Australian Council on Children and the Media

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

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Short takes

Not suitable under 5; parental guidance to 7 (scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
  • a review of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 9 June 2020.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not suitable due to some scary scenes.
Children aged 5–7 Parental guidance recommended due to some scary scenes.
Children aged 8 and over Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: Not Specified
Length 98 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Charlie (Peter Ostrum) is a modest, caring, and hard-working boy, who spends his free time outside of school, working as a paperboy to support his impoverished family. Every day Charlie walks past Willy Wonka's (Gene Wilder) famous Chocolate Factory that produces the world's best candy. In order to protect his recipes, Wonka has not allowed anyone inside the factory for years. Unsurprisingly, Charlie and children all around the whole world get excited when Wonka announces that he has hidden five golden tickets in his chocolate bars, and those five children who find a ticket are invited on a tour inside the factory plus a life-long supply of chocolate. Amazingly, Charlie finds one of the golden tickets, and chooses his grandfather Joe (Jack Albertson) to come along. Inside the factory, eccentric Willy Wonka not only shows his guests how his famous candy is made, but also teaches them some lessons about the importance of being modest, honest, and caring.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Honesty; Modesty; What goes around comes around; Creativity; and Imagination.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • The children who are cheeky, greedy and break Willy Wonka's rules learn a tough lesson about modesty and honesty:
    • food addict Augustus falls into a lake of chocolate and gets sucked up into a pipe leading to the "Fudge Room".
    • disobedient Violet eats an experimental three-course gum and blows up to the shape of a giant blueberry. Wonka explains that she needs to be squeezed or else will explode.
    • spoilt Veruca throws a tantrum and falls into a garbage chute that leads to a furnace.
    • against Wonka's warning, TV-addict Mike steps into Wonka's chocolate teleporting device and gets shrunk to only a few inches tall.
  • Initially, it is not entirely clear what happens with the children above and how they are supposed to survive some of the mishaps – but toward the end of the movie Wonka reassures Charlie that all children will be, "restored to their terrible old selves".

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • There is a dark, scary scene when Wonka is taking his guests on a boat ride on a stream of chocolate: They enter a dark tunnel and they are going really fast, there are flashing lights and scary, creepy projections on the walls, for example of beheaded chickens and worms crawling over someone's face. All along, Wonka is frantically talking, fuelling his guests' fear and disorientation, saying things like, "the danger must be growing!"
  • Mr Slugworth is a creepy character who claims to be Wonka's competitor, and tries to bribe the participating children into stealing something from Wonka's factory. There is a scene where he grabs Charlie and he comes across as threatening. (In the end he turns out to be Wonka's assistant who is hired to test the children’s honesty and loyalty.)
  • Even though Charlie is the only child eventually left at the end of the tour, Wonka gets incredibly angry and violently shouts at him because Charlie too ignored one of his rules and was only lucky to get away. This violent outburst of anger might be scary and disturbing for young children.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

  • None noted.

In a nutshell

Nearly 50 years after its first release, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, a musical fantasy film, is undoubtedly a classic that still has the ingredients to entertain and amuse a family audience. Even though the sets and drops are somewhat dated according to today's standard, they are so creative and packed with attention to detail that they still impress, and the movie's messages are as current and important as ever. Parental guidance for a young audience is warranted due to a couple of scenes that are bit creepy and scary and not suitable for children under 5.

The main messages from this movie are that being kind, modest, and honest will go a long way, and that the consequences of nasty, greedy, and cheeky behaviour will eventually catch up with you.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Honesty
  • Modesty
  • Loyalty
  • Being selfless and looking out for your loved ones.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Getting everything you want and getting spoilt does not mean that you are a happy person (this is a message directed at parents, that parents are responsible for their children’s bad behaviour).
  • Greed, ungratefulness, and selfishness make you unlikeable.
  • Being dishonest will catch up with you.

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