Forrest Gump is a 1994 American epic romantic comedy-drama film based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis and starred Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise and Sally Field. The story depicts several decades in the life of Forrest Gump, a naïve and slow-witted yet athletically prodigious native of Alabama who witnesses, and in some cases influences, some of the defining events of the latter half of the 20th century in the United States; more specifically, the period between Forrest’s birth in 1944 and 1982.
The film differs substantially from Winston Groom’s novel on which it is based, including Gump’s personality and several events that were depicted. Filming took place in late 1993, mainly in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Extensive visual effects were used to incorporate the protagonist into archived footage and to develop other scenes. A comprehensive soundtrack was featured in the film, using music intended to pinpoint specific time periods portrayed on screen. Its commercial release made it a top-selling soundtrack, selling over 12 million copies worldwide.
Released in the United States on July 6, 1994, Forrest Gump received critical acclaim and became a commercial success as the top grossing film in North America released that year, being the first major success for Paramount Pictures since the studio’s sale to Viacom earlier in the year. The film earned over $677 million worldwide during its theatrical run. The film won the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director for Robert Zemeckis, Best Actor for Tom Hanks, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Visual Effects and Best Film Editing. It also garnered multiple other awards and nominations, including Golden Globe Awards, People’s Choice Awards and Young Artist Awards, among others. Since the film’s release, varying interpretations have been made of the film’s protagonist and its political symbolism. In 1996, a themed restaurant, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, opened based on the film, and has since expanded to multiple locations worldwide. The scene of Gump running across the country is often referred to when real-life people attempt the feat. In 2011, the Library of Congress selected Forrest Gump for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.