30 Heartwarming Facts About "Forrest Gump"

Updated on September 7, 2019
Rachel M Johnson profile image

Rachel M. Johnson is a lover of all things pop culture. She's been writing about music and entertainment online for over two years.

The critically acclaimed and box office hit film Forrest Gump was released on July 6, 1994 and went on to earn a whopping $677 million worldwide and earned 6 Academy Awards. For his role as the titular character, Tom Hanks nabbed the Oscar for Best Actor and further cemented his place as a Hollywood heavy-hitter. In honor of this beloved film's 25th anniversary, let's take a look at some heartwarming facts about the treasured movie.

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1. Tom Hanks was not the original choice to play Forrest Gump. John Travolta was initially offered the role, but ultimately passed (a decision he has since said he regrets). Bill Murray, Chevy Chase and Sean Penn also were considered for the role but turned it down.

2. Hanks revealed that he signed on to the film after only an hour and a half of reading the script. He agreed to take the role only on the condition that it was historically accurate.

3. With every transition of Forrest's age, one thing remains the same. During the first scene of each transition, he wears a plaid blue shirt.

4. Though Sally Field portrayed Forrest's mother, she is only ten years older than Tom Hanks.

5. Hanks and Gary Sinise (Lieutenant Dan) have appeared together in three films: Forrest Gump (1994), Apollo 13 (1995) and The Green Mile (1999). All three movies were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, but only Forrest Gump won.

6. Jodie Foster, Demi Moore and Nicole Kidman turned down the role of Jenny Curran, which ultimately went to Robin Wright.

Tom Hanks at the titular character.
Tom Hanks at the titular character. | Source
John Travolta: The Forrest that almost was.
John Travolta: The Forrest that almost was. | Source
Gary Sinise (Dan), Mykelti Williamson (Bubba) and Tom Hanks (Forrest).
Gary Sinise (Dan), Mykelti Williamson (Bubba) and Tom Hanks (Forrest). | Source

7. During the ping-pong matches, there was no ball; it was entirely CGI, animated in order to meet the actors' paddles.

8. The park bench that Hanks sat on for most of Forrest Gump was located in historic Savannah, Georgia at Chippewa Square. Five benches were made for the film. When production was completed, one bench went to Savannah, one to the Smithsonian, two to Paramount Pictures and one to a security guard who was on patrol during filming.

9. The famous running scene was actually inspired by a true event. In 1982, Louis Michael Figueroa (aged 16), ran from New Jersey to San Francisco for the American Cancer Society.

10. Ice Cube, Dave Chappelle and David Alan Grier all turned down the role of Bubba. Chappelle thought the movie would tank and Ice Cube didn't want to play an idiot. Mykelti Williamson was then cast. Chappelle has since admitted he deeply regretted passing on the role, and went on to play Tom Hanks' best friend in You've Got Mail (1998).

11. Tom Hanks is not a runner, but he had to do a lot of running for the film. His younger brother Jim Hanks subbed for him in the wide shots.

12. The famous line "Hi my name is Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump," was ad-libbed by Hanks while filming the scene. Director Robert Zemeckis liked it so much he kept it in the finished product.

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13. In order to depict Gump meeting deceased personages and shaking their hands, Hanks shot against a blue screen with reference markers. Archival footage was used and with the help of techniques like image warping, rotoscoping, chroma key and morphing, Hanks was integrated into it.

14. The Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., which was invented for the film, is now a real restaurant chain with 39 locations around the world.

15. Haley Joel Osment made his film debut as Forrest Gump Jr., after the casting director noticed him in a Pizza Hut commercial. He would go on to star in another 90s classic The Sixth Sense, in 1999.

16. Director Robert Zemeckis wanted to create a town that was like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting, so he created the fictional town Greenbow, Alabama. The scene where young Forrest is sitting outside of the principal's office is directly inspired by the painting "The Young Lady with the Shiner."

17. Though it is not specified in the film, in the book sequel Gump & Co. Jenny dies from Hepatitis C in the early 1970s from her early drug abuse. This was an unknown disease until the late 1980s and doctors didn't know how to treat her.

18. The director only wanted music from American bands in the film, because he knew that Forrest would want it that way; even though major bands like the Beatles and Rolling Stones were quite popular during the eras portrayed during the film.

Haley Joel Osment as Forrest Gump Jr.
Haley Joel Osment as Forrest Gump Jr. | Source
(Left) Norman Rockwell's The Young Lady with the Shiner and a still from Forrest Gump.
(Left) Norman Rockwell's The Young Lady with the Shiner and a still from Forrest Gump. | Source
Tom Hanks & Robin Wright.
Tom Hanks & Robin Wright. | Source

19. Mykelti Williamson (Bubba) wore a prosthetic to extend his lower lip out for his role. He later claimed that after the film, he was primarily offered roles as a comedic black character in films, only to be rejected because his lips weren't big enough.

20. Hanks modeled his Southern drawl on the real life accent of Michael Conner Humphreys, who portrayed young Forrest in the film.

21. It took only 68 days for the film to pass the $250 million mark at the box office. On a budget of $55 million, it would go on to gross a total of $677.9 million.

22. In Punchline (1988), Sally Field played a love interest for Tom Hanks' character. In Forrest Gump she played his mother.

23. While playing at the nightclub, Jenny goes under the name of Bobbie Dylan. The song she chooses to sing is "Blowin' In The Wind" by Bob Dylan.

24. Due to the success of Lieutenant Dan's character, Gary Sinise formed a foundation for injured war veterans, which raises up to $30 million per year.

Mykelti Williamson as Bubba.
Mykelti Williamson as Bubba. | Source
Sally Field & Tom Hanks in 1988's Punchline.
Sally Field & Tom Hanks in 1988's Punchline. | Source
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25. Jenny (Robin Wright) introduces Forrest to her war-protester boyfriend, Wesley. In The Princess Bride (1987), Wright is also in love with a man named Wesley (Cary Elwes).

26. The Dr. Pepper scene was shot a total of seven times. Each time Hanks would burp louder and louder, with feedback from director Zemekis. Hanks responded with, "Bob, just be glad they aren't coming from the other end."

27. Tom Hanks was not paid for the film. He opted for percentage points instead which ultimately earned him $40 million.

28. Forrest Gump went on to win 6 Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actor (Tom Hanks), Best Director (Robert Zemeckis), Best Film Editing, Best Visual Effects and Best Screenplay.

29. The soundtrack for the film sold over 12 million copies.

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

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Tom Hanks with his Oscar for Best Actor.
Tom Hanks with his Oscar for Best Actor. | Source

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    © 2019 Rachel M Johnson

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