Forrest Gump


2h 22m 1994
Forrest Gump

Brief Synopsis

A mentally challenged man stumbles through formative events in U.S. history.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Romance
Drama
Period
Adaptation
Release Date
1994
Production Company
20th Century Fox; Arizona & California Railroad Ltd; Beaufort Campus; Bob Hope Enterprises; CBS News; Casting Group; Central Casting, Inc.; City of Savannah; City of Varnville; Colony Helicopter; Daphne Productions Inc; Daum Tyler; Deluxe Entertainment Services Group; Department Of Interior; Dick Clark Productions; Duart Film And Video; Epic Soundtrax; Film Preservation Associates; Fripp Island; Historic Beaufort Society; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Hunting Island State Park; Industrial Light + Magic; Los Angeles Motion Picture & Television Division; Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library; NASA; NBC News; National Archives; National Broadcasting Company Inc (NBC); National Enquirer; Nike; Nina Saxon Film Design; Ozmandias; Pacific Title & Art Studio; Playboy Magazine; Runners World Magazine; Russell Stover Candies; Sherman Grinberg Film Libraries, Inc.; Skywalker Sound; South Carolina Department of Parks/ Recreation & Tourism; South Carolina Film Commission; Stoney Creek Presbyterian Church; Streamline Archives; Time, Inc.; Tisch Company; Tony's Food Service; UCLA Film & Television Archives; University Of South Carolina; Viacom Enterprises; Watergate Hotel
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures; Paramount Home Media; Paramount Pictures; United International Pictures
Location
Beaufort, South Carolina, USA; Washington, DC, USA; Los Angeles, California, USA; Savannah, Georgia, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 22m

Synopsis

Forrest Gump tells his remarkable life story to a stranger while waiting for a bus. Despite his sub-normal IQ, Gump leads a truly charmed life, with a ringside seat for many of the most memorable events of the second half of the 20th century. He taught Elvis Presley to dance, became a football star and met JFK and LBJ. He served with honor in Vietnam and spoke at an anti-war rally at the Washington Monument. He met Richard Nixon and later stumbled onto the break-in at the Watergate. He ran a successful shrimping business, was an original investor in Apple Computers, and ran back and forth across the country for several years. And all the time, he never forgot Jenny, who he loved as a boy, and made her own journey through the turbulent decade.

Cast

Tom Hanks

Robin Wright

Jenny Curran

Sally Field

Mykelti Williamson

Benjamin Buford Blue

Gary Sinise

Michael Burgess

Cleveland

Dick Cavett

Himself

Tim Mcneil

Wild Eyed Man

Haley Joel Osment

Forrest Junior

Lazarus Jackson

Marla Sucharetza

Dick Cavett

Self

Ed Davis

Tyler Long

Joe Washington

Scott Oliver

Sam Anderson

John William Galt

Voice

Timothy Mcneil

Michael Mattison

Lonnie Hamilton

Deborah Mcteer

Peter Bannon

Jason Mcguire

Teresa Denton

Paulie Dicocco

Stephan Derelian

Hallie D'amore

Eric Underwood

Kirk Ward

Chiffonye Cobb

Christopher Jones

Michael Lynn Burgess

Siobhan Fallon Hogan

Matt Rebenkoff

Angela Lomas

Natalie Hendrix

Rob Landry

Don Fischer

Brett Rice

Hilary Chaplain

Russ Wilson

Isabel Rose

Mark Matheisen

Geoffrey Blake

Mike Jolly

Gary Robinson

Kitty K Green

Kevin Davis

Michael Flannery

Byron Minns

Hanna Hall

John Worsham

Timothy Record

Alexander Zemeckis

Fay Genens

Michael Kemmerling

W Benson Terry

Joe Alaskey

Voice

David Brisbin

Michael Jace

Claire Gaul

Lead Person

Robert Greenfield

Lead Person

Marlena Smalls

Joe Stefanelli

Voice

Christine Seabrook

Jack Bowden

Harold Herthum

Al Harrington

Peter Dobson

John Randall

Margo Moorer

Nora Dunfee

Bobby Richardson

Bruce Lucvia

Ione M Telech

Grady Bowman

John Voldstad

Dante Mccarthy

Paige Augustine

Lead Person

Tiffany Salerno

Bob Harks

Logan Livingston Gomez

Calvin Gadsden

Sonny Shroyer

Kenneth Bevington

Chris Spellman

Lead Person

Daniel C Striepeke

George Kelly

Tim Perry

Matt Wallace

Bonnie Ann Burgess

Elizabeth Hanks

Vanessa Roth

Jay Ross

Bill Roberson

Richard Dalessandro

Jim Hanks

Steven Griffith

Frank Geyer

Jeffrey Winner

Daniel J Gillooly

Kevin Mangan

Emily Carey

Afemo Omilami

Charles Boswell

Ben Waddel

Juan Singleton

Michael Mcfall

Dick Stilwell

Aloysius Gigl

Michael Conner Humphreys

Rebecca Williams

Bob Penny

Jed Gillin

Voice

Lenny Herb

Pete Auster

Paul Raczkowski

Valentino

Aaron Izbicki

Crew

Julie Adrianson Neary

Graphic Artist

Zach Aiken

Production Assistant

William Alford

On-Set Dresser

Jon Allexander

Graphic Artist

Leah Anton

Graphic Artist

Stephanie Antosca

Assistant Location Manager

Frida Aradottir

Hair

Ismael Aranjo

Grip

Steve Arnold

Assistant Art Director

Hoyt Axton

Song

Burt Bacharach

Song

Marty Balin

Song

Jeff Barry

Song

Tom Barwick

Foley Artist

Randall K Bean

Other

Kathleen Beeler

Graphic Artist

Phil Benson

Assistant Sound Designer

Patricia C Bercsi

Set Costumer

David Bergad

Assistant Sound Editor

Linda Berger

Assistant Art Director

Rufus Best

Foreman

Ken Beyer

Graphics

Thomas Bianco

Accounting Assistant

David Bifano

Other

Betty Birkowski

Costumes

Patricia Blau

Executive In Charge Of Production (Ilm)

Josh Bleibtreu

Photography

Toby Blue

Production Assistant

Lawrence L Bolding

Grip

Gloria S Borders

Sound Editor

Nigel Boyd

Other

Steven J Boyd

Post-Production Supervisor

Steven J Boyd

Researcher

Billy R Brashier

Projectionist

John Daniel Bronson

Costume Supervisor

Andrea Bronzo

Graphics

L Russell Brown

Song

Les Brown

Song

Thomas E Brown

Other

Jackson Browne

Song

Jackson Browne

Song Performer

Glen Brunman

Thanks

Laura Bryant

Assistant Location Manager

David Brymer

Casting Associate

Lindsey Buckingham

Song

Lindsey Buckingham

Thanks

Kat Bueno

Grip

Don Burgess

Director Of Photography

Don Burgess

Dp/Cinematographer

John W Burn

Other

Greg Butler

Graphics

Deborah Cahn

Assistant

Anne Calanchini

Effects Coordinator

Keith Campbell

Stunts

Jay Cannistraci

Makeup Artist

Gus Cannon

Song

Randy Cantor

Transportation Captain

Susan Carpenter

Production Assistant

Susan L Carpenter

Production Assistant

Rick Carter

Production Designer

Phillip V Caruso

Photography

Andrew Casey

Photography

Harry Wayne Casey

Song

Hazel Catmull

Hair Stylist

John Ceniceros

Props Assistant

Eric Chauvin

Matte Painter

Doug Chiang

Art Director

Dave Christensen

Lighting Technician

Alessandro Cicognini

Song

Peter Clarson

Lighting Technician

Michael Clemens

Production Assistant

Allen Collins

Song

Michael Conte

Graphic Artist

Leslie Cook

Choreographer

Clifton T Cooper

Props Assistant

Judith A. Cory

Hair

Christy Cotton

Stunts

Armand Coutu

Costumes

Gail Currey

Production Manager

Hallie D'amore

Makeup

Tona B. Dahlquist

Extras Agent/Coordinator

J Patrick Daily

Grip

Eric Darling

Song

Peter Daulton

Graphic Artist

Hal David

Song

Bud Davis

Stunt Coordinator

Jim M Davis

Other

Ruth E Davis

Song

Sandy De Crescent

Music Contractor

Stefan Dechant

Production

Debbie Denise

Visual Effects

Robert E Denne

Art Department

Jackie Deshannon

Song Performer

John Devlin

Grip

The Doors

Song

The Doors

Song Performer

Lamont Dozier

Song

Jessica Drake

Dialect Coach

Lisa Drostova

Graphic Artist

David Dunlap

Dp/Cinematographer

David Dunlap

Director Of Photography

Dale Dye

Technical Advisor

Bob Dylan

Song Performer

Bob Dylan

Song

Timothy Eaton

Editor

Tony Eckert

Foley Recordist

Duane Eddy

Song Performer

Duane Eddy

Song

Ronald J Eisenman

Other

Edward Elgar

Song

Mike Ellis

Other

Mike Ellis

Visual Effects

Stephen Erdberg

Property Master

Karen Ettline-bloomer

Other

Sammy Fain

Song

Anthony Fanning

Assistant Art Director

Tony Fanning

Assistant Art Director

Dane Farwell

Stunts

Jessica S Fasman

Assistant Costume Designer

Scott Fawley

Grip

Sharon Felder

Production Assistant

James C. Feng

Set Designer

Richard Finch

Song

Wendy Finerman

Producer

Robert Finley Iii

Lighting Technician

D G Fisher

Other

Jamie Fishman

Other

Frank M Fleming

On-Set Dresser

Rachel A. Flores

Grip

Ej Foerster

Photography

John Fogerty

Song

Rocky Ford

Grip

Rocky W Ford

Grip

Christopher Lee Foster

Special Effects

Suzanne Fox

Adr Editor

David Frank

Song ("Webster'S Boomer")

David Michael Frank

Song

Scott Frankel

Graphic Artist

Aretha Franklin

Song Performer

Carl Frederick

Graphic Artist

Clare Freeman

Foley Editor

Leigh French

Adr Supervisor

Cliff Friend

Song

Joe Fulmer

Grip

George Gambetta

Other

Rudolph Eric Garcia

Set Costumer

Michael Gastaldo

Assistant Property Master

Jonathan S Gaynor

Sound Mixer

Paul Gayten

Song

John Gazdik

Camera Assistant

Tim Geideman

Other

Donny Gerrard

Soloist

Howard Gersh

Graphic Artist

Daniel J Gillooly

Other

Bart Giovannetti

Graphic Artist

Gerry Goffin

Song

Barry Goldberg

Song

Jamie Gordon

Assistant

Jay Gorney

Song

Dori Green

Production Assistant

Ellie Greenwich

Song

Timothy Greenwood

Projectionist

Robert J Groden

Archival Footage

Winston Groom

Source Material (From Novel)

Robert Guidry

Song

Scott Guitteau

Assistant Sound Editor

Ed Gutentag

Photography

Nancy Haigh

Set Decorator

Allen L Hall

Special Effects Supervisor

Matthew Hall

Special Effects

Michael J Hall

Foreman

Jennifer Hall Lee

Other

E. Y. Harburg

Song

Ray O Hardesty

Special Effects

Karen Harding

Assistant Sound Editor

Elizabeth Harrison

Assistant Location Manager

Wilbert Harrison

Song

Anna E Hayward

Artistic Advisor

Paul Hazard

Lighting Technician

Lee Hazlewood

Song

James Hegedus

Production

Andy Hendrickson

Graphics

Jimi Hendrix

Song Performer

Clarence Henry

Song Performer

Mark Herman

Assistant Editor

David Heron

Lighting Technician

Hugo Herrera

Other

Al Hersh

Other

Rebecca Heskes

Graphic Artist

Tammy High

Transportation Coordinator

Robert Hill

Camera Assistant

Sam Hinckley

Assistant Sound Editor

Brian Holland

Song

Edward Holland

Song

Mark Cordell Holmes

Visual Effects

John Horn

Other

David Horsley

Graphic Artist

Sandy Houston

Graphic Artist

Jeff Howery

Dolly Grip

Lincoln Hu

Development Executive

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Romance
Drama
Period
Adaptation
Release Date
1994
Production Company
20th Century Fox; Arizona & California Railroad Ltd; Beaufort Campus; Bob Hope Enterprises; CBS News; Casting Group; Central Casting, Inc.; City of Savannah; City of Varnville; Colony Helicopter; Daphne Productions Inc; Daum Tyler; Deluxe Entertainment Services Group; Department Of Interior; Dick Clark Productions; Duart Film And Video; Epic Soundtrax; Film Preservation Associates; Fripp Island; Historic Beaufort Society; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Hunting Island State Park; Industrial Light + Magic; Los Angeles Motion Picture & Television Division; Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library; NASA; NBC News; National Archives; National Broadcasting Company Inc (NBC); National Enquirer; Nike; Nina Saxon Film Design; Ozmandias; Pacific Title & Art Studio; Playboy Magazine; Runners World Magazine; Russell Stover Candies; Sherman Grinberg Film Libraries, Inc.; Skywalker Sound; South Carolina Department of Parks/ Recreation & Tourism; South Carolina Film Commission; Stoney Creek Presbyterian Church; Streamline Archives; Time, Inc.; Tisch Company; Tony's Food Service; UCLA Film & Television Archives; University Of South Carolina; Viacom Enterprises; Watergate Hotel
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures; Paramount Home Media; Paramount Pictures; United International Pictures
Location
Beaufort, South Carolina, USA; Washington, DC, USA; Los Angeles, California, USA; Savannah, Georgia, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 22m

Award Wins

Best Actor

1994
Tom Hanks

Best Adapted Screenplay

1994

Best Director

1994
Robert Zemeckis

Best Editing

1994
Arthur Schmidt

Best Picture

1994

Best Visual Effects

1994

Award Nominations

Best Art Direction

1994
Rick Carter

Best Cinematography

1994

Best Makeup

1994

Best Original Score

1994

Best Sound

1994

Best Sound Editing

1994

Best Supporting Actor

1994
Gary Sinise

Articles

Forrest Gump


A modern day classic and the winner of six Academy Awards including Best Picture, Forrest Gump (1994) stars Tom Hanks as the title character, a big-hearted simpleton who leads a truly remarkable life. Labeled "stupid" as a boy due to his low I.Q., Forrest never goes looking for adventure, but somehow manages to find himself in the middle of many extraordinary situations. Armed with the homespun wisdom of Mama Gump (Sally Field), wide-eyed Forrest goes through life brushing elbows with the likes of some of history's most notable figures over the course of thirty years that see him become a Vietnam war hero, international ping-pong champion, cross-country running folk hero, and a wildly successful business entrepreneur. Forrest's touchstone through each journey is his powerful bond with his childhood friend Jenny (Robin Wright), a beautiful and troubled girl who carries the key to his heart.

The character of Forrest Gump was originally born when author Winston Groom published the novel of the same name in 1986 with moderate success. Producer Wendy Finerman came across the book in its early form and instantly saw its potential to be a great film. "I found the book Forrest Gump in 1985, and I fell in love with it," said Finerman. "It made you laugh and it made you cry. I knew there are very few times in life where a piece of material can do that." The character of Forrest, she knew, was wonderfully unique. "I saw an incredibly cinematic story of a man who is inseparable from the events we've all grown up with," she said. "In the same way that children can say the most brilliant things, Forrest Gump is able to bring a rare clarity to what we went through in the fifties, sixties, and seventies. He's a remarkable character who is just as good at making you cry as he is at making you laugh."

At first, Finerman had trouble getting anyone in Hollywood interested in turning the quirky book into a movie. "People would ask me what I was working on," she said, "and I'd say Forrest Gump. And they'd get that glazed look. I knew they were thinking, 'When is she going to give up?'" However, Finerman was persistent. "There was something magical about the book," she said, "and even though I knew it would be an expensive and difficult movie to make, for nine years I always believed it was going to happen."

Finerman sent the book to actor Tom Hanks to read early on in the development process, hoping the project would attract him. Hanks was impressed with the story, and told Finerman that he would be interested in starring as Forrest if the story could be turned into a top-notch screenplay.

It took several years and just as many drafts to create a script that everyone was happy with. Writer Eric Roth's version of the screenplay, completed in December of 1992, hit all the right notes. "The script broke all the traditional rules of moviemaking," said Roth. "Yes, it was episodic. But it was also told from the point of view of Forrest...He anchored the movie on the love story. That's the spine of the film."

Armed with Roth's screenplay and two other high caliber producers, Steve Tisch and Steve Starkey, Wendy Finerman continued to shop Forrest Gump around the studios. After Warner Bros. passed on it, Paramount made the decision to take on the unusual and decidedly uncommercial project.

Tom Hanks read Roth's screenplay during a break from shooting the 1993 drama Philadelphia and was deeply moved. "I was completely broken," said Hanks. "I was absolutely bent. And I thought that if we didn't really screw it up that we could make a movie as good as what was on paper." Hanks, who was riding a tremendous wave of professional success at the time, signed on to play what would become one of the definitive roles of his career. When asked what drew him to the character of Forrest in a 1999 interview, Hanks answered, "By way of a very simple list of rules that Forrest adhered to, he survived everything. He believed in what God tells him to do. He obeys what Mama says he should do, and he believes in everything that the woman he loves says of him."

The producers along with Tom Hanks believed that Robert Zemeckis would be the perfect director for Forrest Gump. With films like Back to the Future (1985) and Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) to his credit, Zemeckis had proven that he could work with the major special effects that Gump would require, but not at the expense of a good story. Zemeckis signed on quickly after reading the screenplay. The story was unlike anything he had ever read: there was no villain, no ticking clock, no particular goal for the hero to reach. He was intrigued. "I read the screenplay and couldn't put it down," said Zemeckis. "It was compelling in a strange way because it didn't have any typical plot devices. And all I wanted to do was find out what was going to happen to this guy."

With star and director in place, the process began to find the remaining cast for Forrest Gump. To play Mama Gump, the most influential person in Forrest's life, Robert Zemeckis instantly thought of two time Academy Award-winner Sally Field. "Sally was always in my mind for the part," said Zemeckis, "because I needed someone who was young in the beginning of the movie and who could age. And there was something about the way the character was written. I just always saw her in this part."

Tom Hanks, who had co-starred with Field in the 1988 film Punchline, knew that she would be terrific in the role, but was initially hesitant to ask her. "They called me up and said, 'What do you think of Sally Field as Mama Gump?'" recalled Hanks. "I said, 'Look, I played Sally's love interest in a movie. I can't call her up and say, 'Would you want to play my mom in this thing?' But it worked out great...Sally's appearance is so perfect...She's a brilliant craftsperson at what she does."

To everyone's delight, Sally Field agreed to do the part. Her fondness for Hanks helped her decision making process. "He's absolutely the most lovable human being on the planet...Top-notch. First-class in every category," said Field. "So you know the familiarity and the love and all that was just there. Because we'd already worked together; because we were friends. It was just easy to be his mom."

A host of skilled actors soon joined the cast: Robin Wright (The Princess Bride [1987]) as the complicated Jenny, Gary Sinise (Of Mice and Men [1992]) as Forrest's commanding officer in Vietnam Lieutenant Dan, Mykelti Williamson as Forrest's shrimp-obsessed Army buddy Bubba, and a pre-Sixth Sense (1999) Haley Joel Osment in his film debut as Forrest's son.

One of the most important roles to cast was that of young Forrest, who would help set the tone for the whole film based on his performance. To find the right actor, Robert Zemeckis put the word out that he was looking for "a young Tom Hanks with light eyes and a quirky disposition." A young Mississippi boy by the name of Michael Conner Humphreys showed up at an open casting call in Memphis, Tennessee and fit the bill perfectly. His talent and natural ease with the material charmed everyone. During Humphreys' screen test, according to Robert Zemeckis, "He jumped off the screen when we saw him because he had a very different type of delivery."

Michael Humphreys' unique dialect turned out to be a major contributing factor to making Forrest Gump work. Before Humphreys was cast, Hanks had not settled on how Forrest would talk throughout the film. "Then Jessica Drake, my voice coach, and I heard Michael Humphreys, who played the young Forrest Gump," explained Hanks. "He was from Mississippi up by Tennessee and he had this great vocal cadence with very particular characteristics, with hard 'Gs' in the middle of things. Like he said, 'sing-ging'. I listened to Michael a lot, she made linguistic templates and then I read the entire script to her. It took the better part of three weeks and by the end I was doing it without having to think about it."

With a budget of $40 million, Forrest Gump began production in the summer of 1993. It was a demanding schedule that required shooting all over the United States. "We had to work at a breakneck pace," said Hanks, "but I just remember laughing all the time...It was always a blast." Hanks' amiability helped keep the atmosphere on the set pleasant throughout the shoot. "I couldn't imagine anyone else who could play the character [of Forrest]," said Robert Zemeckis in a later interview. "Not only is Tom Hanks one of the most incredibly talented actors, but he just brings such an energy and a tone to the movie. Tom's characterization of Forrest is better than I ever imagined."

One of the most complicated elements of Forrest Gump was its stunning use of state-of-the-art computer-generated special effects. The manipulation of archival footage to visually juxtapose Forrest with some of history's most prominent figures opened up the story of Forrest's charmed life immensely, but the work was painstaking. Two post-production supervisors spent over a year before shooting began scouring archives all over the country for footage that would fit with the script. "Our goal was to carefully match or blend Forrest's image to every shadow, every scratch, every moment of the corresponding cuts in the archival sequence," said Special Effects Supervisor Ken Ralston of Industrial Light and Magic. "How we choreograph the shot and how we light our work, because the lighting has to match perfectly with the rest of the scene, are very important. It all has to look like one big dramatic moment in the film. That can be very difficult considering that much of the 16mm archival footage during the early sixties was shot by amateurs with very unsteady, handheld cameras. Our footage had to match the movement of the original footage. We shot ours handheld and on the same type of film, such as 16mm black and white or 16mm color so that it would look as realistic and documentary-like as possible."

Perhaps even more challenging than the archival footage in Forrest Gump was the use of computer technology for more subtle effects. Huge crowd scenes, vivid sunsets, Lieutenant Dan's amputated legs, speeding ping-pong balls, and even the traveling feather that floats across the screen in the film's opening sequence were all a result of CGI magic. "Bob's [Zemeckis] shows are always hard because a lot of Bob's stuff utilizes some very subtle effects he wants to achieve," said Ken Ralston, "and that, for me, is the hardest stuff."

As its release date neared, there was some doubt as to whether or not Forrest Gump would succeed. The story was offbeat and non-traditional in structure, and Gump would be Tom Hanks' first film since winning the Academy Award as Best Actor for Philadelphia. Expectations would be high -- maybe too high -- for Forrest Gump. "The hardest thing about this movie was the overall scope and the epic size of it," said Robert Zemeckis, "the logistics we had to handle. We built 150 sets, shot in eleven states, costumed 12,000 people. But part of me subscribes to the George Lucas binary theory: Movies are either ones or zeros - they either work or they don't...So, that's the big fear. You go through all the complication and suffering, and you wonder, 'What if nobody wants to see a movie about this guy?'"

Forrest Gump was also a difficult film to market to the movie going public. It wasn't an easy film to describe or boil down to a simple tagline. In the end Paramount decided not to try and explain it at all. Studio executives felt that the best course of action would be to market it on the strength of Tom Hanks' name with a simple ad campaign that featured the star sitting alone on a park bench with the words: "The world will never be the same once you've seen it through the eyes of Forrest Gump."

Forrest Gump opened big on the July 4th holiday weekend of 1994 and went on to become one of the top grossing films of that year, exceeding all expectations. Variety said, "Forrest Gump is whimsy with a strong cultural spine. Elegantly made and winningly acted by Tom Hanks in his first outing since his Oscar®-winning Philadelphia performance, Robert Zemeckis' technically dazzling new film is also shrewdly packaged to hit baby boomers where they live." Rolling Stone called it "a movie heart-breaker of oddball wit and startling grace," and Roger Ebert called the film "magical" and Tom Hanks' performance "a breathtaking balancing act between comedy and sadness, in a story rich in big laughs and quiet truths."

When Academy Award announcements came out, Forrest Gump was the leader of the pack with a whopping 13 nominations. The film ended up winning six, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Visual Effects, Best Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actor for Tom Hanks. Hanks became only the second person in Academy Award history to win back-to-back Oscar®s for Best Actor (the first had been Spencer Tracy). In his acceptance speech, Hanks said, "I feel as though I'm standing on magic legs in a special effects shot that is too unbelievable to imagine and far too costly to make a reality." Hanks' victory in Forrest Gump represented a high water mark for his career and solidified his reputation as one of Hollywood's top leading men and most versatile talents.

The success of Forrest Gump at the box office may have surprised everyone, but what came as an even bigger surprise was the film's subsequent influence on pop culture and the demand for Gump-related merchandise. There were Gump hats, cookbooks, t-shirts, a best-selling music soundtrack, books containing Forrest's highly-quotable words of wisdom or "Gumpisms," and everyone seemed to have his or her own Forrest Gump impression. Winston Groom's original novel was re-issued as a paperback and quickly became a bestseller, and a chain of successful Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurants opened around the world.

In an attempt to build on the success of the film, author Winston Groom published a sequel to Forrest Gump in 1995 called Gump and Co., but the response was lukewarm. There was the inevitable talk of filming the sequel, an idea that Tom Hanks quickly shot down. "I'll be saying 'box of chocolates' again about the same time Sean Connery says, 'I'm Bond, James Bond,'" said Hanks. "I have to confess I don't see this as a franchise. A sequel would ruin what we have done."

Forrest Gump touched the hearts of millions of moviegoers and went on to become a beloved bona fide modern day classic. "The childlike innocence of Forrest Gump is what we all once had," said producer Wendy Finerman. "It's an emotional journey. You laugh and cry. It does what movies are supposed to do -- make you feel alive."

Producers: Wendy Finerman, Steve Starkey, Steve Tisch
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Screenplay: Eric Roth (screenplay); Winston Groom (novel)
Cinematography: Don Burgess
Art Direction: Leslie McDonald, Jim Teegarden
Music: Alan Silvestri
Film Editing: Arthur Schmidt
Cast: Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump), Robin Wright (Jenny Curran), Gary Sinise (Lt. Dan Taylor), Mykelti Williamson (Pvt. Benjamin Buford 'Bubba' Blue), Sally Field (Mrs. Gump), Rebecca Williams (Nurse at Park Bench), Michael Conner Humphreys (Young Forrest Gump), Harold Herthum (Doctor), George Kelly (Barber), Bob Penny (Crony).
C-142m. Letterboxed. Closed Captioning. Descriptive Video.

by Andrea Passafiume
Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump

A modern day classic and the winner of six Academy Awards including Best Picture, Forrest Gump (1994) stars Tom Hanks as the title character, a big-hearted simpleton who leads a truly remarkable life. Labeled "stupid" as a boy due to his low I.Q., Forrest never goes looking for adventure, but somehow manages to find himself in the middle of many extraordinary situations. Armed with the homespun wisdom of Mama Gump (Sally Field), wide-eyed Forrest goes through life brushing elbows with the likes of some of history's most notable figures over the course of thirty years that see him become a Vietnam war hero, international ping-pong champion, cross-country running folk hero, and a wildly successful business entrepreneur. Forrest's touchstone through each journey is his powerful bond with his childhood friend Jenny (Robin Wright), a beautiful and troubled girl who carries the key to his heart. The character of Forrest Gump was originally born when author Winston Groom published the novel of the same name in 1986 with moderate success. Producer Wendy Finerman came across the book in its early form and instantly saw its potential to be a great film. "I found the book Forrest Gump in 1985, and I fell in love with it," said Finerman. "It made you laugh and it made you cry. I knew there are very few times in life where a piece of material can do that." The character of Forrest, she knew, was wonderfully unique. "I saw an incredibly cinematic story of a man who is inseparable from the events we've all grown up with," she said. "In the same way that children can say the most brilliant things, Forrest Gump is able to bring a rare clarity to what we went through in the fifties, sixties, and seventies. He's a remarkable character who is just as good at making you cry as he is at making you laugh." At first, Finerman had trouble getting anyone in Hollywood interested in turning the quirky book into a movie. "People would ask me what I was working on," she said, "and I'd say Forrest Gump. And they'd get that glazed look. I knew they were thinking, 'When is she going to give up?'" However, Finerman was persistent. "There was something magical about the book," she said, "and even though I knew it would be an expensive and difficult movie to make, for nine years I always believed it was going to happen." Finerman sent the book to actor Tom Hanks to read early on in the development process, hoping the project would attract him. Hanks was impressed with the story, and told Finerman that he would be interested in starring as Forrest if the story could be turned into a top-notch screenplay. It took several years and just as many drafts to create a script that everyone was happy with. Writer Eric Roth's version of the screenplay, completed in December of 1992, hit all the right notes. "The script broke all the traditional rules of moviemaking," said Roth. "Yes, it was episodic. But it was also told from the point of view of Forrest...He anchored the movie on the love story. That's the spine of the film." Armed with Roth's screenplay and two other high caliber producers, Steve Tisch and Steve Starkey, Wendy Finerman continued to shop Forrest Gump around the studios. After Warner Bros. passed on it, Paramount made the decision to take on the unusual and decidedly uncommercial project. Tom Hanks read Roth's screenplay during a break from shooting the 1993 drama Philadelphia and was deeply moved. "I was completely broken," said Hanks. "I was absolutely bent. And I thought that if we didn't really screw it up that we could make a movie as good as what was on paper." Hanks, who was riding a tremendous wave of professional success at the time, signed on to play what would become one of the definitive roles of his career. When asked what drew him to the character of Forrest in a 1999 interview, Hanks answered, "By way of a very simple list of rules that Forrest adhered to, he survived everything. He believed in what God tells him to do. He obeys what Mama says he should do, and he believes in everything that the woman he loves says of him." The producers along with Tom Hanks believed that Robert Zemeckis would be the perfect director for Forrest Gump. With films like Back to the Future (1985) and Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) to his credit, Zemeckis had proven that he could work with the major special effects that Gump would require, but not at the expense of a good story. Zemeckis signed on quickly after reading the screenplay. The story was unlike anything he had ever read: there was no villain, no ticking clock, no particular goal for the hero to reach. He was intrigued. "I read the screenplay and couldn't put it down," said Zemeckis. "It was compelling in a strange way because it didn't have any typical plot devices. And all I wanted to do was find out what was going to happen to this guy." With star and director in place, the process began to find the remaining cast for Forrest Gump. To play Mama Gump, the most influential person in Forrest's life, Robert Zemeckis instantly thought of two time Academy Award-winner Sally Field. "Sally was always in my mind for the part," said Zemeckis, "because I needed someone who was young in the beginning of the movie and who could age. And there was something about the way the character was written. I just always saw her in this part." Tom Hanks, who had co-starred with Field in the 1988 film Punchline, knew that she would be terrific in the role, but was initially hesitant to ask her. "They called me up and said, 'What do you think of Sally Field as Mama Gump?'" recalled Hanks. "I said, 'Look, I played Sally's love interest in a movie. I can't call her up and say, 'Would you want to play my mom in this thing?' But it worked out great...Sally's appearance is so perfect...She's a brilliant craftsperson at what she does." To everyone's delight, Sally Field agreed to do the part. Her fondness for Hanks helped her decision making process. "He's absolutely the most lovable human being on the planet...Top-notch. First-class in every category," said Field. "So you know the familiarity and the love and all that was just there. Because we'd already worked together; because we were friends. It was just easy to be his mom." A host of skilled actors soon joined the cast: Robin Wright (The Princess Bride [1987]) as the complicated Jenny, Gary Sinise (Of Mice and Men [1992]) as Forrest's commanding officer in Vietnam Lieutenant Dan, Mykelti Williamson as Forrest's shrimp-obsessed Army buddy Bubba, and a pre-Sixth Sense (1999) Haley Joel Osment in his film debut as Forrest's son. One of the most important roles to cast was that of young Forrest, who would help set the tone for the whole film based on his performance. To find the right actor, Robert Zemeckis put the word out that he was looking for "a young Tom Hanks with light eyes and a quirky disposition." A young Mississippi boy by the name of Michael Conner Humphreys showed up at an open casting call in Memphis, Tennessee and fit the bill perfectly. His talent and natural ease with the material charmed everyone. During Humphreys' screen test, according to Robert Zemeckis, "He jumped off the screen when we saw him because he had a very different type of delivery." Michael Humphreys' unique dialect turned out to be a major contributing factor to making Forrest Gump work. Before Humphreys was cast, Hanks had not settled on how Forrest would talk throughout the film. "Then Jessica Drake, my voice coach, and I heard Michael Humphreys, who played the young Forrest Gump," explained Hanks. "He was from Mississippi up by Tennessee and he had this great vocal cadence with very particular characteristics, with hard 'Gs' in the middle of things. Like he said, 'sing-ging'. I listened to Michael a lot, she made linguistic templates and then I read the entire script to her. It took the better part of three weeks and by the end I was doing it without having to think about it." With a budget of $40 million, Forrest Gump began production in the summer of 1993. It was a demanding schedule that required shooting all over the United States. "We had to work at a breakneck pace," said Hanks, "but I just remember laughing all the time...It was always a blast." Hanks' amiability helped keep the atmosphere on the set pleasant throughout the shoot. "I couldn't imagine anyone else who could play the character [of Forrest]," said Robert Zemeckis in a later interview. "Not only is Tom Hanks one of the most incredibly talented actors, but he just brings such an energy and a tone to the movie. Tom's characterization of Forrest is better than I ever imagined." One of the most complicated elements of Forrest Gump was its stunning use of state-of-the-art computer-generated special effects. The manipulation of archival footage to visually juxtapose Forrest with some of history's most prominent figures opened up the story of Forrest's charmed life immensely, but the work was painstaking. Two post-production supervisors spent over a year before shooting began scouring archives all over the country for footage that would fit with the script. "Our goal was to carefully match or blend Forrest's image to every shadow, every scratch, every moment of the corresponding cuts in the archival sequence," said Special Effects Supervisor Ken Ralston of Industrial Light and Magic. "How we choreograph the shot and how we light our work, because the lighting has to match perfectly with the rest of the scene, are very important. It all has to look like one big dramatic moment in the film. That can be very difficult considering that much of the 16mm archival footage during the early sixties was shot by amateurs with very unsteady, handheld cameras. Our footage had to match the movement of the original footage. We shot ours handheld and on the same type of film, such as 16mm black and white or 16mm color so that it would look as realistic and documentary-like as possible." Perhaps even more challenging than the archival footage in Forrest Gump was the use of computer technology for more subtle effects. Huge crowd scenes, vivid sunsets, Lieutenant Dan's amputated legs, speeding ping-pong balls, and even the traveling feather that floats across the screen in the film's opening sequence were all a result of CGI magic. "Bob's [Zemeckis] shows are always hard because a lot of Bob's stuff utilizes some very subtle effects he wants to achieve," said Ken Ralston, "and that, for me, is the hardest stuff." As its release date neared, there was some doubt as to whether or not Forrest Gump would succeed. The story was offbeat and non-traditional in structure, and Gump would be Tom Hanks' first film since winning the Academy Award as Best Actor for Philadelphia. Expectations would be high -- maybe too high -- for Forrest Gump. "The hardest thing about this movie was the overall scope and the epic size of it," said Robert Zemeckis, "the logistics we had to handle. We built 150 sets, shot in eleven states, costumed 12,000 people. But part of me subscribes to the George Lucas binary theory: Movies are either ones or zeros - they either work or they don't...So, that's the big fear. You go through all the complication and suffering, and you wonder, 'What if nobody wants to see a movie about this guy?'" Forrest Gump was also a difficult film to market to the movie going public. It wasn't an easy film to describe or boil down to a simple tagline. In the end Paramount decided not to try and explain it at all. Studio executives felt that the best course of action would be to market it on the strength of Tom Hanks' name with a simple ad campaign that featured the star sitting alone on a park bench with the words: "The world will never be the same once you've seen it through the eyes of Forrest Gump." Forrest Gump opened big on the July 4th holiday weekend of 1994 and went on to become one of the top grossing films of that year, exceeding all expectations. Variety said, "Forrest Gump is whimsy with a strong cultural spine. Elegantly made and winningly acted by Tom Hanks in his first outing since his Oscar®-winning Philadelphia performance, Robert Zemeckis' technically dazzling new film is also shrewdly packaged to hit baby boomers where they live." Rolling Stone called it "a movie heart-breaker of oddball wit and startling grace," and Roger Ebert called the film "magical" and Tom Hanks' performance "a breathtaking balancing act between comedy and sadness, in a story rich in big laughs and quiet truths." When Academy Award announcements came out, Forrest Gump was the leader of the pack with a whopping 13 nominations. The film ended up winning six, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Visual Effects, Best Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actor for Tom Hanks. Hanks became only the second person in Academy Award history to win back-to-back Oscar®s for Best Actor (the first had been Spencer Tracy). In his acceptance speech, Hanks said, "I feel as though I'm standing on magic legs in a special effects shot that is too unbelievable to imagine and far too costly to make a reality." Hanks' victory in Forrest Gump represented a high water mark for his career and solidified his reputation as one of Hollywood's top leading men and most versatile talents. The success of Forrest Gump at the box office may have surprised everyone, but what came as an even bigger surprise was the film's subsequent influence on pop culture and the demand for Gump-related merchandise. There were Gump hats, cookbooks, t-shirts, a best-selling music soundtrack, books containing Forrest's highly-quotable words of wisdom or "Gumpisms," and everyone seemed to have his or her own Forrest Gump impression. Winston Groom's original novel was re-issued as a paperback and quickly became a bestseller, and a chain of successful Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurants opened around the world. In an attempt to build on the success of the film, author Winston Groom published a sequel to Forrest Gump in 1995 called Gump and Co., but the response was lukewarm. There was the inevitable talk of filming the sequel, an idea that Tom Hanks quickly shot down. "I'll be saying 'box of chocolates' again about the same time Sean Connery says, 'I'm Bond, James Bond,'" said Hanks. "I have to confess I don't see this as a franchise. A sequel would ruin what we have done." Forrest Gump touched the hearts of millions of moviegoers and went on to become a beloved bona fide modern day classic. "The childlike innocence of Forrest Gump is what we all once had," said producer Wendy Finerman. "It's an emotional journey. You laugh and cry. It does what movies are supposed to do -- make you feel alive." Producers: Wendy Finerman, Steve Starkey, Steve Tisch Director: Robert Zemeckis Screenplay: Eric Roth (screenplay); Winston Groom (novel) Cinematography: Don Burgess Art Direction: Leslie McDonald, Jim Teegarden Music: Alan Silvestri Film Editing: Arthur Schmidt Cast: Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump), Robin Wright (Jenny Curran), Gary Sinise (Lt. Dan Taylor), Mykelti Williamson (Pvt. Benjamin Buford 'Bubba' Blue), Sally Field (Mrs. Gump), Rebecca Williams (Nurse at Park Bench), Michael Conner Humphreys (Young Forrest Gump), Harold Herthum (Doctor), George Kelly (Barber), Bob Penny (Crony). C-142m. Letterboxed. Closed Captioning. Descriptive Video. by Andrea Passafiume

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Based on the novel "Forrest Gump" written by Winston Groom and published by Doubleday in 1986.

NATO (National Association of Theater Owners) has selected Tom Hanks as Male Star of the Year and Robert Zemeckis as Director of the Year for the 1995 ShoWest.

Feature acting debut for Michael Connner Humphreys and Hanna R. Hall.

Robert Zemeckis received the 1994 award for outstanding directorial achievement from the Directors Guild of America (DGA).

Completed shooting December 9, 1993.

Wide Release in United States July 6, 1994

Released in United States Summer July 6, 1994

Expanded Release in United States July 13, 1994

Expanded Release in United States July 15, 1994

Re-released in United States February 17, 1995

Re-released in United States September 5, 2014

Released in United States on Video April 28, 1995

Released in United States September 1994 (Shown at Deauville Film Festival September 2-11, 1994.)

Co-winner, along with "Pulp Fiction" (USA/1994) of the 1994 Award for Best Picture from the National Board of Review. Also cited for Best Actor (Tom Hanks) and Best Supporting Actor (Gary Sinise).

Don Burgess was nominated in the feature film category of the Outstanding Achievement Awards (1994) sponsored by the American Society of Cinematographers.

Eric Roth won the 1994 award for Best Adapted Screenplay from the Writers Guild of America (WGA).

Nominated for eight 1994 British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor (Tom Hanks), Best Supporting Actress (Sally Field), Best Cinematography, Best Editing, and Best Special Effects.

Nominated for Excellence in Media's 1994 Golden Angel Award for best motion picture.

Nominated for the 1994 Golden Reel Award by the Motion Picture Sound Editors.

Nominated for the Cinema Audio Society's 1994 best sound award.

Wendy Finerman, Steve Tisch, and Steve Starkey were nominated for the 1994 Golden Laurel Award by the Producers Guild of America.

Winner of the 1994 American Comedy Award for Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture (Tom Hanks).

Winner of the American Cinema Editor's 1994 Eddie Award for Best Edited Feature Film.

Wide Release in United States July 6, 1994

Released in United States Summer July 6, 1994

Expanded Release in United States July 13, 1994

Expanded Release in United States July 15, 1994

Re-released in United States February 17, 1995

Re-released in United States September 5, 2014

Released in United States on Video April 28, 1995

Released in United States September 1994

Shown at Deauville Film Festival September 2-11, 1994.

Shown at Venice Film Festival (Venetian Nights) September 1-12, 1994.

Paramount Pictures, anticipating multiple Oscar nominations, pulled the film from theatrical distribution on Thursday, January 19, 1995. The film was re-released on Friday, February 17, 1995.

Released in United States September 1994 (Shown at Venice Film Festival (Venetian Nights) September 1-12, 1994.)

Began shooting August 27, 1993.