My momma always said, Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get. This famous quote from Forrest Gump, released in 1994, encompasses the spirit of the movie - life is unpredictable, whatever comes your way, take it head on. This is precisely what Forrest, played brilliantly by Tom Hanks, does.
Forrest, born with a crooked spine and a low I.Q. of 75, handles the most bizarre situations that life throws at him with remarkable dedication and equanimity and ends with a triumph, each time. He becomes a football star, serves with honor in Vietnam, meets John F. Kennedy, defeats the Chinese national team in table tennis, addresses an anti-war rally at the Washington Memorial, and runs a successful shrimping business. Through all his travails, Forrest keeps waiting with unflinching devotion for his first and only love, Jenny, to come back to him - and she does.
Tom Hanks was so blown away by the script that he signed the movie just an hour and half after reading it. Forrest Gump, produced on a budget of $55 million, grossed a total of $677,387,716 worldwide. It won 6 Academy Awards including Best Actor, Best Director, Best Film, Best Editing, Best Visual Effects, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Apart from the bravura performances from the cast which includes Robin Wright, Sally Field, and Gary Sinise, the visual effects were stunning - these include Forrest meeting deceased characters like Nixon and JFK, and the removal of Gary Sinise's legs after the character had them amputated. Sinise's legs were wrapped with a blue fabric and in post-production the 'roto-paint' team had to paint out his legs from every frame.
However, over and above all of this, the one reason why Forrest Gump will always remain an indispensible part of Hollywood history is the simple truth it promotes - that it is not brains and brawn (Forrest had neither) but courage, strength of character, and devotion that can accomplish almost anything. This hugely inspiring feel-good film had viewers leaving cinema halls feeling they could take on the world. The tagline for the film aptly said, The world will never be the same once you've seen it through the eyes of Forrest Gump.