"Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." This line from Forrest Gump surely ranks among cinema's best-known quotations and is immediately conjured in star Tom Hanks' southern drawl. However, the film was far more successful than even its pop-culture longevity suggests.
The film follows the eponymous Forrest Gump, a plain-spoken and unerringly kind man whose life improbably intersects with American history at every turn. For example, he inspires Elvis Presley, is awarded a Medal of Honor by Lyndon B Johnson for service in Vietnam and exposes the Watergate Scandal.
Adapted from a 1986 novel by Winston Groom and directed by Robert Zemeckis, the film reaped $678.2 million at the box office from a budget of $55 million, making it the second-highest-grossing film of 1994 behind The Lion King.
Furthermore, the film won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Tom Hanks and Best Visual Effects. These effects, which inserted Hanks' Gump into newsreel footage, were achieved through extensive blue screen and alteration of footage to accurately lip-sync new dialogue performed by voice actors. The process was helmed by Industrial Light & Magic.
A screenplay for a sequel was written in 2001, based on Groom's sequel novel Gump & Co, which would have seen the 'real' Forrest Gump battle with the media attention afforded by a film based on his life. Eventually, he meets Tom Hanks and attends the Academy Awards. However, plans for a sequel were shelved after the September 11th attacks, with Zemeckis, Hanks and screenwriter Eric Roth agreeing that the story was no longer relevant.