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. 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. 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.
Dahl, who had rights to the film production, unsuccessfully pushed for Spike Milligan to play Willy Wonka. His next choice, Ron Moody, rejected the part. Jon Pertwee also turned down the role due to ongoing commitments to Doctor Who. Auditions were held for a week in New York City’s Plaza Hotel, where Gene Wilder was immediately awarded the role. Wilder said that he would do the film only if Wonka first appeared on-screen coming out of the factory hobbling with a cane, only to then lose it and do a somersault.
Roald Dahl disowned the film, the script of which was rewritten by David Seltzer after Dahl failed to meet deadlines. Dahl said he was “disappointed” because “he thought it placed too much emphasis on Willy Wonka and not enough on Charlie,” as well as the non-casting of Milligan. He was also “infuriated” by the deviations in the plot Seltzer devised in his draft of the screenplay, including the conversion of Slugworth into a spy and the “fizzy lifting drinks” scene.
Charlie Bucket, a poor boy who is barely able to support his family, is fortunate to be chosen as one of the 5 people to go inside the most popular and powerful chocolate factory in the world: The Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory. But a stranger, named Arthur Slugworth, tempts the kids to steal a piece of candy and give it to him. In exchange, he will make them rich. Willy Wonka, soon introduces them to the factory, and starts the grand tour around the factory. Once inside, the 5 winners start to run amuck. One by one, the 5 kids start to disappear, until it is only Charlie that remains. At this point, Wonka starts to ignore Charlie, and then tells him why: because Charlie and Grandpa Joe, drank some forbidden product without permission. Will Charlie turn against Wonka? Or will he discover that he was wrong and make up what he has done?