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Fascinating Facts From Forrest Gump



A Film For the Ages

Since 1994, Forrest Gump has delighted audiences with its whimsical spirit of sheer determination and what it means to combat adversity with simple, down-to-earth personality. The film has become the true definition of a classic, but it’s also surrounded with many really incredible facts that you likely never knew about!

Alternate Cast

The character of Forrest’s army pal and almost co-shrimper Bubba could have very well had a completely different vibe. Actors like David Alan Grier, Dave Chappelle, and Ice Cube were among the talent who turned down the role. Imagine Bubba’s shrimp spiel with an expletive thrown in after every other word!

Expedited Aging

Despite playing his mother, Sally Field was only 10 years older than Tom Hanks (in fact, the two had played romantic partners just six years earlier in Punchline). As such, a heavy amount of makeup was used to make her look much older.

Too Much Chocolate For Forrest

If Forrest had the same physique he had in the original book, he would have been a very heavy set man. In fact, author Winston Groom had John Goodman in mind for the role. Forrest’s affinity for running was created by screenwriter Eric Roth.

Chocolaty Positivity

The “life is like a box of chocolates” line is among the most famous movie quotes in history, but it wasn’t all supposed to be so optimistic.
The original novel opens with: “Let me say this: bei’n a idiot is no box of chocolates. People laugh, lose patience, treat you shabby. Now they says folks s’posed to be kind to the afflicted, but let me tell you – it ain’t always that way. Even so, I got no complaints, cause I reckon I done live a pretty interestin’ life, so to speak.”

It’s All In the Lips

Despite being a well-known television star, Mykelti Williamson was virtually unrecognizable as Bubba due to a lip prosthetic he wore to make him more distinct.

In Hanks We Trust

It’s pretty unfathomable to comprehend anyone other than the great Tom Hanks in the lead role, but we almost got both Bill Murray and John Travolta as the title character! Imagine the greaser Danny Zuko in that role….

Forrest Goes To Outer Space

If you thought that becoming ping pong champion and jogging across the country was a bit far-fetched, then it’s probably a good thing that one of the novel’s plot points in which Forrest becomes an astronaut didn’t make it into the final film.


According to Tom Hanks, the line “My name is Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump” was completely ad-libbed and a spur-of-the-moment stroke of genius.

The Voice of Elvis

When Forrest Gump is showing the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll some hip new moves, the voice you hear is actually Kurt Russell’s. Coincidentally, Russell played Elvis in a 1979 TV movie.

Actor Dedication

Despite having a cold at the time, Robin Wright stripped down and sang completely naked for the entire 24 hours it took to shoot the scene.

Running With the Flu

Robin Wright wasn’t the only one who bit the bullet while feeling ill. Tom Hanks was battling the flu during the scene where he has to hightail it across a football field.

“I See Forrest Gump”

If you thought that little Forrest Jr. looked familiar, it’s because he was played by Haley Joel Osment — the same kid who saw dead people in The Sixth Sense. He also starred in the Steven Spielberg film A.I. Artificial Intelligence.

Good Ol’ USA

Even though Forrest Gump spans different locations around the world in different decades, the entirety of the film was shot almost entirely in South Carolina, including all of the scenes that take place in Vietnam.

No Bench

Tourists who travel to Savannah, Georgia, expecting to find the bench that Forrest relays his stories to passing strangers on will be quite disappointed, as the bench doesn’t exist in that plaza. The bench was purchased specifically for the film and was sold at auction in 2013 for a cool $25,000.

Movie Magic

For the scenes in which Forrest Gump interacts with real historical figures, Industrial Light & Magic (the special effects company behind such movies as Jurassic Park) pioneered new methods using blue screen and other techniques that are standard practice today.

Composited Crowd

There was a bit of deception going on for the scene in which Forrest gives a speech to thousands of unwashed hippies. The production only had about 1,500 extras, so they moved the groups of people to different places and layered all of the groups together to simulate a packed rally. 

Playing Himself

Out of all of the historical figures depicted in the movie, TV host Dick Cavett was the only one who actually appeared as himself. Makeup was used to de-age him for his interview with Forrest and John Lennon.

Ping Pong Prodigy?

Before you assume that Tom Hanks was an absolute whiz at ping pong, the scene in which he paddles several balls at once was done without actual ping pong balls. Hanks made the motions and the balls were added in later using CGI.

Two-Time Oscar Winner

After winning the Oscar for Forrest Gump as well as for Philadelphia the previous year, Tom Hanks became the first actor to win two consecutive Academy Awards since Spencer Tracey in the 1930s.

Authentic Dog Tags

The dog tags that Lieutenant Dan wears actually belonged to Gary Sinise’s brother-in-law who served in Vietnam. They’re engraved with “Protect Us in Combat.”

Rolling In the Dough

Despite having such big-name talent, Forrest Gump’s budget was a mere $65 million. As such, Tom Hanks agreed to receive a percentage of the movie’s profits instead of being paid up front. The movie went on to gross almost $330 million — which equated to a hefty $40 million paycheck for Hanks!


Due to Paramount being in debt during filming, Winston Groom — the original novel’s author — was only given $350,000 for the story rights along with a promise that he’d receive 3 percent of the film’s profit. A year after the movie’s release, he still hadn’t been paid, with Paramount claiming that they were still $62 million in debt.

Almost a Sequel

Winston Groom was eventually paid for what he was owed by Paramount, along with a deal that included rights to “Gump & Co.,” the original book’s sequel, which illustrated Forrest’s life in the ‘80s. The sequel never became a reality on the big screen, unfortunately, with Tom Hanks refusing to reprise the role.