In Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the 1971 musical), Wonka systematically removed the children from the competition as they each did something horrible that reflected their personalities.

Charlie, the protagonist, drinks some fizzy lifting drink and almost gets killed in a turbine.

At the end, after all the children are removed, Charlie and his grandpa are the only ones left, but it's then when Wonka reveals that he knows Charlie broke the rules.

Why did he wait till everyone else was gone? Why didn't he remove Charlie right after the incident like the other children?

  • 1
    Can you be specific about which telling of the story you're asking about? I'm quite sure this is taken from one of the movies and wasn't in the book, but I could be mistaken. Apr 17, 2012 at 3:55
  • 4
    This is clearly from the '70s movie, since it's the only one with said Fizzy Lifting Drinks scene. (One of the reasons Dahl disowned the film.)
    – Toomai
    Apr 17, 2012 at 4:02
  • 5
    There is only 1 movie called Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory. And no books have that name. Apr 17, 2012 at 4:04

6 Answers 6


I can think of two things:

  • Mr. Wonka wanted Charlie to win. He heard that this poor kid on the verge of starvation for himself and his family had, after opening only 3 or 4 bars (can't remember whether the movie is faithful to the book in this regard), found one of the Golden Tickets. If I were looking for someone who would truly appreciate the gift, it wouldn't be Veruca, who would see it as no more than she deserved, or Mike who would let the company go bust watching TV, or Augustus who would eat the company into bankruptcy. Violet, she's a bit prideful and would have been a second choice, but Charlie was the front-runner and so Wonka would have been willing to forgive.
  • Second, and more likely, the Fizzy Lifting Drinks weren't the test. The test was the Gobstopper. Ten thousand pounds (or dollars) was a lot of money in the seventies, and for someone for whom a ten-cent Wonka bar is a luxury that is a HUGE temptation. Remember that the children and Mr. Wonka all represent a deadly sin (lust is absent; in a children's book that's understandable), and Charlie's is envy. Had Charlie and Grandpa not drunk the Fizzy Lifting Drinks, I'm sure Mr Wonka would have invented some other rule to put Charlie on the spot to get him to exhibit the good heart that Mr. Wonka is looking for.
  • 1
    I say it's just for Charlie. We don't know for sure if Mr. Wilkinson (Slugworth) made the same offer to all the children, though it is inferred by the shot of Violet's crossing her fingers behind her back. There were other more overt tests to trip up the other children; Charlie's test was subtler.
    – KeithS
    Apr 17, 2012 at 15:31
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    In the original film, I recall seeing Slugworth in at least some of the videos when the other children were being interviewed.
    – phantom42
    Apr 17, 2012 at 15:56
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    Mr. Wonka is Wrath. Mike TeeVee is Sloth, Veruca Salt is Greed, Violet Beauregarde is Pride, Augustus of course is Gluttony, and Charlie himself is Envy.
    – KeithS
    Mar 25, 2013 at 14:43
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    I would say the gobstopper was the FINAL test for all of them; Charlie was simply the only one to get that far without failing due to severe character flaws. He made mistakes, but his weren't so poisonous as to render him clearly unsuitable as the other children's were.
    – K-H-W
    Nov 16, 2013 at 0:03
  • 3
    @Plutor That was addressed in the answer itself.
    – Ryan Reich
    Jun 20, 2014 at 15:29

I can think of a number of reasons, none of which are addressed solely in the movie universe:

  • Because he couldn't have awarded Charlie the factory if he'd already kicked him out. After all, this is how the book ends so the addition of a new scene should not affect the ending greatly without correspondingly reducing the popularity of the film amongst the book's fans.
  • Willy Wonka is not adverse to playing favourites so it's not unreasonable to assume that he had already decided on Charlie when reviewing the selection before him, thus applying special rules to him.
  • Charlie's was the only error that did not either result in the child leaving the group themselves (Augustus, Veruca) or require immediate action to protect them (dejuicing of Violet, stretching of Mike). As such, he wasn't removed immediately.

If you're looking for an unbiased in-universe example, the last is a viable explanation. Personally I would attribute it to the second, but I'm drawing from the books for that conclusion with regards to a movie-only addition so there's obviously some extrapolation occurring there. The first is probably the out-of-universe real reason.

  • 3
    I like this interpretation! A possible refinement: "of all the children getting into trouble, Charlie's the only one who was capable of getting out of trouble on his own."
    – Standback
    Apr 17, 2012 at 7:56
  • 6
    @Standback - Alternately, he's the last man standing in Wonka's tour of terror...
    – Dan Ray
    Apr 17, 2012 at 12:35
  • The last is the one I was thinking, the others weren't kicked out so much as rendered unable to go on by their own greed.
    – Kevin
    Apr 17, 2012 at 15:41

Being that the movie was so different from the books, this question is a bit difficult to answer without at least -some- amount of speculation.

Some factual points to consider related to why Charlie's reprimand and 'punishment' came later (from the angle that possibly, their misdeeds weren't as severe as the other children's):

Charlie and Grandpa Joe consuming the Fizzy Lifting Drinks was based on curiosity alone

They were clearly taken and in awe by the idea of Fizzy Lifting Drinks (if the acting in the movie was any indication) and Grandpa Joe basically said, "A little sip won't hurt."

They didn't consume whole bottles between them but rather, did exactly as Grandpa Joe said - they took a sip and then everything started happening.

The possible consequence was dire - the whirring fan could have cut them to ribbons. Unlike the other children, however, Charlie and Grandpa Joe realized the consequences of their actions (curiosity almost kills the cats) and experienced remorse/guilt almost as soon as it happened. Additionally, again unlike the other children, they discovered a way out of the situation on their own - by burping.

On the other hand, the other children's intents in what they did were far less innocent. The consequences that came were therefore more severe and required the aid of the Oompa Loompas to get them back out.

Augustus Gloop was told to not drink from the chocolate river but did so anyways. He got sucked up and stuck in a pipe and sent to another part of the factory and the Oompa Loompas had to get him out.

Veruca Salt was told that she couldn't have a golden goose but proceeded to harass them and Mr. Wonka and demand one anyways. She stood herself on the scale that weighed for good and bad eggs and she was definitely a 'bad' egg and was thus sent down to the garbage chute. Again, Oompa Loompas had to get her back out.

Violet Beauregarde was told she couldn't eat the gum but she did anyways and was told to STOP once she started and she still didn't. She COULD have saved herself but didn't because she wouldn't listen to the second warning and again, she needed the Oompa Loompas to help her through.

Mike Teevee was told he couldn't use the Wonka Vision and like the rest of the kids, he, too ran in headfirst without any notions of the consequences and he simply 'punched it' himself and made himself travel through Wonka Vision. He shrunk and so had to be taken care of by the Ooompa Loompas, too.


Mr. Wonka needs an heir who will NOT ONLY listen to his advice... BUT TO ALSO continue his trend of creating and inventing wonderful candies and confections and THAT means he needs an heir who can innovate.

Charlie and his Grandpa Joe's curiosity could be seen as a sign of future innovation and unlike the other children, he exhibited more self control and an awareness of and appreciation of the dangers/consequences involved as a result of his curiosity. Additionally, he proved that he could creatively problem solve. Unlike the other children who ended up needing Oompa Loompas to get them out of their pickles, he and his grandpa were able to get themselves out of the situation with a little help from a matter of course (so much fizziness is bound to find its way out one way or another).

I would say that the movie portrayed both Charlie and Grandpa Joe as having matured a bit from their experience and when confronted by Mr. Wonka, Charlie seemed not only genuinely remorseful of what he had done, but he also returned the Everlasting Gobstopper to Mr. Wonka.


A possibility is this:

Mr. Wonka in his anger said, "You get NOTHING! You LOSE!"

Because he's Charlie Bucket and because he was willing to play by the rules (aside from the fact that curiosity got to the better of him), he was willing to accept that consequence - that he wouldn't go home with even an Everlasting Gobstopper as it was all or nothing.

And another possibility is this:

Charlie Bucket idolized Mr. Wonka and though his curiosity got to the better of him, he really respected the chocolatier and - at least in the books - he considered him a friend.

Knowing that Slugworth and his men were possibly going to try and re-negotiate with him re: Gobstopper (he was approached by the man in the hat when he got the ticket to make a deal... which he refused after speaking with his family who shared his same values), I would say that it wouldn't be unreasonable to suppose that Charlie might have simply given up the Gobstopper just simply BECAUSE he had no interest in capitalizing on his experience at the factory AT ALL.

Especially in the face of Grandpa Joe finally talking about giving the Gobstopper away to Slugworth after all, it was a way for Charlie to show Mr. Wonka exactly what kind of a person he was in the face of adversity.

Which leads to:

Basically, the at-the-end reprimand was a last test - of Charlie's TRUE character and motives.

He could have walked out with the Gobstopper and in his anger (like how Grandpa Joe was angry), decided to get revenge by selling the Gobstopper to 'Slugworth'... but he didn't.

For Charlie, he didn't need to win the contest; meeting Mr. Wonka and touring the factory was already enough and he already appreciated it. When reprimanded for something he shouldn't have done, he took it like a big boy and was still the better person in spite of it and when given the suggestion by his grandpa to surrender the Gobstopper to Slugworth to spite Wonka, he instead gave the Gobstopper BACK to Wonka.

Mr. Wonka was clearly impressed and it shows when he said, "So shines a good deed in a weary world."


Wonka himself didn't systematically remove the children. The children removed themselves by disobeying the rules and not listening to Wonka's warnings. Remember for each child except Charlie he didn't just say "no don't do that" but he went on with warning them not to do whatever bad activity they were doing. Granted he wasn't putting much effort into it. Charlie did break the rules just like the other children but he was able to get himself out of trouble as well. That probably impressed Wonka.

The whole golden ticket prize was to help him find a successor. Wonka didn't have it in his mind before hand which kid would get the factory. The real test was his worker Slughorn posing as competition. He shows up to the children and makes the offer for the everlasting gobstopper. It's why Wonka hands one out to each child. Charlie is the only one to return it though and that is why he won.


I see it differently. Wonka saw Charlie ride home each evening as he would pass the factory. He knew Charlie was working to help his family and he swa him as selfless. He also had a dilemma. Who would run the factory after he was gone. To this end he felt like Charlie had 'the right stuff" to do it, but he had to be sure. The whole contest was set up for Charlie. if Charlie would fail and one of the other children won it, they would just get the candy. Only Charlie had the possibility of winning the factory. That's why Wonka apologizes to Charlie for putting him through all of it. He says "He had to be sure". All the tickets were predetermined as evidenced by Slugsworth always being there. And no Winka was not creepy or a stalker. Otherwise he would not have invitied the whole family to live there. Instead he saw a a boy with a great sense of responsibility and a caring for others.

  • This feels more like a fan-theory than an evidenced answer. In the new film, it's certainly lot more clear that there was an algorithm being used to determine the location of the bars (as evidenced by Mike Teevee only buying one bar) but in the original film there are lots of opportunities for Charlie to not win
    – Valorum
    Jun 28, 2020 at 7:13
  • 1
    I'm not sure how this answers the actual question of why Wonka waited until the end to scold them for taking the Fizzy Lifting Drink.
    – F1Krazy
    Jun 28, 2020 at 9:23

The truth that the original poster seeks can only be answered spiritually.

Charlie and Grandpa Joe broke a universal law -fizzy lifting drinks -because by birth they are sinners: All human beings inherited the sinful nature from our parents who got it from theirs all the way back to Adam and Eve who ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They broke the law of God. Charlie broke the law too - it was a law because he signed the contract. For Adam it was a law because God said so.

But we are not saved by the law, only convicted. What can save us?

Faith and only faith can save us. We all have an eternal gobbstoper in our hands. But will we surrender it to God or hold on to it and try to selfishly keep it to ourselves? Our Gobstopper is given to God only when our actions claim that Gods Son Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead in our behalf - thus testifying that what God has done and said is true. Otherwise our actions say God is a liar.

  • 2
    Ok, this is an interesting way to connect the story to religion, Faith and God, however it does not answer the question based in canon. Can you give citations or any indications that this connection was intended by the author?
    – Möoz
    May 25, 2016 at 22:24

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