Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

  • Directors: Ken Hughes
  • Producers: Albert R Broccoli, Stanley Sopel
  • Writers: Roald Dahl, Ken Hughes, Richard Maibaum
  • Genres: Family, Comedy, Musical, Fantasy
  • Actors: Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes, Adrian Hall, Heather Ripley, Lionel Jeffries

The time is the 1910s. Jeremy and Jemima Potts are playing in a wrecked car in Mr. Coggins’ junkyard. The wreck, Coggins explains to a potential customer, was a winning Grand Prix race car until it crashed. The customer is only interested in it for salvage, but Coggins accepts his offer, much to the children’s dismay.

On the way home, the children meet the beautiful Truly, who demands to know why they are not in school. They take her home to their windmill, where she is introduced to their eccentric father, Caractacus Potts—who is about to make an attempt to fly—and the equally eccentric Grandpa Potts, who, resplendent in soldiers’ uniform, explains that he is going to India for “a cup of tea with the Maharaja”, before disappearing into the outhouse at the end of the garden. Truly shows interest in Caractacus’ odd inventions, but he is affronted by her attempts to tell him that his children should be in school. Angrily, she leaves.

The children tell Caractacus about the car, and he promises to try and get it, although he can’t afford to outbid the scrap man. Edison, the family dog, discovers that the supposedly useless “sweets with holes in”, made by Caractacus, can whistle. Caractacus goes to a local sweet factory the next day, and attempts to show his new candy to Lord Scrumptious, who turns out to be Truly’s father. He initially refuses to look at the sweets, but eventually gives in, and finds he likes them. However, the whistling attracts every dog in the village, and they ruin the factory’s confectionery, and Lord Scrumptious throws Caractacus out.

Back at the seaside, Jeremy and Jemima finish the story themselves: “And Daddy and Truly were married!” “And lived happily ever after!” When Truly asks, “Is that how the story ends?” Caractacus is evasive, and later tries to “apologize” for the children’s ending by saying “It’s ridiculus for the children to say that”. Truly, feeling rebuffed, storms off. The Potts arrive home to find Lord Scrumptious waiting with wonderful news: he has decided to market the whistling sweets Caractacus invented to dogs. Now assured of riches, Caractacus is about to sign the contract, but dashes off in Chitty to tell Truly the news. He runs her off the road yet again, carries her from the car, and they decide to be married after all. As they drive off together in Chitty, the car takes to the air again, this time without wings.

Willy Wonka the Chocolate Factory

  • Directors: Mel Stuart
  • Producers: David L Wolper, Stan Margulies
  • Writers: Roald Dahl, David Seltzer
  • Genres: Family, Musical, Fantasy, Comedy
  • Actors: Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson, Peter Ostrum

Charlie Bucket is a poor boy living with his widowed mother and four bedridden grandparents in a tiny house. Charlie supplements the meager family income by delivering newspapers after school. The family, along with the rest of the world, learns that the chocolate maker, Mr Willy Wonka, has hidden five Golden Tickets amongst his Wonka Bars. The finders of these special tickets will be given a full tour of his world-renowned but tightly-guarded candy factory, as well as a lifetime supply of chocolate. Charlie wants to take part in the search, but cannot afford to buy vast quantities of chocolate like most other participants. Soon, four of the tickets are found by, respectively, Augustus Gloop, a gluttonous German boy; Veruca Salt, a spoiled British girl; Violet Beauregarde, a gum-chomping American girl; and Mike Teevee, a television-obsessed American boy. As they find their tickets, a sinister-looking man is observed whispering something in their ears, to which they listen attentively despite their preoccupations with their particular obsessions. Charlie’s hopes are dashed when news breaks out that the final ticket has been found by a Paraguayan millionaire.

The next day, as the Golden Ticket craze dies down, Charlie finds a silver coin in a gutter and uses it to buy a Wonka Bar. Simultaneously, word spreads that the ticket found by the millionaire was forged. When Charlie opens the bar, he finds the true final ticket inside, and races home to tell his family. He is stopped along the way by the same man who had been seen silently talking to the other four winners. The man introduces himself as Arthur Slugworth, a rival confectioner who attempts to pay Charlie for a sample of Wonka’s latest creation, the Everlasting Gobstopper.

Wonka, Charlie and Grandpa Joe enter the “Wonkavator”, a multidirectional glass elevator, and fly out of the factory in it. As they soar over the village, Wonka tells Charlie that his actual prize is not a lifetime chocolate supply, per se, but the factory itself, as the Golden Ticket search was conceived to help Wonka search for an honest and worthy child to be the heir to his chocolate empire. Charlie and his family will reside in the factory, and eventually take over its operation when he retires. The film ends with the Wonkavator sailing off into the sky.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

  • Directors: Tim Burton
  • Producers: Brad Grey, Richard D Zanuck
  • Writers: Novel, Roald Dahl, Screenplay, John August
  • Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Freddie Highmore, Johnny Depp, David Kelly, Helena Bonham Carter, Noah Taylor, Missi Pyle, James Fox, Jordan Fry, Deep Roy, Christopher Lee, AnnaSophia Robb, Liz Smith, David Morris, Eileen Essell

In a chocolate factory, a purple-gloved hand (Willy Wonka) places five Golden Tickets randomly among hundreds of thousands of Wonka Bars on a conveyor belt, which are then boxed and shipped across the world. Near the factory, Charlie Bucket lives in a small, dilapidated house with his parents and four grandparents. Mr. Bucket provides the only family income by screwing caps on toothpaste tubes at a nearby plant, and family meals consist only of watered-down cabbage soup.

Charlie has long been enthralled with Wonka and his chocolate, so much that he has built a scale replica of his factory entirely out of defective toothpaste caps sneaked home by Mr. Bucket. Grandpa Joe tells Charlie about the time he worked for Wonka, and how Wonka was commissioned by an Indian prince named Prince Pondicherry to build a palace entirely out of chocolate, which promptly melted in the boiling sun after he ignored Wonka’s advice to eat it. Plans to rebuild it were curtailed, however, due to problems concerning spies amid Wonka’s staff, who stole his secret recipes and sold them to other candy makers. As a result, Wonka made all his workers redundant and shut down the factory, which later inexplicably reopened despite no new workers being hired.

As his family is the most important thing in his life, Charlie refuses Wonka’s offer. His family is living contently a while later, as his father gets a new job at the factory maintaining the machine that had originally replaced him. However, Wonka is too depressed to make candy the way he used to, and turns to Charlie for advice. Charlie decides to help Wonka confront and reconcile with his estranged father; Wonka finally realizes the value of family, while his father learns to accept his son for who he is, and not what he does. In the end, Charlie has the chocolate factory, and Wonka has patched up with his family.

Fantastic Mr Fox

  • Directors: Wes Anderson
  • Producers: Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Allison Abbate, Steven Rales
  • Writers: Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach, Roald Dahl
  • Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy
  • Actors: George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Anjelica Huston, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Meryl Streep

A clever fox (Clooney) constantly outwits three evil farmers who are angry with him for eating their produce.