Forrest Gump (1994)
Forrest Gump, while not intelligent, has accidentally been present at many historic moments, but his true love, Jenny Curran, eludes him.
Country United States
Genre Drama, Comedy
- Reviews & Recommendations
- Technical Specs
- Trivia & Quotes
- Video Gallery
- Photo Gallery
BBC - Films - review - Forrest Gump (1994)
| BBCi - Films | www.bbc.co.uk | English
It could be said that Forrest Gump is the definitive American movie. After all, it's historical, patriotic and it's got a dunce as the hero. A loving and friendly dunce, of course, played by Tom Hanks.
Nominated for 13 Oscars and winning six, including Best Picture, Best Director for Robert Zemeckis and Best Actor, "Gump" captured the imagination with its mix of comedy, drama, issues like AIDS and war, while managing to maintain a love story at its big budget core.
It charts the life of Forrest, a simple man who inadvertently finds himself in heroic situations. Devoted to his Ma (by far the weakest link of the movie), he does everything from teach Elvis how to move his hips to running the length and breadth of America.
He meets some people along the way, like Sinise's gruff Captain Dan during Vietnam, but really and perhaps this is why audiences took to it. Forrest does everything for his one true love, the experimental, sad, and ultimately broken Jenny (Wright-Penn).
Whether you like it or not really comes down to one thing: how much sentimentality can you take? Because despite the excellent performances and extravagant scale, Zemeckis has his finger well and truly on the nostalgia button. And then there's the affirmation of the American Dream: isn't it great that even a dolt, as long as he's kind and loving, can make it in the fantastic US of A?
BBC - Films - review - Forrest Gump DVD
| BBCi - Films | www.bbc.co.uk | English
As seasoned DVD buyers know, Paramount can usually be trusted to put out technically excellent discs. What they're rather more reluctant to do is endow them with any extra features. Unless of course it's a Tom Hanks movie and then all the bells and whistles come out. Just look at the "Saving Private Ryan" DVD, and now the two disc extravaganza for "Forrest Gump".
Disc One:It's the disc with the movie on it, and you'll be pleased to know it gets a fine transfer that leaves it looking as good as the day it was released.
The 5.1 sound mix handles both subtle atmospherics, like rear speaker countryside effects, every bit as well as it delivers powerful bass during the 'Nam scenes.
If there's a criticism for this release it's to be found in the main commentary. There's nothing wrong with it in terms of marginally interesting comments, but there's no vocal or on-screen title introduction for who's speaking. On commentary track two there's only producer Wendy Finerman, but bless her, she runs out of things to say before she's even got going.
'The Magic of Makeup':
Dan Striepeke has worked on Hank's make-up for many of his previous films, and here provides us with a guide to Tom's complexion. We had to agree with him, it is sallow.
'Through the Ears of Forrest Gump':
Sound design featurette.
'Building the world of Forrest Gump':
Production design featurette that concentrates on the Gump house and where to put it.
'Seeing is Believing':
Eleven scenes of visual effects including two excellent deleted parts. These are Gump meeting Martin Luther King and batting a ping-pong ball into the crotch of George Bush Senior.
A series of short tests for the younger stars of the movie including a five year old Haley Joel Osment, who was clearly born a star.
Photo gallery and trailers. The main trailer uses the music from "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story". It's a popular choice and can be heard again in the TV teasers for "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone".
Ratio: 2.35:1 (anamorphic)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Technical Features: Scene selection, animated menus, and multiple languages and subtitles, and English for the hearing impaired.
Forrest Gump | Reelviews Movie Reviews
James Berardinelli | ReelViews | www.reelviews.net | English
Forrest Gump (United States, 1994)
Since its theatrical release in the summer of 1994, Forrest Gump has become one of those movies seemingly everyone is familiar with. It's a cultural touchstone with lines like "Life is a box of chocolates" appearing everywhere from tee-shirts to greeting cards. The film's popularity was italicized by the way it rampaged through the 1995 Oscars, winning six awards (including the "big three" of Best Picture, Director, and Actor). Now, for its 20th anniversary, the decision has been made to do something Hollywood almost never does during the home video era: a big screen re-release.
How to get people into theaters to watch (or re-watch) Forrest run when it's a lot easier to do it at home? Enter the IMAX gimmick. Calling it anything less crass would be dishonest since there's no inherent reason why Forrest Gump should be bulked up for IMAX (or pseudo-IMAX, depending on how one views the smaller AMC version of the product). Still, commercial considerations aside, there's something majestic about watching this tall tale unfold on a larger screen than one can find in the average family room. The IMAX format is a nice way to entice some viewers to see the movie in a theater while maintaining the original composition.
The original review holds up today because, unlike some decades-old motion pictures, this one doesn't seem dated. It wears its age well. Here's what I wrote in 1994 when the movie was first released:
Ever find the grind of life getting you down? Is the day-to-day struggle threatening to drag you under? If so, there is a movie out there that can replenish your energy and refresh your outlook. Passionate and magical, Forrest Gump is a tonic for the weary of spirit. For those who feel that being set adrift in a season of action movies is like wandering into a desert, the oasis lies ahead.
Back when Tom Hanks' movie career was relatively new, the actor made a film called Big, which told the story of a young boy forced to grow up fast as a result of an ill-advised wish made at a carnival. In some ways, Forrest Gump represents a return to the themes of that earlier movie. In this case, the main character remains a child in heart and spirit, even as his body grows to maturity. Hanks is called upon yet again to play the innocent.
Forrest Gump (Hanks), named after a civil war hero, grows up in Greenbow, Alabama, where his mother (Sally Field) runs a boarding house. Although Forrest is a little "slow" (his IQ is 75, 5 below the state's definition of "normal"), his mental impairment doesn't seem to bother him, his mother, or his best (and only) friend, Jenny Curran (played as an adult by Robin Wright). In fact, the naiveté that comes through a limited understanding of the world around him gives Forrest a uniquely positive perspective on life. Across the span of the next thirty years, Forrest becomes a star football player, a war hero, a successful businessman, and a pop icon. Through it all, however, there is one defining element in his life: his love for Jenny. She is never far from his thoughts, no matter what he's doing or where he is.
A trio of assets lifts Forrest Gump above the average "life story" (melo)drama: its optimism, freshness, and emotional honesty. Though the movie does not seek to reduce every member of the audience to tears, it has moments whose power comes from their simplicity. Equally as important is laughter, and Forrest Gump has moments of humor strewn throughout.
During the 60s and 70s, no topic more inflamed the turbulent national consciousness than that of Vietnam and those who were sent overseas to fight. Forrest, as might be expected, has a singular viewpoint on his time spent there: "We took long walks and were always looking for this guy named Charlie." This observation emphasizes the essence of the title character's nature.
Through the miracle of visual effects, Forrest meets his fair share of famous people - George Wallace, Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, and John Lennon. While mixing the real footage of these notables with new images featuring Hanks is not a seamless process, the result is nevertheless effective. (This is a precursor of what would become commonplace in future films as the effects work employed here became refined.)
Forrest Gump has several messages, few of which require much digging into the subtext to unearth. The most frequently recurring theme is an admonition not to give up on life. Why surrender when you don't know what lies ahead? By contrasting Forrest's life with the lives of those around him, and by showing how the passage of time brings solace to even the most embittered hearts, the movie underlines this point.
Tom Hanks won 1994's Academy Award for Philadelphia, but his performance here is more nuanced. [With Forrest Gump, he would become only the second man to win back-to-back Lead Actor Oscars, joining Spencer Tracy.] The Alabama accent may seem a little awkward at first, but it doesn't take long for the acting to dwarf the twang. Hanks fashions a human character free of guile and deceit, and barely able to comprehend a concept like evil. Robin Wright gives the best performance of her career, surpassing what she accomplished in The Playboys. Looking and seeming like a younger Jessica Lange, she is believable as the object of Forrest's undying affection. The scene-stealer, however, is Gary Sinise. A renowned stage director and actor, Sinise is probably best known to film-goers (to the extent that he is known at all) for his portrayal of George in 1992's Of Mice and Men (which he also directed). In this movie, his portrayal of Lieutenant Dan Taylor is riveting. The passion and pain he brings to the middle portions of Forrest Gump hold together some of the film's weaker moments.
The soundtrack boasts a variety of sounds of the era - perhaps too wide a variety. Often, music can be useful in establishing a mood, but Forrest Gump rockets into the realm of overkill. There are sequences when the choice of song is inspired (the use of "Running on Empty" for Forrest's "long run" comes to mind), but the soundtrack could have used a little pruning. There are times when it seems as much designed to sell CDs as to cement the setting.
Ultimately, however, any such gripes about Forrest Gump are minor. This is a marvelous motion picture -- a mint julep on a hot summer's afternoon.
Forrest Gump Movie Review & Film Summary (1994) | Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert | rogerebert.com | www.rogerebert.com | English
I've never met anyone like Forrest Gump in a movie before, and for that matter I've never seen a movie quite like "Forrest Gump." Any attempt to describe him will risk making the movie seem more conventional than it is, but let me try. It's a comedy, I guess. Or maybe a drama. Or a dream.
The screenplay by Eric Roth has the complexity of modern fiction, not the formulas of modern movies. Its hero, played by Tom Hanks, is a thoroughly decent man with an IQ of 75, who manages between the 1950s and the 1980s to become involved in every major event in American history. And he survives them all with only honesty and niceness as his shields.
And yet this is not a heartwarming story about a mentally retarded man. That cubbyhole is much too small and limiting for Forrest Gump. The movie is more of a meditation on our times, as seen through the eyes of a man who lacks cynicism and takes things for exactly what they are. Watch him carefully and you will understand why some people are criticized for being "too clever by half." Forrest is clever by just exactly enough.
Tom Hanks may be the only actor who could have played the role.
I can't think of anyone else as Gump, after seeing how Hanks makes him into a person so dignified, so straight-ahead. The performance is a breathtaking balancing act between comedy and sadness, in a story rich in big laughs and quiet truths.
Forrest is born to an Alabama boardinghouse owner (Sally Field) who tries to correct his posture by making him wear braces, but who never criticizes his mind. When Forrest is called "stupid," his mother tells him, "Stupid is as stupid does," and Forrest turns out to be incapable of doing anything less than profound. Also, when the braces finally fall from his legs, it turns out he can run like the wind.
That's how he gets a college football scholarship, in a life story that eventually becomes a running gag about his good luck. Gump the football hero becomes Gump the Medal of Honor winner in Vietnam, and then Gump the Ping-Pong champion, Gump the shrimp boat captain, Gump the millionaire stockholder (he gets shares in a new "fruit company" named Apple Computer), and Gump the man who runs across America and then retraces his steps.
It could be argued that with his IQ of 75 Forrest does not quite understand everything that happens to him. Not so. He understands everything he needs to know, and the rest, the movie suggests, is just surplus. He even understands everything that's important about love, although Jenny, the girl he falls in love with in grade school and never falls out of love with, tells him, "Forrest, you don't know what love is." She is a stripper by that time.
The movie is ingenious in taking Forrest on his tour of recent American history. The director, Robert Zemeckis, is experienced with the magic that special effects can do (his credits include the "Back To The Future" movies and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"), and here he uses computerized visual legerdemain to place Gump in historic situations with actual people.
Forrest stands next to the schoolhouse door with George Wallace, he teaches Elvis how to swivel his hips, he visits the White House three times, he's on the Dick Cavett show with John Lennon, and in a sequence that will have you rubbing your eyes with its realism, he addresses a Vietnam-era peace rally on the Mall in Washington. Special effects are also used in creating the character of Forrest's Vietnam friend Lt. Dan (Gary Sinise), a Ron Kovic type who quite convincingly loses his legs.
Using carefully selected TV clips and dubbed voices, Zemeckis is able to create some hilarious moments, as when LBJ examines the wound in what Forrest describes as "my butt-ox." And the biggest laugh in the movie comes after Nixon inquires where Forrest is staying in Washington, and then recommends the Watergate. (That's not the laugh, just the setup.) As Forrest's life becomes a guided tour of straight-arrow America, Jenny (played by Robin Wright) goes on a parallel tour of the counterculture. She goes to California, of course, and drops out, tunes in, and turns on. She's into psychedelics and flower power, antiwar rallies and love-ins, drugs and needles. Eventually it becomes clear that between them Forrest and Jenny have covered all of the landmarks of our recent cultural history, and the accommodation they arrive at in the end is like a dream of reconciliation for our society. What a magical movie.
Forrest Gump - Rolling Stone
Peter Travers | Rolling Stone | www.rollingstone.com | English
Forrest Gump is a movie heart-breaker of oddball wit and startling grace. There's talk of another Oscar for Tom Hanks, who is unforgettable as the sweet-natured, shabbily treated simpleton of the title. The Academy is a sucker for honoring afflicted heroes. In Hollywood, it's always raining rain men. Credit Hanks for not overplaying his hand. He brings a touching gravity to the role of an idiot savant from the South who finds strength in God, country, his childhood pal, Jenny (Robin Wright), and his good mama (Sally Field). When Forrest falls a few IQ points shy of minimal school requirements, Mama knows who to sleep with to bend the rules. Her son has a gift. As Forrest makes his pilgrim's progress from the '50s to the '80s, he becomes a college football star, a Vietnam war hero, a shrimp tycoon and even a father.
Taking a cue from Zelig, director Robert Zemeckis places Forrest in a vivid historical context — he talks with JFK, LBJ and Nixon, among other luminaries. The effects dazzle, though never at the expense of the story. Winston Groom, who wrote the 1986 novel, saw Forrest as a modern Candide, an optimist in the face of strong opposing evidence. But Groom is no Voltaire, and neither is screenwriter Eric Roth (Mr. Jones, Memories of Me), who blunts his satire with choking sentiment. It's Hanks who brings humor and unforced humanity to the literary conceit of Forrest, though the slim actor scarcely resembles the 6-foot-6-inch, 240-pound bruiser of the book.
In a college dorm with Jenny, who lets him touch her breast, the virginal Forrest ejaculates instantly, losing her interest and his self-respect. In the Army, Forrest saves his captain (Gary Sinise), whose legs are later amputated, and the captain resents him. Forrest is everything we admire in the American character — honest, brave, loyal — and the film's fierce irony is that nobody can stay around him for long.
Zemeckis doesn't fall into the trap of using Forrest as an ad for arrested development. He knows the limits of a holy fool who can't understand the hypocrisy of postwar America that this picaresque epic so powerfully reveals. The peace-love pretensions of the '60s are skewered as neatly as the greed decades that follow. But there is something of Forrest that Zemeckis would like to see rub off on us: his capacity for hope. It's an ambitious goal in this age of rampant cynicism. Godspeed.