Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

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Details At A Glance

Category Family Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1971 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 95:40 minutes Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director Mel Stuart

Warner Home Video
Starring Gene Wilder
Jack Albertson
Peter Ostrom
Roy Kinnear
Julie Dawn Cole
Leonard Stone
Denise Nickerson
Dodo Denney
Paris Themmen
RRP $34.95 Music Leslie Bricusse
Anthony Newley

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9Yes[1].jpg (4536 bytes)
Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s)
Dutch (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision ? Smoking Yes
Subtitles English
English For The Hearing Impaired
Italian For The Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

Plot Synopsis

   I admit to loving this movie. Always have, always will. Call me silly, but there is something about Willy Wonka that I like. It must be the chocolate. Or is it the timeless classic tale of a hopeless child's dreams come true? Must be the chocolate.

    I certainly hope no one needs a description of the plot, but for the record here it is. The mythical chocolate maker extraordinaire, one Mr. Willy Wonka, who reclusively churns out perfect chocolate bars by the gazillions without anyone knowing his secrets, gives five lucky members of the general wretched public a chance to visit his mysterious factory. Young Charlie (Peter Ostrom) wants nothing more from his life, which up until now has been pretty poor given that a good meal for him is some cabbage water, than to be one of these people. Of course, the chances are slim, but amazingly he finds a golden ticket in a Wonka bar and gets to tour the factory with his trusty Granddad. All manner of strange things happen within this factory, and in the end Charlie gets to own the factory, which results in him passing out and then exploding. No, the last bit doesn't happen, but he does get the factory. A classically simple yet thoroughly charming tale.

    It must be said that this is one of Gene Wilder's finest hours, playing Mr Wonka to absolute perfection. A touch of madness, a lot of eccentricity and a lot of warmth, he is the essence of this movie and I can't imagine anyone else playing this part as well as he did. Let's not forget the wise little Ooompa-Loompas, who are amusing and insightful, with a lesson in each song! I have no hesitation in adding this movie to my library!

Transfer Quality


    I was not as pleased with this transfer as I would have liked to have been. It was a bit of a mixed bag, although considering its age, it is not too bad. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. I did note that the odd scene seemed a little cramped, and had this been presented in the correct theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, things may have improved somewhat.

    The image was variably sharp, usually being acceptable, but often quite soft and indistinct. Different scenes suffered in different ways, and effects shots had the hardest time, not really surprisingly given that this is a 30 year old movie. There was little if any edge enhancement, and shadow detail was pretty good. Most scenes had little to no low-level noise, although the poorer scenes did suffer from this problem quite a bit.

    The colours were quite good, although slightly recessed. Skin tones were fairly well rendered, but tended to be a little on the pale side. The colour palette is typical of a movie of this vintage, and is quite acceptable.

    There were no MPEG artefacts which I noticed, and since this is a relatively short movie with no extras, the fact that the disc is only single-layered is of no concern. Film artefacts were quite prominent for the entire movie, occurring regularly and to the point of distraction many times. There were no film-to-video artefacts. Whilst the image is not pristine, it is still perfectly watchable and you should not be too deterred by my comments.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-to-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    This is good! This DVD features a nice Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for the English soundtrack, which is always welcome for an older movie. There are also French and Dutch Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks. The packaging lists an Italian soundtrack which is not present, and also sells itself short by listing the English soundtrack as 2.0! Hmmm, advertising in reverse - this needs to be fixed if possible. I listened to the English soundtrack.

    The dialogue was strained at times, with heavy re-recording quite obvious. It was generally clear enough, although the timbre shifting as a result of the ADR processing was a bit distracting. The lip sync hinted at straying now and again, but never actually became a real problem.

    The wonderful score comes across quite well in this new mix, being fairly wide in the front soundstage, although its tonal quality is dated. Many Foley sounds were panned across from one side to the other, and in this regard the soundtrack was pleasing.

    What does this new 5.1 mix give us? Well, the front soundstage is tidied up by virtue of the centre channel, and the surrounds do indeed have their place, albeit only slight. Often used for ambience, subtle sounds made their way into the rear of the room. The score had very little presence in the surrounds, and should have been more prominent.

    The subwoofer stood in the corner of the room and sulked, not being used at all by this soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The static menu is quite well-themed, with Oompa-Loompas and chocolate bars aplenty for selection, and that's it. There is nothing else in the extras department, which is a shame.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     This would constitute a bare minimum of extras, and our version does not even get these. Why not? Still, not enough to sway me, although some might like the trailer. Since the video quality is not crash hot, I will declare this to be a tie.


    A classic movie, and one of this household's favourites.

    The video is average for a movie of this age, although it does suffer from more artefacts than it should. Still, it is not bad.

    The audio is again average, although it is helped by virtue of it being a 5.1 remix.

    Some extras would have been nice, but this release has none.

Ratings (out of 5)

© Paul Cordingley
4th July 2000 (read my bio)
Review Equipment
DVD Panasonic A360 (S-Video output)
Display Rear-Projection Pioneer SD-T43W1 125cm Widescreen 16x9
Audio Decoder d t s 5.1 & Dolby Digital 5.1 (DVD Player internal decoder)
Amplification Sony STRDE-525 5x100 watts Dolby Pro-Logic / 5.1 Ready Receiver; 4 x Optimus 10-band Graphic EQ
Speakers Centre: Sony SS-CN35 100 watt; Main & Surrounds: Pioneer CS-R390-K 150-watt floorstanders; Subwoofer: Optimus 100-watt passive