As yesterday (29th August, 2016) we learnt the sad news of the passing of legendary actor, Gene Wilder. We thought we'd take a look at one of his most iconic roles, and give you 10 things we all learnt from watching Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory…
1. Be grateful for what you have
Little Charlie Bucket’s family don’t have a lot when it comes to materialistic things, which in turn makes him even the more grateful for the smallest of gifts. Their family live in a small house with only one bed, which the four grandparents share, whilst Charlie and his parents sleep on mattresses on the floor. They seem to survive on a variety of cabbage meals, and even bread is seen as a luxury. When Charlie receives the Wonka Bar for his birthday the first thing he wants to do is share it with his grandparents, that’s love for you. Even the chocolate bar he found the golden ticket in was actually brought for his Grandpa Joe, not himself. This shows that gratitude goes such a long way.
“But Charlie, don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted… he lived happily ever after” - Willy Wonka.
2. Family is the most important thing in the world
Nothing is more important in this world than family, not even a chocolate factory.
When Charlie receives his first pay cheque he couldn’t wait to buy bread to share with his family, and then he wanted to give his left over money to his mother and his Grandpa Joe. He had earned that money himself, and could have just kept it, but he chose to share it with the ones he loved, because they were more important. Nearly everything good that happened to Charlie was a result of him choosing to give rather than receive – maybe we all need to be a bit more like Charlie Bucket.
3. Imagination is key
If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it. Anything you want to, do it. Want to change the world? There’s nothing to it… (tell me you didn't just sing that!)
It’s so easy to forget or lose that sense of wonder, and Willy Wonka showed us that amazing things can happen with a little imagination.
“Invention, my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation and 2% butterscotch ripple” - Willy Wonka.
4. Don’t be greedy
What do you get when you guzzle down sweets? Eating as much as an elephant eats?
Augustus Gloop is a gluttonous over-eater and in the original book, is described as an enormously fat boy who has “fat bulging from every fold, with two greedy eyes peering out of his doughball of a body.” When he is introduced to the Chocolate Room, he takes full advantage of eating as much as he can, including drinking out of the chocolate river. Inevitably, his greediness is punished by falling into the river and being sucked up the pipe to the Fudge Room. Game over, Augustus.
5. Dreams can come true
If anything, Willy Wonka teaches us that if you believe in something enough, you can make it a reality. Wonka created his chocolate factory from scratch, with a lot of love, and a little help from the oompa loompa’s, and has managed to create the ultimate chocolate-lovers heaven, making him the world's greatest chocolate manufacturer. As soon as people heard that he was opening up the doors of the factory one more time, and releasing just five golden tickets for entry, the public went chocolate crazy.
“We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dreams” - Willy Wonka.
6. Selfishness should be punished
All of the other children who find a golden ticket are bad children. They're greedy, spoiled, rude, and lazy, let’s face it; they’re horrible! Especially Veruca Salt (well, with a name like that, what do we expect?!) She is portrayed as a cute and pretty girl, but is the epitome of a spoiled brat. She’s an immature, over-indulged, manipulative, extremely selfish, wealthy young girl, everything that Charlie isn’t. She eventually meets her maker, when the golden geese decide that she’s a bad egg, and she disappears down the chute.
“She was a bad egg” - Willy Wonka.
7. Always do the right thing
At the end of the tour, when Wonka dismisses Charlie and Grandpa Joe without the promised lifetime supply of chocolate, Grandpa Joe demands to know why. Wonka angrily tells him that they had violated the contract by stealing Fizzy Lifting Drinks. Seeking revenge, Grandpa Joe suggests to Charlie that he should give Slugworth the Gobstopper that they got in the Inventing Room, but Charlie can't bring himself to hurt Wonka intentionally and returns the candy to him instead. Wonka immediately changes his tone, and declares Charlie the winner. He reveals that "Slugworth" is actually an employee named Mr. Wilkinson, and the offer to buy the Gobstopper was a morality test for all the kids. Charlie was the only one who passed.
Wonka reveals to Charlie that his actual prize is the entire factory itself because Wonka had created the contest to find an honest child worthy enough to be his heir. He informs Charlie that he and his family can move into the factory immediately.
8. There’s no time for jealousy
We would understand if Charlie felt jealously towards all of the other children around him, but he doesn’t give the green-eyed monster the time of day. We don’t see him comparing himself to those more fortunate, nor do we get the sense that he does so. Charlie is a sweet, caring, loving boy, and jealousy would simply muck that up. Instead, Charlie focuses on himself and his family. And in the end, is rewarded for doing so. Don't ever change Charlie!
9. Don’t ever loose your sense of humour
“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men” - Willy Wonka.
Although there are many weird, and mind-boggling scenes in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, there is also a lot of sly humour. Gene Wilder’s subtle, mischievous performance as Willy Wonka includes various hidden puns, humour, and double entendres, such as; “you can suck ‘em and suck ‘em and suck ‘em, and they'll never get any smaller” - Willy Wonka, talking about his newest creation, the Everlasting Gobstopper.
10. Chocolate is amazing!
Need we say more?
Gene Wilder (1933 - 2016)
R.I.P Gene Wilder. You will always be the one and only Willy Wonka.
Thank you for helping shape our childhood.
"If there's a heaven, he has a golden ticket" - Jim Carrey.