Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Forrest Gump (1994)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Forrest Gump (1994)

In Robert Zemeckis' Best Picture-winning, sentimental tearjerker comedy, with a floating feather motif, it told of a disabled, slow-witted, but kind-hearted and wholesome individual who had brushes with greatness (by being present at many memorable and iconic historical moments in the last half of the 20th century) and became a folk hero, but also felt heartache throughout his life:

  • the opening lyrical title credits sequence (bookended in the film's conclusion) followed the progress of a single floating white feather - it randomly landed at the feet of the seated title character - who picked up the feather, opened a briefcase, and placed the feather inside a copy of Curious George
  • the title character - big-hearted, slow-witted, simple-minded, dullard Forrest Gump (Oscar-winning Tom Hanks) experienced flashbacks while sitting on a city bus-stop bench in Savannah, GA in 1981; he introduced himself to his benchmate, a black nurse (Rebecca Williams): ("Hello. My name's Forrest. Forrest Gump. Do you want a chocolate? I could eat about a million and a half of these"); and then he delivered one of the most oft-quoted statements of the film to the listener after offering a chocolate: ("My mama always said, life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get"); he looked over at the nurse's shoes and observed: "My mama always said you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes, where they going, where they been"); he explained the origin of his name - Forrest was the name of his Civil War hero-ancestor General Nathan Bedford Forrest who founded a club known as the KKK
  • he further recollected to various listeners on the bench about his life, beginning with his innocent youth when he was a crippled boy (Michael Conner Humphreys) living in Greenbow, AL in 1956, forced to wear braces on his legs because of his crooked back (mild scoliosis?); his mother always explained things simply to him: ("Mama always had a way of explaining things so I could understand them"), for example, when he was stared at for wearing the restrictive leg braces: "If God intended everybody to be the same, he'd have given us all braces on our legs"; she kept telling him: "You're the same as everybody else. You are no different", although he was diagnosed with an IQ of 75; his mother had sex one evening in the Gump House with the Greenbow Central School principal (Sam Anderson), in order to allow him to admit Forrest into the regular public school rather than a "special school"

With His Mother, Forrest With Braces on His Legs

Forrest's Hip-Gyrating Dancing Inspired Future Star Elvis Presley
  • in the Gump House that rented out rooms, while growing up with the restrictive leg braces, Forrest danced with hip gyrations for a guitar-playing housemate (Peter Dobson) - who later became famed RnR singer Elvis Presley with the same dance moves
  • Forrest recalled his first acquaintance with young classmate Jenny Curran (Hanna Hall as child) who allowed him to sit next to her on the school bus on his first day of school: ("I do remember the first time I heard the sweetest voice in the wide world....I had never seen anything so beautiful in my life. She was like an angel"); when she asked: "Are you stupid or somethin'?", he replied: "Mama says, 'Stupid is as stupid does'"; Forrest told how they became fast friends: "From that day on, we was always together. Jenny and me was like peas and carrots...She was my most special friend. My only friend")

"She was my most special friend, my only friend"
First Day of School - Meeting with Classmate Jenny
  • he remembered one uplifting moment when he quickly ran away from bullies who teased him, threw rocks, and pursued him on bikes and his braces fell off, while young Jenny encouragingly yelled out: "Run, Forrest, Run!"; Forrest recalled: "Now you wouldn't believe it if I told you that I could run like the wind blows. From that day on, if I was goin' somewhere, I was running!"; it was suspected that Jenny was being sexually abused by her hard-drinking, widowed farming father (Kevin Mangan), although to Forrest's young eyes, he thought differently: her loving father "was always kissing and touching her and her sisters"; one day, she prayed with Forrest for God to make her into a bird to fly far away from her troubled home; eventually, Jenny was ordered by the police to move in with her grandmother in a trailer; Jenny (Robin Wright as adult) and Forrest remained best friends through high school
  • Forrest's ability to run long distances was evidenced when he again ran from bullies in HS and the scene segued into a Univ. of Alabama football game in 1962 where Forrest (with a college scholarship) streaked as a running star - and didn't stop at the end zone
  • through the remainder of the film, Forrest progressed through many transformative, episodic periods in his life throughout the decades, playing many different epic roles - as a college student, as a war hero serving in Vietnam, an anti-war protestor, a Yippie, a ping-pong champion, a shrimp tycoon, an Apple Computers investor, and a father
  • the film's advanced computerized special-effects and imaging put intellectually-challenged Forrest Gump into many comedic situations with historical events; the first one was his viewing of Gov. George Wallace's stand-off in Little Rock, AK at the Univ. of Alabama against school integration in June of 1963, known as "The Stand in the Schoolhouse Door"
  • during Forrest's college days, he often visited with Jenny at her all-girls school; while waiting for her one night during a heavy rainstorm, when she returned in a car, he unnecessarily fought off her overly-friendly date named Billy (Mark Matheisen), and then in her dorm room, he became overexcited and embarrassed when Jenny put his hand on her bare breast - causing him to prematurely ejaculate in her roommate's bathrobe that he was wearing
  • Forrest's participation on the Univ. of Alabama football team put him on the All-American team that gave him the opportunity to meet with President JFK in the White House, when Forrest nervously stated: "I gotta pee"
  • after five years at the Univ. of Alabama, Forrest graduated and was recruited to serve in the US Army in 1968, following the assassination of JFK's brother Robert; at boot camp, Forrest became friends with Southern black shrimp-lover Benjamin Buford "Bubba" Blue (Mykelti Williamson) who gave a short speech about all the ways that shrimp could be prepared, while assembling a rifle and doing other military duties: "Anyway, like I was sayin', shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey's uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That - that's about it"; the two made plans to establish a shrimping business after the war ended

Meeting Bubba Blue at US Army Boot Camp

Forrest's Service in the Military

Bubba Blue's Speech About Preparing Shrimp: "Shrimp is the fruit of the sea..."
  • while on leave before being shipped off to the Vietnamese War front in the late-1960s, Forrest reunited with Jenny in Memphis, TN, who was living a much more difficult life; she had been expelled from college for posing semi-nude for a feature titled "The Girls of the South" in Playboy Magazine (July 1966) while wearing her college sweater, and then spent some time in Hollywood, CA; she was now working in the LOVES topless strip club, heralded as a "beatnik beauty" and folk singer (with the name Bobbie Dylan); in the club, when Forrest tried to protect Jenny on-stage from unruly customers, she scolded him for rescuing her; the two parted awkwardly when he admitted that he loved her and she rebuked him ("You don't know what love is"), and urged him to stay away
  • in the Vietnam War combat in mid-1967, during a major ambush of the entire platoon, Forrest rescued many downed soldiers, and then found his platoon leader Lt. Dan Taylor (Gary Sinese) also severely injured
  • Bubba was tragically and lethally wounded during the ambush - dying in Forrest's arms after being rescued; Forrest (voice-over): "If I'd have known this was gonna be the last time me and Bubba was gonna talk, I'd of thought of somethin' better to say"; Bubba asked: "Forrest, why did this happen?...I want to go home"; Forrest (voice-over): "Bubba was gonna be a shrimpin' boat captain, but instead, he died right there by that river in Vietnam. That's all I have to say about that"
  • Forrest was hospitalized next to Lt. Dan, to recuperate from his own buttocks-bullet wound; during their recovery, it was revealed that Lt. Dan, with two amputated legs at the knees, had entered into a deep depression due to his serious handicap confining him to a wheelchair: ("I'm nothin' but a goddamn cripple, a legless freak!"); he was embittered and resentful for being saved and rescued by Forrest: ("I was supposed to die in the field with honor! That was my destiny, and you cheated me out of it!"); later in the film, Forrest and Lt. Dan would come together again under more favorable circumstances
  • while in the hospital, Forrest received a large stack of undelivered mail - all of his letters written to Jenny in Alabama; Forrest also discovered that he had an innate natural ability to play ping-pong; he received news that he would be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism in the Vietnam War, in a meeting with President LBJ who stated: "I'd like to see that" when Forrest mentioned his buttocks-wound - and Forrest obliged by pulling his pants down

Forrest's Muted Speech In Front of DC's Reflecting Pool

Forrest Reunited with Jenny

Jenny's Radical Boyfriend Wesley from Berkeley
  • afterwards while touring the sights in Washington, DC, the uniformed veteran Forrest got caught up in an anti-war peace rally across from the Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool; when urged by flag-wearing, flower-power social activist Abbie Hoffman (Richard D'Alessandro) to give a speech in front of the gigantic crowd, his microphone was disconnected and muted by an angry, pro-war security police officer (Dick Stilwell), but he was recognized by his true love Jenny Curran in the crowd and reunited with her in the water of the Reflecting Pool ("It was the happiest moment of my life")
  • Jenny took Forrest to a safe house of the militant Black Panthers, where she introduced Forrest to Wesley (Geoffrey Blake), her abusive live-in boyfriend in Berkeley, CA who was the President of the left-wing revolutionary activist group known as SDS; Forrest defended Jenny against Wesley's abuse, and assaulted him; soon after spending all night walking around and reminiscing with Jenny, who described how she had been living a counter-cultural, hallucinogenic drug-using hippie lifestyle in San Francisco, she parted on a bus to leave for Berkeley with Wesley, and Forrest gave Jenny his Medal of Honor and called her his "girl"
  • Forrest became a celebrity when he demonstrated his ping-pong prowess ("ping-pong diplomacy") against Chinese teams during international tournaments; he appeared on The Dick Cavett Show to speak about his China experiences, sharing a guest appearance with Beatles' singer John Lennon, that purportedly helped to inspire the song "Imagine" (by repeating quotes from the song's future lyrics)

On The Dick Cavett Show With John Lennon

Long-Haired, Crippled, Heavy-Drinker Lt. Dan in NYC
  • outside the New York TV studio after the interview, Forrest again met up with long-haired Lt. Dan, who was still embittered by Forrest's fame and his medal, and his own crippling disability; Dan described his pitiful life - living in a hotel "off the government tit," mostly spending time exercising his arms, and heavily drinking; while staying with Dan during the Christmas and New Years holidays (as 1972 dawned), Forrest mentioned his promise to Bubba to be his first mate on a shrimping boat, but now that Bubba was dead, he would be the Captain; Lt. Dan sarcastically promised: "Tell you what, Gilligan. The day that you are a shrimp boat captain, I will come and be your first mate"; stilling dreaming of Jenny, Forrest had no interest in Dan's two prostitute friends Carla (Tiffany Salerno) and Lenore (Marla Sucharetza), and Dan resorted to throwing them out when they called Forrest a stupid retard
  • as a representative of the US Table Tennis team, Forrest was also honored to meet President Richard Nixon, who recommended a stay at the infamous Watergate Hotel - where Forrest unwittingly reported the break-in that ultimately led to Nixon's resignation in 1974
  • after Forrest's official discharge from the Army (and the Ping Pong team), he visited Bubba's family home in the Bayou to fulfill his promise to his dead friend; with $25,000 after endorsing a ping-pong paddle, Forrest bought a shrimping boat, and established a shrimping partnership with Lt. Dan who to his surprise, fulfilled his promise and joined him as First Mate on his Bubba Gump Shrimp Company boat (named JENNY); early efforts to catch shrimp were a complete failure
  • after their boat was the only shrimping boat that survived Hurricane Carmen in 1974, the circumstances led to windfall profits for their growing company that expanded to 12 boats with a warehouse; he made peace with Forrest and the loss of his legs, telling him: "I never thanked you for saving my life"; Forrest watched Lt. Dan swim out in the water, and stated (in voice-over) how Dan had reconciled with God after earlier denouncing him: "He never actually said so, but I think he made his peace with God"

Lt. Dan - Fulfilling his Promise to be Forrest's First Mate

Windfall Profits After Hurricane Carmen

Lt. Dan Without Legs Before Swimming in Ocean
  • in a very sad sequence at her death bed, Forrest raced back to Alabama to visit with his matter-of-fact mother Mrs. Gump (Sally Field) who was terminally-ill and dying of cancer: "I'm dyin', Forrest...It's just my time...Now, don't you be afraid, sweetheart. Death is just a part of life. Somethin' we are all destined to do"; and then she repeated a variation of her oft-repeated phrase, to describe the forging of his destiny: "Well, I happen to believe you make your own destiny. You have to do the best with what God gave you....You're gonna have to figure that out for yourself. Life is a box of chocolates, Forrest. You never know what you're gonna get"; Forrest remained in Alabama after his mother's death, living in the Gump House and cutting the HS's football field grass on a riding mower for free, while Lt. Dan was able to invest their shrimp boat profits in Apple Computer and ensure their financial futures; Forrest turned into a philanthropist for the local church and hospital, and Bubba's mother
  • in another touching scene in mid-1970 in Greenbow, AL, Forrest again crossed paths with a now-recovered Jenny, who had deserted Wesley in California in 1972, and had become an addicted, heavy drug-user and threatened suicide; she suddenly returned, and after sleeping incessantly, they took walks in their old neighborhood; she was particularly angered during a brief visit to her childhood home, and threw rocks at the dilapidated structure (Forrest: "Sometimes I guess there just aren't enough rocks")
  • Forrest proposed to Jenny on the 4th of July, professing his unconditional love: ("Will you marry me? I'd make a good husband, Jenny...but you won't marry me...Why don't you love me, Jenny? I'm not a smart man, but I know what love is"); she declined his request ("You don't want to marry me"), but later that rainy night entered his bedroom and asserted her love: ("Forrest, I do love you") and then decided to sleep with Forrest to express her love to him; however, the next morning, she left in a taxi without a goodbye, and also left behind Forrest's medal
  • Forrest made a decision to go for a marathon cross-country run with the new shoes Jenny had bought him - and in fact never stopped running for over a three year period, traversing the US from the Santa Monica, CA pier to a lighthouse in Maine and back again: ("3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours"); Jenny saw TV coverage of Forrest's fourth run across America (that inspired others to join him); during his runs, Forrest provided profitable ideas for bumper sticker slogans and T-shirt designs: ("S--T HAPPENS," and a SMILEY FACE), but then one day he abruptly stopped running and returned home
  • after the Reagan assassination attempt in late March of 1981, Forrest received a letter from Jenny, urging him to visit her in Savannah, GA where she was working as a waitress; on the bus-bench in Savannah, GA, he realized that she was only 5-6 blocks away from his location; in her apartment, Jenny showed him her interest in his exploits with clippings in a scrapbook, and apologized for being "messed up" in the past
  • Forrest met for the first time his young namesake - little Forrest, Jr. (Haley Joel Osment), and was told by Jenny that he was the father of her very normal child: ("I'm a Mama...I named him after his daddy....You're his daddy, Forrest"); Jenny reassured the panic-stricken Forrest: ("You didn't do anything wrong") followed by his reply: ("He's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen"); she also stated how the boy was "the smartest in his class"; the two of them happily sat together to watch Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie on TV

Forrest: "He's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen"

Meeting Young Forrest, Jr. (Haley Joel Osment)

The Bride and Groom at Forrest's House
  • in the park that evening, Jenny informed Forrest that she was "sick" and suffering from an incurable disease, Forrest invited them to move back to Greenbow, AL, where he could take care of them; she immediately asked: "Would you marry me, Forrest?" and he simply answered: "OK"
  • Forrest was wed to Jenny in a ceremony at his mother's house; the marriage was attended by Lt. Dan, who was walking with "magic" custom-made prosthetic legs made of titanium; Jenny's last words (on-screen) to Forrest were: "I love you"; on March 22, 1982, Jenny died from the serious illness (Hepatitis C, or the AIDS virus?)
  • Forrest delivered a moving, tear-jerking eulogy-meditation for his recent newly-wed bride Jenny at her gravesite under an oak tree; he assured Jenny that he was taking proper care of Forrest, Jr.: ("You died on a Saturday morning. And I had you placed here under our tree. And I had that house of your father's bulldozed to the ground. Mama always said that dyin' was a part of life. I sure wish it wasn't. Little Forrest is doin' just fine. About to start school again soon, and I make his breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. I make sure he combs his hair and brushes his teeth every day. Teach him how to play ping-pong. He's really good...We fish a lot. And every night, we read a book. He's so smart, Jenny. (crying) You'd be so proud of him. I am. He wrote you a letter. And he says I can't read it. I'm not supposed to, so I'll just leave it here for you. I don't know if Mama was right or if it's Lieutenant Dan. I don't know if we each have a destiny, or if we're all just floatin' around accidental-like on a breeze. But I-I think maybe it's both. Maybe both is happening at the same time. But I miss you, Jenny. If there's anything you need, I won't be far away")
  • as Forrest left the gravesite, a flock of birds flew off - fulfilling Jenny's childhood prayer to be a free bird: ("Dear God, make me a bird. So I could fly far. Far far away from here")

Waiting for School Bus

The Floating Feather - on Young Forrest's First Day of School
  • Forrest waited at the bus stop for young Forrest's school bus to arrive to take him to his first day of school; when the bus pulled up, he assured Forrest: "I want to tell you I love you....I'll be right here when you get back"
  • in the film's inspiring conclusion, the feather (from the film's opening) at Forrest's feet floated and uplifted into the sky as the bus drove away and departed

White Feather Landing at Forrest Gump's Feet

Bus Stop: Forrest to Benchmate: "Do you want a chocolate?"

Forrest Gump's Flashbacks on Park Bench

Forrest Discarding His Leg Braces to Escape From Bullies: (Jenny: "Run, Forrest, Run!")

Jenny Praying to Be A Bird in a Cornfield - To Fly Away

Jenny and Forrest - Best Friends in HS

Forrest as a Football Star Runner at the Univ. of Alabama

Forrest Witnessing Gov. George Wallace's Stand Against Integration

Forrest's Premature Ejaculation Touching Jenny's Bare Breast

Forrest Meeting Pres. JFK as Part of All-American Team: "I gotta pee!"

Jenny Caught in Scandal Posing in Playboy Magazine

Jenny Working as a Folk-Singer/Stripper in a Memphis Club

Forrest and Bubba's Commanding Officer Lt. Dan Taylor (Gary Sinese)

Lt. Dan Found by Forrest With Legs Blown Off

Bubba's Tragic Death at War

Lt. Dan With Amputated Legs

Forrest Awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President LBJ

Ping-Pong Against the Chinese

Forrest's Meeting with President Nixon

Forrest and Lt. Dan's Bubba Gump Shrimp Company on the cover of Fortune

Forrest's Last Visit With His Dying Mother (Sally Field)

Jenny's Return to Be with Forrest

Forrest to Jenny: "Will you marry me?"

Forrest Having Sex With Jenny

Marathon Running From Coast to Coast

Jenny's Last Words (on-screen) to Forrest: "I love you"

Forrest's Eulogy at Jenny's Gravesite


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