Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is the tale of a poor boy in England who finds a coveted golden ticket inside a chocolate bar, allowing him and a group of other children to tour Willy Wonka's famously strange chocolate factory. The lighthearted story often takes a turn for the darker, as Charlie's companions all turn out to be selfish or disobedient in some way and are punished accordingly. Charlie himself is honest and virtuous, and is ultimately an example of how sometimes good things do happen to good people.
Willy Wonka, the owner of the Wonka chocolate factory, has decided to open the doors of his factory to five children and their parents after 10 years of keeping it sealed because his rivals were stealing his recipes. In order to choose who will enter the factory and also receive a lifetime supply of chocolate, Mr. Wonka hides five golden tickets in the wrappers of his Wonka chocolate bars. The search for the five golden tickets is fast and furious. Each ticket find is a media sensation and each finder becomes a celebrity. The first four golden tickets are found by the gluttonous Augustus Gloop, the spoiled and petulant Veruca Salt, the gum-addicted Violet Beauregarde, and the TV-obsessed Mike Teavee.
A boy named Charlie Bucket lives in poverty in a tiny house with his parents and four grandparents. His grandparents share the only bed in the house, located in the only bedroom. Charlie and his parents sleep on a mattress on the floor. Once a year, on his birthday, Charlie gets one Wonka Bar, which he keeps for many months. One day, Charlie sees a fifty-pence coin (dollar bill in the US version) buried in the snow. He decides to use a little of the money to buy himself some chocolate before turning the rest over to his mother. He buys two bars, and after unwrapping the second chocolate bar, Charlie finds the fifth golden ticket. The next day is the date that Mr. Wonka has set for his guests to enter the factory.
In the factory, Charlie and Grandpa Joe enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the factory, and also encounter the Oompa Loompas who have been helping Wonka operate the factory since he found them living in their own poverty and fear in Loompaland, as well as their strong desire for Cocoa beans. The other kids are ejected from the factory in comical, mysterious and painful fashions. Augustus Gloop falls into the Chocolate River when he wants to drink it, and he is sucked up by one of the pipes. Violet Beauregarde impetuously grabs an experimental piece of gum and chews herself into a giant blueberry. Veruca Salt is determined to be a "bad nut" by nut-judging squirrels who throw her out with the trash. Lastly, the television lover, Mike Teavee, shrinks himself into a tiny size. The children go home as follows: Augustus squeezed thin by the pipe; Violet purple all over; Veruca covered in trash; and Mike 10 feet tall and thin as a wire after efforts to restore his proper size went wrong.
With only Charlie remaining, Willy Wonka congratulates him for "winning" the factory and after explaining his true age and the reason behind his golden tickets, names Charlie his successor. They ride the great glass elevator to Charlie's house and bring the rest of Charlie's family to the factory.