This post is one of the ten in Vibrant Homeschooling’s Fabulous Family Movie Nights series. Click here to see the other movies featured and be inspired to plan an interactive learning experience through movies with your family this summer!
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a childhood classic. This movie, released in 1971, is about a reclusive candy maker (Willy Wonka) who decides to hold a contest to win a tour of his never-seen-before chocolate factory. Wonka decides to place 5 golden tickets within one of his famous candy bars–and whomever finds them wins the chance to tour his factory and a lifetime supply of his famous chocolate. Part of the storyline focuses on the life of Charlie, a poor young boy who wants nothing more to win the chance to tour this factory, but he doesn’t think he has a chance due to the fact that he doesn’t have the money to buy any candy bars. As a wonderful turn of fate, Charlie ends up finding one of the golden tickets along with four other children from across the world. Once inside the factory, it is Charlie’s integrity that allows him to win the final prize, once and for all.
You can find a no-nonsense review of this movie on Common Sense Media.
My Thoughts on the Movie
I remember the first time I saw the film and I was drawn into the story because I could relate to the poverty aspect of the young boy Charlie’s life. I found the character quite relate-able and the storyline quite whimsical. I also learned a lot about how far integrity will take you even when it seems like you can never get ahead. That being said, as a parent I did look at the movie a little more closely than my parents had before showing it to our oldest child (who is now 14) when she was 7.
One thing I really think most children will enjoy about the movie is the imagination inside of the chocolate factory. Most children I know like candy (I know not all do, but let’s be honest, most do) so it is likely your children will be fascinated by the various ways that Willy Wonka makes his world-famous candies. Another great thing about the movie is the simple fact that the underdog wins. I mean who doesn’t want the underdog to win?
The concerns that I had as a parent were primarily the attitudes of some of the children (not Charlie) who were on the tour, particularly their disrespectful attitudes towards their parents and others. I felt that our daughter didn’t need to see it until she had a solid understanding of how she was to respect her parents and those in authority before she could be exposed to such raw characters. But I will say this, once she was ready, she was ready. And the same is true for our two sons, when they were at the age they had that solid understanding, they took away some great character building concepts.
I also found that there were some pretty dramatic, yet comical, assertions about “bad parenting” in the movie as well. From the Oompa Loompa (small men working inside the factory) songs to the depth of some of the character flaws in the other four children touring the factory, there is an overall theme that most parents striving to raise God-honoring children can appreciate.
Family Movie Night Conversation Starters
Here are some conversation starters you could have with your children after watching Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory:
1. What are some things that Charlie did that honored his mother and father?
2. What were some consequences that Veruca Salt faced as a result of her disrespectful behavior towards her dad and Willy Wonka?
3. How do you think that God feels when we dishonor our parents?
4. Who was your favorite character? Why?
5. Who was your least favorite character? Why?
More Willy Wonka Fun For Families
Of course one of the most fun ways that we have connected as a family over the Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory movie is by reading it aloud! This amazing book is a family classic told by the amazing storyteller Roald Dahl.
I hope that you’re family will have a wonderful time together watching Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and incorporating some of the fun ideas above!
Since each family makes their own determination about which media content is suitable for their individual family members, parents are advised to preview the movie themselves before watching. Some movies may have content not suitable for the youngest audiences. Neither Vibrant Homeschooling or guest authors in the series will be held responsible for content that your family may or may not deem appropriate in these movies.