Parents' Guide to

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

By Ed Grant, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Pure, sweet imagination for both kids and adults.

Movie G 1971 98 minutes
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 6+

Based on 26 parent reviews

age 7+

A Candy Classic Like No Other

Excellent film! Really brings the idea of a candy factory to life by drawing on every childhood dream! The overall story tells kids that too much of anything is not a good thing but that things are good in moderation. It also tells that good things can happen to good people, which is always a great message. There is one section that may be a bit scary for younger viewers - when the contest winners go into the Wonder Boat and it heads into a dark tunnel. However, as long as the little ones are prepared for it, they should be a-ok. Love the colors, the music and the acting! Gene Wilder is the best, and plays the Willy Wonka I imagined when I read the book!

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
2 people found this helpful.
age 14+

Can be traumatizing to young children

It is a classic movie and has some wonderful parts, but parents should watch the unedited version of the canal ride and the events involving the children in the factory before showing it to young children.
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (26):
Kids say (112):

Unlike the kind of children's movie that fizzles out, this film actually gets better as it goes along. Unfortunately, scripter Roald Dahl (adapting his book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) devotes nearly the first half of the film to the golden-ticket contest. Though containing a few choice moments (and the hit song "The Candy Man"), this section of the film pales in comparison to the second half, in which Wonka leads us through "a world of pure imagination." The eccentric inventor assumes center stage and the travelers are for the most part creepy, self-centered souls who learn by being punished, not rewarded.

The role of Wonka makes terrific use of Wilder's playfulness and manic energy. Though the film's candy-colored sets may seem a bit primitive when compared to today's computer-generated special effects, it does indeed stand the test of time. Preschoolers will be dazzled by the film's bright color-scheme and broadly-drawn characters but may be frightened by a few scary moments; 5-to 8-year-olds will comprehend the film's message, and respond to the memorable songs and snappy dialogue, but older kids and preteens are this film's ideal audience.

Movie Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate