5 Gene Wilder movies that will stay with us forever

Very sad news to report today, friends: Stage and screen actor, Gene Wilder, passed away earlier today at the age of 83 due to complications from Alzheimers.  

Though you might not realize it right away, Wilder has probably been a part of your WHOLE LIFE. Doubtful that there is anyone on this planet who hasn’t seen the iconic 1971 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — and even if you’ve somehow missed the movie, you’ve certainly seen the meme of Wilder’s bemusedYes, I’m totally listening and interested” face. That’s him, and we miss him already.

His family released a short statement about his passing, and GRAB SOME TISSUES because you’re going to need them:

“We understand for all the emotional and physical challenges this situation presented we have been among the lucky ones — this illness-pirate, unlike in so many cases, never stole his ability to recognize those that were closest to him, nor took command of his central-gentle-life affirming core personality. The decision to wait until this time to disclose his condition, [Alzheimers] wasn’t vanity, but more so that the countless young children that would smile or call out to him ‘there’s Willy Wonka!’ would not have to be then exposed to an adult referencing illness or trouble and causing delight to travel to worry, disappointment or confusion. He simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world.”

Through his decades-long career, Wilder did so much more than just play Willy Wonka. Here are 4 of his best movies that you need to get your hands on immediately, and remember how much this funny man makes you laugh.

The Producers


Before it was a movie-musical, and before it was a musical, The Producers was just a regular movie without any singing and dancing, and it starred Wilder as Leo Bloom,  an accountant who decides he wants to be a producer. Wilder was nominated for an Oscar for this role, and it’s not hard to see why.

Blazing Saddles


There’s certainly a theme to Wilder’s movies, and it’s “teaming up with Mel Brooks.” Here, Wilder plays an alcoholic cowboy who rides off into the sunset…in a limo.

Young Frankenstein


In one of his most memorable role, Wilder played  Dr. Frederick Frankenstein who (hilariously) brings his monster to life. And then they dance!! Also a Mel Brooks movie. Also a Gene Wilder Mel Brooks movie that was made into a musical. Also Oscar nominated. Wilder’s long-lasting legacy is clearly going to say with the world forever.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)


Here’s a perfect, succinct master class on comedic timing: Wilder takes 25 SECONDS to react to the news that his patient is…in love with a sheep.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory