Charlie and the Chocolate Factory  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) is a children's book by British author Roald Dahl. The story features the adventures of young Charlie Bucket inside the chocolate factory of eccentric confectioner Willy Wonka.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was first published in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. in 1964, and in the United Kingdom by George Allen & Unwin in 1967. The book was adapted into two major motion pictures: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory in 1971, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 2005. The book's sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, was written by Roald Dahl in 1972. Dahl had also planned to write a third book in the series, but never finished it.

The story was originally inspired by Roald Dahl's experience of chocolate companies during his schooldays. Cadbury would often send test packages to the schoolchildren in exchange for their opinions on the new products. At that time (around the 1920s) Cadbury and Rowntree's were England's two largest chocolate makers, and they each often tried to steal trade secrets by sending spies into the other's factory, posing as employees. Because of this, both companies became highly protective of their chocolate making processes. It was a combination of this secrecy and the elaborate, often gigantic, machines in the factory that inspired Dahl to write the story.



1971 film

The book was first made into a feature film as a musical titled Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, directed by Mel Stuart, produced by David L. Wolper and starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, character actor Jack Albertson as Grandpa Joe and Peter Ostrum as Charlie Bucket. Released worldwide on 30 June 1971 and distributed by Paramount Pictures (Warner Bros. is the current owner), the film had an estimated budget of $3 million. The film grossed only $4 million and was considered a box-office disappointment. Like many films based on books, there were several notable differences in the film from the book. For example:

  • Charlie's father did not appear in the film.
  • The fake ticket was the "final" ticket and was "found" by a Paraguayan man rather than the "second" ticket being "found" by a Russian woman.
  • Charlie misbehaved as well for "stealing Fizzy Lifting Drink" and was nearly removed himself (but won when he gave Wonka back the Everlasting Gobstopper rather than give it to Mr. Slugworth).
  • The other four children were accompanied around the factory by just one of their parents rather than both parents.
  • The "nut" room was changed to the "egg-laying" room.
  • The film did not show the final fates of the bad children after they were removed.
  • Most notably, a morality test and a contract came attached to the Golden Tickets to determine the worth of the finders.
  • Arthur Slugworth was an alias of Wonka's co-worker Mr. Wilkinson, who was sent to test each child who won the Golden Ticket. The movie does not explain how the false Slugworth was able to approach each winner so soon after they found their tickets. However, it's implied Wonka somehow managed to keep track of the each ticket's destination and then he told Wilkinson where they're most likely to be found.

2005 film

Another film version, titled Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and directed by Tim Burton, was released on 15 July 2005; this version starred Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka and Freddie Highmore as Charlie Bucket. The Brad Grey production was a hit, grossing about $470 million worldwide with an estimated budget of $150 million. It was distributed by Warner Bros. this time. The 1971 and 2005 films are consistent with the written work to varying degrees. The Burton film in particular greatly expanded Willy Wonka's personal backstory. Both films likewise heavily expanded the personalities of the four "bad" children and their parents from the limited description in the book. There were further differences in this film version from the book, including Mike Teavee's obsession with video games and the Internet as well as television (the book pre-dates home computers and video games) and provided an explanation of how he found his Golden Ticket; this was never explained in the book nor the 1971 film. It also replaces Violet's father who was a car salesman with her mother who is an overly competitive "soccer mom"-like character who wants her daughter to be the best.


It has also been produced by Swedish Television as still drawings narrated by Ernst-Hugo Järegård.

Concurrently with the 2005 film, a line of candies was introduced in North America, Europe and Oceania that uses the book's characters and imagery for its marketing. Presently sold in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, the candies are produced in the United States, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Brazil, by Nestlé.

In 1985, the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory video game was released for the ZX Spectrum by developers Soft Option Ltd and publisher Hill MacGibbon.

On 11 July 2005, the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory video game was released for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo DS, Wii, Game Boy Advance and Windows PC by developers Backbone and High Voltage Software and publisher 2K Games.

On 1 April 2006, the British theme park Alton Towers opened a family boat ride attraction themed around the story. The ride features a boat section where guests travel around the chocolate factory in bright pink boats on a chocolate river. In the final stage of the ride, guests will enter one of two glass elevators where they will join Willy Wonka as they travel the factory, eventually shooting up and out through the glass roof.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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