Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: The Film That… Set My Traditions

Kettlemag, Film, Willy Wonka, Chocolate Factory, Francesca Poggi
Written by Franny

The power of cinema lies in the effects films have on people. Films can make you cry, laugh, alter your opinions, influence you, be representative of a milestone in your life and can even change your life. Our new weekly film column, ‘The Film That…’, explores the impacts of cinema on people. This week, Francesca Poggi explains why Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is the film that helped set her traditions.

“Up the airy mountain, down the rushy glen, we daren’t go a-hunting for fear of little men; You see, nobody ever goes in…nobody ever comes out…”

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a 1971 musical fantasy film and an adaptation of the 1964 novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. It tells the story of Charlie Bucket as he receives a Golden Ticket and visits Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory with four other children from around the world.

I’ve loved this movie since I was little. The idea of giving children a chance to experience something so magical always fascinated me, probably because I was a child myself back then. Of course, at that time all I was interested in was the music, all the colourful things that you could eat and the Oompa-Loompas. I didn’t notice the strong themes behind this family movie… Well, not until I was old enough to understand.

However, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is very dear to me for a different reason. I’ve never understood why, but this has always been a movie that I would only see over the Christmas holidays, and that has created an affectionate bond that I am truly glad I got to experience. Every year I would anxiously look forward to the holidays so that I could watch my favourite movie and experience that magic and joy that only that movie could make me experience.

The introduction of DVDSs has made my life a lot easier, as I now own two different versions—one from Italy and one from UK—and I can watch my favourite movie as many times as I want—and being 35, I have lost count of how much that is, haha. 

I know, some people may think “If you can watch it all the time then it’s not so special anymore”. Well, maybe for someone else, but not me. I could literally watch it 364 times—one for each day of the year—but on THAT single day, Christmas Day, Willy Wonka has and will always have a special meaning and get me emotional like I wouldn’t be the rest of the year otherwise. I would get all cosied up on the couch, under a blanket with my reindeer socks on and cup of tea in hand, feel the warmth spread to my heart because of the special meaning this movie has for me.

Unintentionally, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory has initiated a tradition that I will carry on forever, and it’s a tradition I will enjoy passing onto my future children.