When Forrest gets up to talk at the Vietnam rally in Washington, the microphone plug is pulled and you cannot hear him. According to Tom Hanks he said, "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."
Tom Hanks was not paid for this film. Instead, he took percentage points which ultimately netted him in the region of $40 million.
When Forrest first learns to play ping-pong in the infirmary, he is told the trick is to "keep his eye on the ball at all times" by another soldier. After that moment, whenever he is shown playing ping-pong, he never blinks.
The line, "My name is Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump," was ad libbed by Tom Hanks while filming the scene, and director Robert Zemeckis liked it so much that he decided to keep it in.
Tom Hanks signed onto this film after an hour and a half of reading the script, but agreed to take the role only on the condition that the film was historically accurate. He initially wanted to ease Forrest's pronounced Southern accent, but was eventually persuaded by Robert Zemeckis to portray the heavy accent stressed in the novel, and he patterned his accent after Michael Conner Humphreys (young Forrest), who actually spoke that way.
With every transition of Forrest's age, one thing remains the same. In the first scene of each transition, he wears a blue plaid shirt.
Tom Hanks' younger brother, Jim Hanks, doubled for him in many of his numerous running sequences.
The necklace worn by Lieutenant Dan is a rosary with a Saint Christopher medal, inscribed "Protect Us In Combat." It was worn in Vietnam by Gary Sinise's brother-in-law, Jack Treese, in 1967-68.
During the ping-pong matches, there was no ball; it was entirely CGI, animated to meet the actors' paddles.
The actor who plays the reporter on the scene when Tom Hanks visits Washington, D.C. after his tour in Vietnam was, himself, an actual tourist from Atlanta, Georgia. He happened to be on Capitol Hill that day with his wife, and he was asked to read.
The running scene was inspired by an actual event. In 1982, Louis Michael Figueroa, aged 16, ran from New Jersey to San Francisco for the American Cancer Society, unknowingly inspiring a line for Forrest Gump's famous run on the silver screen. "I just put one foot in front of the other," it goes. "When I get tired, I sleep. When I get hungry, I eat. When I have to go to the bathroom, I go."
Attention to detail: When Gump calls to report the Watergate burglary, the security guard answering the phone says, "Security, Frank Wills." He was the actual guard on duty during that night, and he was the person who discovered the break-in, on Saturday, June 17th, 1972.
The park bench that Tom Hanks sat on for much of the movie was located in historic Savannah, Georgia, at Chippewa Square. The fiberglass bench he sat on, since then, has been removed and placed into a museum to avoid being destroyed by bad weather, or possibly stolen. The church where the feather first falls was about 100 yards just down the street from the bench. To this day, the bench is held in the Savannah History Museum, Savannah, Georgia.
Selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry in December 2011 as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
Gary Sinise's lower legs were wrapped in a special blue fabric that allowed them to be digitally removed later.
Bill Murray, John Travolta, and Chevy Chase turned down the role of Forrest Gump. Travolta later admitted that passing on the role was a mistake. Bill Paxton was one of Zemeckis's initial first choices for the titular role, but the studio demanded somebody with more star power. The novel's author, Winston Groom, had always envisioned John Goodman as Gump.
Greenbow, Alabama (Forrest's hometown) is fictional. Bayou LaBatre, Alabama (Bubba's hometown), however, is real.
All of the boat scenes, including the hurricane scene, were shot on location in the waters off the coast of South Carolina. A jet engine was used to generate the hurricane winds. The still/news reel shots of the trawlers on land are news shots of the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo in South Carolina 1989.
Forrest Gump's Medal of Honor ceremony uses the footage of the actual ceremony for Sammy L. Davis, who was awarded the Medal of Honor on November 19, 1968 by President Lyndon B. Johnson for his actions in Vietnam a year earlier. Tom Hanks' head was superimposed on Davis' body.
The movie's line, "Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." was voted as the #40 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).
Robin Wright was sick with a cold while shooting the nightclub scene. In spite of this, she was still able to perform her own singing during a non-stop twenty-four hour shoot in which she was nearly nude, except for her guitar covering her.
Every still picture of Forrest during this film shows Tom Hanks with his eyes closed.
Inspired by Lieutenant Dan Taylor, the military veteran character he played in this movie, Gary Sinise co-founded a rock and roll cover band during the mid-2000s called "The Lt. Dan Band." The band often goes on U.S.O. tours to play for U.S. military personnel stationed around the world, and also plays various benefits for veteran-related causes. Sinise was awarded the Presidential Citizen Medal in 2008 for his charity efforts.
David Alan Grier, Ice Cube, and Dave Chappelle turned down the role of Bubba. Ice Cube refused to play an idiot and Chappelle thought the movie would bomb. Chappelle had since admitted to deeply regretting not taking the role, and would eventually go on to play Tom Hanks' best friend in a different movie, You've Got Mail (1998).
Robert Zemeckis decided to leave out several planned effects shots. One shot in particular involved Forrest running into Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his supporters. Forrest distracts several dogs trying to attack King and his supporters by playing fetch with them and rendering them harmless to King and himself as well as his supporters.
The scene where Forrest spots Jenny at a peace rally at the Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C., required visual effects to create the large crowd of people. Over two days of filming, approximately 1,500 extras were used. At each successive take, the extras were rearranged and moved into a different quadrant away from the camera. With the help of computers, the extras were multiplied to create a crowd of several hundred thousand people.
Warner Bros. gave up the rights to this film in 1988 in exchange for the rights to Executive Decision (1996), because the studio felt that the project had lost its commercial promise in the wake of Rain Man (1988).
Magician Ricky Jay designed a special wheelchair for Gary Sinise that used an illusion to hide his legs, which were on a hidden platform underneath. The contortion required to sit in it meant that Sinise could only be in it for about ten minutes at a time.
Many of the extras in the hippie scene were actors from the Maryland Renaissance Festival, since the casting director, Ellen Lewis, realized that would be a good source of performers with long hair.
The fastest grossing Paramount film to pass the $100 million, $150 million, and $200 million marks (as of February 2008).
One of three movies - the other two being Apollo 13 (1995) and The Green Mile (1999) - in which Tom Hanks and Gary Sinise appear together. All three movies were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, but only Forrest Gump won in the category.
During the ambush in Vietnam the enemy is never actually seen. This led many combat veterans, especially Vietnam veterans, to rate this as one of the most accurate combat scenes in movie history. It was very sudden, the enemy isn't seen, and it happens very quickly.
Due to the success of Lieutenant Dan's character, Gary Sinise has formed a foundation for injured war veterans, which raises up to $30 million per year, and has 12 private jets which they use to fly these veterans, plus many sick children, to various locations around the world.
Forrest and Dan's Shrimp Emporium, "Bubba Gump," is now a themed restaurant in 33 locations around the world.
Next to Jenny's bed, there is a card with a yellow smiley face. Forrest had earlier been responsible for the smiley face idea.
The Dr. Pepper scene was shot a total of seven times. Each time Tom gave forth louder to loudest and unusually loud burps, to which Robert Zemeckis comments to Tom Hanks, and Hanks responds with, "Bob, just be glad they aren't coming out the other end."
Robert Zemeckis used the paintings of Norman Rockwell as the design inspiration for the town of Greenbow, Alabama. The scene where Forrest sits in the hallway of his school while his mother talks to the principal is a direct re-creation of Rockwell's painting "Girl with a Black Eye".
Robert Zemeckis asked actor Jeffrey Winner to toss his drink at Robin Wright's leg instead of her face while shooting the nightclub scene so they wouldn't have to redo her make-up between takes.
When Forrest is pushing Lieutenant Dan in his wheelchair across the street in New York City, the song playing in the background is "Everybody's Talking" by Harry Nilsson, and Lieutenant Dan exclaims to a cab driver, "I'm walking here, I'm walking here!" This is an obvious homage to a scene in Midnight Cowboy (1969) with the same line and music.
Following the success of the movie, Winston Groom wrote a sequel novel, 'Gump & Co.' (1995), which referenced the movie as if it had been released in Forrest's world (he mentions that the movie was an inaccurate telling of his life - and brought him unwanted press attention). Forrest also meets Tom Hanks in the novel.
In the movie there are four actors/actresses who play multiple roles. Gary Sinise plays Lieutenant Dan as well as all of his ancestors. Mykelti Williamson plays Benjamin Beaufort "Bubba" Blue, as well as the waiter opening Dr. Pepper bottles when Forrest meets JFK as an All-American. Sally Field plays Forrest's mom, as well as a male reporter during Forrest's run across America. Tom Hanks plays both Forrest and his Confederate ancestor.
When this film became wildly successful, talk of a sequel naturally arose, especially when Winston Groom wrote a sequel novel called 'Gump & Co'. However, at the time, Tom Hanks adamantly refused to work in any sequel (and making the sequel with another actor was not a consideration). After Hanks reconsidered his stance on sequels/prequels (Toy Story 2 (1999), Toy Story 3 (2010), Angels & Demons (2009)), the original screenwriter Eric Roth attempted to adapt 'Gump & Co.' in 2001. However, the 9/11 attacks changed the world to the extent that it made the film irrelevant. Despite several attempts to revive the project and the absence of a formal cancellation, the sequel has remained in "development hell" since, and is unlikely to be made.
The Doors have more songs in the movie than any other band with a total of six. These are, "Soul Kitchen" (in one of the Vietnam scenes), "Hello, I Love You" (first song in Gump's first ping pong sequence), "People Are Strange" (second song in Gump's first ping pong sequence), "Break On Through" (third song in Gump's first ping pong sequence), "Peace Frog" (during a New York City scene with Lieutenant Dan) and "Love Her Madly" (when Jenny is leaving her abusive boy friend).
On the day that Tom Hanks shot the football running scenes he had been suffering from influenza.
Forrest's awards and decorations, as worn in his Class A uniform are: 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 (probably for rifle), and Meritorious Unit Commendation.
When Jenny is throwing her shoes and stones at the house where she grew up, she suddenly collapses onto the ground in front of the house. The image of Jenny on the ground is almost identical to that captured in the famous Andrew Wyeth painting, Christina's World.
Jenny's last name, Curran, is never spoken in the film, although it appears in print on her postal deliveries.
The traffic flow around squares in Savannah is normally counterclockwise. The flow was reversed for the movie in order to have the bus doors open into the square.
To create the effect of Forrest carrying Bubba away from a napalm attack, stunt actors were initially used for compositing purposes. Then, Tom Hanks and Mykelti Williamson were filmed, with Williamson supported by a cable wire as Hanks ran with him. The explosion was then filmed, and the actors were digitally added to appear just in front of the explosions. The jet fighters and napalm canisters were also added by CGI.
Chippewa Square, the setting for the famous bench scene, does not actually have any benches on the outside of the square that faces the street, only inside the square. The bench was placed there for that scene only by the production team.
Apart from a fixed fee of $350,000, author Winston Groom made a deal for a three percent share in the film's net profits. However, he never received money from this source. Even though the film turned in more than $350 million in revenue, the studio employed creative accounting by claiming that the movie had actually lost money after correcting for the costs of production and advertising. Groom tried to sue the studio for money, but to appease him, they settled by buying the rights to the sequel novel 'Gump & Co' from him for a seven-figure sum, as well as a percentage of the box office from the sequel. Unfortunately for Groom, a sequel never materialized.
The film was re-released in IMAX in September 2014 in honor of its 20th anniversary.
Gary Sinise's character tells Tom Hanks's character that the day Forrest works on a shrimp boat is the day he'd be an astronaut. This is a reference to the book, where Forrest actually becomes an astronaut, and the following year, Sinise and Hanks appeared together as astronauts in Apollo 13 (1995).
Despite earning over $350 million at the box office, Paramount claimed that they were still $62 million out of profit due to the costs of promotion, distribution and interest.
It was originally scripted and shot that young Jenny kills her father by releasing the tractor handbrake so it runs him down in the corn field. This element was removed as the filmmakers decided audiences wouldn't forgive Jenny for such a violent act, no matter how evil her father was. The deleted scene can be seen on the 25th anniversary blu-ray.
In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #76 Greatest Movie of All Time.
Haley Joel Osment was cast in the film after the casting director had noticed him in a Pizza Hut commercial.
When he appeared on Inside The Actors Studio, Tom Hanks was persuaded by host James Lipton, to say the line "Life is like a box of chocolates.....". Hanks then said that that was the equivalent of getting Robert De Niro to say the "Are you talking to me... " lines from Taxi Driver (which De Niro refused to do when he was the guest) as Hanks revealed he never says those lines for anyone, no matter who asks.
Contrary to popular belief, the feather was not entirely CGI. The effects team digitized film of a real feather blowing and twisting in front of a blue-screen. This was then edited into segments, which the computer could link and morph together, allowing the "virtual" feather to move however the filmmakers needed. Thus, there was a real feather, but its performance in the movie was computer-based. This is demonstrated in the DVD supplementals.
Mykelti Williamson claimed that after this film, he was primarily offered roles as a comedic black character in films, only to be rejected because his lips weren't big enough.
In Punchline (1988), Sally Field played a love interest for Tom Hanks's character. In this film, she played his character's mother.
Alan Silvestri composed the score for both Forrest Gump (1994) and the Back to the Future trilogy. The Forrest Gump theme is a variation of the melody playing in the beginning of Back to the Future Part III (1990), when Marty and Doc are sleeping in Doc's living room.
If Forrest "ran three years, two months, fourteen days and sixteen hours" and left his front porch early in the morning of Monday, July 5th, 1976 because he "felt like running", his entire transcontinental running marathon commenced on Monday, July 5th, 1976 at 7:00 AM EDT (approximately) in Greenbow, Alabama and terminated 1,171 days later (167 weeks and 2 days), on Wednesday, September 19th, 1979 at 8:00 PM MDT (approximately) in Monument Valley, Utah.
Terry Gilliam and Barry Sonnenfeld turned down the chance to direct the film. Sonnenfeld chose to direct Addams Family Values (1993) instead.
The first person Forrest Gump speaks to in the film has similarities with Civil Rights icon Rosa Parks. She is a working-class African American woman riding a public bus. She even mentions to Forrest that her "feet hurt", a statement widely believed to have been uttered by Ms. Parks when she refused give up her seat for a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery in December 1955. Her act of defiance and subsequent arrest sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a movement that set in motion the fight for equality in the South led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Years later, Rosa Parks denied telling the bus driver she was tired or that her feet hurt declaring, "the only tired I was, was tired of giving in".
Sonny Shroyer's character, credited as "football coach" was based on Legendary University of Alabama Head Coach Paul 'Bear' Bryant, who was coach of the Crimson Tide when Forrest would have played at Alabama.
Forrest Gump is in the 9th Infantry Division, as is shown in the Vietnam scenes by the patch on his shoulder (the top is red and the bottom is blue on the color versions of the patch).
Forrest's college football uniform is always spotless, due to the fact that no-one is fast enough to catch him.
Among the elements deleted from the original draft of the screenplay was a more literal interpretation of characters' symbolism. Lt. Dan was to have a dark rain cloud hanging over his head, Jenny was to have angel's wings and Forrest would have an animated Curious George as a companion. Robert Zemeckis believes he was sent the screenplay because he had directed Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) and knew how to combine live-action and animation. Knowing full well the headaches he went through on that film, Zemeckis agreed to direct the film on the condition that the above-mentioned elements were taken out of the film.
'Weird Al' Yankovic released a parody version of the 1995 song "Lump", by former rock group The Presidents of the United States of America, called "Gump". The parody is a joking tribute to this film.
The speech the Drill Sergeant gives inaudibly while Forrest narrates is "This is one very intelligent individual! You lock your scuzzy bodies up behind that private and do exactly what he does, and you will go far in this man's Army!"
The famous quote that Forrest uses about life being like a box of chocolates is not completely original to the film or the adapted novel. It was used slightly differently in the British film The Likely Lads (1976) where the term used was 'the chocolate box of life'. The sentence in the movie is based on the very first sentence in the novel: "Let me say this: bein' an idiot is no box of chocolates".
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
The vintage microphones into which Forrest speaks while in Washington, D.C., and the sound rig of which the uniformed man pulls cables out, were all provided by Brandywine Electronics, LTD (now known as BEL.com), and are still on display in its offices in New Castle, Delaware.
Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
Harry Anderson was Robert Zemeckis' first choice for the title role, but was unavailable, due to his commitment to the CBS series, Dave's World (1993).
This is the first of three movies that Tom Hanks and Gary Sinise have appeared in together, the others being Apollo 13 (1995) and The Green Mile (1999).
In the opening shot of the film, the feather floats down over Madison Square in Savannah, Georgia. It then floats up to the sky where there is a dissolve, barely visible, and then it sweeps down past the Protestant Church and then heads for Chippawa Square, about half a mile away from the first square (although we are left to believe it's the same square).
Dave Chappelle declined the role of Bubba, which went to Mykelti Williamson. Chappelle and Williamson both went on to appear together in Con Air (1997).
Director Trademark: Brick Joke. When the bus driver picks Forrest up for school the first time she has a cigarette in her mouth. Years later when she picks up Forrest Jr. she's chewing on a huge wad of gum.
That was a real explosion used in the scene when napalm was dropped in Vietnam. The owners of that land was planning on clearing it to build a golf course. It needed to be done in one take, and director Robert Zemeckis was in the bathroom when it was filming
When Forrest Gump says that Lieutenant Dan had a family member who died in every single American war, a soldier from his family is seen dying in the four major American wars: the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), the American Civil War (1861-1865), World War I (1914-1918), and World War II (1939-1945).
In Vietnam, Forrest was assigned to 4th Platoon (Lieutenant Dan welcomes him and Bubba), Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment (as seen in the wooden sign by the tent), 9th Infantry Division (shoulder patch).
In a flashback Forrest has of Vietnam, the helicopter gunner/co-pilot resembles real-life U.S. Air Force General Robin Olds; down to the mustache.
Forrest Gump appears with Governor George Wallace. Gary Sinise (Lieutenant Dan) went on to play the Alabama governor in George Wallace (1997) and Path to War (2002).
The only film in which Tom Hanks won an acting Oscar for his performance in a film which won Best Picture.
Bruce Springsteen ripped the movie in his song "My Best Was Never Good Enough": "Now life's like a box of chocolates/You never know what you're gonna get/Stupid is as stupid does and all the rest of that shit."
Michael Conner Humphreys, who played the young Forrest, later joined the army, just like his character.
In the scene where Forrest first meets his son, Jenny is flipping through a scrapbook and we momentarily see the cover "Gogo Dancer says Forrest Gump made me his Secret Lover." implying it was her that spoke to the National Enquirer as she did work in a strip club.
When Forrest is at boot camp, they train with the M14 service rifle but when they get to Vietnam they swap to the M16, similar to Full Metal Jacket.
After Forrest joins the Army, a fellow recruit tosses him a Playboy magazine. The magazine wasn't an actual Playboy, but a prop created with actress Robin Wright posing in a red polka-dot bikini for the cover. The cover itself is a recreation of the July 1967 issue of Playboy but dated July 1966. The new cover was then attached to an October 1967 copy of Playboy. Pages were inserted with Robin Wright posing as Jenny. The text within says "Jenny, studying to be an entomologist, is on the university chess team and reigning champion. Jenny also teaches "Shag" classes, a favorite dance of the south." The caption next to her picture says "Sassy and sultry Jenny Curran, Shag instructor and promising entomologist, spends her free time sashaying through the verdant fields of Alabama." The prop sold at an auction in December 2020 for 3500 pounds (approximately 4800 US dollars).
When Forrest and Jenny are walking through the camp in Washington DC there is a couple having sex in front of one of the tents behind them.
At the end of the New Year's Eve scene, Lt. Dan looks out the window and snow is falling. It is New Year's 1972. On New Year's Eve 1972 in NYC it was 58° at midnight, much too warm for snow.
By the color of their uniforms, the team that Alabama was playing against would've been the University of Tennessee.
Steve Tisch is the only person to win an Oscar and a Super Bowl Championship. He won an Oscar for best picture as one of the three producers for Forest Gump and Super Bowl Championships as co-owner of the New York Giants for Super Bowls 42 and 46.
Included among the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the 500 movies nominated for the Top 100 Funniest American Movies.
The only Best Picture Oscar nominee that year to be nominated for Best Sound Effects Editing, and Best Art Direction, and Best Makeup, and Best Visual Effects.
Tom Hanks (Forrest) and Hannah R. Hall (Young Jenny) have the same birthdays on July 9.
The movie was named as one of "The 20 Most Overrated Movies Of All Time" by Premiere.
Elvis was played by Peter Dobson, who previously appeared in L.A. Takedown (1989) as Chris Serhelis. In the remake, Heat (1995), his role was played by Val Kilmer, who played Elvis in True Romance (1993). Mykelti Williamson also appeared in Heat (1995).
Included among the American Film Institute's 2002 list of 400 movies nominated for the top 100 top 100 America's Greatest Love Stories movies.
This was one of two movies released in 1994 to have its main character named Forrest. The other was On Deadly Ground (1994).
1985's Legend featured an elf named Gump, Guardian of the Forest or Forest Gump (actual name Honeythorn Gump). Tom Cruise spends several scenes yelling "Gump!"
The second of three times (as of 2021) Tom Hanks plays the eponymous role. The first was Turner & Hooch (1989) and the third was Captain Phillips (2013).
Hanna Hall later appeared in Halloween (2007). Robin Wright's ex-husband Sean Penn previously starred in Bad Boys (1983), directed by Rick Rosenthal, who also directed Halloween II (1981).