(detailed information about this entry from Wikipedia)
Forrest Gump is a 1985 novel by Winston Groom, a 1994 film adaptation, and the name of the titular character of both. The film was a huge commercial success earning $677 million worldwide during its theatrical run (the top grossing film in North America released that year), although Paramount, in line with Hollywood accounting, claimed it was a commercial failure, and did not pay Groom his share of the profits. As such, Groom has refused to allow the novel's sequel, Gump and Co., to be filmed, stating that he could not in good conscience sell the rights to film the sequel to a failure. The film garnered a total of 13 Academy Award nominations, of which it won 6, including Best Picture, Best Director (Robert Zemeckis), and Best Actor (Tom Hanks).
The film tells the story of a simple man's epic journey through life, meeting historical figures and experiencing first-hand historic events largely unaware of their significance, due to his low IQ of 75. The film differs substantially from the book on which it was based.
The movie begins with Forrest waiting at a bus stop. He begins to tell the woman sitting next to him the story of his life in a bizarre manner (he begins by mentioning his shoes); as his narration continues, people leave on buses while others stop by to listen.
Forrest Gump was born in fictional Greenbow, Alabama with a crooked spine, forcing him to walk with the aid of leg braces from a young age. His mother told him that they were "his magic shoes. Momma said they'd take him anywhere." Despite his low I.Q. which should have necessitated special school, his mother manages to have him enrolled in public school by having an affair with the school's principal. His stilted, jerky walk, caused by the leg braces, inspires a young Elvis Presley (who was crashing at Forrest's house for the night) to develop his distinctive dance routine based on it. On his first day on the school bus, he is befriended by Jenny, a girl who (it is later revealed) is being sexually abused by her father.
He is frequently attacked and taunted for his disability, until one day when he breaks his braces and runs unassisted while escaping bullies. He discovers that he can 'run like the wind blows', and never wears braces again. (Jenny's admonishing to "Run, Forrest, run!" became a catchphrase among fans of the movie).
When older, while running away from bullies attacking him from a pickup truck, Forrest runs through a football field where a match is taking place, and is spotted by the coach and signed up for the football team on the spot. His running ability brings him great success with the football team of the University of Alabama (playing for the legendary Paul Bryant).
About this time he is spotted on television behind Governor George Wallace on June 11, 1963, during the "Stand in the Schoolhouse Door". Gov. Wallace was standing in front of Foster Auditorium, protesting desegregation of the University. Forrest gets through college on a football scholarship and receives a college degree in five years (the audience is not told which major, but it includes a class on home economics). He remains friends with Jenny at college, although she attends a separate, all-girls' college.
On his graduation day, he is approached by an Army recruiter and asked to sign up for the Army. He fits into the army "like a glove" and is top of his class in boot camp. A fellow soldier tosses him a Playboy one night and says to Gump, "get a load'a her." Forrest turns a page, and recognizes the girl on this page as none other than Jenny. Her picture in the magazine gets her expelled from college, and gets her a job at a stripclub, where she plays her guitar nude, albeit concealing most of herself with the guitar. Forrest hears about her new job and comes to see her. He witnesses some men "tryin' to grab" her, and he beats them and tries to rescue Jenny, who gets upset at his foolish gallantry. They go for a walk and reminisce about old times, when Jenny remembers when they prayed in the cornfield for God to turn her into a bird. She asks Forrest, "Do you think I could fly if I jumped off this bridge?..." This worries Forrest, and Jenny dismisses the whole thought and hitches a ride in a passing pickup truck. Forrest tells her that he is being sent to Vietnam, and she advises him not to be brave. She tells him just to run if he is ever in trouble.
While serving with the US Army in the Vietnam War under "Lieutenant Dan" (Lt. Daniel Taylor, Gary Sinise), he carries wounded members of his platoon to safety during an ambush by the Viet Cong, earning him the Medal of Honor. During this rescue, his commander, Lieutenant Dan loses his legs, causing Dan to wallow in a depression; and his army buddy Benjamin Buford "Bubba" Blue (Mykelti Williamson) is fatally wounded and dies in Forrest's arms. While Forrest recovers from a wound in his buttocks sustained during the rescue, he becomes such an expert in playing ping-pong, that he goes to play in People's Republic of China during the Ping Pong Diplomacy period. While staying in Washington to receive his medal for the rescue, he meets Jenny again, who had by the time looked like she was a hippy. Forrest goes on to become a national hero playing ping-pong and is offered $25,000 to endorse a certain brand of ping-pong paddles.
Forrest appears on The Dick Cavett Show with John Lennon. As Forrest recalls his experiences in Communist China, he gives Lennon the idea for his song Imagine. Lennon remarks "No possessions?" and then "And no religion too?" which he uses in his song. Dick Cavett then remarks "Hard to imagine", to which Lennon replies "It's easy if you try Dick", both are phrases from Imagine.
Upon visiting President Nixon after his visit to China, he is invited by the President to stay in Washington at the Watergate complex, where he spots men with flashlights in the Democratic campaign offices and reports them, resulting in the Watergate scandal, but he only thought the power went out in the other opposite block and that the flashlights used were disturbing his sleep at the time, so he rang up the security office to notify the maintenance crew.
After his service term ended, he returned home, took the $25,000 for the Ping-Pong paddle endorsement, and after buying some things for his mother and himself, used the balance of $24,562.47 to buy his own shrimping boat—the Jenny, after his "girlfriend"—and started a shrimp business, drawing on advice given to him by Bubba, as well as keeping a promise. Lieutenant Dan joins him in his business venture, the "Bubba Gump Shrimp Corporation". The business is initially entirely unsuccessful, until they happen to be out of port during Hurricane Carmen. Returning to port after the hurricane, they find that all the other fishing boats in the area have been destroyed by the storm, giving them an instant monopoly in the shrimp market and thus making Forrest a very wealthy man. In addition, his financial advisor (Lieutenant Dan) has him purchase shares of Apple Computer before the company's rise to fame, making Forrest even wealthier once the company takes off.
Forrest gives a portion of his fortune to Bubba's mother, as well as a church and even built a medical centre. After his own mother's death, he returns to and settles down in his childhood home. Jenny meets up again with Forrest (having been through the worst of pits and troughs in life) and lives with him for a while, then leaves after Forrest asks her to marry him—after they sleep together, for Forrest apparently his first sexual encounter. She professed that she loved him, but did not accept his hand in marriage on July 4, 1976. After her departure, Forrest, trying to escape the pain of her leaving, begins to run across the country. He runs continuously for "three years, two months, fourteen days, and sixteen hours", inspiring many people, and crossing coast to coast several times, and becoming a national celebrity again, until in the middle of a desert he abruptly decides to stop, and returns home. Sometime after this, Jenny sends him a letter, asking him to visit her.
He shows the letter to the lady with whom he has been speaking as she tells him that the address he has of Jenny's house is only "5 or 6 blocks" down Henry Street. He is reunited with Jenny, and, unbeknownst to Forrest initially, his young son. Jenny tells him that the boy is named Forrest, after his father. However, the moment is bittersweet, as Jenny later tells Forrest she is suffering from an unknown virus, the symptoms of which sound indicative of AIDS.
Jenny and Forrest Jr. move in with Forrest in Greenbow, and Jenny and Forrest are finally married. Lieutenant Dan, who has a fiancée and has artificial legs to replaced those lost in the war, attended the wedding.
Jenny finally dies "on a Saturday morning", March 22, 1982 (in fact that date is Monday), making Forrest the only parent to little Forrest (Haley Joel Osment), a bright child who attends school. Forrest orders the house that Jenny grew up in to be torn down, as it had reminded her of her abusive father. Jenny's death causes Forrest to question the nature of life when he asks the question "I don't know if Mama was right or whether it was Lieutenant Dan. I don't know if we each have a destiny, or if we're all just floating around on a breeze accidental-like; but maybe it's a little of both."
Meetings with presidents
Forrest is shown meeting with three American presidents:
- He meets President John F. Kennedy after the All American Team of 1963 is invited to the White House. While there, Forrest drinks an excessive amount of Dr Pepper (he says earlier that he must've drank 15 bottles), and when it is his turn to shake hands with the president, the president asks him "How do you feel?", to which he replies "I gotta pee." He then goes to Kennedy's bathroom where the "red phone" connected to a direct line to the Soviet Union and a photo signed from Marilyn Monroe are seen off to the side.
- President Lyndon B. Johnson is shown awarding the Congressional Medal of Honor to four American soldiers including Forrest, after he is wounded saving the remainder of his platoon in Vietnam. The president asks Forrest about his wound, which was in the "but-tocks", and jokes that he'd like to see it. Forrest obliges, turns around and shows the president where he had been hit. Presumably this was to be the inspiration for Johnson's own infamous real-life public display of his appendix scar on national television.
- Forrest meets President Richard Nixon, who asks him where he is staying, and then offers to put Forrest up in a much nicer hotel. Forrest is shown making a phone call at the hotel to send a maintenance man to the suite, which is being burgled. It turns out to be the Watergate Hotel and implies that the phone call he made began the infamous Watergate scandal.
Apart from Forrest meeting the presidents, the film made a heavy note about celebrities and political situations, all of which Forrest Gump was only able to describe vaguely at best, or ignoring them, to demonstrate that he does not understand the significance of all of this, that he was very much in a world of his own.
In Tom Hanks' words, "The film is non-political and thus non-judgmental" (Time: 42). Nevertheless, in 1994, CNN's Crossfire debated whether the film had a left-wing bias or a right-wing one.
Lloyd Kaufman notes  that Gump's successes result from doing what he is told by others, and never showing any initiative of his own, in contrast to Jenny's more forthright and independent character who is shown descending into drugs, prostitution, and death.
Differences from the novel
Much of the beginning of the film is the same in the book, albeit Zemeckis' Gump is far more placid and naïve than Groom's abrasive, judgmental cynic; the film's quote of "Life is like a box of chocolates" wholly reverses the novel's sentiment of "Being an idiot is no box of chocolates".
It is revealed near the beginning of the book that his father (a stevedore) was killed by a falling crate of bananas (Forrest's father's death is implied in the movie but never explained).
Also, the leg braces were not in the book; nor did Forrest's mother have sex with the school principal to get Forrest in the regular school.
Unlike in the movie, Forrest is described as an idiot savant and has extraordinary talent in numerical calculation. One memorable example of this is in college, when Forrest receives an "A" in his physics course (Intermediate Light) and an "F" in physical education.
Gump does not marry Jenny in the book. He does, however, join a band called "The Cracked Eggs" with her at one point. Jenny does not get AIDS, and does not die, either (but does in the sequel, Gump and Co., recounting Forrest's subsequent adventures with little Forrest).
Gump does not meet Lt. Dan until he is in the hospital in Vietnam. In the novel, Lt. Dan is not a professional soldier, but a drafted teacher. He has no wish to die in combat and is more of a philosopher. Bubba is white and was previously on the football team with Forrest.
Forrest does not actively catch shrimp with a shrimping boat and sell them; rather, he has a small shrimp hatchery and builds success upon that. He learns how to farm shrimp from a friendly Vietnamese; back in Bayou La Batre (Bubba's hometown), Bubba's father helps him get started.
Forrest also has many other adventures in the book that are not mentioned in the movie. During his trip to China, he rescues Chairman Mao from drowning in the Yangtze River (parodying Mao's actual much-publicized swim). Later in the book, Forrest becomes an astronaut and crash-lands on a small jungle island in New Guinea with his crew, Major Janet Fritch and a male orangutan called Sue. They are captured by cannibals and made to plant cotton. He also becomes a professional wrestler (under the alias of "The Dunce"), a champion chess player (first playing with the cannibal chief and then in a formal tournament), and even stars in The Creature from the Black Lagoon with Raquel Welch (playing the Creature). After his shrimp business booms, he is persuaded to enter politics with the slogan "I've got to pee" (spoken to John F. Kennedy in the film), but withdraws when his opponents spread the word about his earlier misadventures.
The movie shows Forrest as a sober-minded man and cuts back scene from scene of Jenny doing a number of drugs. In the book Forrest is a smoker of cannabis and towards the end of the novel smokes tobacco more and thinks about his past of all that he's done in life. At the end, he leaves his crew (which includes many people he has met over the years) to run the business, and goes to live with Lt. Dan and Sue as street musicians.
In popular culture
"Weird Al" Yankovic's parody song "Gump" (to the tune of The Presidents of the United States of America's "Lump") was inspired by the film, and the song's video parodies some of the film's elements and devices.
In one case of life imitating art, the film's success gave rise to a series of seafood restaurants called the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, featuring various styles of shrimp and other seafoods, along with a large variety of movie-themed souvenirs. The logo is a smiling shrimp, altered somewhat from the logo used in the film.
In a less commercially-minded example, since 2003 Gary Sinise has been involved with the Lieutenant Dan Band, performing for charities and non-profit organizations including the United Service Organizations and Operation Iraqi Children. Sinise has said in interviews that many people know him by sight as "Lieutenant Dan" rather than by his real name.
During a point in the movie Gary Sinise is seen saying "The day you're a shrimp boat captain is the day I'm your first mate...the day you're a shrimp boat captain is the day I'm an astronaut" Where he then becomes Forrest's first mate and was also an astronaut in the movie Apollo 13, with Tom Hanks, which was filmed at the same time.
The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) parodied the film as part of their promotion for WrestleMania 21. In their promotion, WWE superstar Eugene sits on a bench and offers a chocolate to another woman who sits down. He goes on to claim that "my mama always said that life was like a box of chocolates, but I think life is more like WrestleMania." Recalling his favourite WrestleMania memories, he accidentally punches the woman in the face; knocking her out. As he gets up and dashes away, Eugene's partner-at-the-time, William Regal comes along and exclaims "Run, Eugene! Run!"
The phrase "Run, Forrest, Run!" is often quoted by people as a humorous way of getting people to run faster.
- Main article: Forrest Gump (soundtrack)
The soundtrack from Forrest Gump had a variety of music from the 50s, 60s, 70s, and early 80s performed by American artists. It went on to sell 12 million copies, and is one of the top selling albums in the United States 
Awards and nominations
1995 Academy Awards (Oscars)
- Won - 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, Steve Tisch
- Won - Best Visual Effects — Ken Ralston, George Murphy, Stephen Rosenbaum, Allen Hall
- Won - Best Adapted Screenplay — Eric Roth
- Nominated - Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role — Gary Sinise
- Nominated - Best Achievement in Art Direction — Rick Carter, Nancy Haigh
- Nominated - Best Achievement in Cinematography — Don Burgess
- Nominated - Best Makeup — Daniel C. Striepeke, Hallie D'Amore
- Nominated - Best Original Score — Alan Silvestri
- Nominated - Best Sound Mixing — Randy Thom, Tom Johnson, Dennis S. Sands, William B. Kaplan
- Nominated - Best Sound Editing — Gloria S. Borders, Randy Thom
1995 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films (Saturn Awards)
1995 Amanda Awards
- Won - Best Film (International)
1995 American Cinema Editors (Eddies)
- Won - Best Edited Feature Film — Arthur Schmidt
1995 American Comedy Awards
- Won - Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture (Leading Role) — Tom Hanks
1995 American Society of Cinematographers
- Nominated - Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Theatrical Releases — Don Burgess
1995 BAFTA Film Awards
- Won - Outstanding Achievement in Special Visual Effects — Ken Ralston, George Murphy, Stephen Rosenbaum, Doug Chiang, Allen Hall
- Nominated - 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, Robert Zemeckis
- Nominated - Best Cinematography — Don Burgess
- Nominated - David Lean Award for Direction — Robert Zemeckis
- Nominated - Best Editing — Aurthur Schmidt
- Nominated - Best Adapted Screenplay — Eric Roth
1995 Casting Society of America (Artios)
- Nominated - Best Casting for Feature Film, Drama — Ellen Lewis
1995 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards
- Won - Best Actor — Tom Hanks
1995 Directors Guild of America
- Won - Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures — Robert Zemeckis, Charles Newirth, Bruce Moriarity, Cherylanne Martin, Dana J. Kuznetzkoff
1995 Golden Globe Awards
1995 Heartland Film Festival
- Won - Studio Crystal Heart Award — Winston Groom
1995 MTV Movie Awards
- Nominated - Best Breakthrough Performance — Mykelti Williamson
- Nominated - Best Male Performance — Tom Hanks
- Nominated - Best Movie
1995 Motion Picture Sound Editors (Golden Reel Award)
1994 National Board of Review of Motion Pictures
- Nominated - Best Actor — Tom Hanks
- Nominated - Best Supporting Actor — Gary Sinise
- Nominated - Best Picture
1995 PGA Golden Laurel Awards
- Won - Motion Picture Producer of the Year Award — Wendy Finerman, Steve Tisch, Steve Starkey, Charles Newirth
1995 People's Choice Awards
- Won - Favorite All-Around Motion Picture
- Won - Favorite Dramatic Motion Picture
1995 Screen Actors Guild Awards
- Won - Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role — Tom Hanks
- Nominated - 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 & Robin Wright Penn
1995 Writers Guild of America Awards
- Won - Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Medium — Eric Roth
1995 Young Artist Awards
- Won - 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
- Nominated - Best Performance in a Feature Film - Young Actor Co-Starring — Michael Conner Humphreys
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