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Forrest Gump: The Army was real easy. You just have to stand up straight, make your bed real neat, and always answer every question with ‘Yes, Drill Sergeant!’
Lt. Dan Taylor: Have you found Jesus?
Forrest Gump: I didn’t know we were supposed to be looking.
Drill Sergeant: You are a goddamn genius Gump!
Forrest Gump: Though he did take care of my Bubba- Gump money. He got me invested in some kind of fruit company. And so then I got a call from him saying we don’t have to worry about money no more.
Forrest Gump: Lt. Dan! What are you doing here?
Lt. Dan Taylor: I’m here to try out my sea legs.
Forrest Gump: But Lt. Dan you ain’t got no legs…
Lt. Dan Taylor: Yes…Yes I know that.
Bubba Blue: Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sauté it. Dey’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creoles, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that’s about it.
Forrest Gump: YES, DRILL SERGEANT!
Forrest Gump: I just felt like runnin’.
Forrest Gump: I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.
Forrest Gump: He’s got a daddy named Forrest too?
Forrest Gump: Sorry I ruined your New Year’s Eve party Lt. Dan. She tasted like cigarettes.
Aging Hippie: Viet-FUCKIN’-NAM!
Forrest Gump: Hello. My name’s Forrest, Forrest Gump. You want a chocolate?
Young Jenny Curran: What’s wrong with your legs?
Young Forrest: Um, nothing at all, thank you. My legs are just fine and dandy.
Forrest Gump: Why don’t you love me, Jenny? I’m not a smart man… but I know what love is.
Forrest Gump: Mama always said dyin’ was a part of life.
Forrest Gump: I sure wish it wasn’t.
Himself: That’s about all I got to say bout that.
Drill Sergeant: Gump! What’s your sole purpose in this army?
Forrest Gump: To do whatever you tell me, Drill Sergeant.
Drill Sergeant: Goddammit Gump, you’re a Goddamn genius. That’s the most outstanding answer I’ve ever heard. You must have a goddamn I.Q. of a hundred and sixty. You are goddamn gifted, Private Gump.
Forrest Gump: I may not be a smart man, but I know what love is.
Forrest Gump: Mama always said ‘Life was like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.’
Jenny Curran: [Forrest is pushing her toward the car in the rain] Forrest. Forrest. Forrest, stop it, stop it.
Forrest Gump: Hello! I’m Forrest. Forrest Gump!
Army Recruiter: Nobody gives a hunky shit who you are, puss ball. You’re not even a low life-scum-sucking, maggot, get your ass on the bus, you’re in the army now!
Jenny Curran: Do you ever dream, Forrest, about who you’re gonna be?
Forrest Gump: Who I’m gonna be?
Jenny Curran: Yeah?
Forrest Gump: Am, am I gonna be me?
Forrest Gump: [describing Vietnam] We were always takin’ long walk and we were always lookin’ for a guy named Charlie?
Forrest Gump: And we was looking for a guy named Charlie. Never did find that Charlie.
Lt. Dan Taylor: Have you found Jesus yet, Gump?
Forrest Gump: I didn’t know I was supposed to be looking for him, sir.
Mrs. Gump: [the school bus comes to a complete stop and Young Forrest prepares to board it] You do your very best now, Forrest?
Young Forrest: I sure will, Momma?
Forrest Gump: [Mrs. Gump kisses Young Forrest on the forehead as he's about to board the bus] [voice over] I remember the bus ride to school very well…
Forrest Gump: [repeated line] That’s all I have to say about that.
Forrest Gump: [talking to John F. Kennedy] I gotta pee!
Jenny Curran: [watching the news about Forrest that is about to cross the Mississippi bridge while she is working at a coffee shop] I’ll be damned, Forrest?
Newscaster: A man named Forrest Gump, a gardener from Greenbow Alabama, stopping only to sleep, has been running across America.
Bubba Blue: Forrest?.
Forrest Gump: Bubba?
Bubba Blue: Why did this happen?
Forrest Gump: You’ve got shot.
Forrest Gump: [voice over] Bubba was gonna be a captain; but instead, he died right by the river.
Bubba Blue: [last words] I wanna go home?
Forrest Gump: [first lines] Hello. My name’s Forrest, Forrest Gump. [He opens a box of chocolates and holds it out to a nurse sat next to him] You want a chocolate?
Jenny Curran: [as Forrest is following her outside the nightclub in Memphis] You can’t be doin’ this, Forrest. You can’t keep tryin’ to rescue me all the time.
Forrest Gump: They were tryin’ to grab you.
Jenny Curran: A lot of people try to grab me. Just. But you can’t be doin’ this all the time.
Young Forrest: Jenny, why didn’t you come to school today?
Young Jenny Curran: Shh! Daddy’s takin’ a nap.
Forrest Gump: Hellow. I’m Forrest, Forrest Gump.
Bus Recruit: Nobody gives a hunky shit who you are, pus ball. You’re not even a low-life, scum-sucking maggot. Get your ass on the bus; you’re in the army now!
School Bus Driver: [last lines] You understand. This is a bus to school now, don’t ya?
Forrest Junior: [last lines] Of course, you’re Dorothy Harris, and I’m Forrest Gump!
School Bus Driver: Are you comin’ along?
Young Forrest: Momma said not to be takin’ ride from strangers?
School Bus Driver: This is a bus to school.
Young Forrest: I’m Forrest. Forrest Gump!
School Bus Driver: I’m Dorothy Harris?
Young Forrest: Well, now, we ain’t strangers anymore?
Mrs. Gump: This is not children’s eyes.
Young Elvis Presley: [singing] You ain’t nothin’ but the hound dog!
Jenny Curran: [singing] Come on people now. Smile on your brother. Everybody get together, try to love one on another right now.
Jenny Curran: [singing] The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind. The answer is blowin’ in the wind.
Bubba Blue: There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger…
Drill Sergeant: Gump! What’s your sole purpose in this army?
Forrest Gump: To do whatever you tell me, drill sergeant!
Drill Sergeant: God damn it, Gump! You’re a god damn genius! This is the most outstanding answer I have ever heard. You must have a goddamn I.Q. of 160. You are goddamn gifted, Private Gump. Listen up, people…
Doctor: All right, Forrest. You can open your eyes now. Let’s take a little walk around.
Young Jenny Curran: You can sit here if you want.
Forrest Gump: What are you watching?
Forrest Junior: Bert and Ernie.
Forrest Gump: Forrest, don’t….
Forrest Gump: I just wanted to tell you I love you.
Forrest Junior: I love you too, Daddy.
Forrest Gump: I’ll be right here when you get back.
Mrs. Gump: Remember what I told you, Forrest. You’re no different than anybody else is. Did you hear what I said, Forrest? You’re the same as everybody else.
Forrest Gump: I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.
Principal Hancock: Your boy’s… different, Mrs. Gump. Now, his I.Q. is seventy-five.
Mrs. Gump: Well, we’re all different, Mr. Hancock.
School Bus Driver: Are you coming along?
Young Forrest: Shh! Daddy’s taking a nap.
Young Forrest: Mama said not to be taking rides from strangers.
Young Jenny Curran: Dear God, make me a bird. So I could fly far. Far far away from here.
Forrest Gump: They’re my magic shoes.
Forrest Gump: My momma always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’
Forrest Gump: Stupid is as stupid does.
Forrest Gump: He should not be hitting you, Jenny.
Jenny Curran: Run Forrest, run!
Forrest Gump: I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.
Forrest Gump: I don’t know if Momma was right or if, if it’s Lieutenant Dan. I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it’s both. Maybe both are happening at the same time.
Forrest Gump: Momma always said, life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get
Forrest Gump: My name is Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump.
Bubba Blue: My name’s Benjamin Buford Blue. People call me Bubba.
Forrest Gump: We were like peas and carrots, Jenny and I.
Forrest Gump: That’s all I gotta say about that.
Lt. Dan Taylor: You found Jesus yet Gump?
Forrest Gump: I didn’t know we were supposed to be looking for him sir.
Lt. Dan Taylor: Forrest. I never thanked you for saving my life.
Forrest Gump: He never actually said so, but I think he made his peace with God.
Forrest Gump: Mama says, stupid is as stupid does.
Himself: The world will never be the same once you’ve seen it through the eyes of Forrest Gump
Jenny Curran: Run Forrest Run
Forrest Gump: My Mama said “Stupid is what Stupid does.’
Forrest Gump: My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
Forrest Gump Movie/Film
Forrest Gump is a 1994 American epic romantic comedy-drama film based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis and starred Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise and Sally Field. The story depicts several decades in the life of Forrest Gump, a naïve and slow-witted yet athletically prodigious native of Alabama who witnesses, and in some cases influences, some of the defining events of the latter half of the 20th century in the United States; more specifically, the period between Forrest’s birth in 1945 and 1982.
The film differs substantially from Winston Groom’s novel on which it is based, including Gump’s personality and several events that were depicted. 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. A comprehensive soundtrack was featured in the film, using music intended to pinpoint specific time periods portrayed on screen. Its commercial release made it a top-selling soundtrack, selling over twelve million copies worldwide.
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, being the first major success for Paramount Pictures since the studio’s sale to Viacom earlier in the year. The film earned over $677 million worldwide during its theatrical run. The film won the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director for Robert Zemeckis, Best Actor for Tom Hanks, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Visual Effects and Best Film Editing. It also garnered multiple other awards and nominations, including 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, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, 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 2011, the Library of Congress selected Forrest Gump for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
Forrest Gump is a fictional character who first appears in the 1986 eponymous novel by Winston Groom. Forrest Gump also appeared on screen in the 1994 film of the same name directed by Robert Zemeckis. Gump was portrayed as a child by Michael Humphreys and portrayed as an adult by Tom Hanks, who won an Academy Award for the role. The portrayal of Forrest in the novel is notably different from the portrayal in the film. He later reappears in the 1995 novel Gump and Co. In 2008, Forrest Gump was named the 20th greatest movie character of all time by Empire magazine.
Forrest was born near the small town of Greenbow, Alabama, on June 6, 1944 (the same day the Allied forces began Operation Overlord). His father was absent during his life; his mother said he was “on vacation”. His mother named Forrest after Nathan Bedford Forrest, a noted Confederate general in the American Civil War and the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, who is supposedly related to Gump. She intended his name to be a reminder that “sometimes we all do things that, well, just don’t make no sense”.
Forrest was born with strong legs but a crooked spine. He was forced to wear leg braces which made walking difficult and running near impossible. He also had a relatively low I.Q. of 75, which nearly prevented him from being accepted into public school. (His mother managed to get the principal to reconsider by having him sleep with her). Despite his physical and mental challenges, Forrest’s mother told him not to let anyone tell him he was different, telling him “stupid is as stupid does”.
Forrest and his mother lived in a large house just outside the town of Greenbow. They made money by renting out rooms to travelers. One of their guests was a young Elvis Presley. Forrest liked dancing to Elvis’ music and his leg braces gave him a peculiar dancing style that would inspire the young Elvis’s “hip dancing”, for “Hound Dog”.
On the bus ride to school, Forrest met Jenny Curran and was instantly taken with her. “I had never seen anything so beautiful in my life,” he would later say of her, “she was like an angel.” The two became close friends, often playing around a large nearby tree. Forrest described their relationship saying, “me and Jenny goes together like peas and carrots.” Jenny was one of the few people besides his mother to accept Forrest as he was, helping him learn to read and standing up to bullies who harassed him. However, Jenny’s home life was not nearly as happy as Forrest’s: her mother had died when she was five and her father was an abusive alcoholic who molested his children (until Jenny was taken away to live with her grandmother), and Forrest’s friendship offered her an escape.
One day, a group of bullies were throwing fallen fruit at Forrest and chasing him on their bikes. Jenny told Forrest to just run away. As Forrest struggled to run, his leg braces broke apart. Once he was free of them, Forrest was able to run incredibly fast. Forrest would never wear leg braces again, and was able to run everywhere he wanted to after that.
Forrest and Jenny remained close friends all the way through high school, though he remained a target for bullies. One day, while running from some bullies, he interrupted the local high school’s football practice by running across the field faster than all the players. This feat caught the attention of Alabama Crimson Tide head football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, who was at the practice scouting football players. After his incredible running ability impressed the coach, Forrest received a football scholarship to the University of Alabama, where his speed helped them win several games. He played for five years and wore jersey number 44. He was later named to the All-American team and got to meet President John F. Kennedy at the White House. When asked by the President how he felt, Forrest (having drunk about fifteen Dr Peppers) gave an honest answer: “I gotta pee.”
Forrest was also present at the University when it was desegregated and observed Governor George Wallace denouncing the desegregation. While several citizens jeered the black students entering the campus, Forrest, not entirely understanding the situation, simply walked up to Vivian Malone and handed her a book she dropped, saying simply “Ma’am? You dropped your book…ma’am?” before following her and James Hood into school. Forrest later spends time with Jenny in her college dormitory during a rainy day.
In the Army
Gump in the army
At his college graduation in 1967, Forrest was approached by an army recruiter who asked if he’d given any thought to his future. Soon after, Forrest would join the United States Army. On the bus, Forrest met Benjamin Buford Blue, a young black man from Bayou La Batre, Alabama, who went by the nickname “Bubba”. Bubba told Forrest about his family history of cooking shrimp and how he had planned to buy his own shrimping boat after getting out of the army. Bubba explains to Forrest that he loves all kinds of shrimp.
Forrest did well in the army as he followed orders well without distraction; for example, he set a new company record for assembling his M14 rifle with his drill sergeant, who regularly singled him out as an example for the recruits, replying he would be a general. Meanwhile, Jenny had been kicked out of school for wearing her school sweater to pose in Playboy and had gotten work singing in the nude at a strip club in Memphis, Tennessee. Forrest went up to visit her one night and beat up some patrons who were harassing her. Forrest tells Jenny that he loves her, but Jenny replies that he “doesn’t know what love is.” Jenny is angry, but later becomes concerned when he tells her he was being deployed to Vietnam. Jenny tells him not to try being brave if he was ever in trouble and to just run away instead.
While in Vietnam, and assigned to company A, 2/47th Infantry, 3rd Brigade, 9th Infantry Division, Forrest and Bubba meet their platoon leader Lieutenant Dan Taylor, whom Forrest would refer to as “Lieutenant Dan”. While on patrol, Bubba proposed that he and Forrest go into the shrimping business together after their time in the army was finished, and Forrest agreed.
After several uneventful months, their platoon was ambushed by the Viet Cong and several soldiers were wounded and killed. In the confusion, Forrest initially was ordered to retreat, and was separated from the rest of his platoon, but after becoming concerned for Bubba, he ran back to look for him. Instead, Forrest found Lieutenant Dan and several other wounded soldiers and carried them to safety before looking for Bubba. Forrest finally found Bubba badly wounded and managed to carry him away from the combat area before it was hit with napalm from an air strike. Sadly, Bubba died of his wounds soon after; his last words were “I wanna go home.”
Forrest himself was shot in the buttocks during the firefight and recovered in an army hospital. Lieutenant Dan was in the bed next to his, having lost his legs because of his injuries. Lieutenant Dan was angry at Forrest for cheating him out of his destiny to die in battle with honor (as several of his ancestors had) and rendering him crippled.
Forrest later receives the Medal of Honor for his bravery in Vietnam. When being awarded, President Lyndon B. Johnson asked where he was hit and when Forrest told him, he whispers in his ear he’d like to see it, so Forrest, despite knowing there were people watching, drops his pants right there to show him. Upon being shown, Johnson simply smiles and walks away.
Shortly thereafter, Forrest went out sightseeing in Washington, D.C. and accidentally found himself among a group of veterans attending an anti-war rally led by Abbie Hoffman. While making a speech at the rally, he was reunited with Jenny, who had since become a hippie. Forrest was less enamored with her new boyfriend Wesley, the president of the SDS at Berkeley, and beat up Wesley after he saw him hit Jenny during an argument at a Black Panther Party gathering. Forrest and Jenny stayed up all night while Jenny told Forrest of her travels. Before they went their separate ways again in the morning, Forrest gave Jenny the Medal of Honor he earned in Vietnam.
In 1969, Forrest joined the Army Special Services, where he entertained wounded military veterans with his Ping Pong skills. His exceptional skills earned him a place in the All-American Ping Pong team, with whom he traveled to China during the Ping Pong Diplomacy period of the early 1970s. Upon his return, Forrest was a national celebrity, “famous-er even than Captain Kangaroo”, and was invited to New York City by Dick Cavett to appear on The Dick Cavett Show, where John Lennon was also a guest at the time. Hearing Forrest talking about the Chinese having “no possessions” and “no religion” during his interview with Cavett eventually inspired Lennon to write the song “Imagine”.
Soon after, Forrest reunites and stays with Lieutenant Dan, his platoon leader from Vietnam and now confined to a wheelchair, over the winter holidays. Dan has since became an alcoholic who has lost all faith in God, and was dismayed that such an “imbecile” like Forrest could earn the Congressional Medal of Honor and humiliate himself in front of the United States. During a New Year’s Eve celebration in 1971, Forrest persuades Lieutenant Dan to join him in the shrimping business as his first mate, in an effort to fulfill his promise made to Bubba earlier in Vietnam. Dan later invites two prostitutes to his New Year’s Day party, both of whom he eventually kicked out of his apartment for insulting Forrest when Forrest rejected their advances. Forrest apologizes to Dan for ruining his party, who replied by simply wishing Forrest Happy New Year.
In June 1972, Forrest was invited with the US Ping Pong team to the White House, where he meets President Richard Nixon, who offers him a room to stay in at Watergate Hotel. That night, Forrest was awakened by a group of people breaking into an office and emitting bright flashlights. Mistaking it for a power trip, Forrest calls security guard Frank Wills to inform Wills about the break-in, inadvertently initiating the Watergate Scandal and leading to Richard Nixon’s resignation in August 1974. In that same year, Forrest was honorably discharged from the Army with the rank of Sergeant.
Shrimping Boat Captain
Upon his return in August 1974, Forrest finds his Greenbow house filled with memorabilia capitalizing on his fame as a ping-pong player in China. At his mother’s insistence, Forrest made $25,000 endorsing a brand of ping-pong paddles, and used most of the money to travel to Bubba’s hometown of Bayou La Batre and purchase a boat. When someone pointed out it was bad luck to have a boat without a name, Forrest names his boat after Jenny, which he calls, “The most beautiful name in the whole wide world.” Unbeknownst to Forrest, Jenny had descended into a life of drugs and sexual promiscuity at this point, and even contemplated suicide over her choices.
Later Forrest was visited by Lieutenant Dan who, just as he said he would do on New Year’s Eve 1971, had come to be Forrest’s first mate. For several weeks, the two had no luck catching shrimp. However, things changed when the area was hit by Hurricane Carmen. Forrest’s boat was the only one left standing and they found themselves with a monopoly of shrimp. Under the name Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, they soon became very wealthy. Having faced his demons during the storm, Lieutenant Dan thanked Forrest for saving his life in Vietnam, and Forrest assumes that Dan (without actually saying so) made peace with God.
Home in Alabama
Forrest returned home to Greenbow in September 1975 when he learned his mother was dying of cancer. After her death, Forrest stays and leaves his shrimping industry in the hands of Lieutenant Dan and retired to mowing and cutting grass and lawns, as he apparently enjoys doing it. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Dan participated in a substantial investment into what Forrest says to be “some kind of fruit company.” In reality, the company was the fledgling Apple Computers, and it is implied that their investment largely kick-started Apple’s rise and success. With the money he got from the Apple Computer investment, Forrest spent them on renovating the church he frequents, establishing a medical center at Bubba’s hometown and gave Bubba’s family his share of the investment money that is enough for them to never work again.
Jenny returns to Greenbow and moves in with Forrest. The two spend time together and Forrest later describes it as “the happiest time of [his] life.” One night, July 4, 1976, Forrest asks Jenny to marry him, but she turns him down, saying “You don’t want to marry me.” Forrest replies with, “I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.” After this exchange, Jenny comes to Forrest’s bedroom, tells him she loves him, and the two make love. Jenny hails a cab very early the next morning and leaves before he wakes up.
Forrest’s newfound loneliness leads him to take a run “for no particular reason.” At first, he decides to run to the end of the road, then across town, then across the county, then all the way to the Mississippi border. Eventually, he criss-crosses the country several times over a span of three years. Forrest attracts media coverage, and eventually, dozens of followers initiating and inspiring what would become the jogging craze of 1978–79. During the run, he inspires the phrase “Shit happens” to a bumper-sticker salesman after stepping in a pile of dog droppings. He also uses a yellow t-shirt provided to him by a designer to wipe off his face after being splattered by mud. In the process, he forms the iconic “Smiley face” logo and tells the man to “Have a nice day.” One day, while running in the Western United States, Forrest decides he’s tired and stops. He immediately turns around and walks back to Alabama. His followers are dumbfounded at his sudden decision. Meanwhile, Jenny has taken a job as a waitress in Savannah, Georgia and sees news coverage of Forrest’s run on television.
Back to the present
Back to the present (the “present” in the film being 1981, as seen from a car and on a bus, and televised footage of Ronald Reagan’s assassination attempt), Forrest tells his latest companion on the bench, an elderly woman, he’d recently received a letter from Jenny asking him to come see her. When told Forrest’s destination, the old lady informs him that it is only a few blocks away. Thanking her, Forrest sets off on foot towards Jenny’s home.
Forrest and Jenny are happy to see each other. However, before they can do much catching up, Forrest is introduced to Jenny’s young son, a bright young boy whom she named Forrest after his father. Forrest at first thinks she met another man named Forrest, until she explains “You’re his daddy, Forrest.” Forrest’s fearful inquiry as to Little Forrest’s intelligence leads Jenny to quickly assert that he is completely normal. Forrest learns that Jenny is sick from an unknown virus (implied to be HIV) which has no known cure. He invites her and Little Forrest to come home and stay with him. She asks him to marry her and he accepts.
Forrest and Jenny’s wedding is a quiet, intimate ceremony attended only by a handful of family and friends. Among the attendees is Lieutenant Dan, who has titanium prosthetic legs, with his Vietnamese fiancée Susan. It is the only time Jenny and Dan meet. Forrest, Jenny and Little Forrest have a year together as a family before Jenny dies. Forrest has her buried under the tree where they played as children, then buys her childhood home (where her father had mistreated her) and has it bulldozed. Though he misses Jenny terribly, Forrest becomes a good father to Little Forrest.
Visiting Jenny’s grave one day, he reflects on the idea of fate and destiny, wondering if Lieutenant Dan was right about people having their own destiny, or if his mother was right about description of life as floating around accidentally like on a breeze. Forrest eventually decides “maybe it’s both, maybe both are happening at the same time.” He leaves Jenny a letter from Little Forrest and tells her “If there’s anything you need, I won’t be far away.”
Forrest is last seen outside his home, seeing Little Forrest off on his bus ride to school, telling his son he loves him.
“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. The placement of the feather in the book is directly on a picture of the monkey walking on a tightrope. Whether that was intentional or not, it is very symbolic. The feather also has a correlation with Jenny’s constant obsession with “becoming a bird and flying far far away” due to the abuse (sexual and physical) she endured from her father. She goes as far in the film as to ask Forrest “if [she] jumped off the bridge, could [she] fly?”
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 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 1960s and 1970s to her [Curran].”
Other commentators believe that the film forecast the 1994 Republican Revolution and used the image of Forrest Gump to promote movement leader Newt Gingrich’s traditional, conservative values. Jennifer Hyland Wang observes that the film idealizes the 1950s, as evidenced by the lack of “whites only” signs in Gump’s southern childhood, and “revisions” the 1960s as a period of social conflict and confusion. She argues that this sharp contrast between the decades criticizes the counterculture values and reaffirms conservatism.As viewed by political scientist Joe Paskett,this film is “one of the best films of all time”.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.”
James Burton, a communication arts professor at Salisbury University, argued that conservatives claimed Forrest Gump as their own due less to the content of the film and more to the historical and cultural context of 1994. Burton claimed that the film’s content and advertising campaign were affected by the cultural climate of the 1990s, which emphasized family values and “American values”—values epitomized in the successful book Hollywood vs. America. He claimed that this climate influenced the apolitical nature of the film, which allowed for many different political interpretations.
Burton points out that many conservative critics and magazines (John Simon, James Bowman, the World Report) initially either criticized the film or praised it only for its non-political elements. Only after the popularity of the film was well-established did conservatives embrace the film as an affirmation of traditional values. Burton implies that the liberal-left could have prevented the conservatives from claiming rights to the film, had it chosen to vocalize elements of the film such as its criticism of military values. Instead, the liberal-left focused on what the film omitted, such as the feminist and civil rights movements.
Some commentators see the conservative readings of Forrest Gump as indicants of the death of irony in American culture. Vivian Sobchack notes that the film’s humor and irony relies on the assumption of the audience’s historical (self-) consciousness.
Differences from the novel
The portrayal of Forrest in the original novel is notably different from how he was portrayed in the film. In the novel Forrest is shown to be somewhat cynical and abrasive, while in the film he is more placid and naïve. The novel also describes him as being a savant with extraordinary talent in numerical calculation (as shown when he states the exact amount of time in years, months, days and hours that he spent running across the country). Other changes from the novel to the film include the deaths of Forrest’s mother and his wife Jenny, neither of whom died in the book. Whilst the film has him running around the country for over three long years, the novel sends him rocketing into space and later crash-landing in New Guinea and being captured by a native tribe.
The novel also provides additional backstory on his father. It is revealed that his father was a longshoreman who worked for United Fruit Company. He was killed when a crate of bananas being loaded off of a boat fell on top of him, crushing him to death. Forrest goes on a number of different adventures including being an astronaut, playing the harmonica in a band called the Cracked Eggs, becoming a professional wrestler (“The Dunce”) and running for the United States Senate (with the campaign slogan “I Got to Pee”).
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 7/10.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 the 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 . . . The 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 Gleiberman 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 with various characters and people including Huckleberry Finn, Bill Clinton, and Ronald Reagan.Peter Chomo writes that Gump acts as a “…social 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.” Bruce Kawin and Gerald Mast’s textbook on film history notes that Forrest Gump’s dimness was a metaphor for glamorized nostalgia in that he represented a blank slate by which the Baby Boomer generation projected their memories of those events.
Film critic Pauline Kael stated, “I hated it thoroughly.”
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 increased, 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).
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. Even with such revenue, the film was known as a “successful failure”—due to distributors’ and exhibitors’ high fees, Paramount’s “losses” clocked in at $62 million, leaving executives realizing the necessity of better deals. This has however also been associated with Hollywood accounting, where expenses are inflated in order to minimize profit sharing.
Forrest Gump was first released on VHS tape on April 27, 1995, as a two-disc Laserdisc set on April 28, 1995, (including the “Through the Eyes of Forrest” special feature), before being released in a two-disc DVD set on August 28, 2001. Special features included director and producer commentaries, production featurettes, and screen tests. The film was released on Blu-ray disc in November 2009.
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. The film also ranked at number 240 on Empire‘s list of the 500 Greatest Movies of All Time.
In December 2011, Forrest Gump was selected for preservation in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. The Registry said that the film was “honored for its technological innovations (the digital insertion of Gump seamlessly into vintage archival footage), its resonance within the culture that has elevated Gump (and what he represents in terms of American innocence) to the status of folk hero, and its attempt to engage both playfully and seriously with contentious aspects of the era’s traumatic history.”
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