at the factory gates and leads them inside, requiring each to sign a contract before the tour can begin. Inside is a psychedelic wonderland full of chocolate rivers, giant edible mushrooms, lickable wallpaper and other ingenious inventions and candies, as well as Wonka's workers, the small, orange-skinned, green-haired Oompa-Loompas. As the tour progresses, each of the first four children ignore Wonka's warnings, resulting in serious consequences. Augustus is sucked through a chocolate extraction pipe system and sent to the Fudge Room, having fallen into a chocolate river from which he was trying to drink. Violet transforms into a giant blueberry after trying an experimental piece of Three-Course-Dinner Gum. Veruca is rejected as a "bad egg" and falls down a garbage chute in the Chocolate Golden Egg Sorting Room. Mike is shrunken to only a few inches in height after being transmitted by "Wonkavision", a broadcasting technology that can send objects through television instead of pictures. The Oompa-Loompas sing a song after each incident, describing that particular child's poor behaviour. While in Wonka's Inventing Room, the remaining children are each given a sample of Wonka's Everlasting Gobstoppers.
Charlie also succumbs to temptation along with Grandpa Joe, as they stay behind in the Bubble Room and sample Fizzy Lifting Drinks. They begin floating skyward and are nearly sucked into a ceiling-mounted exhaust fan. To avoid this grisly fate, they burp repeatedly until they return to the ground. Wonka initially seems unaware of this incident. When Charlie becomes the last remaining child on the tour, Wonka dismisses him and Grandpa Joe and leaves for his office. When Grandpa Joe returns to ask about Charlie's lifetime supply of chocolate, Wonka irritably reveals that Charlie had violated the contract by sampling the Fizzy Lifting Drinks, and thus forfeited his prize. Grandpa Joe vows to give Slugworth the gobstopper in revenge. Charlie, however, cannot bring himself to hurt Wonka and places the gobstopper on his desk.
Wonka recants and begs for his guests' forgiveness. He reveals that "Slugworth" is actually an employee named Wilkinson, whose offer to buy the gobstopper was a morality test for the Golden Ticket winners, and Charlie was the only one who passed. The trio enter the "Wonkavator", a multi-directional glass elevator, and fly out of the factory in it. As they soar over the city, Wonka tells Charlie that his actual prize is not just the chocolate but the factory itself, as the Golden Ticket search was created to help Wonka search for an honest and worthy child to be his heir. Charlie and his family will reside in the factory and take over its operation when Wonka retires.