December 25, 2023 | Carl Wyndham

Facts About Forrest Gump That Momma Didn't Tell You

The 1994 film Forrest Gump is a classic! It's heartbreaking, odd, and beautiful. We compiled our favorite 50 facts about the film for you to enjoy!

Forrest Gump Facts

1. A good year for popcorn

In October 1994, cult classics Jurassic park, Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption were all playing in theaters at the same time. Talk about a good year for cinema!

Forrest Gump Split Image

2. I reckon' that makes sense

Tom Hanks modeled his accent on the real life accent of Michael Connor Humphreys, the boy who played young Forrest Gump in the movie.

Michael Connor Humphreys as young Forrest GumpParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

3. Hard work for peanuts!

Tom Hanks was not paid his actor’s fee for the movie. In lieu of a fee, Tom Hanks took percentage points which earned him about $40 million USD.

Tom Hanks at 26th Tokyo International Film Festival in black suit D. Thomas Johnson, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

4. But it looked so old...

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 built "quickly and not according to regulations," and it was demolished once filming had concluded. Also? It wasn’t even in Alabama.

Forrest Gump's  houseParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

5. Not real you say?

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.

Young  Forrest Gump and Sally Field as his motherParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

6. 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.

Young Forrest Gump walking in school busParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

7. 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, which she contracted from her drug use, wasn't recognized as a separate 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.

 Robin Wright  as Jenny Curran in Forest Gump climbing the stairsParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

8. Sentimental bling

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.

Gary Sinise as Lieutenant Dan Taylor meets ForestParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

9. Machine guns and golf balls

The Vietnam scenes were shot on what is now the Ocean Creek Golf Course on Fripp Island, South Carolina. CGI was used to make the environment appear more like Vietnam.

Tom Hanks as  Forrest Gump in Vietnam scenesParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

10. Probably should have taken it, fellas

Bill Murray, John Travolta and Chevy Chase turned down the iconic role of Forrest Gump. Travolta later admitted that passing on the project was a huge mistake.

John Travolta in gray jacketMike Powell, Getty Images

11. Run, Forrest!

Tom Hanks isn't a runner, but there was a ton of running in the movie. Jim Hanks,  Tom’s younger brother, subbed for him in wide shots.

Forrest Gump runningParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

12. Medals well earned

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 (Most likely for a firearm), and Meritorious Unit Commendation.

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump wearing uniform with medalsParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

13. What else is there to say?

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 says, "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 as Forrest Gump giving a speechParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

14. Improvised and awesome

The line, "My name is Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump," was ad libbed by Tom Hanks while filming the scene. Director Robert Zemeckis liked it so much that he decided to keep it in.

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump sitting at a bus Paramount, Forrest Gump (1994)

15. Good old plaid

With every transition of Forrest's age, one thing stays the same: in the first scene of each transition, he's wearing a blue plaid shirt.

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump wearing blue plaid shirt Paramount, Forrest Gump (1994)

16. Yummy!

Forrest and Dan's Shrimp Emporium "Bubba Gump" is now a themed restaurant in 33 locations around the world in the U.S., Japan, China, Mexico, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and the UK. There is one in Orlando, Florida, at the entrance to the Universal theme parks, at the Anaheim Gardenwalk in walking distance from Disneyland Park(TM) in Anaheim, California in the Los Angeles area and at Pleasure Pier in Galveston, Texas.

Bubba Gump Monterey BayThank You (24 Millions ) views, Flickr

17. The secret to mastering ping-pong

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.

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump playing    ping-pongParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

18. I wish I was recruited to act in a timeless classic by chance...

The actor who plays the reporter on the scene when Tom Hanks visits Washington DC 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 was asked to read.

Forrest Gump running scene and being interviewed by reportersParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

19. Hippies and their hair

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.

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump showing peace sing and Hippies walkingParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

20. Sweet legs

Gary Sinise's lower legs were wrapped in special blue fabric that allowed them to be removed from the film later using digital technology.

Gary Sinise as Lieutenant Dan Taylor, in wheelchairParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

21. Louis the inspiration

In 1982, Louis Michael Figueroa, aged 16, ran from New Jersey to San Francisco for the American Cancer Society. His post-run interview inspired a line for Forrest Gump's famous run on the silver screen. "I just put one foot in front of the other. When I get tired, I sleep. When I get hungry, I eat. When I have to go to the bathroom, I go."

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump running Paramount, Forrest Gump (1994)

22. Protect that bench at all costs

The park bench that Tom Hanks sat on for much of the movie was located in historic Savannah, Georgia, at Chippewa Square. Since then, it's been removed and stored in a museum to avoid being destroyed by bad weather, or possibly stolen. To this day, the bench is held in the Savannah History Museum, Savannah, Georgia.

Bench from the film Forrest Gumpcurlie_fryz, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

23. I guess this was cheaper than getting LBJ to act in the film...

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 19 November 1968 by President Lyndon Johnson for his actions in Vietnam a year earlier. Tom Hanks' head was superimposed on Davis' body.

President Lyndon B. Johnson presents Medal of Honor to army men White House Photograph Office, Wikimedia Commons

24. Not exactly photogenic

Every still picture of Forrest during this film shows Tom Hanks with his eyes closed.

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump in uniform looking leftParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

25. Perseverance and bareness

Robin Wright was feeling under the weather while filming the nightclub scene. Regardless, she executed her own singing during a continuous twenty-four hour production, in which she was fully uncovered, barring her guitar.

Forrest Gump Robin Wright nightclub sceneParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

26. Whoops...

David Alan Grier, Ice Cube, and Dave Chappelle turned down the role of Bubba. Cube declined to portray a character with a disability and Chappelle expressed doubts about the movie's potential success. Chappelle has since admitted to deeply regretting not taking the role.

Forrest (Tom Hanks) meets Bubba (Mykelti Williamson)Paramount, Forrest Gump (1994)

27. Ain't nothin' but a hound dog

Kurt Russell has said that he did the voice of Elvis Presley (uncredited) in the film, reprising his role from Elvis (1979).

Forrest Gump young Paramount, Forrest Gump (1994)

28. Bubba Gump Shrimp

The shrimp boat used in the film now resides in the moat surrounding the Planet Hollywood restaurant in Downtown Disney in Florida. Also, one of the ping-pong paddles used in the film that Tom Hanks signed is hung up on one of the walls inside the restaurant.

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump writing on the shrimp boatParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

29. Way to tough it out, Tom

On the day that Tom Hanks shot the football running scenes, he had been suffering from influenza.

Michael Connor Humphreys as young Forrest GumpParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

30. Young Momma

Sally Field, who plays Forrest's mom, is only ten years older than Tom Hanks.

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump with mother Sally FieldParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

31. I'd have watched Forrest Gump 2

When this film became wildly successful, talk of a sequel naturally arose. However, at the time, Tom Hanks adamantly refused to work in any sequel (and making the sequel with another actor was not a consideration).

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump on a boat at seaParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

32. Life is like a box of chocolates?

The character of Forrest Gump in the movie is a lot more passive and naïve than in Winston Groom's 1986 novel, where he's cynical and abrasive. For example, the actual line about chocolates, which opens the novel, reads like this: "Let me say this: bei'n a idiot is no box of chocolates. People laugh, lose patience, treat you shabby. Now they says folks s'posed to be kind to the afflicted, but let me tell you - it ain't always that way. Even so, I got no complaints, cause I reckon I done live a pretty interestin' life, so to speak."

Forrest Gump screenshot Life is like a box of chocolatesParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

33. Big lips

Mykelti Williamson wore a prosthetic to extend his lower lip throughout his performance as Bubba.

Forrest Gump screenshot Bubba Goes HomeParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

34. Ouch

After a decade and a half of TV work, Williamson complained that, after the release of "Forrest Gump," no one would hire him because casting directors thought Zemeckis "had discovered some weird-looking guy and put him in front of the camera." Fortunately, a guest appearance on "The Late Show With David Letterman" made it clear that the real Williamson was nothing like Bubba.

Mykelti Williamson at event in gray suit Charley Gallay, Getty Images

35. Platinum Sound Track

The soundtrack for the film was so popular that it ended up selling over twelve million copies worldwide.

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump runningParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

36. Pulling out of the nosedive

The film was actually the first major success for Paramount Pictures since it was acquired by Viacom.

Paramount StudiosMagicOlf, Flickr

37. A few awards, not too shabby

In 1995, the movie won the Oscar for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for Tom Hanks, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Visual Effects, and Best Film Editing.

Actor Tom Hanks speaks at a receptionKevin Winter, Getty Images

38. More recognition

In 2011, the Library of Congress selected Forrest Gump for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump in uniformParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

39. Forrest Gump the Astronaut

The novel that Forrest Gump was based on (by Winston Groom) had many key differences from the movie. For example, the novel features Gump as an astronaut, a professional wrestler, and a chess player.

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump in football jerseyParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

40. Sweet Home Alabama!

Although most of the film is set in Alabama, filming took place mainly in and around Beaufort, South Carolina, as well as parts of coastal Virginia and North Carolina.

Bay Street Downtown BeaufortBeaufortTiger,  Wikimedia Commons

41. Lots of extras, lots of takes

The scene where Forrest spots Jenny at a peace rally at the Lincoln Memorial required the use of visual effects to create a crowd that large. Over two days of filming, approximately 1,500 extras were used. After each 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.

Forest Gump at peace rally at the Lincoln MemorialParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

42. Expensive bench

The bench that Forrest sat sold at auction in 2013 for $25,000. It is currently in a museum.

 the original bench of Forrest Gump Natalia Macheda, Shutterstock

43. Whoops again...

Both Terry Gilliam and Barry Sonnenfeld turned down the opportunity to direct before the film went to Robert Zemeckis.

Robert Zemeckis at event Pascal Le Segretain, Getty Images

44. A little inspiration

Painter Norman Rockwell's artwork inspired the look of Forrests’ hometown. Rockwell was an American painter who portrayed American culture, most notably in his cover illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post, which he did for nearly 50 years.

Dulwich Picture Gallery Celebrates Its Bicentenary in 2011.Oli Scarff, Getty Images

45. "Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real." - Tupac

Tupac Shakur auditioned for the role of Bubba.

Tupac Shakur in movie  Poetic Justice wearing gray sweatshirtColumbia, Poetic Justice(1993)

46. Money in the bank

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 and distribution.

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump wearing red hatParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

47. A little career jump starter

Haley Joel Osment's first role ever was in Forrest Gump. He played Forrest Junior.

Forrest Gump and son Paramount, Forrest Gump (1994)

48. "Imagine all the people"

Almost all of John Lennon's lines in the film are lyrics from his song "Imagine."  In the film, Lennon says, "No possessions," "No religion too," and "It's easy if you try."

Forrest Gump screenshot John LennonParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

49. Three, two, one, lift off!

Gary Sinise's character tells Tom Hanks's character that the day Forrest works on a shrimp boat will be the day he's 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).

Tom Hanks on a space ship Universal, Apollo 13 (1995)

50. Historical accuracy

Tom Hanks signed onto the film after an hour and a half of reading the script but agreed only to take the role if the film was historically accurate. He initially wanted to ease Forrest's pronounced Southern accent, but was eventually persuaded by director Robert Zemeckis to portray the heavy accent stressed in the novel.

Tom Hanks at event in suit Bruno Vincent, Getty Images

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

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