Forrest Gump

As the saying goes, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” And with Forrest Gump, American moviegoers in the 1990s got a whole lot more than producers and studio executives initially bargained for. The 1994 film starred Tom Hanks as the eponymous Forrest Gump — a less-than bright Southerner from Greenbow, Alabama. Through a series of unlikely coincidences, Forrest unwittingly finds himself at the center of the most momentous events of the 20th century. His unwavering optimism and uncompromising loyalty made Forrest Gump one of the most unlikely heroes of the decade, and his honest and blunt observations are still quoted today over twenty years after the film’s original release.

The script for Forrest Gump was adapted from a 1986 novel written by Winston Groom and began filming in 1993. In addition to Hanks, the film starred Robin Wright as Forrest’s first and only love Jenny, Sally Field as his determined mother, and Gary Sinise as his platoon leader Lieutenant Dan Taylor. While the story is set primarily in Alabama, the filming took place on the East Coast in South Carolina and Virginia. The movie was released on July 6, 1994, and was the second-highest-grossing film that year behind The Lion King. The soundtrack to the film was also a runaway success, selling over 12 million copies.

Forrest Gump swept the Academy Awards in 1995, winning Oscars in nearly all the major categories including Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Hanks), Best Director (Robert Zemeckis), and Best Adapted Screenplay. It was so successful and widely recognized in popular culture that it even spawned a restaurant chain – the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company – based on the fictional company Forrest starts in honor of his dear friend Bubba. How many blockbuster films can say they’ve done that?

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