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Forrest Gump

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Forrest Gump
Film poster with an all-white background, and a park bench (facing away from the viewer) near the bottom. A man wearing a white suit is sitting on the right side of the bench and is looking to his left while resting his hands on both sides of him on the bench. A suitcase is sitting on the ground, and the man is wearing tennis shoes. At the top left of the image is the film's tagline and title, and at the bottom is the release date and production credits.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Produced by Wendy Finerman
Steve Tisch
Charles Newirth
Written by Winston Groom
Screenplay by Eric Roth
Narrated by Tom Hanks
Starring Tom Hanks
Robin Wright
Gary Sinise
Mykelti Williamson
Sally Field
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography Don Burgess
Editing by Arthur Schmidt
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s)
  • July 6, 1994 (1994-07-06)
Running time 141 minutes
Language English
Budget $55 million
Box office $677,387,716

Forrest Gump is a 1994 American comedy-drama film based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis, starring Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, and Gary Sinise. The story depicts several decades in the life of Forrest Gump, a simple Alabama man who travels across the world, sometimes meeting historical figures, influencing popular culture, and experiencing firsthand historic events of the late 20th century.

The film differs substantially from Winston Groom's novel on which it was based. Filming took place in late 1993, mainly in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Extensive visual effects were used to incorporate the protagonist into archived footage and to develop other scenes. An extensive soundtrack was featured in the film, and its commercial release made it one of the top selling albums of all time.

Released in the United States on July 6, 1994, Forrest Gump was well received by critics and became a commercial success as the top grossing film in North America released that year. The film earned over $677 million worldwide during its theatrical run. The film garnered multiple awards and nominations, including Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, People's Choice Awards, and Young Artist Awards, among others. Since the film's release, varying interpretations have been made of the film's protagonist and its political symbolism. In 1996, a themed restaurant opened based on the film, and has since expanded to multiple locations worldwide. The scene of Gump running across the country is often referred to when real life people attempt the feat.


In 1981, Forrest Gump begins to tell the story of his life to a woman who is sitting next to him at a bus stop in Savannah, Georgia. As his story progresses, the listeners at the bus stop change regularly throughout his narration, each showing a different attitude ranging from disbelief and indifference to great interest and fascination.

The scene then shifts to a flashback of his life at childhood. Although Forrest has well below average intelligence, his mother is able to get him into a public school by sleeping with the principal. On his first day of school, he meets a girl named Jenny whose life at times is followed in parallel to Forrest's. Having discarded his leg braces (used to straighten his spine), his ability to run incredibly fast gets him into the University of Alabama on a football scholarship. He becomes a star kick and punt returner and ends up becoming an All American, which leads him to go to the White House and meet President John F Kennedy. After his college graduation, he enlists in the army. There he makes friends with a Benjamin Buford Blue, nicknamed Bubba, who convinces him to enter the shrimping business with him when the Vietnam War is over. He also meets Jenny again, when he sees her in Playboy magazine. He then goes to find her and discovers that she is a stripper working at a bar. He goes to the bar and attacks two customers who give her trouble. In 1967, Forrest and Bubba are sent to Vietnam, and after several months of patrolling with the 9th Infantry Division their platoon is attacked. Though Forrest rescues many of the men in his unit, Bubba is fatally wounded and dies by the river where Forrest brought him to safety, and Lt. Dan Taylor, the platoon's commanding officer, is wounded in both legs, requiring amputation. Forrest is wounded in the buttocks during the battle, and is awarded the Medal of Honour for his heroism by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Forrest discovers an uncanny ability for ping pong while in recovery for the bullet wound in his buttocks. He starts playing for the U.S. Army team, gaining popularity and rising to celebrity status. He eventually plays competitively against Chinese teams and wins against the Chinese. He goes to the White House for a third time and is awarded by President Richard Nixon and is accommodated at the Watergate hotel. At night, he calls hotel security after he witnesses the Watergate scandal. At an anti-war rally in Washington, D.C. Forrest reunites with Jenny, who has been living a hippie counterculture lifestyle while Forrest was away and is engaged to another man. The other man appeared to be abusive toward Jenny; Forrest witnesses the man slapping her after a short argument. An enraged Forrest attacks the man in order to defend Jenny (an instinct he has gained long ago when he got to know her).

Upon leaving military service and returning home, Forrest accepts an offer to endorse a company that makes ping pong paddles in exchange for an endorsement fee of $25,000. He uses the money to buy a shrimping boat that he named after Jenny and fulfill his wartime promise to Bubba. His commanding officer from Vietnam, Lieutenant Dan, joins him as first mate to fulfill a promise he jokingly made to Forrest at a bar during the 1972 New Year's Eve party they attended. Initially Forrest has little success, but after finding his is the only surviving boat in the area after Hurricane Carmen hits the Gulf states, he begins to pull in huge amounts of shrimp. He buys an entire fleet of shrimp boats, and " Bubba Gump" shrimp becomes a household name. He returns home when his mother falls ill; she dies soon afterward. Lt. Dan takes over operations of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company and invests the earnings in then-fledgling Apple Computer and Forrest, Dan and Bubba's families become financially secure for the rest of their lives.

In 1976, Jenny returns to visit Forrest, and after some time he proposes marriage to her. She declines, though feels obliged to prove her love to him by sleeping with him. She leaves early the next morning. On a whim, Forrest elects to go for a run. Seemingly capriciously, he decides to run coast to coast across the country several times, over some three and a half years, becoming famous again.

While finishing his story, Forrest reveals that he is waiting at the bus stop because he received a letter from Jenny who, having seen him run on television, asks him to visit her. Once he is reunited with Jenny, Forrest discovers she has a young son, also named Forrest, and Jenny says Forrest is the boy's father. Jenny tells Forrest she is suffering and dying from an unknown virus which has no known cure. Together, the three move back to Greenbow, Alabama where Jenny and Forrest finally marry. Jenny dies soon afterward, leaving their son in Forrest's care. Forrest talks to Jenny's grave and tells her how well their son is doing in school. On his son's first day of school, Forrest sits with him at the school bus stop. Forrest's first bus driver is shown to also be his son's first bus driver. The movie concludes with Forrest sitting on the same tree stump his mother did, waiting for Little Forrest to come home from school.


A man is at the center of the image smiling into the camera. He is sitting on a blue crate and has his hands resting on his legs.
Hanks on the film set in 1993
A man is at the center of the image looking at the camera. He is dressed in Vietnam-era military attire including a vest and helmet. He has a cigarette sitting on his lips and is wearing a backpack.
Sinise on the film set in 1993
  • Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump: though at an early age his school principal determines young Forrest possesses an IQ of 75, he has endearing character and devotion to his loved ones and duties, which brings him into many life-changing situations. Along the way, he encounters many historical figures and events throughout his life. John Travolta was the original choice to play the title role, and admits passing on the role was a mistake. Bill Murray was also considered for the role. Hanks revealed that he signed onto the film after an hour and a half of reading the script. He initially wanted to ease Forrest's pronounced Southern accent, but was eventually persuaded by director Bob Zemeckis to portray the heavy accent stressed in the novel. Hanks agreed to take the role only on the condition that the film was historically accurate. Michael Conner Humphreys portrayed the young Forrest Gump.
  • Robin Wright as Jenny Curran: Gump's childhood friend who enters his life at various times in adulthood, eventually becoming mother to his son and later marrying Gump. Zemeckis reflected on Wright's portrayal of the role, "Robin exudes a kind of strength and, at the same time, a vulnerability. She doesn't bring any of her stardom to the role. You don't look at her on-screen and think that this is Robin Wright's interpretation of the character. She's a real chameleon." Hanna R. Hall portrayed the young Jenny Curran.

  • Gary Sinise as Lieutenant Dan Taylor: Gump and Bubba's commanding officer during the Vietnam War. After losing his legs in a climactic attack, he falls into a deep depression. He then later serves as Forrest's first mate at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company (although he gave most of the orders), regaining his will to live. By the end of the film, he is engaged to be married and has even received "new legs" ( titanium alloy prosthetic legs) allowing him to walk again.
  • Mykelti Williamson as Benjamin Buford "Bubba" Blue: Gump's friend whom he meets upon joining the Army. Throughout filming, Williamson wore a lip attachment to create Bubba's protruding lip. David Alan Grier, Ice Cube, and Dave Chappelle were all offered the role before turning it down. Chappelle claimed he believed the film would be unsuccessful and has also admitted that he regrets not taking the role. Bubba was originally supposed to be the senior partner in the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company but due to his death in the line of duty in Vietnam, his commanding officer Lieutenant Dan Taylor took his place. The company posthumously carried this name.
  • Sally Field as Mrs. Gump: Forrest's mother, who raises him after his father abandons them. Field reflected on the character, "She's a woman who loves her son unconditionally. ... A lot of her dialogue sounds like slogans, and that's just what she intends."
  • Haley Joel Osment as Forrest Gump, Jr.: Forrest and Jenny's son. Osment was cast in the film after the casting director noticed him in a Pizza Hut commercial.
  • Peter Dobson as Elvis Presley: a house guest Forrest encounters. Although Kurt Russell was uncredited, he provided the voice over for Elvis Presley in the scene where Presley met Gump.
  • Dick Cavett as himself. Cavett played the 1970s version of himself, with makeup applied to make him appear younger. Consequently, Cavett is the only well-known figure in the film to play a cameo role rather than be represented through the use of archival footage.
  • Sam Anderson as Principal Hancock: Forrest's elementary school principal.
  • Richard D'Alessandro as Abbie Hoffman: A hippie at a Vietnam War rally who gives Forrest a chance to speak about the war.
  • Geoffrey Blake as Wesley: A member of the SDS group and Jenny's abusive boyfriend.
  • Siobhan Fallon Hogan as Dorothy Harris: The school bus driver who drives both Forrest, and later his son, to school.
  • Sonny Shroyer as Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant: Forrest's football coach of the University of Alabama.
  • Grand L. Bush, Conor Kennelly, and Teddy Lane Jr. as the Black Panthers: Members of an organization that protests against the Vietnam War, President Lyndon B. Johnson, and anti-black racism.
  • Bill Roberson as Fat Man on Bench: An older man who sits on the bench next to Forrest in Savannah, Georgia and listens to Gump's stories.



"The writer, Eric Roth, departed substantially from the book. We flipped the two elements of the book, making the love story primary and the fantastic adventures secondary. Also, the book was cynical and colder than the movie. In the movie, Gump is a completely decent character, always true to his word. He has no agenda and no opinion about anything except Jenny, his mother and God."

—director Robert Zemeckis

The film is based on the 1986 novel by Winston Groom. Both centre around the character of Forrest Gump. However, the film primarily focuses on the first eleven chapters of the novel, before skipping ahead to the end of the novel with the founding of Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and the meeting with Forrest, Jr. In addition to skipping some parts of the novel, the film adds several aspects to Gump's life that do not occur in the novel, such as his needing leg braces as a child and his run across the country.

Gump's core character and personality are also changed from the novel; among other things his film character is less of an autistic savant—in the novel, while playing football at the university, he fails craft and gym, but receives a perfect score in an advanced physics class he is enrolled in by his coach to satisfy his college requirements. The novel also features Gump as an astronaut, a professional wrestler, and a chess player.

Two directors were offered the opportunity to direct the film before Bob Zemeckis was selected. Terry Gilliam turned down the offer to direct. Barry Sonnenfeld was attached to the film but left to direct Addams Family Values.


Filming began in August 1993 and ended four months later in December. Although the majority of the film is set in Alabama, filming took place mainly in Beaufort, South Carolina, as well as parts of coastal Virginia and North Carolina, including a running shot on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Additional filming took place on the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, although that footage does not appear to have been used. The Gump family home set was built in Savannah, Georgia and the nearby land was used to film Curran's home as well as some of the Vietnam scenes. Over 20 palm trees were planted to improve the Vietnam scenes. Forrest Gump narrated his life's story in Chippewa Square as he sat at a bus stop bench.

Visual effects

Ken Ralston and his team at Industrial Light & Magic were responsible for the film's visual effects. Using CGI techniques, it was possible to depict Gump meeting deceased personages and shaking their hands. Hanks was first shot against a blue screen along with reference markers so that he could line up with the archive footage. To record the voices of the historical figures, voice doubles were hired and special effects were used to alter the mouth movements for the new dialogue. Archival footage was used and with the help of such techniques as chroma key, image warping, morphing, and rotoscoping; Hanks was integrated into it.

In one Vietnam War scene, Gump carries a wounded Bubba away from an incoming napalm attack. To create the effect, stunt actors were initially used for compositing purposes. Then Hanks and Williamson were filmed, with Williamson supported by a cable wire as Hanks ran with him. The explosion was then filmed, and the actors were digitally added to appear just in front of the explosions. The jet fighters and napalm canisters were also added by CGI.

The CGI removal of actor Gary Sinise's legs, after his character had them amputated, was achieved by wrapping his legs with a blue fabric, which later facilitated the work of the "roto-paint" team to paint out his legs from every single frame. At one point, while hoisting himself into his wheelchair, his legs are used for support.

The scene where Forrest spots Jenny at a peace rally at the Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C., required visual effects to create the large crowd of people. Over two days of filming, approximately 1,500 extras were used. At each successive take, the extras were rearranged and moved into a different quadrant away from the camera. With the help of computers, the extras were multiplied to create a crowd of several hundred thousand people.


Critical reception

The film has received mostly positive reviews. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 70% of critics gave the film a positive review based on a sample of 53 reviews, with an average score of 6.9/10. At the website Metacritic, which utilizes a normalized rating system, the film earned a favorable rating of 82/100 based on 19 reviews by mainstream critics.

The story was commended by several critics. Roger Ebert of Chicago Sun-Times wrote, "I've never met anyone like Forrest Gump in a movie before, and for that matter I've never seen a movie quite like Forrest Gump. Any attempt to describe him will risk making the movie seem more conventional than it is, but let me try. It's a comedy, I guess. Or maybe a drama. Or a dream...The screenplay by Eric Roth has the complexity of modern fiction...[Hanks'] performance is a breathtaking balancing act between comedy and sadness, in a story rich in big laughs and quiet truths....what a magical movie." Todd McCarthy of Variety wrote that the film "...has been very well worked out on all levels, and manages the difficult feat of being an intimate, even delicate tale played with an appealingly light touch against an epic backdrop." In addition, the film received notable pans from several major reviewers. Anthony Lane of The New Yorker called the film "Warm, wise, and wearisome as hell." Owen Gordinier of Entertainment Weekly said that the film "...reduces the tumult of the last few decades to a virtual-reality theme park: a baby-boomer version of Disney's America."

Critics had mixed views on the main character. Gump has been compared to various characters and people including Huckleberry Finn, Bill Clinton, and Ronald Reagan, among others. Peter Chomo writes that Gump acts as a " mediator and as an agent of redemption in divided times". Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called Gump "...everything we admire in the American character — honest, brave, loyal...". The New York Times reviewer Janet Maslin called Gump a "...hollow man..." who is "...self-congratulatory in his blissful ignorance, warmly embraced as the embodiment of absolutely nothing." Marc Vincenti of Palo Alto Weekly called the character "...a pitiful stooge taking the pie of life in the face, thoughtfully licking his fingers."

The film is commonly seen as a polarizing one for audiences, with Entertainment Weekly writing in 2004, "Nearly a decade after it earned gazillions and swept the Oscars, Robert Zemeckis's ode to 20th-century America still represents one of cinema's most clearly drawn lines in the sand. One half of folks see it as an artificial piece of pop melodrama, while everyone else raves that it's sweet as a box of chocolates."

Box office performance

Produced on a budget of $55 million, Forrest Gump opened in 1,595 theaters in its first weekend of domestic release, earning $24,450,602. Motion picture business consultant and screenwriter Jeffrey Hilton suggested to producer Wendy Finerman to double the P&A (film marketing budget) based on his viewing of an early print of the film. The budget was immediately upped, per his advice. The film placed first in the weekend's box office, narrowly beating The Lion King, which was in its fourth week of release. For the first ten weeks of its release, the film held the number one position at the box office. The film remained in theaters for 42 weeks, earning $329.7 million in the United States and Canada, making it the fourth-highest grossing film at that time (behind only E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Star Wars IV: A New Hope, and Jurassic Park). As of September 2010, the film is ranked as the 23rd highest grossing domestic film and 43rd worldwide.

The film took 66 days to surpass $250 million and was the fastest grossing Paramount film to pass $100 million, $200 million, and $300 million in box office receipts (at the time of its release). The film had gross receipts of $329,694,499 in the U.S. and Canada and $347,693,217 in international markets for a total of $677,387,716 worldwide.


In addition to the following list of awards and nominations, the film was recognized by the American Film Institute on several of its lists. The film ranks 37th on 100 Years... 100 Cheers, 71st on 100 Years... 100 Movies, and 76th on 100 Years... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition). In addition, the quote "Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." was ranked 40th on 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes.

Award Category Nominee Result
67th Academy Awards Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role Tom Hanks Won
Best Director Robert Zemeckis Won
Best Film Editing Arthur Schmidt Won
Best Picture Wendy Finerman, Steve Starkey, and Steve Tisch Won
Best Visual Effects Ken Ralston, George Murphy, Allen Hall, and Stephen Rosenbaum Won
Best Adapted Screenplay Eric Roth Won
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Gary Sinise Nominated
Best Achievement in Art Direction Rick Carter and Nancy Haigh Nominated
Best Achievement in Cinematography Don Burgess Nominated
Best Makeup Daniel C. Striepeke and Hallie D'Amore Nominated
Best Original Score Alan Silvestri Nominated
Best Sound Mixing Randy Thom, Tom Johnson, Dennis S. Sands, and William B. Kaplan Nominated
Best Sound Editing Gloria S. Borders and Randy Thom Nominated
1995 Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actor (Film) Gary Sinise Won
Best Fantasy Film Won
Best Actor (Film) Tom Hanks Nominated
Best Music Alan Silvestri Nominated
Best Special Effects Ken Ralston Nominated
Best Writing Eric Roth Nominated
1995 Amanda Awards Best Film (International) Won
1995 American Cinema Editors Best Edited Feature Film Arthur Schmidt Won
1995 American Comedy Awards Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture (Leading Role) Tom Hanks Won
1995 American Society of Cinematographers Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Theatrical Releases Don Burgess Nominated
1995 BAFTA Film Awards Outstanding Achievement in Special Effects Ken Ralston, George Murphy, Stephen Rosenbaum, Doug Chiang, and Allen Hall Won
Best Actor in a Leading Role Tom Hanks Nominated
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Sally Field Nominated
Best Film Wendy Finerman, Steve Tisch, Steve Starkey, and Robert Zemeckis Nominated
Best Cinematography Don Burgess Nominated
David Lean Award for Direction Robert Zemeckis Nominated
Best Editing Arthur Schmidt Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Eric Roth Nominated
1995 Casting Society of America Best Casting for Feature Film, Drama Ellen Lewis Nominated
1995 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Actor Tom Hanks Won
1995 Directors Guild of America Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures Robert Zemeckis, Charles Newirth, Bruce Moriarity, Cherylanne Martin, and Dana J. Kuznetzkoff Won
1995 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Tom Hanks Won
Best Director – Motion Picture Robert Zemeckis Won
Best Motion Picture – Drama Wendy Finerman Won
Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Gary Sinise Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Robin Wright Nominated
Best Original Score Alan Silvestri Nominated
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture Eric Roth Nominated
1995 MTV Movie Awards Best Breakthrough Performance Mykelti Williamson Nominated
Best Male Performance Tom Hanks Nominated
Best Movie Nominated
1995 Motion Picture Sound Editors (Golden Reel Award) Best Sound Editing Won
1994 National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Best Actor Tom Hanks Won
Best Supporting Actor Gary Sinise Won
Best Picture Won
1995 PGA Golden Laurel Awards Motion Picture Producer of the Year Award Wendy Finerman, Steve Tisch, Steve Starkey, Charles Newirth Won
1995 People's Choice Awards Favorite All-Around Motion Picture Won
Favorite Dramatic Motion Picture Won
Favorite Actor in a Dramatic Motion Picture Tom Hanks Won
1995 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role Tom Hanks Won
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role Gary Sinise Nominated
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role Sally Field and Robin Wright Nominated
1995 Writers Guild of America Awards Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Medium Eric Roth Won
1995 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Feature Film – Young Actor 10 or Younger Haley Joel Osment Won
Best Performance in a Feature Film – Young Actress 10 or Younger Hanna R. Hall Won
Best Performance in a Feature Film – Young Actor Co-Starring Michael Conner Humphreys Nominated
2005 American Film Institute 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes Mama always said "Life is like a box of chocolates: You never know what you're gonna get". Ranked 40th

Author controversy

Winston Groom was paid $350,000 for the screenplay rights to his novel Forrest Gump and was contracted for a 3% share of the film's net profits. However, Paramount and the film's producers did not pay him, using Hollywood accounting to posit that the blockbuster film lost money—a claim belied by the fact that Tom Hanks contracted for the film's gross receipts instead of a salary, and he and director Zemeckis each netted $40 million. Additionally, Groom was not mentioned once in any of the film's six Oscar-winner speeches.



"I don't want to sound like a bad version of 'the child within'. But the childlike innocence of Forrest Gump is what we all once had. It's an emotional journey. You laugh and cry. It does what movies are supposed to do: make you feel alive."

—producer Wendy Finerman

Various interpretations have been suggested for the feather present at the opening and conclusion of the film. Sarah Lyall of The New York Times noted several opinions that were made about the feather: "Does the white feather symbolize the unbearable lightness of being? Forrest Gump's impaired intellect? The randomness of experience?" Hanks interpreted the feather as: "Our destiny is only defined by how we deal with the chance elements to our life and that's kind of the embodiment of the feather as it comes in. Here is this thing that can land anywhere and that it lands at your feet. It has theological implications that are really huge." Sally Field compared the feather to fate, saying: "It blows in the wind and just touches down here or there. Was it planned or was it just perchance?" Visual effects supervisor Ken Ralston compared the feather to an abstract painting: "It can mean so many things to so many different people."

The feather is stored in a book titled ' Curious George', Forrest's favorite book, which his mother read to him, connecting the scene's present time with his childhood in the 1940s.

Political interpretations

In Tom Hanks' words, "The film is non-political and thus non-judgmental". Nevertheless, in 1994, CNN's Crossfire debated whether the film promoted conservative values or was an indictment of the counterculture movement of the 1960s. Thomas Byers, in a Modern Fiction Studies article, called the film "an aggressively conservative film".

"...all over the political map, people have been calling Forrest their own. But, Forrest Gump isn't about politics or conservative values. It's about humanity, it's about respect, tolerance and unconditional love."

—producer Steve Tisch

It has been noted that while Gump follows a very conservative lifestyle, Curran's life is full of countercultural embrace, complete with drug usage and antiwar rallies, and that their eventual marriage might be a kind of tongue-in-cheek reconciliation. Jennifer Hyland Wang argued in a Cinema Journal article that Curran's death to an unnamed virus "...symbolizes the death of liberal America and the death of the protests that defined a decade [1960s]." She also notes that the film's screenwriter Eric Roth, when developing the screenplay from the novel, had "...transferred all of Gump's flaws and most of the excesses committed by Americans in the '60s and '70s to her [Curran]."

Other commentators believe that the film forecast the 1994 Republican Revolution and used the image of Forrest Gump to promote his traditional, conservative values. Wang argued that the film was used by Republican politicians to illustrate a "traditional version of recent history" to gear voters towards their ideology for the congressional elections. In addition, presidential candidate Bob Dole cited the film's message in influencing his campaign due to its "...message that has made [the film] one of Hollywood's all-time greatest box office hits: no matter how great the adversity, the American Dream is within everybody's reach."

In 1995, National Review included Forrest Gump in its list of the "Best 100 Conservative Movies" of all time. Then, in 2009, the magazine ranked the film number four on its 25 Best Conservative Movies of the Last 25 Years list. "Tom Hanks plays the title character, an amiable dunce who is far too smart to embrace the lethal values of the 1960s. The love of his life, wonderfully played by Robin Wright Penn, chooses a different path; she becomes a drug-addled hippie, with disastrous results."

Others have interpreted the movie as adding to a discourse of race through the changing contours of white power and privilege during the civil rights era. From the standpoint that studies of whiteness work to dislodge whites from positions of power, Robyn Weigman has argued that Forrest Gump is a "filmic celebration of fundamental white goodness." For example, when George Wallace fails to keep blacks out of the University of Alabama, Gump "symbolically joins the students when he retrieves one of their dropped books," though it is an innocent gesture. His innocent alignment with desegregation coupled with his attributes as a quintessential white—his name being that of Bedford Forrest, Ku Klux Klan leader—leads Weigman to conclude that the movie works to split "whiteness" from the white body, as "white power and privilege are displaced from any inherent relation--historically, ideologically, politically--to white skin."


The 32-song soundtrack from the film was released on July 6, 1994. With the exception of an eight-minute suite from Alan Silvestri's score, all the songs are previously released; the soundtrack includes songs from Elvis Presley, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Aretha Franklin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Three Dog Night, The Byrds, The Doors, The Mamas And The Papas, The Doobie Brothers, Bob Seger, and Buffalo Springfield, among others. Music producer Joel Sill reflected on compiling the soundtrack: "We wanted to have very recognizable material that would pinpoint time periods, yet we didn't want to interfere with what was happening cinematically." The two-disc album has a variety of music from the 1950s–1980s performed by American artists. According to Sills, this was due to Zemeckis' request, "All the material in there is American. Bob (Zemeckis) felt strongly about it. He felt that Forrest wouldn't buy anything but American."

The soundtrack reached a peak of second place on the Billboard charts. The soundtrack went on to sell twelve million copies, and is one of the top selling albums in the United States. The score for the film was composed and conducted by Alan Silvestri and released on August 2, 1994.


A two-story building has the sign
A Bubba Gump restaurant in Long Beach, California in November 2007

The film inspired a seafood restaurant called Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, named for the shrimping company formed by Gump in the film, named for himself and his friend, Bubba. The first restaurant opened in 1996 in Monterey, California, and has since branched out to over 30 other cities in the U.S., Indonesia and other countries. The restaurants' design feature memorabilia from the film. Licensed merchandise is sold at the restaurants.


The screenplay of the movie is based on the original novel's sequel, Gump and Co. that was written by Eric Roth in 2001. Roth's script begins with Forrest sitting on a bench waiting for his son to return from school. After the September 11 attacks, Roth, Zemeckis, and Hanks decided the story was no longer "relevant". In March 2007, however, it was reported that Paramount producers took another look at the screenplay.

In the very first page of the sequel novel, Forrest Gump tells readers "Don't never let nobody make a movie of your life's story," though "Whether they get it right or wrong, it don't matter." The first chapter of the book suggests that the real life events surrounding the film have been incorporated into Forrest's storyline, and that Forrest got a lot of media attention as a result of the film. During the course of the sequel novel, Gump runs into Tom Hanks, and at the end of the novel is the film's release, including Gump going on The David Letterman Show and attending the Academy Awards. It is mentioned Hanks plays Gump, and Forrest seems to have a positive view of the film.

In the John Waters film, Cecil B. Demented, a sequel to Forrest Gump is in production, titled Gump Again, to star Kevin Nealon as Forrest but when the set is attacked by terrorist filmmakers, the film is "terminated".

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