Forrest Gump is a 1994 American comedy-drama film based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson, and Sally Field. The story depicts several decades in the life of Forrest Gump, a slow-witted but kind-hearted, good-natured and athletically prodigious man from 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 1944 and 1982. The film differs substantially from Winston Groom’s novel, including Gump’s personality and several events that were depicted.
This film took us on an epic journey through the life of Forrest Gump. It was unexpectedly funny, heartwarming and adventurous. Now, let’s take a look at some interesting facts that you may not know about this movie:
1. Lots of great movies came out the very same month as this one (Oct. 1994).
2. Tom Hanks got his accent from the young Forrest Gump.
Young Forrest was played by Michael Conner Humphrey and Tom modeled his accent after his.
3. No actor’s fee.
Tom Hanks waved his actor’s fee and instead took percentage points and made about $40 million dollars!
4. New home made to look old.
This was not really an old home. It was actually built for this movie and it was made to look like it’s been around for decades.
5. Not a real place.
His hometown of Greenbow, Alabama in the movie is not a real place.
6. The bullies on the bus.
Tom Hank’s daughter played a role in which she denied Forrest a seat on the bus. Also, the director’s son played an extra who did the same to Forrest.
7. Jenny’s cause of death.
In the book, she dies of Hepatitis C which she contracted from doing drugs. That’s why she says in the film that the doctors don’t know what the virus is and can’t do anything about it.
8. Lieutenant Dan’s necklace was real.
It was a rosary with a Saint Christopher medal that was worn in Vietnam by Gary Sinise’s brother-in-law, Jack Treese, in the 60s. It said, “Protect Us In Combat”.
9. Vietnam became a golf course.
This scene was shot on what is now known as the Ocean Creek Golf Course on Fripp Island, South Carolina. The background was created using CGC.
10. Travolta passed on the opportunity.
He was offered the role of Forrest Gump and later admitted that passing it up was a huge mistake.
11. His brother did some of the running for him.
Tom Hanks had to run a lot in this film and he wasn’t big on that. So, his younger brother, Jim Hanks, did some of the running in the wide shots.
12. Highly decorated.
All the medals that Forrest Gump wore were: the Medal of Honor, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Infantry Shoulder Cord, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Badge and Meritorious Unit Commendation.
13. The words we never heard.
When he was giving his speech at the Vietnam rally, his microphone was unplugged and we didn’t get to hear what he had to say. Here are the words: “Sometimes when people go to Vietnam they go home to their mommas without any legs. Sometimes they don’t go home at all. That’s a bad thing. That’s all I have to say about that.”
14. He made up this line.
One of the things that made this character so unique was how he presented himself. Once, Tom Hanks improvised this line and it stayed in the film because it was that good: “My name is Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump.”
At the beginning of each transition, he was wearing a blue, plaid shirt.
16. “Bubba Gump” is a real place.
Thanks to this movie, there are now 33 locations of this themed restaurant around the world.
17. Keeping his eye on the ball.
Once he was told to “keep his eye on the ball” , he never blinks when he is shown playing ping-pong.
18. This reporter was in the right place at the right time.
He was merely a tourist from Atlanta, Georgia and he happened to be on Capitol Hill when this scene was being filmed and he was asked to read for the part and got it.
19. Hippie hair at the Renaissance Festival.
Many extras were recruited from the Maryland Renaissance Festival because it was a good place to find performers with long hair.
20. Legs were digitally removed.
His lower legs were wrapped with special blue fabric in order to digitally remove them later.
21. The running was inspired by this man.
His name is Louis Michael Figueroa and when he was 16-years-old, he ran from New Jersey to San Francisco in 1982.
22. The bench has been saved.
This bench was located in historic Savannah, Georgia during this filming and it has since been removed and held in the Savannah History Museum.
23. Actual Footage.
On November 19, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson awarded Sammy L. Davis a Medal of Honor. Tom Hanks was superimposed on Davis’ face for the movie.
24. Eyes closed.
Tom Hanks made sure that Forrest Gump appeared like this in every still photo of the movie so that he didn’t look photogenic at all!
25. Robin Wright had a cold.
Despite this, she was completely nude for 24 hours while filming this shot.
26. They said ‘No’.
Plenty of others were offered the role of Bubba, including Dave Chappelle who later admitted that the regretted not taking the role.
27. Uncredited voiceover.
Kurt Russell says that he did the voice for Elvis Presley in this film because he played Elvis in 1979.
28. Bubba Gump Shrimp boat.
The one from the film now sits in a moat that surrounds the Planet Hollywood restaurant in Downtown Disney.
29. He just ran.
When Tom Hanks shot this running scene, he was suffering from influenza.
30. Forrest’s young Momma.
Sally Field is only 10 years older than Tom Hanks.
31. Everyone wanted a sequel.
Tom Hanks adamantly refused! This is always a good thing.
32. Forrest Gump is different in the movie.
The 1986 novel by Winston Groom Forrest Gump is portrayed as an abrasive and cynical guy. Not at all believing that life was like a box of chocolates.
33. Fake lower lip.
Mykelti Williamson wore a prosthetic on his lower lip to extend it for his performance.
34. No one would hire him.
This film practically ended Williamson’s career because casting directors thought that he really looked and acted that way in real life.
35. The soundtrack went platinum.
It sold over 12 millions copies worldwide.
36. Finally, a success!
This was the first major success for Paramount Pictures after it was acquired by Viacom.
37. Lots of awards.
In 1995, it raked in the Oscar for Best Picture, Best Actor (Tom Hanks), Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay Best Film Editing and Best Visual Effects.
38. Library of Congress.
This movie was selected for preservation in 2011 in the United States National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
39. Forrest Gump was an Astronaut in the novel.
He was also a professional wrestler, and a chess player.
40. Not all in Alabama.
Filming for this movie also took place in Beaufort, South Carolina and parts of coastal Virginia and North Carolina.
41. Real crowd was only 1,500 extras.
Over the course of two days, these extras were rearranged and moved to different parts away from the camera. They were later digitized into a crowd of several hundred thousand people.
42. Sold at auction.
This bench sold in 2013 for $25,000 and then put in the museum.
43. Missed opportunity
Directors, Terry Gilliam and Barry Sonnenfeld both turned down the offer to direct this film.
44. Norman Rockwell inspired.
Many of his artworks were the inspiration behind Forrest’s hometown.
He auditioned for the role of Bubba.
46. $350 million at the box office.
However, Paramount says that they were still $62 million out of profit because of promotion, distribution and interest costs.
47. His first role ever.
Playing Forrest Gump Jr. Was Haley Joel Osment’s first role. Not bad!
48. John Lennon’s lines come from his song “Imagine”.
His lines included “No possessions,” “No religion too,” and “It’s easy if you try.”
49. The day Forrest works on a shrimp boat will be the day he’s an astronaut.
This is what Gary Sinise’s character tells Forrest Gump. The following year, they both appear in Apollo 13 as astronauts.
50. Important to Tom.
Tom Hanks agreed to the film only if it was historically accurate.
Take the ultimate Forrest Gump quiz on the next page and see how much of the film you actually remember!
Do you think you remember the movie? Take the quiz below and see if you can remember some small but important things about this classic film. Good luck!
Take the quiz here:
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