25 Amazing Facts About Forrest Gump

It's been 20 years since Forrest Gump was released in theaters. The movie went on to win Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor for Tom Hanks, Best Director for Robert Zemeckis and Best Screenplay. It's one of the most universally loved movies ever made, but at the same time it has also been listed as one of the most overrated. I personally love the film, watching it at least once a year. The movie was seen by so many people, yet, there are a few things about this movie that will definitely surprise you. It has the power to make a grown man weep like an infant, even almost 20 years after its release. Just you try to relive the ending of Forrest Gump without embarrassing yourself in front of others. Hopefully, you can remain composed enough to make it through all these 15 pieces of Gump facts that you probably don't already know...

Earnings

The movie earned over $677 million. However, Tom Hanks did not get paid for acting. He only accepted percentage points which in the end, earned him $40 million. 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.

Tricks

Computers were used to create so many illusions in Forrest Gump, from removing actor Gary Sinise’s legs to having Tom Hanks interact with JFK and John Lennon, that viewers may have not even noticed one of the film’s more sneakily brilliant tricks. Specifically, there is a memorable passage in the movie during which the title character’s considerable ping-pong skills make him famous during his stint in the Army.

He even serves as an ambassador of sorts for his home country when he is invited to play ping-pong behind the so-called Bamboo Curtain, becoming one of “the first Americans to visit the land of China in, like, a million years.” Arbitrary as this plot twist may seem, “ping-pong diplomacy” was a very real part of Richard Nixon’s plan to establish detente with China. But how, exactly, did Tom Hanks manage to play table tennis so convincingly in the 1994 Robert Zemeckis smash? During the Ping-Pong matches, there was no ball used. It was purely computer-generated imagery.

Hanks and his opponent, billed only as Valentine, are simply swatting at the air with their paddles, timing their action to the sound of clicks. The ball was added optically later. For Hanks, this kind of pantomime came naturally, but his scene partner was a genuine ping-pong wizard who had to adjust to playing his favorite sport without a ball.

The Lead Role

John Travolta, Bill Murray, and Chevy Chase all turned down the role of Forrest Gump. They were among the first people to be approached to act in the movie. However, none of the accepted the accept the offer of which they surely regretted later on.


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John Travolta was the first choice to play Forrest but turned the role down. Bill Murray was chronologically the second actor considered. Winston Groom, the author of the source novel, envisaged John Goodman as the perfect Gump. That would've made for a very different movie!

Sally Field

Although Sally Fields played Tom Hank's mom in the film, she was only 10 years older than Hanks. It's obvious the makeup team for the film definitely knew what they were doing, and Fields certainly looked a lot older than her co-star.

Hanks and Fields had worked together prior to the film and they would go on to work together again down the road. They have great chemistry together as actors, but they've always looked back on their roles in Forrest Gump in a special light, being that they were able to make their closeness in age almost disappear.

Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks was given the lead role that was supposed to be given to Chevy Chase. This role gave him an opportunity to transition from being a comedic actor to a dramatic actor. This was a great turning point for Tom Hanks since he aced the performance. Unfortunately, he didn't get paid for his part. Although the film grossed around $677 million, Tom only accepted percentage points for the film. This only earned him around $40 million.

Although most of the movies he had taken on prior to Gump saw a combination of comedy and drama, this role was definitely more serious than the ones from his past. This role earned him a new level of respect within the film industry and boosted his stardom to new heights. It's this role that is arguably responsible for Hanks being the legend within the industry that he's known to be today.


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Closed eyes

Almost every photo that is taken of Forrest throughout the movie shows him with his eyes closed. However, when Forrest first learns to play ping-pong in the infirmary, he is told the trick is to "keep his eye on the ball" by another soldier. After that moment, whenever he is shown playing ping-pong, he never blinks.

This is one of those small details in the movie that most people miss, but it's the nuances that make the movie such a classic. The producers were so detail-oriented that they even encouraged Hanks to make his character gullible and innocent in these small situations that forever change the course of the character's life.

Robin Wright

Wright was nominated for both a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe for her role as Jenny in 1994’s beloved Forrest Gump. It was also rumored that Jodie Foster, Nicole Kidman, and Demi Moore turned down the role of Jenny in the film. Something, they're probably kicking themselves for now. The aftermath of her role in Gump had Wright on a high but she didn't take advantage of it.

She said, "Oh yeah, they wanted to make me America's sweetheart," she recalls. "They wanted to make me the next big ingenue, the studio bosses behind the curtain. But what happened was that I turned down a lot of movies that simply didn't blow my dress up. Plus I was too busy being a mom at the time."

Wright, it seemed, simply did not know what was good for her. "I remember there was a turning point," she says. "I think it came right after Forrest Gump, when I turned down the cover of Vanity Fair. That was blasphemy. You just don't do that. And I remember, after that, not getting a couple of movies that I really wanted to do. And I was told, 'Well, you know, if you had done Vanity Fair it might have been different.' It was like I'd made this big mistake."


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A Brotherly Double…

In many of Tom Hanks’ running sequences, his younger brother Jim Hanks is said to have doubled for him. This is surprising because they don’t necessarily look alike. This actually isn't the only instance where his brother stood in for him. While being interviewed on the Graham Norton Show, Norton pulled the string on a Woody doll from the Toy Story movies and Tom Hanks confirmed that the voice coming from the toy was not him.

"There are so many computer games and video things, and Jim ... he just works on those all year long," he said. Jim Hanks is nearly five years younger than 59-year-old Tom and began his acting career about a decade after his more famous brother. Since then, he has occasionally filled in for Tom and is listed as the voice actor for 25 episodes of the Toy Story Treats shorts series.

Vietnam scenes

During the Vietnam rally that was held in Washington, Tom Hanks’ microphone was not audible. These are the exact words 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.”

People Call Me Forrest Gump

Tom Hanks ad-libbed the line “My name is Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump,” and it turned out to be a line used in the film. It stayed in the final cut of the film because the film's director, Robert Zemeckis, loved it so much that he allowed it to be used.

He was just supposed to respond back "My name is Forrest Gump." But the well-seasoned actor had the foresight to spot a comedic improvisation that would make this scene in-line with the direction he wanted to take his character. It's safe to say it paid off!


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His Daddy’s Named Forest, Too…

Haley Joel Osment, who famously acted in The Sixth Sense,  acted as Forrest and Jenny’s son. He acted amazingly and most people who watched the movie liked him. The most amazing and surprising thing is that this was his first film performance yet he aced it. Osment himself remains nostalgic for his days as a child actor in those classic films. During an interview, he talked about working alongside Tom Hanks in "Gump," calling him "a great first cinema dad."

As Osment explained, they were filming the last scene in "Gump," where he appears as Forrest Jr., and director Robert Zemeckis decided to do a rewrite. He called Hanks and Osment into his trailer, "and Tom wrote down my lines down on a piece of yellow legal paper," he said. "I still have this little piece of film history." So is Hanks as nice as we all are pretty positive he must be? "He truly is," said Osment.

Tourists Make Excellent Reporters…

When Tom Hanks visited Washington DC after his visit from Vietnam, there was a scene that had a reporter. The reporter was not an actor. He was a tourist who was visiting DC together with his wife. He was just given the script and asked to read, which he did perfectly.

It must've been pretty amazing to be visiting Washington DC, and then walk in the park, only to be asked to have a supporting extra role in one of the most important movies of Tom Hanks' career. That's a story he's probably boasted about to his friends and family ever since.

Those Aren’t Blue Leggings…

Computers were used to create so many illusions in Forrest Gump, from removing actor Gary Sinise’s legs to having Tom Hanks interact with JFK and John Lennon, that viewers may have not even noticed one of the film’s more sneakily brilliant tricks. Specifically, there is a memorable passage in the movie during which the title character’s considerable ping-pong skills make him famous during his stint in the Army.


ADVERTISEMENT

He even serves as an ambassador of sorts for his home country when he is invited to play ping-pong behind the so-called Bamboo Curtain, becoming one of “the first Americans to visit the land of China in, like, a million years.” Arbitrary as this plot twist may seem, “ping-pong diplomacy” was a very real part of Richard Nixon’s plan to establish detente with China. But how, exactly, did Tom Hanks manage to play table tennis so convincingly in the 1994 Robert Zemeckis smash? During the Ping-Pong matches, there was no ball used. It was purely computer-generated imagery.

Hanks and his opponent, billed only as Valentine, are simply swatting at the air with their paddles, timing their action to the sound of clicks. The ball was added optically later. For Hanks, this kind of pantomime came naturally, but his scene partner was a genuine ping-pong wizard who had to adjust to playing his favorite sport without a ball.

The Actual Footage…

The actual footage of Sammy L. Davis being awarded a Medal of Honor by President Lyndon B. Johnson was used for Forrest’s medal ceremony. Forrest’s head was digitally superimposed on Davis’ body, which made the scene appear more realistic.

Sammy Davis took some ribbing in the Army because he shared a name with the famous entertainer. Much later, long after his military days were over, he would again gain acclaim among his old comrades, this time as the "real" Forrest Gump.

Davis enlisted in the Army directly out of high school in 1965. Volunteering for the artillery because his father had been an artilleryman in World War II, he was assigned to the 4th Artillery. Soon after completing training, he asked to be sent to Vietnam.

Iced Shrimp…

Mykelti Williamson acted as Bubba who was Forrest’s friend, whom he met after joining the army. David Alan Grier, Ice Cube and Dave Chappelle were all offered the role but turned it down. Chappelle said he believed the film would be unsuccessful, and also acknowledged that he regrets not taking the role.


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Forget Dave Chappelle.  What if Ice Cube were Bubba?  But don’t forget that Tom Hanks was also not the first choice to play Forrest Gump. Bill Murray, John Travolta and Chevy Chase all initially turned down the role.  And did you know that Tom Hanks also took virtually no salary to do this movie but instead took a % of the gross?  He’s said to have made over $100 million on the film.

Thank You Very Much…

We're willing to bet that you know Forrest Gump like the back of your hand. The movie is packed with memorable moments, iconic quotes, and that one heartbreaking couple (Forrest and Jenny forever). But one thing you might not know? Kurt Russell is actually in the movie. While his face doesn't appear on screen, his voice certainly does for just a few precious seconds.

Russell reportedly voiced Elvis Presley during the scene where a young Forrest is showing the musician his dance moves while he's staying in the Gump home. It's never been 100 percent confirmed, and his role was never credited, but it's so obvious that it's him once you watch the scene again. Another fun fact: Russell also played Elvis in the 1979 film of the same name, so he knows a thing or two about the King's voice.

Quote The Truth Where You Find it…

The line used by Forrest Gump during the famed run on the silver screen was inspired by a 16-year-old boy who ran to San Francisco from New Jersey as a way of supporting the American Cancer Society. The inspired line was: “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.”

A Long Day…

Robin Wright was having a very bad cold when she was performing a scene in a nightclub. Despite this, she was able to sing her own song during a shoot that took 24 hours nonstop. Additionally, she was holding a guitar and nearly naked.


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Wright was nominated for both a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe for her role as Jenny in 1994’s beloved Forrest Gump. It was also rumored that Jodie Foster, Nicole Kidman, and Demi Moore turned down the role of Jenny in the film. Something, they're probably kicking themselves for now. The aftermath of her role in Gump had Wright on a high but she didn't take advantage of it

Running With A Cold…

Tom Hanks, unfortunately, came down with influenza while shooting the football field running scene. Although he was sick, he persisted with the filming of the scene. Guess they don't say "Run Forrest, Run" for nothing. That explains why he was able to be so straight-faced in this scene. He must've been hyper-focused on getting it over with!

The Bench That Got Benched…

The bench Gump sat on for many parts of the movie was at Chippewa Square in Savannah, Georgia. Since then, it is has been removed and put in a museum to avoid damage from unfavorable weather. Up to today, the bench is in the historical Savannah History Museum.

It's great that this piece of American movie culture history made it into a museum for all to see. More often than not, actors and actresses get their hands on these items for the designs in and around their homes. They all get to take different keepsakes from their time on set.

Character Differences…

The film differs extensively from the original version of the novel. This is in terms of both character and turn of events. For example, Gump is naive and reflexive, unlike in the novel. This can be clearly seen in the chocolate scene.


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John Travolta was the first choice to play Forrest but turned the role down. Bill Murray was chronologically the second actor considered. Winston Groom, the author of the source novel, envisaged John Goodman as the perfect Gump. That would've made for a very different movie!

The Book…

After the success story of the Forrest Gump movie, the author of the novel "Forrest Gump", Winston Groom,  decided to write another novel that focuses on the result of the movie. The novel was called Gump & Co. Sadly, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company goes through some hard times after Lt. Dan sells his portion of the company. Forrest resorts to working in a strip club... as a janitor.

In true Forrest fashion, he meets an NFL player at the strip club, and before he knows it, he's footballing professionally. Forrest's childhood friend doesn't die in the books until the sequel, and afterward, she becomes a guardian angel of sorts for him and their son, appearing multiple times throughout the novel. Whereas "Forrest Gump" tells the story of his many accidental successes, "Gump and Co." is a series of humorous mistakes.

How Jenny Died - Fan Theory

Forrest was at risk of contracting AIDS from Jenny. But that is not what actually happened. Jenny was a party girl her entire life. She cleaned up her act for a few months and then relapsed and partied again. Jenny didn't get AIDS/HIV until after she gave birth to Forrest Jr. She had a relapse and had a moment of weakness and hit the needle again after Forrest Jr. was born. And that is why Forrest and Forrest Jr. are HIV free.

Not real, huh?

Forrest Gump grew up in Greenbow, Alabama. The twist? Greenbow, Alabama doesn’t exist. However, Bayou La Batre, the birthplace of Bubba Gump Shrimp, is real and has a strong shrimping history. Now you can find Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurants all over the United States. It's become more than just a business within the movie since it's jumped right off the page.


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Loving children

Tom Hanks’ daughter (Emily) and director Robert Zemeckis’ son (Alexander) both have roles in the film: they both deny Forrest Gump a seat on the school bus. Emily is the red-haired girl, and Alexander is the first boy that won’t let Forrest sit down.

Farewell, sweet Jenny

It’s not specified in the film, but in the sequel book “Gump & Co,” the author reveals that Jenny dies from Hepatitis C in the early 70s. Hepatitis C, contracted from her drug abuse, was an unknown disease until 1989. She says in the movie that the doctors don’t know what the virus is and can’t do anything about it.

Jenny’s Real Last Name…

Jenny’s last name is Curran. Though, it's funny that she was never addressed by her last name the entire movie. You can see it in the letters that Forrest wrote to her that were returned. You have to pay attention to catch it. The name is never mentioned in the movie. It's also seen on her mailbox when she is a child, and on the letters that are returned to him in the hospital.

Tom Hank’s Accent Inspiration…

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. Tom Hank’s accent was inspired by Michael Conner Humphrey’s. When he was given the role of Forest, he was reluctant to use the accent. However, contrary to what was expected, he did a great job using that accent.


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He Signed On After Reading This…

With the excellent acting that Tom Hanks portrays, one would think he took several hours or even days reading the script. However, it took him only one and a half hours after reading the script to sign into the movie.

Historical Precision Clause…

Tom Hanks only agreed to participate in the film on a condition that the movie was historically precise.

Emotion Plays A Role…

According to some sources, Tom Hanks confessed that there are times that he got really emotional when playing the role of Forrest Gump.

An Oscar-Worthy Performance…

Tom Hanks had won an Oscar award in the year 1994, which was his first Academy Award.


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Cast In Savannah…

Many scenes of the movie were filmed in Savannah, Georgia. However, some of the scenes were filmed in South Carolina, Fripp Island and also the hunting island were some of the filming locations. This enabled the movie to look historical and also easily relatable.

600 Million In Profits…

According to some sources, the movie was able to get $600 million, however by the end of the year the movie was released, it had yet to make a profit.

R.I.P Jenny…

Jenny who was the lover and wife to Forrest was born in the year 1945. She later died in the year 1982.

Mykelti Williamson’s Dilemma…

Mykelti Williamson claims that he could not get any opportunities to act in other films after acting in the Forrest Gump movie due to typecasting.


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Chappelle Disputed Rumors…

Some sources say that Dave Chappelle had auditioned for the role of Bubba. However, this is not known by facts. Dave Chappelle once attended the Daily Show in the year 1999 where he said that he was not a fan of the movie because according to him, he could not understand how Forrest Gump could outdo him in acting.

Corner Chooses Career…

Michael Corner acted as Forrest Gump at his young age. He aced the performance and it would be expected that he would continue with his acting career. However, he joined the army and dropped the acting career.

Only American Music…

According to the Film's director, all the songs that were played in the movie were from American bands.  He said that Gump would not have accepted anything that was non-American.

About 15 Dr. Peppers…

When Forrest met JFK, he says he was so thirsty rather than hungry. He said he drank 15 Dr. Peppers.


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From Book To Movie…

Warner Bros. is said to have bought the rights to cast the movie "Forrest Gump" when the original book Forrest Gump was still a script.

The Real Necklace…

The necklace Lt. Dan wears isn’t just something from the prop closet. The rosary with a Saint Christopher medal inscribed “Protect Us In Combat” was worn in Vietnam by Gary Sinise’s brother-in-law, Jack Treese, in 1967-68.

The Gump Home…

The house which was acted in as Forrest Gump’s home is no longer in existence. It was demolished after filming the movie. Therefore, no one can find where the movie depicts it to be. Although the charming home Forrest and his momma lived in looked like a real house that had been around for decades, it was actually built for the movie. It was constructed “hastily and not to code,” and it was torn down after shooting ended. Also, it wasn’t even in Alabama.

The Bus Stops Here…

The scene that shows the bus stop was shot in Chippewa Square in Savannah, Georgia.


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Bus Traffic Flow…

The movie depicts traffic around the square. In order for the bus door to open, traffic flow had to be reversed.

Bubba Gump Shrimp…

Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant was never in existence before 1996. It was opened after the release of the film. It has since developed into a chain restaurant found throughout the United States.

Scripts That Went Un-Used…

Initially, Groom was the one writing the script for the movie. However, his scripts were never used because other writers such as Eric Roth were asked to write the full script.

The Famous Hurricane Scene…

The famous Port Royal S.C Ports Authority was used for the boat hurricane scene.


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The original book

The original book was written by Winston Groom in  1986. When the book hit the market, only 30,000 copies of the book managed to sell. However, after the release of the movie Forrest Gump, 1.6 million books were sold. This is surprising but it clearly shows that the movie got a lot of viewers who enjoyed it and, in return, bought the book.

Statistics

According to statistics completed after the release of the film, there were as many negative critics as there were positive critics. Some people thought it was a great movie and thus gave positive critiques, while others thought it was an outdated movie meant for the aging generation.

Apple Company

In the movie, Dan is seen investing Gump’s money into a company, which is apparently Apple. The movie does not tell exactly how much money was invested. However, if Forrest Gump would have left his investments in Apple Company, the stock would have earned him millions of dollars.

Sounds of clinking coins

According to Director Robert Zemeckis, the movie was to be released with sounds of clinking coins. However, the movie was released to the theaters without the sounds. This was without Robert’s approval. But, a new version of the movie was edited such that what the director wished for the movie would come to be.


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The edited version of Forrest Gump

After more than twenty years, a new and edited version of Forrest Gump hit the studios. This was music to the ears of the lovers of Forrest Gump.

President Trump

Basing on some reviews done on the movie, there is a rumor that the movie was initially done as an advertisement for Trump.  However, when he did not run for the post, the movie was reviewed and edited to look like a movie narrating a story.

A lot of special effects

A lot of special effects were used during the movie. This enabled Forrest to be seen meeting various presidents who have already been assassinated. This makes the movie appear more real and easy to relate to.

A lot of meanings

The feather seen floating from the beginning of the movie has many different meanings. It was white to show the innocence that Forrest Gump had and his enthusiasm to do anything or achieve anything he wants no matter the difficulties. It also symbolized the quote on chocolate that was mentioned by his mom.


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Gump’s foot

Some sources say that the feather falling next to Gump’s foot was a sign of all the hardships he had gone through. At the beginning of the movie, he is seen to have a problem with the foot and thus he thought he couldn't run. However, he is seen running as the movie continues. The feather was therefore used to show that he had managed to overcome all his difficulties.