Saturday, March 4, 2017

JRO's #98: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971)

The "films of my childhood" theme continues.

This one breaks from the previous two in being a film released before I was born.

I'm not entirely sure if I saw either Labyrinth or Willow at the theater. Maybe. I don't know. My parents took us to the movies often, sometimes every week, usually after a church service, on Sunday afternoons.

This one was definitely a home video watch. I was part of the generation that grew up with cable television and VHS and video stores. We were probably the early-middle of it. You guys a few years younger were probably the tail end of it.

As with most of these childhood picks, I don't have any first memory associated with this film. It feels like this film was just always there.

Eh, I can't concentrate to write this right now. Maybe I'll come back to it.

So, nothing at all written about the movie itself.

Willy Wonka. #99.


  1. This is a bit of a spoiler, but one of the biggest regrets I have about my list is that Gene Wilder doesn't appear on it at all. If I were to make a list of my favorite actors, Wilder would easily be in my top 10-15. After his death, I rewatched the Mel Brooks movies he stars in, and he's amazing in all of them.

    If Wilder wasn't cast in Willy Wonka, I wonder how much we'd still be talking about this one. I'm not saying it's a bad movie or anything, but my point is Wilder, as he does in the Mel Brooks films, seems to raise the overall quality and memorability of it.

    Speaking of memorability, there was a video store in the center our hometown Oxford, where VHS were the only option because DVDs didn't exist. Jeff and I both recall times when we'd go in there with our mom and some friends. We'd grab an R-rated VHS cover from the shelf and my mom would rent it for us without considering its appropriateness. One was a Leprechaun sequel.

  2. This movie always freaked me out. Not for the obv trippy scene, but the dates of the bratty kids. Dahl had a way with killing or disfiguring kids. Lot always bothered me, be it The Witches, The BFG, or this. I need to revisit this one

  3. Lot is supposed to be it. Stupid phone

  4. The Witches was some freaky shit

  5. Chris, the film is smart and delightful before Gene Wilder even appears on screen. When he does, the film goes from good to great.

    Brandon, it's the "fates of the bratty kids" that makes this movie so wonderful. It's exaggerated fairy tale storytelling in which all actions have consequences. Minor sins are a big deal, not personality quirks to be overlooked. Dahl was a 20th century Grimm, brutal because that's what kids understand and appreciate, all violent deaths and happy rewards.