8 Big Differences Between Roald Dahl's Charlie And The Chocolate Factory And The 1971 Movie
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a timeless classic movie. Many love it because of the imaginative way it teaches many vital lessons to children, such as selflessness, perseverance, and moderation. It’s one of the best children’s movies of all time. Roald Dahl's original book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory may be even more beloved. There are small differences between the book and the movie, but it’s those differences that give each version character.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a pretty faithful adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The film’s director, Mel Stuart didn't stray far from Roald Dahl’s vision. Dahl being part of writing the screenplay also probably helped it stay so true to the original book.
It’s one of the best film adaptations. Even with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory using much of the story from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, there are some key differences between the book and the movie.
Let’s discuss some of the major differences between Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — besides the name of course.
Warning Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory spoilers ahead. Proceed with caution.
Charlie’s Father Is Alive In The Book
Orphans or children with one parent is a trend in many books, shows, and movies, especially involving some sort of magic or hero’s journey. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Charlie’s (Peter Ostrum) father died in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. However, in the book, he has both of his parents.
His father is a minor character in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory but he plays a role in a few key scenes. For one, Charlie’s mother (Diana Sowle) suggests his father go along with Grandpa Joe (Jack Albertson) and Charlie to Wonka’s factory. He declines to let Charlie and Grandpa Joe make it their thing.
I assume that Charlie’s father is dead in the movie because it makes Charlie even more of a sympathetic main character, and his father doesn’t have that big of a role in the book.
Charlie also doesn’t work in the book because his father is around to work.
The Discovery Of The Golden Ticket Happens A Little Differently In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Another part of the book that Charlie’s father plays a major role in is Charlie finding the golden ticket. In the book and movie, it takes four tries to find the golden ticket. All the ways that he obtains the chocolate bars in the book and movie are the same (birthday, grandpa, and finding money), but why he gets the last set of bars is slightly different in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Mr. Bucket, Charlie’s father, has been laid off at the toothpaste factory where he works. He hasn’t found a new job. Therefore, the already broke family is now really struggling. They are at the point of starvation.
In Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie gives up on his ticket dream because of the fake golden ticket winner. However, in the book, it's revealed as fraud long before Charlie finds the final ticket. Nevertheless, the family is starving so much that they have forgotten all about the contest. Charlie finds the money and buys the chocolate because he’s so hungry.
He then buys a second one to eat (not give to Grandpa Joe). It just happens to be the bar with the golden ticket. The starvation element really makes this a moment of triumph in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, because it’s a much-needed win for the family.
Arthur Slugworth Only Appears In Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory And Not In The Book
Mr. Slugworth is mentioned a few times in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He’s simply one of Wonka’s (Gene Wilder) main candy-making rivals. He also has stolen ideas from Wonka in the past by hiring spies to work for Wonka. He doesn’t have an actual appearance in the book.
However, in the movie, we know that he is not Arthur Slugworth, but an employee of Wonka’s in the film and not his candy-making rival.
The Oompa Loompa Songs Are A Lot Darker In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
In Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Oompa Loompas sing after each child experiences some turmoil. The tones of the songs have major differences between the book and the movie.
The Oompa Loompas songs in the movie are almost lessons to the viewers on why they shouldn’t act like these kids. In the book, they’re more sinister. Basically, they explain why the children — and some of their parents — each deserve what happens to them. They also hint towards really terrible outcomes for the children, such as being flattened into fudge and not surviving the juicing.
Veruca Salt Tries To Take A Squirrel In The Book
In Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Veruca falls down a garbage shaft after trying to take a goose that lays golden chocolate eggs. In the book, she tries to take one of the hundred squirrels who sort through nuts and pick walnuts out of the shells.
Veruca enters a room that she shouldn’t and the squirrels attack. They then throw Veruca and her parents down the garbage shaft to essentially burn.
The scene in the book is a lot more frightening to imagine, and logistically it could have been a nightmare. The film had other behind-the-scenes things to worry about, they didn’t need to figure out that squirrel scene too, especially when special effects weren’t what they are today.
If the scene played out as it did in the book, then children may have developed a lifelong fear of squirrels.
The Fizzy Lifting Drink Scene Only Exists In Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Wonka mentions the Fizzy Lifting Drink room but they never enter it in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. They definitely don’t drink it and almost lose the factory because of it. Wonka, however, does share a story of an unfortunate Oompa Loompa who refuses to burp and floats away to never be seen again.
Grandpa Joe doesn’t do anything as reckless as nearly causing his grandson to float away in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
They follow the rules in the book.
Charlie Doesn’t Have To Pass Additional Tests To Win The Factory In The Book
Charlie having to prove himself to win the factory is one of the things that doesn’t make sense in the movie. Everything about Charlie’s character and behavior proves he’s worthy of the factory. This is why it makes more sense that Wonka gives Charlie the factory as basically the sole survivor.
After all the other children and their parents have left, Wonka just rewards Charlie with the factory. There are no secret additional tests like in the movie and there are no wild theories made because of them.
Things are kept simple. Charlie is the best child, he gets the factory.
The Children Are Seen Again In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a scary movie for a child. There are implications that Wonka may be killing these children. Towards the end of the film, he reassures Charlie, Grandpa Joe, and the viewers that the children will be fine and back to normal — just maybe a little emotionally changed for the better because of this experience.
However, can we really trust that maniac Wonka? Especially since we never see any of the children again.
In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, before the glass elevator goes off to pick up Charlie’s family, Charlie, Wonka, and Grandpa Joe see each child and their parents again. They all survive.
However, they also have almost all been physically altered. The only people who haven’t are the Salt family. They are just covered in trash. As a consolation prize, all the children still get their big supply of Wonka candy.
I’m sure some would prefer to not be physically altered but I guess they got candy so it cancels it all out?
The story of Wonka continues with an upcoming prequel. In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as a Wonka superfan, Grandpa Joe gives Charlie some stories about the legend of Wonka. It will be interesting to see if they make it into this new movie.
Taika Waititi is also working on a few upcoming Willy Wonka projects, so it’ll be interesting to see if he stays closer to the source material or creates his own stories within this world.
Rent or buy Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on Amazon.