Forrest Gump (1994)

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Critic Consensus: Forrest Gump may be an overly sentimental film with a somewhat problematic message, but its sweetness and charm are usually enough to approximate true depth and grace.

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"Stupid is as stupid does," says Forrest Gump (played by Tom Hanks in an Oscar-winning performance) as he discusses his relative level of intelligence with a stranger while waiting for a bus. Despite his sub-normal IQ, Gump leads a truly charmed life, with a ringside seat for many of the most memorable events of the second half of the 20th century. Entirely without trying, Forrest teaches Elvis Presley to dance, becomes a football star, meets John F. Kennedy, serves with honor in Vietnam, meets Lyndon Johnson, speaks at an anti-war rally at the Washington Monument, hangs out with the Yippies, defeats the Chinese national team in table tennis, meets Richard Nixon, discovers the break-in at the Watergate, opens a profitable shrimping business, becomes an original investor in Apple Computers, and decides to run back and forth across the country for several years. Meanwhile, as the remarkable parade of his life goes by, Forrest never forgets Jenny (Robin Wright Penn), the girl he loved as a boy, who makes her own journey through the turbulence of the 1960s and 1970s that is far more troubled than the path Forrest happens upon. Featured alongside Tom Hanks are Sally Field as Forrest's mother; Gary Sinise as his commanding officer in Vietnam; Mykelti Williamson as his ill-fated Army buddy who is familiar with every recipe that involves shrimp; and the special effects artists whose digital magic place Forrest amidst a remarkable array of historical events and people. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Cast

Tom Hanks
as Forrest Gump
Robin Wright
as Jenny Curran
Gary Sinise
as Lt. Dan Taylor
Sally Field
as Mrs. Gump
Haley Joel Osment
as Forrest Jr.
Michael Conner Humphreys
as Young Forrest Gump
Hanna R. Hall
as Young Jenny Curran
Dick Cavett
as Himself
Rebecca Williams
as Nurse at the Park Bench
Bob Penny
as Crony
Sam Anderson
as Principal
Ione M. Telech
as Elderly Woman
Christine Seabrook
as Elderly Woman's Daughter
John Worsham
as Southern Gentleman
Peter Dobson
as Young Elvis Presley
Siobhan Fallon Hogan
as School Bus Driver
Alexander Zemeckis
as School Bus Boy
Logan Livingston Gomez
as School Bus Boy
Ben Waddel
as School Bus Boy
Elizabeth Hanks
as School Bus Girl
Tyler Long
as Red Headed Boy
John William Galt
as President Johnson
Christopher Jones
as Boy with Cross
Grady Bowman
as Fat Boy
Kevin Mangan
as Jenny's Father
Fay Genens
as Jenny's Grandmother
Frank Geyer
as Police Chief
Joe Alaskey
as Richard M. Nixon
Rob Landry
as Red Headed Teen
Jason McGuire
as Fat Teen
Pete Auster
as Teen with Cross
Sonny Shroyer
as College Football Coach
Brett Rice
as High School Football Coach
Ed Davis
as High School Football Coach
Mary Ellen Trainor
as Jenny's Babysitter
Bruce Lucvia
as Kick Off Return Player
David Brisbin
as Newscaster
Angela Lomas
as Black Student
Timothy Record
as Black Student
Deborah McTeer
as Woman with Child on Park Bench
Mark Matheisen
as Jenny's Date
Al Harrington
as 1st Local Anchor
Bob Harks
as University Dean
Don Fischer
as Army Recruiter
Kenneth Bevington
as Army Bus Driver
Michael Flannery
as Bus Recruit
Gary Robinson
as Bus Recruit
Marlena Smalls
as Bubba's Mother
Kitty K. Green
as Bubba's Great Grandmother
Afemo Omilami
as Drill Sargeant
Matt Wallace
as Barracks Recruits
Dante McCarthy
as Topless Girl
Mike Jolly
as Club Patron
Michael Kemmerling
as Club Patron
John Voldstad
as Club Patron
Jeffrey Winner
as Club Patron
Russ Wilson
as Pick-Up Truck Driver
Daniel J. Gillooly
as Helicopter Gunman
Calvin Gadsden
as Sargeant Sims
Michael Burgess
as Cleveland
Bill Roberson
as Fat Man on Beach
Michael McFall
as Army Hospital Male Nurse
Eric Underwood
as Mail Call Soldier
Stephan Derelian
as Wounded Soldier
Byron Minns
as Wounded Soldier
Oliver Scott
as 1st National Correspondent
Jay Ross
as Veteran at War Rally
Richard D'Allesandro
as Abbie Hoffman
Dick Stilwell
as Policeman at War Rally
Kevin Davis
as Black Panther
Michael Jace
as Black Panther
Tim Perry
as Hippie at Commune
Vanessa Roth
as Hollywood Boulevard Girl
Emily Carey
as Hollywood Boulevard Girl
Paul Raczkowski
as Man in VW Bug
Valentino
as Chinese Ping Pong Player
Aloysius Gigl
as Musician Boyfriend
Jack Bowden
as 4th National Correspondent
Lazarus Jackson
as Discharge Officer
Benson W. Terry
as Stanley Loomis
Matt Rebenkoff
as Drugged Out Boyfriend
Peter Bannon
as 2nd Local Correspondent
Joe Washington
as 2nd Local Anchor
Nora Dunfee
as Elderly Southern Woman
Natalie Hendrix
as 3rd Local Anchor
Hallie D'Amore
as Waitress in Cafe
Jim Hanks
as Running Double
Chiffonye Cobb
as Hannibal Reporter
Juan Singleton
as Hannibal Reporter
Bobby K. Richardson
as Hannibal Reporter
Michael Mattison
as Taxi Driver
Lenny Herb
as Young Man Running
Charles Boswell
as Aging Hippie
Tim McNeil
as Wild Eyed Man
Lonnie Hamilton
as The Minister
Teresa Denton
as Lieutenant Dan's Fiancee
Hanna Hall
as Jenny Curran
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News & Interviews for Forrest Gump

Critic Reviews for Forrest Gump

All Critics (91) | Top Critics (24)

Contrasting Forrest's unassuming innocence with the upheavals and rancor of the times, the film is a wisely goofy commentary on the stupidity of smartness.

Jul 9, 2018 | Full Review…

Forrest Gump, the new Tom Hanks movie directed by Robert Zemeckis, is a one-of-a-kind treat.

Apr 26, 2018 | Full Review…
Boston Globe
Top Critic

A dark and driven work, haunted by violence, cruelty and a sense of the tragically absurd.

Feb 17, 2015 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

So afraid to dredge up debate that when Forrest is handed a mic at an antiwar rally, someone unplugs the speakers so we can't hear him - fitting for a movie with nothing to say.

Sep 3, 2014 | Rating: C | Full Review…

It's most successful when it is being off-center, a state of grace it doesn't quite have the nerve to maintain.

Jan 7, 2014 | Full Review…

This isn't the meaningful movie it pretends to be. But as a goofy entertainment that speeds through the latter half of the 20th century, stopping here and there to snap a photo or two, Forrest Gump does just fine.

Jan 7, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Forrest Gump

With a fine performance by Tom Hanks, this is a refreshing feel-good movie that is always fun and charming, even if sometimes sentimental and a bit vague about its purpose - and if you are able to overlook its flaws, you will find a captivating story of innocence and optimism.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

½

Forrest Gump: Jenny, I don't know if Momma was right or if, if it's Lieutenant Dan. I don't know if we have a destiny, or if we're all just floatin' around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it's both. Maybe both is happenin' at the same time. "The story of a lifetime." Forrest Gump is a beautiful film and definitely is the film that Robert Zemeckis and Tom Hanks are most known for. It's one of those rare movies that everyone has seen and just about everyone loves. It's a classic and it's not hard to see why. The movie takes on the simpleness of it's title character, Forrest Gump. It's not flashy, it's simple, and the simpleness is beautiful. Forrest Gump is an unintelligent, but interesting man. He was born in Alabama where he grows up with his friend, Jenny, and his mother. Forrest sits on a bus stop bench, telling strangers his life story. How he played football at the University of Alabama, how he went to Vietnam, how he met presidents, and how he has always loved his friend Jenny. Forrest's journey puts him at many important events during the sixties and seventies, and the movie surrounds the story of Forrest with civil rights issues, the hippy generation, and just about all the other major news of those decades. It does so in a very good way too, allowing the audience to see it as Forrest does.  How can you watch a movie so brazen with soul and warmth and not just love it. It's a comedy and a drama. It's funny, sad, and inspiring. It's one of those films you can watch a million times over and still get that same feeling you had the first time you watched it. It just is everything you want in a movie.  Tom Hanks is brilliant and Zemeckis' direction is incredible. It isn't just a story of a man, but of the generation he was apart of. The brilliance of how these two different elements are put together is what makes Forrest Gump the lovable and great movie it is. If you're one of the few people who haven't seen Forrest Gump, all I can say is, watch it.

Melvin White
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

A nice enough concept, fairly well pulled off but is mainly crushed by its own sentimentality and heavy handed emotional manipulation (not to mention ham-fisted politics). Good revision for your 20th century American history exam, otherwise watch Big Fish instead.

Louis Rogers
Louis Rogers

Super Reviewer

½

Epic in scope and triumphant in spirit, Forrest Gump is a larger-than-life piece of film-making, that scored home an impressive 6 Oscars in 1995, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor in a Leading Role. It revolves around the eventful and remarkable life of a mentally, and for some time physically challenged man, who looks at the world through very unique and innocent eyes, as he becomes part of some of the key events that shaped America as a nation. Famous historical figures like Elvis, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon and John Lennon, are just some of the people that he encounters on his grand and amazing journey. Director Robert Zemeckis is a magician behind the camera, delivering world-class visual story-telling that truly captures the heart and mind in really spell-binding ways. So much love and passion have gone into its making, and it's one of those rare cinematic miracles, where all parties involved have dedicated themselves fully to create the best experience possible. Ascended by a beautifully orchestrated music score (together with some great classics from the eras it portrays), it hits all the right notes at all the right moments. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll maybe even feel inspired. For there's nothing in this tour-de-force of a film that isn't absolutely stirring. It's been almost 20 years since its release now, yet the special effects still hold and look as fantastic as ever. They way they've integrated Forrest into real historical footage, is incredibly well-done and nearly seamless in its crafting. Some things even look more convincing than the wizardry of modern features. However visually compelling it may be though, it's in the acting where it truly dazzles. Tom Hanks' sensational, award-winning performance, is definitely one of the best, if not the greatest of feat his entire career. I would say it stands between this and his heart-gripping turn as an AIDS victim in Jonathan Demme's Philadelphia. You certainly can't complain about the supporting cast either. Sally Field, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise and Mykelti Williamson, evoke tremendous pathos and sympathy, with their exceptionally written and terrifically acted characters. Michael Conner Humphreys is really wonderful as well, as Forrest in his younger years. Cynics may have issues with how far-fetched the story is, but I don't think it matters much in the larger perspective. I'm more than willing to suspend all disbelief, for such a majestically conceived and viscerally powerful piece of drama. And I'm sure that goes for a lot of us. A movie about love, loss, war and human behavior. About discovering your inner potential and overcoming your limitations, even when everything seems against you and abscent of hope. For within Forrest Gump dwells a ray of pure inspiration, with the message that life is what you make of it. We may not all come to shake hands with the President or amount to champions in ping-pong, but we all possess the power to make the best of what we have. Timeless, magical, moving and uplifting, this movie is a celebration of all that and more!

Mike S
Mike S

Super Reviewer

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