A truly awful film, which I have never been able to sit through from beginning to end.

However, the original novel by Winston Groom is one of the greatest books of the 90s. Where the film is cloying and sentimental, the novel is bitter and scathing. The difference is apparent in the first line:

The movie
"My mama always told me, life is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you're gonna get."

The novel
"Let me tell you something - being an idiot is no box of chocolates."

...and it pretty much carries on from there. Everything is wrong in the novel - Forrest's mama is a bitter, isolationist matriarch, Sally becomes a wasted junkie slut and Forrest himself is confused and angry. This is the main difference between the film and the novel - the film had a rather sinister message of "if you keep your head down, be polite, love your mama and don't question your betters, you'll be just fine". The novel has a darker purpose, to show that the American public (especially around the Vietnam era) were blinded, lied to and had their ability to comprehend their environment reduced to the level of a man with an IQ of 70. And even Forrest, stupid as he is, sees things that seem invisible to the smarter people around him.

There is also some magnificent surrealism in the novel - Nixon bringing Forrest into his private chamber and attempting to sell him stolen watches is hilarious, plus the long sequence in the middle of the novel where Forrest is forced to go on a space launch, which crash-lands on an island of cannibals. For some reason, the film never touched those areas.

"Life is like a box of chocolates...you never know what you're gonna get."

Forrest Gump sits at a bus stop, box of chocolates in hand. Slow-wittedly, he tells his story to a random stranger sat next to him. A long winded love story between himself and his "girl" Jenny.

Forrest was born in the deep south, his mother ran a guest house. With an IQ of 75, the Forrest of today would have been treated so differently. When he was a child, he had to wear supporting braces on his legs. This is where Jenny came in, his only real friend in school, the only one who would talk to him and tried to understand him. Forrest fell in love. And on being confronted by bullies one afternoon, he runs from them...

Run, Forrest, run!

As he runs, the braces fall from his legs and he can run, fast. He joins a football team, his only job is to run and then stop when he is told to... A story of a college football scholarship, teaching Elvis to dance, becoming a football-star, meeting JFK, going to Vietnam...

He was from a long great military tradition.
Somebody from his family had fought and died in every single American war.
I guess you could say he had a lot to live up to.

Forrest meets Lyndon Johnson, goes to an anti-war rally at the Washington Monument, he becomes an international table-tennis champion, meets Richard Nixon, discovers the break in at Watergate, goes into the shrimping business with his buddy from 'Nam...

Shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sautee it.
There's, um, shrimp kebabs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo, pan fried, deep fried, stir fried.
There's pineapple shrimp and lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp,
pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad,
shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich... That's, that's about it.

He invests in Apple Computers, goes running across the USA for years, becomes a cult figure... Just about every major event of the era is covered and Forrest is often somehow involved.

In a smaller, parallel story, we met Jenny time and again, leading a different path to Forrest, a darker path. We first meet her back in school, braces on her teeth. We watch her come to terms with her abusive father, become a hippy, a table dancer. Between the two main characters we see a social commentary on America between 1960 and 1990.

That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I'd just run across the great state of Alabama. And that's what I did. I ran clear across Alabama. For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going. When I got tired, I slept. When I got hungry, I ate. When I had to go... you know... I went.

Awards

    Oscars (1995)
  • Best Actor
  • Best Director
  • Best Effects, Visual Effects
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Picture
  • Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
  • (nominated for 7 more)

    BAFTAs (1995)

  • Best Special Effects
  • (nominated for 6 more)

    Golden Globes (1995)

  • Best Director - Motion Picture
  • Best Motion Picture - Drama
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
  • (nominated for 4 more)

Soundtrack
  • "Lovesick Blues" by Cliff Friend & Irving Mills Performed by Hank Williams
  • "Hound Dog" by Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller
  • "Rebel Rouser" by Duane Eddy & Lee Hazlewood Performed by Duane Eddy
  • "(I Don't Know Why) But I Do" by Paul Gayten & Robert Gudry Performed by Clarence "Frogman" Henry
  • "Walk Right In" by H. Woods, Gus Cannon, Bill Svanoe & Eric Darling Performed by The Rooftop Singers
  • "Sugar Shack" by Keith McCormack & Fay Voss Performed by Jimmy Gilmer And The Fireballs
  • "Paramount Newsreel Music" by Alessandro Cicognini, Sammy Fain, Jay Gorney, E.Y. Harburg, Elsie Janis, Irving Kahal & Jack King
  • "Camelot" by Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe
  • "Pomp And Circumstance" by Edward Elgar (I) (as Sir Edward Elgar)
  • "Hanky Panky" by Jeff Barry (I) & Ellie Greenwich Performed by Tommy James & The Shondells
  • "Blowin' In The Wind" by Bob Dylan
  • "Land Of 1000 Dances" by Chris Kenner Performed by Wilson Pickett
  • "Fortunate Son" by John Fogerty Performed by Clearwater Revival, Creedence
  • "Respect" by Otis Redding Performed by Aretha Franklin
  • "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" by Edward Holland, Lamont Dozier & Brian Holland (I) Performed by The Four Tops
  • "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" Written and Performed by Bob Dylan
  • "Sloop John B" by Brian Wilson (I) Performed by The Beach Boys
  • "All Along The Watchtower" by Bob Dylan Performed by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  • "Soul Kitchen" Written and Performed by The Doors
  • "California Dreamin'" by John Phillips & Michelle Phillips Performed by The Mamas And The Papas
  • "For What It's Worth" by Stephen Stills Performed by Buffalo Springfield
  • "What The World Needs Now Is Love" by Burt Bacharach & Hal David (II) Performed by Jackie De Shannon
  • "Webster's Boomer" by David Frank
  • "Hello, I Love You" Written and Performed by The Doors
  • "People Are Strange" Written and Performed by The Doors
  • "Break On Through (To The Other Side)" Written and Performed by The Doors
  • "Mrs. Robinson" by Paul Simon Performed by Simon and Garfunkel
  • "Volunteers" by Marty Balin & Paul Kantner Performed by Jefferson Airplane
  • "Hey Joe" by Billy Roberts Performed by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  • "Where Have All The Flowers Gone" by Pete Seeger
  • "Let's Get Together" by Chet Powers Performed by The Youngbloods
  • "San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair)" by John Phillips Performed by Scott McKenzie
  • "Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season)" adaption and music by Pete Seeger Performed by The Byrds
  • "Aquarius" by James Rado, Gerome Ragni & Gault McDermott Performed by The Fifth Dimension
  • "Joy To The World" by Hoyt Axton Performed by Three Dog Night
  • "Everybody's Talkin'" by Fred Neil Performed by Harry Nilsson
  • "Silent Night" Arranged by Les Brown
  • "Stoned Love" by Frank E. Wilson & Yennik Samoht Performed by The Supremes
  • "Thanks For The Memory" by Ralph Rainger & Leo Robin (I)
  • "Love Her Madly" Written and Performed by The Doors
  • "Let's Work Together" by Wilbert Harrison Performed by Canned Heat
  • "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" by Burt Bacharach & Hal David (II) Performed by B.J. Thomas
  • "Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'Round The Ole Oak Tree" by L. Russell Brown & Irwin Levine Performed by Tony Orlando And Dawn
  • "Jesus On The Mainline" Arranged by Alan Silvestri Soloist: Donny Gerrard
  • "Get Down Tonight" by Harry Wayne Casey & Richard Finch Performed by KC and The Sunshine Band
  • "Mr. President (Have Pity On The Working Man)" Written and Performed by Randy Newman
  • "Free Bird" by Allen Collins & Ronnie Van Zant Performed by Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • "My Rock" Arranged by Paul Owens Soloist: Oren Waters
  • "Sweet Home Alabama" by Ronnie Van Zant, Ed King & Gary Rossington Performed by Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • "Plant My Feet On Higher Ground" by Ruth E. David
  • "I've Got A New Home" Arranged by Marlena Smalls
  • "It Keeps You Runnin'" by Michael McDonald Performed by The Doobie Brothers
  • "Running On Empty" Written and Performed by Jackson Browne
  • "I've Got To Use My Imagination" by Gerry Goffin & Barry Goldberg Performed by Gladys Knight & The Pips
  • "Go Your Own Way" by Lindsey Buckingham Performed by Fleetwood Mac
  • "Against The Wind" Written by Bob Seger Performed by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
  • "On The Road Again" Written and Performed by Willie Nelson

    Main Cast

  • Tom Hanks .... Forrest Gump
  • Robin Wright .... Jennifer 'Jenny' Curran
  • Gary Sinise .... Lieutenant Dan Taylor
  • Mykelti Williamson .... Benjamin 'Bubba' Bufford-Blue
  • Sally Field .... Mrs. Gump
  • Rebecca Williams .... Nurse at Park Bench
  • Michael Conner Humphreys .... Young Forrest
  • Harold G. Herthum .... Doctor
  • George Kelly (II) .... Barber
  • Bob Penny .... Cronie
  • John Randall (I) .... Cronie
  • Sam Anderson (I) .... Principal
  • Margo Moorer .... Louise, Mrs. Gump's Maid
  • Ione M. Telech .... Elderly Woman
  • Christine Seabrook .... Elderly Woman's

    Main Crew

  • Directed by Robert Zemeckis
  • Writing credits (WGA)

      Winston Groom (novel)
      Eric Roth (screenplay)
  • Produced by
      Wendy Finerman .... producer
      Charles Newirth .... co-producer
      Steve Starkey .... producer
      Steve Tisch .... producer
  • Original music by Alan Silvestri
  • Cinematography by Don Burgess
  • Film Editing by Arthur Schmidt (I)
  • Casting by Ellen Lewis (I)
    Sources : http://www.imdb.com
    http://www.rollingstone.com
    http://www.suntimes.com/ebert/ebert_reviews/1994/07/929082.html
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