Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Forrest Gump is the lead character of the 1994 Paramount Pictures film bearing his name. The film, based on the novel by Winston Groom, was a huge commercial success, although Paramount claimed it was a failure, and did not pay Groom his share of the profits. The film garnered a total of 13 Academy Award nominations, of which it won 6, including Best Picture and Best Director.
The film, which was directed by Robert Zemeckis, tells the story of a simple man's epic journey through life, meeting historical figures and experiencing first-hand historic events largely unaware of their significance, due to his low IQ. In the film, Forrest (played by Tom Hanks) calls the police about the Watergate break-in, invents the smiley without realizing it, and makes millions on Apple Computer stock thinking he has invested in a fruit company.
The film was praised by many critics as a modern fable. The film's special effects include blending of Gump with footage of various historical figures, a process sometimes referred to as "gumping."
Plot summary of the movie
Young Forrest Gump was born in fictional Greenbow, Alabama with a crooked spine and was forced to walk with the aid of leg braces , his odd walk being imitated famously by a young guitarist named Elvis Presley. Overcoming this handicap, he got into superb physical shape. His running ability brought him success at the University of Alabama in college football (playing for the legendary Paul Bryant), and he carried his wounded platoon to safety during a battle in the Vietnam war, earning the Medal of Honor.
After coming home from the war, he began a shrimp business drawing on advice from his African American army buddy Bubba. His former commander, Lieutenant Dan (Gary Sinise), joined him in the venture, and they took their boat out during Hurricane Carmen. They returned to port to find that all other fishing boats in the area have been destroyed by the storm, giving them an instant monopoly in the shrimp business and making Forrest a wealthy man. His Company was the Bubba Gump Shrimp Coperation. Forrest then gives Bubba's mother what he felt was Bubba's share of the profits; he also buys and tears down the house where his childhood sweetheart, Jenny (Robin Wright), had been abused. In the end he marries Jenny, but she dies shortly thereafter of AIDS related ailments.
Criticism of the film
Though popular among many, Forrest Gump's warm reception was not universal. Particularly outside the United States, the film was viewed as extended and undeserved praise of ignorant na´vetÚ, a stereotypical trait widely associated with Americans in some quarters. This was probably due to the fact that it was an American story.
Much of the beginning of the film is the same in the book - albeit Zemeckis's Gump is far more placid and na´ve than Groom's abrasive, judgmental cynic; the film's quote of "Life is like a box of chocolates" wholly reverses the novel's sentiment of "Being an idiot is no box of chocolates". It is also a bit hard to understand. Tom Hanks' accent is sometimes changed to his signature voice takng away from the film.
Later in the book Forrest becomes an astronaut, after which the two stories diverge greatly. For instance, in the novel Gump (after becoming an astronaut) crash-lands on a small jungle island with his crew.
This is one of the three Tom Hanks movies (along with Saving Private Ryan and Apollo 13) where socks play a role in the plot. During the war, Lieutenant Dan's main advice to Gump is for him to keep his feet clean and dry, and change his socks often.
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