Roald Dahl Movie Characters Who Look Like You Want Them To

List Rules
Vote up the Roald Dahl movie characters who are most faithful to the book descriptions and illustrations

Roald Dahl is one of the most celebrated authors of the modern era. While much of his work was targeted towards children, there's no denying that he went to some pretty adult places that could be appreciated by people of any age. Roald Dahl movies, or rather their adaptations, have in many ways become just as iconic as his books. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, and James and the Giant Peach are just some of films that have successfully translated the spirit of Dahl's books to the big screen with many more sure to come.

But how close to the books are the characters we see onscreen? Are they even supposed to look like the people being presented? Well, one way to tell is to check out the book's illustrations. Luckily, Dahl had a close collaborator named Quentin Blake who worked on the pictures for many of his books. Comparing the film characters to Blake's illustrations gives us a pretty good idea for how to judge the Road Dahl films with their translation from page to screen.

Which ones were the closest? Scroll down and find out.


  • Charlie Bucket
    Photo: Quentin Blake/Wolper Pictures, Ltd.
    The original Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is so iconic, Peter Ostrum is kind of the go-to visual inspiration for the role. So, it's no coincidence that Quentin Blake's illustration is very close to the actor's likeness. It's also worth noting that Peter read directly from the book for his audition, as there wasn't a script yet. 
  • 2
    56 votes
    The BFG
    Photo: Quentin Blake/Walt Disney Pictures
    For the 2016 adaptation of The BFG, Spielberg and his team of visual effects artists really put time into bringing Dahl's character to life. The film's BFG has a face straight from the book, right down to the huge ears that are such a striking feature in Quentin Blake's illustration. Overall, it looks like they faithfully translated the character on screen, albeit with a bit more hair than Blake allowed him. 
  • Agatha Trunchbull
    Photo: Quentin Blake/Jersey Films
    Matilda's Trunchbull is meant to be big, scary, and tyrannical. Both Quentin Blake's illustration and the film give her the look of a Russian tank, with clothing reminiscent of a fascist uniform. Blake's illustration especially gives her a coat resembling a Gestapo agent. Both both really nail the big ass belt. No one wants to mess with a person carrying a belt that big. 
  • 4
    44 votes
    Willy Wonka
    Photo: Quentin Blake/Wolper Pictures, Ltd.
    Gene Wilder wasn't the first choice for the role, but once he auditioned the part belonged only to him. Visually speaking, Wilder and Blake's illustration are lifted straight from the book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The hat, bow tie, purple coat, and cane are all elements present in every version of the character, including the more faithful 2005 Tim Burton adaptation. 
  • 5
    58 votes


    Photo: Lane Smith/Walt Disney Pictures
    One of the few Roald Dahl books where one of the more memorable covers wasn't drawn by Quentin Blake, James and Giant Peach's cover is very in line with the film. Both versions of James have the same general look, though the movie is a little more upbeat and lively. We also have to give a tip of the hat for that classy jacket and tie ensemble in the film version.
  • 6
    54 votes
    The Centipede
    Photo: Lane Smith/Walt Disney Pictures
    Everyone's favorite daring centipede makes a faithful translation from book to screen. While the Quentin Blake version sports a bow tie, the centipede from James and the Giant Peach always kinda had the vibe of a prideful blue collar worker, which the movie gave by putting the character in 1930s era lower class garb. Oh, and the cigar's a pretty nice touch as well.