This week Hollywood lost one of its most beloved entertainers, as the great Gene Wilder died aged 83. Let’s take a stroll through his 5 best moments as the character that defined his career: Willy Wonka in 1971’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory!
5. HAPPILY EVER AFTER
As Wonka, Charlie and Grandpa Joe float away in the Great Glass Elevator, Wilder’s Wonka tells the young boy a wonderful secret.
4. WONKA’S WELCOME
As the 5 lucky children first encounter their mysterious patron, Wonka’s stumbling, injured presence surprised them. Wilder reportedly demanded this moment be included in order to appear in the film. We’re glad he did.
3. “GOOD DAY, SIR!”
Wilder shows his ability for acting range (and fear-inducing rage) as he attacks Charlie and Grandpa Joe for stealing the Fizzy Lifting Drinks. Of course, he’s merely testing Charlie’s honesty in the face of fury.
2. PURE IMAGINATION
The moment used the most in recent days in tribute to Wilder is his show-stopping rendition of the Anthony Newley-penned “Pure Imagination” as the children first enter the Chocolate Factory.
1. WONKA’S TUNNEL OF TERROR
The film’s most unique/unforgettable/terrifying moment comes as Wonka invites his visitors to a psychedelic boat ride that scarred every child who saw this film. Wilder is at his absolute finest, aided by some extraordinary visuals.