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Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a 1971 musical film adaptation of the 1964 novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, directed by Mel Stuart, and starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. The film tells the story of Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum in his only film appearance) as he receives a golden ticket and visits Willy Wonka's chocolate factory with four other children--follow golden ticket winners.
Filming took place in Munich in 1970, and the film was released on June 30, 1971. It received positive reviews, but it was a box office disappointment despite recouping its budget. However, it developed into a cult film due to its repeated television airings and home video sales.
In 1972, the film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score. The idea for adapting the book into a film came about when director Mel Stuart's 10-year-old daughter read the book and asked her father to make a film out of it, with "Uncle Dave" (producer David L. Wolper) producing it. Stuart showed the book to Wolper, who happened to be in the midst of talks with the Quaker Oats Company regarding a vehicle to introduce a new candy bar from their Chicago-based Breaker Confections subsidiary (since renamed the Willy Wonka Candy Company and sold to Nestle).
Wolper convinced the company, who had no previous experience in the film industry, to buy the rights to the book and finance the picture for the purpose of promoting a new Quaker Oats Wonka Bar. It was agreed that the film would be a children's musical, and that Dahl himself would write the screenplay. However, the title was changed to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in order to promote the candy tie-in.
Screenwriter David Seltzer conceived a gimmick exclusively for the film that had Wonka quoting numerous literary sources, such as Arthur O'Shaughnessy's Ode, Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice.
Seltzer also worked Slugworth (only mentioned as a rival candy maker in the book) into the plot as an actual character.