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“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Matilda,” and other Roald Dahl books that were made into popular films

Roald Dahl’s books have captured the hearts of children – and adults – for generations. His imaginative stories have paved the way for many popular films.

You may not even know that some of your favorite films are based on Dahl’s stories. Dahl’s live-action and animated films include the ever-popular “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

These six films were inspired by the characters and plots of British author Dahl.

Author Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl wrote many books that were made into popular films. (Ronald Dumont/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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1. “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”

The book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was published in 1964. This book, about a chocolate maker named Willy Wonka who invites a group of children to his mysterious factory, was made into a film shortly after the book was published.

The first film based on this story, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, was released in 1971 with actor and comedian Gene Wilder in the role of the chocolate maker.

A second film based on the Dahl book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was released in 2005. This time, Golden Globe winner Johnny Depp took on the role.

Willy Wonka star Gene Wilder sits in a chocolate factory.

Many people debate who played Wonka best: Gene Wilder (pictured) or Johnny Depp. (Silver Screen Collection)

“Wonka” was released in 2023 with the American-French actor Timothée Chalamet in the lead role. This film is inspired by the Wonka character created by Dahl, but tells a unique story that differs from the other films and the original book. This film serves as a prequel to the original story and delves into the backstory of how Wonka came to be.

A LOOK AT THE 3 MOVIES “CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY” THAT HAVE BEEN MADE SINCE THE 1964 ROALD DAHL BOOK

2. “James and the Giant Peach”

The film “James and the Giant Peach” was released in 1996 and is based on the 1961 book by Dahl.

This Disney adaptation of the story was directed by Henry Selick and produced by Tim Burton and Denise Di Novi.

This story is about a young orphan who lives with his two terrible aunts. James makes friends with new insect friends who live in a giant peach and sets off on a new adventure. The film was a success and won an Oscar for Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy.

3. “Matilda”

The magical story of “Matilda” is the story of a highly intelligent young girl who discovers that she has the power to move things with her mind.

“Matilda” was released in 1988 and the film followed in 1996. The cast included Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, Mara Wilson and more.

In 2010, this story became a musical, which was staged for the first time in England. The show opened on Broadway in 2013. A film adaptation of the musical was released in 2022.

A still from the film "Matilda"

Danny Devito directed and starred in the 1996 film Matilda. (Getty Images)

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4. “The BFG”

In “The BFG,” a young orphan named Sophie is ripped from her bed by a giant in the middle of the night. She only knows the creatures as those that eat people, but quickly realizes that this giant is different than others. This particular creature is a friendly giant.

The book was published in 1982 and Steven Spielberg directed Disney’s adaptation of the book in 2016, titled The BFG. Mark Rylance plays the giant and Ruby Barnhill plays Sophie.

Mark Rylance and Ruby Barnhil at the premiere of "The BFG"

Mark Rylance plays the Giant and Ruby Barnhill plays Sophie in The BFG. (Tim P Whitby/Getty Images)

5. “Fantastic Mr. Fox”

“Fantastic Mr. Fox” was released in 1970 and was adapted into an animated film in 2009.

This film features a star-studded cast, with George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, and Willem Dafoe all voicing the characters in the film.

This picture was nominated for two Oscars; Best Achievement in Film Music, Original Music and Best Animated Film of the Year.

6. “The Witches”

The Witches is a 1983 novel by Dahl. Although intended for a children’s audience, this story may be frightening to young children. It is more suitable for students in late elementary school and early middle school.

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So far, two films have been made based on this book. The first was published in 1990, the second in 2020.

In the first version, Anjelica Huston plays the Grand High Witch. Other actors in the 1990 film include Mai Zetterling, Jasen Fisher, Rowan Atkinson, Bill Paterson and Brenda Blethyn.

In the latest version, Anne Hathaway portrays the Grand High Witch. The cast of the 2020 film also includes Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci and Chris Rock.

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