Willy Wonka is one of the most memorable film characters of all-time. First and most memorably seen on screen in the classic 1971 family film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the unique and entertaining character was brought to life thanks to Gene Wilder's unforgettable performance. The film followed a group of children who were granted access to access a wondrous candy factory by the eccentric Wonka.
Wonka is unnerving, hilarious and incomprehensible all at once. His other-worldly behavior makes for some great one-liners and endless quotable moments from the film. From his life lessons to his strange tangents to his savage put-downs, here are some of Willy Wonka's best quotes.
Strike that. Reserve it.
Wonka is such a compelling and entertaining character because he really doesn't seem to operate in this world. He is constantly preoccupied with a dozen different thoughts and rushes his guests from one place to the other like a madman. With his hectic style, he seems to confuse himself at times.
He declares as the tour is about to get underway that they have "so much time and so little to see" before catching his mistake. He repeats this mistake throughout the film and it's a wonder if he's really this confused or he's messing with the guests.
9 Bright Spot
So shines a good deed in a weary world.
This line is actually a reworked version of a Shakespeare line, but coming from Wonka's mouth, it manages to say a lot about his character. The quote means that even if the world around us doesn't always seem like a particularly good place, when one person is able to achieve something good, it can stand out above the bad.
Wonka has worked his whole life to bring some good into the world. When it comes to moving on, he is dismayed to find that there doesn't seem to be anyone worthy to his place. Then he meets Charlie and his spirit is restored.
8 Shoe Humor
Gives it a little kick.
It can be hard to tell when Wonka is being sincere with the ridiculous things he says and when he's in on the joke. He partly seems to enjoy the idea that everyone around him thinks he's crazy and tells these jokes only for himself.
When showing the tour guests the bizarre process of making his candy, Wonka begins adding random objects into the mix. Most memorable of all is his addition of an old shoe and his fantastic explanation. Who doesn't enjoy a good ridiculous pun?
7 Solid Logic
If the good lord had intended us to walk he wouldn't have invented roller skates
The wise philosopher persona of Wonka seems to be in direct contrast to his rather childlike rationale of the world. When asked why the tour doesn't just continue on foot, Wonka gives this response which almost sounds right until you realize how it's nonsense.
Again, it's hard to say if this is just another way of messing with the kids and displaying his eccentricities, or if he really does believe roller skates were invented by god. Either way, these strange saying somehow make him always seem like the smartest person in the room.
She was a bad egg.
All these years later, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, while still a beloved family film, has a fair bit of dark humor to it. Ignoring the genuinely creepy tunnel sequence, the movie shows young children continuously put in danger by this insane factory owner. But as the kid's keep finding themselves in peril, it's hard not to laugh at Wonka's total lack of interest in their safety.
After the admittedly obnoxious Veruca Salt steps on the egg-testing machine, she is judged correctly and sent where all the other bad eggs go. Wonka's matter-of-fact reaction is a great bit of twisted humor.
Help. Police. Murder.
In the age of the internet, Wonka has become a bit of a icon for the totally uninterested. He is a poster child for those who have to put up with pestering and annoying people. A lot of the humor in the film comes from his total and open dislike for most of the people on his tour. Especially when they find themselves in danger.
Several times in the film, when the children's greed get them in trouble and the parents begin to panic, Wonka gives a totally unenthusiastic cry for help. Wilder nails these moments, making them some of the funniest parts of the movie.
4 Wise Words
A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.
Wonka might not be a person who realistically lives in the real world, but he does represent what many people wish they could be more like. Aside from owning a chocolate factory, Wonka knows not to take things too seriously. He lives in a world of nonsense and, to him, the people who live in normal life are the strange ones.
He is there to inspire people to embrace a bit of the nonsense in life. Wonka seems to think "now and then" means all the time, but the words are still true. Being ridiculous every once in a while can be a good thing.
3 Pressure Builds
The suspense is terrible. I hope it’ll last.
One of the most memorable moments in the film is what happens to poor Augustus Gloop. The plump young man is the first of the children on the tour to make an early exit. After his sweet tooth leads him to getting a bit too close to the chocolate river, Augustus falls in and is soon sucked up by a suction tube.
As the others look on in horror as the poor lad gets stuck in the pipe, Wonka excitedly watches as the pressure continues to build and eventually shoots Augustus out. It's another example of how Wonka is a bit of a madman.
2 Mad Wonka
You lose. Good day, sir.
One of the more shocking moments in the film comes when Wonka abruptly ends the tour with only Charlie left. Wonka's magical persona disappears as he becomes withdrawn and almost depressed. When Charlie's grandfather asks about the prize that was promised, Wonka snaps insisting Charlie broke the rules and loses.
The sudden switch takes the viewer off-guard. Wonka was such an oddball character, to see him suddenly become very serious and enraged is a jolting moment. Wilder delivers the line with such frustration that it makes it all the more rewarding when the happy Wonka returns.
We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of the dreams.
Regardless of the fact that he operates a chocolate factory, Wonka is meant to represent everyone who is willing to think outside the box.
This fantastic quote is his simple response to one of the children commenting on the fact that they've never heard of an everlasting gobstopper before. The fact that it didn't exist before is not a reason for it not to be imagined and dreamed up by some imaginative mind. It is this kind of thinking that makes Wonka an inspirational character. We should all strive to dream big and introduce the world to something they've never heard of before.