Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 2005 and 1971: Explaining the differences


Roald Dahl’s children’s book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” has been filmed twice. So when it comes to “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” from 2005 and 1971, which one was better? The 1971 version with Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka is now considered a classic, but Tim Burton’s 2005 film also offered an interesting interpretation of this world — and here’s how his version compares to the first film. Roald Dahl is best known and remembered for his children’s books, in which there is some gloom, a peculiar sense of humor, and in which adults played the role of villains. Many of his works have been adapted for the big screen over the years, most notably Matilda, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Witches.

One of his most famous works is the 1964 novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which has been adapted for various media over the years, although the most memorable of them are his film versions. In 1971, the musical film “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” directed by Mel Stewart with Gene Wilder in the role of the eccentric pastry chef Willy Wonka was released. The film was well received by critics and is now considered a classic, and Wilder’s game was widely praised.

Another version appeared in 2005 with Tim Burton as director and frequent collaborator Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka. Although this is not a remake per se, but rather an adaptation of the book, viewers could not help but compare both versions, especially the performances of Wilder and Depp. Tim Burton’s film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a critical and financial success, and although both films have their strengths and are interesting in their own way, there are many differences between them. That’s the difference between “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” in 2005 and 1971.

Willy Wonka in the original Tim Burton film and remake

Willy Wonka is the founder of the Wonka Candy Company and owner of the Wonka chocolate factory, as well as the main character (along with Charlie Bucket) of the novels “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Charlie and the Big Glass Elevator”. Wonka’s reputation as a pastry chef is unlike any other, as he is known for creating truly unique candies that represent a whole experience, not just a sweet. In the book, he is described as a man in a black top hat, purple jacket, silver gloves, bottle-green pants and with a cane. He’s older than he looks, and he has gray hair. He is brash, nervous, hyperactive and frivolous, so much so that he sometimes danced while moving from one room to another.

Both widescreen versions of Willy Wonka differ from the book version, but retain some characteristics. Wilder Wonka’s portrayal is eccentric and more subtle, but it also has a lot of anger and at times an evil touch. On the other hand, Depp’s game is excessive and looks like a child, which is funny when you see how much Wonka doesn’t like children. Depp’s version also has an evil side, and since he is not as sophisticated as Wilder, most viewers perceive him as a psychotic version of the character, although they both have this quality – it’s just portrayed differently. Depp is also more tragic because he has a backstory that explains (at least in part) why he behaves this way and not otherwise, and why he dislikes children and families in general. Thus, if we compare “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” in 2005 and 1971, then the 2005 version of Willy Wonka is closer to the book.


The oompa-loompas are little people who live and work at the Wonka factory. In early editions of the novel, they were described as African pygmies, but were changed to light-skinned and golden-haired, and their homeland became Lumpaland. When Willy Wonka found them, they were living in tree huts, fleeing from various creatures, and struggling to get food. They ate caterpillar puree, which tasted terrible, and rubbed them with other things like eucalyptus leaves or beetles to make them taste better, but what they really wanted was cocoa beans. To help them, Wonka offered them to work for him and live in a factory where he would pay them with cocoa beans, and they could also eat as much chocolate as they wanted.

Each film had its own version of the oompa-loompa: in the 1971 version, they were orange-skinned, with green hair, wore brown shirts with striped wrists and collars, and baggy pants similar to leather pants (unlike the book, where they insisted on preserving their native clothes: animal skins for men, leaves for women and nothing for children). They were all played by different actors, whereas in Burton’s version they were played by Deep Roy from Star Trek 4, who also played an oompa-loompa woman, Doris. In this film, the oompa-loompas wore uniforms of different colors depending on the field in which they worked.