[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Forrest_Gump_on_a_bench_4829.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.]]

->''"His buddy Bubba was a shrimp lovin' man\\
His friend with no legs he called Lt. Dan\\
His girlfriend Jenny was kind of a slut\\
He went to The White House; showed LBJ his butt"''
-->-- [[FilkSong "Gump"]] by '''Music/WeirdAlYankovic''' (to the tune of Music/ThePresidentsOfTheUnitedStatesOfAmerica's "Lump")

->''"Hello. [[TheNameIsBondJamesBond My name is Forrest. Forrest Gump.]]"''

''Forrest Gump'' is a 1994 film starring Creator/TomHanks and directed by Creator/RobertZemeckis. It is based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom.

It's the tale of a good-natured but simple-minded man from [[TheDeepSouth Greenbow, Alabama]], telling his life story to other people while waiting at a bus stop. As the story continues, you find Forrest [[BeenThereShapedHistory touching important events and people]] from [[TheFifties the 1950s]] to [[TheEighties the 1980s]] (ranging from Music/ElvisPresley to several Presidents), rising to his own measure of fame and fortune in the process, mostly by just being himself. Because he is so simple-minded, he doesn't fully understand the significance of everything that he has done and just sees himself as an average person just living his life. But he's forever pining for his childhood sweetheart Jenny (played by Hanna Hall [[TimeshiftedActor and]] Robin Wright).

Forrest's journey takes him from his native Alabama to the jungles of Vietnam, from walking in corrective leg-braces to running across North America, from misunderstood country boy to college football star to champion ping-pong player to shrimp tycoon, without ever quite losing the undying optimism of the era. On the other hand, Jenny's life takes her from a {{Catholic Schoolgirl|sRule}} to being in one of the early issues of ''Magazine/{{Playboy}}'', from a flower child of the '60s to a hippie protestor of the '70s. Between her and Forrest, they cover all the significant cultural emblems of that time period, all the while their lives intersect with each other repeatedly.

----
!!My momma always said, "Life is like a page of tropes. You never know what you're gonna get."

* AbusiveParents: Jenny's father was sexually abusive.
* AdaptationPersonalityChange: Does this with Jenny (making her a vapid party girl), Forrest's mom (who loved her son but was much less in charge), and to an extent Forrest himself, who in the books is an idiot savant and much less InspirationallyDisadvantaged.
* AccidentalAthlete: Forrest ends up as a running back on Paul "Bear" Bryant's University of Alabama team when a couple of bullies chase him and he ends up running through the school field when the team was practicing. It helps when you consider exactly who he was seen by. For those of you unaware, Bryant is universally considered to be one of the greatest American football coaches of all time.
* AccidentalHero: It's a case of PlayingWithATrope. Forrest ran back into the combat zone to find Bubba, only to be called upon by other soldiers to rescue them, which he did by carrying them to the river. What he did was technically heroic, but he didn't intend to save four others and be awarded the Medal of Honor. On the other hand, he ''did'' intend to save Bubba, and he ''was'' aware of the danger of the situation.
* AchievementsInIgnorance: Forrest is so dense that he routinely attempts things other people wouldn't even consider, and so single-minded that he puts his maximum effort into everything he does. As a result, he meets spectacular success while the skeptics are left scratching their heads.
* AlmightyJanitor: After his myriad accomplishments that leave him a war hero, shaper of history, and gazillionaire, Forrest accepts the prestigious job of groundskeeper at the University of Alabama, which he ends up doing for free because he likes it so much. Hey, at least he's keeping busy.
* AMillionIsAStatistic: The storm that destroyed every ship in the harbor [[InferredHolocaust undoubtedly ended or destroyed the lives of dozens of people.]] It's considered a good thing because it [[ProtagonistCenteredMorality benefited Forrest's shrimping business.]]
* AndImTheQueenOfSheba:
--->'''Lt. Dan''': If you're ever a shrimp boat captain, that's the day I'm an astronaut!
* AngryBlackMan: Jenny's Black Panther acquaintances, to the letter.
* AnimalMotifs: Jenny is associated with birds, from the moment she asks Forrest to pray with her:
** The prayer itself:
--->'''Jenny''': Dear God, make me a bird, so I can fly far. Far, far away from here.
** Which is recalled in a conversation after he sees Jenny performing on stage:
--->'''Jenny''': [[DrivenToSuicide Do you think I could fly off this bridge?]]\\
'''Forrest''': ''(worried)'' What do you mean?\\
'''Jenny''': ''(after a moment of silence)'' Nothing.
** Later, we see her contemplating suicide again, ready to jump off a high-riser, with [[Music/LynyrdSkynyrd Free Bird]]'s solo wailing in the background.
** Finally, [[spoiler:after Forrest finishes talking to Jenny's gravestone, a flock of birds flies out of their tree as Forrest walks away.]]
** The floating feather which opens and closes the film also fits in with the bird motif.
* ArcWords: People are always telling Forrest to "Run".
* AnArmAndALeg: Lt. Dan Taylor loses his legs in combat, [[spoiler:and eventually gets prosthetics]].
* AsHimself[=/=]NotQuiteStarring:
** Both Presidents [[UsefulNotes/JohnFKennedy Kennedy]] and [[UsefulNotes/LyndonJohnson Johnson]] play themselves posthumously and interact with Forrest through the use of archival footage.
** The same technology was also used with RichardNixon [[note]]who died less than three months before the movie was released to theaters[[/note]], Alabama Governor George Wallace, and JohnLennon. A more straight version of this occurs in the Lennon scene, where Dick Cavett plays himself, made to look younger through make-up.
** This was before easy computer manipulation, so these scenes where Forrest was integrated were a huge special effects triumph at the time.
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: As noted in the {{Foreshadowing}} entry, Jenny tells Forrest that her dream is to "be up on a stage with just my guitar and my voice…" She gets that dream, all right, but she neglected to mention whether she'd be wearing anything, and when the time comes [[ExactWords she isn't]].
* BeardOfSorrow:
** Forrest ends up with one on his cross-country jogging spree.
** Lieutenant Dan also has one when he first meets Forrest again after the war.
* BeautyIsNeverTarnished: If you go with the hypothesis that [[spoiler: Jenny has AIDS]], you'll be left wondering why you don't see her with sores and lesions from Kaposi's Sarcoma, hair graying and loss, and other nasty symptoms associated with that disease.
* BeenThereShapedHistory: Forrest does a lot of this, from teaching ElvisPresley his hip-swinging dance to inadvertently exposing the Watergate scandal.
* BerserkButton: Call post-Vietnam Lieutenant Dan a cripple all you want, but he ''will'' hurt you if you dare call Forrest any variety of "stupid."
** Try to even lay a hand on Jenny whenever Forrest is around.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Forrest is the most even-tempered individual you could ever hope to meet, but he has a BerserkButton when it comes to anyone hurting Jenny. He is also incredibly strong due to being a football star and war hero.
* BittersweetEnding: Lieutenant Dan [[spoiler: finds the strength to live and love again]], [[spoiler: Jenny has a son with Forrest, and Forrest's dream of being with Jenny finally comes true as they get married. But shortly after, Jenny dies, and leaves her son in Forrest's care]], with Forrest passing on his torch to Junior and raising him.
* [[BlackBestFriend Black Best Good Friend]]: [[AlliterativeName Benjamin Buford "Bubba" Blue.]]
* BlackDudeDiesFirst: A poor nameless RedShirt dies of BoomHeadshot at the start of the ambush that also kills [[spoiler: Bubba]] (who ironically ends up being the last of the squad to die).
* BookEnds: The ObjectTrackingShot of the feather and Forrest waiting for a bus.
* BreakUpMakeUpScenario: Jenny leaves Forrest several times and each of these is shown to be a mistake. Coming back to him are the few instances where she is truly happy.
* BrickJoke:
** Bubba's momma serving dinner, then being served to.
** At the beginning of the movie, Forrest tries to get to know the bus driver, Dorothy Harris, because his mother has told him not to take rides from strangers and - Forrest being as dense as he is - to him, introducing themselves will make them not strangers anymore. At the end, [[spoiler: Forrest Jr. immediately says upon being greeted onto the bus: "You're Dorothy Harris, and I'm Forrest Gump."]]
* BrokenBird: Jenny. Engaged in a lot of self-destructive behavior and was very cynical due to her unhappy childhood.
* BuffySpeak: Forrest's general VerbalTic. This leads to a nice HistoricalInJoke when he ends up being a shareholder in "some sort of fruit company" (Apple Computers).
* CallingYourBathroomBreaks: Forrest announces this while meeting [=JFK=] of all people.
* CargoCult: Forrest mistakenly forms one merely by jogging across the U.S.A. and growing a giant Charles Manson beard. Only in the seventies.
-->'''Gump Groupie''': I mean, it was like an alarm went off in my head, you know?! I said, ''here's'' a guy that's got his act together! Here's somebody who's [[MistakenForProfound got it all figured out]]! Here's somebody who has ''the answer!'' I'll follow you anywhere, Mr. Gump!
* CarloadOfCoolKids: A group of kids in a pick-up truck torment Forrest, which causes him to run.
* CassandraTruth: Forrest's revelation that he's the owner of the wildly successful Bubba Gump Shrimp Company sends one listener off in unbelieving hysterics. The old woman was unbelieving at first, until he shows her a picture of him and Lieutenant Dan on the cover of ''Fortune''.
* CatchPhrase: Forrest has a lot of these.
** "My name is Forrest, Forrest Gump."
*** The one time he introduces himself differently (to Bubba), he does so in a spectacular ShapedLikeItself fashion: "My name's Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump."
** "Stupid is as stupid does."
** "Momma always said 'Life was like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're gonna get.'"
** "And that's all I have to say about that..."
** "...But most of all, I thought about Jenny."
* CharacterDevelopment: Seen in both Forrest and Jenny. But even more clearly in Lt. Dan.
* ChewingTheScenery: Forrest to Jenny, as she's about to leave with her radical boyfriend:
-->'''Forrest''': You know what I think? I think you, should go back, to Green-Bow, AL-A-BAM-A!
* ChildhoodFriendRomance: Forrest and Jenny, though the romance is unrequited by Jenny until the end of the movie.
* ClusterFBomb: According to Forrest, Abbie Hoffman enjoyed dropping these at the Vietnam War protest rally, and that everyone at the rally enjoyed hearing him dropping them. Being a PG-13 movie, however, we only hear [[PrecisionFStrike one instant of the word]] if you don't count a preceding one that is [[SoundEffectBleep obscured by Hoffman's microphone feedback]].
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: Forrest is so naïve that he regularly misinterprets what is going on around him.
** He assumes Music/ElvisPresley died ''from singing too much songs, or something.''
** He notices Jenny performing as a nude stripper and thinks ''her dream of becoming a singer has come true.''
** After giving a guy named Wesley a beating at a meeting of the Black Panthers he and Jenny are sent away. He then apologizes: ''I'm sorry I had a fight at your Black Panther [[IncrediblyLamePun party]].''
** During his time in the Vietnam War he notices they were looking for ''somebody named Charlie'' and assumes that the money of his so-called ''million dollar wound'' was kept by them.
** He notices people in the Watergate Hotel keeping him awake with their flash lights, asks the hotel receptionist to do something about it, but never thinks much of it.
** He assumes ''Apple'' is ''some kind of fruit company.''
* DaylightHorror: Forrest's platoon was ambushed in broad daylight.
* DeadpanSnarker: Lt. Dan has a dry and bitter wit that is all the more apparent next to the plain and literal Forrest.
* DeadPresidents[=/=]NotSoDeadPresidents: "I went [to the White House], ''a-gain'', [and met] the President, ''a-gain''." The RunningGag is that he meets almost all of the ones he reasonably could. He even moons LBJ (sort of on request). He ''did'' ask if he could see the spot...
** Tom Hanks also invoked the "a-gain" when he won the Best Actor Oscar for ''Forrest Gump'', having already received one the year before for his role in ''Film/{{Philadelphia}}''.
--->'''Hanks''': *inflecting Forrest's voice* So I went to the Academy Award, ''a-gain''. And I won an Oscar, ''a-gain''.
* DeathByAdaptation: [[spoiler: Forrest's mother and Jenny]] die during the events of the film, but not in the novel. [[spoiler: Forrest's mother dies between the ending of the novel and its sequel ''Gump and Co.'', and Jenny dies in the beginning of ''Gump and Co.'']]
* DeathMontage: Forrest explains Lt. Dan was from a long military tradition. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9c8Rba5NVE Then we see a montage of Gary Sinise (the actor playing Lt. Dan) playing a different ancestor just at the moment of his death, in a different battleground, with a war uniform more modern that the last]].
-->''Somebody from his family had fought and died in [[PunctuatedForEmphasis every—single—American war.]]''
* DeathSeeker:
** Lt. Dan, who's lost an ancestor in every major American war. He gets over it after [[spoiler: surviving Hurricane Carmen]].
** In the book's sequel ''Gump and Co.'', [[spoiler: he gets killed by friendly fire during Operation Desert Storm]].
* DeepSouth: Most of the film takes place in Greenbow, Alabama.
* DestroyTheAbusiveHome: Jenny throws rocks at her abandoned childhood home. Forrest later bulldozes it on her behalf.
* DidYouJustFlipOffCthulhu: While not in a supernatural sense, the entire Hurricane Carmen scene, Lieutenant Dan raised his middle finger to the sky while cursing {{God}}.
* DisappearedDad: Forrest's father is unmentioned and unseen.
* TheDiseaseThatShallNotBeNamed: It's debatable whether or not it's a fictional disease, but [[spoiler: Jenny mentions that the virus she's suffering from is a terminal disease]], in which it's left up to the audience on whether or not it is AIDS.
* DoggedNiceGuy: Forrest. Jenny abandons him multiple times throughout the film and generally treats him like crap yet he thinks about her a lot and always welcomes her back.
* DrillSergeantNasty: A downplaying is that he frequently praises Forrest for his dedication and obedience in the exact same tone of voice he'd use to berate anyone else. Of course, he does offer some backhanded compliments along the way:
-->'''Drill Sergeant:''' WHAT IS YOUR SOLE PURPOSE IN THIS ARMY?\\
'''Gump:''' To do whatever you tell me, Drill Sergeant?\\
'''Drill Sergeant:''' GODDAMNIT, GUMP! YOU'RE A GODDAMN GENIUS! THAT'S THE MOST OUTSTANDING ANSWER I'VE EVER HEARD! YOU MUST HAVE A GODDAMN I.Q. OF 160! YOU ARE GODDAMNED GIFTED, PRIVATE GUMP!
** Here's another one:
--->'''Forrest Gump''' ''[having just completed assembling his weapon]'': DONE, DRILL SERGEANT!\\
'''Drill Sergeant:''' '''GUUUUUUMP!''' WHY DID YOU PUT THAT WEAPON TOGETHER SO QUICKLY, GUMP?\\
'''Forrest Gump:''' ...You told me to, Drill Sergeant?\\
'''Drill Sergeant:''' JESUS H. CHRIST! This is a new company record! If it wouldn't be a waste of such a damn fine enlisted man, I'd recommend you for OCS, Private Gump! YOU ARE GONNA BE A GENERAL SOMEDAY, GUMP, NOW DISASSEMBLE YOUR WEAPON AND CONTINUE!
*** This is how a Drill Sergeant is supposed to act - having a favorite may inspire people to turn on them, destabilising the team. The Drill Sergeant is just letting them know that Forrest is getting it right, but at the same time lets the team know nobody's getting any slack.
* DrivingADesk: Mostly averted, as Forrest is almost seamlessly integrated into the historical footage, but they did a much better job digitally erasing Gary Sinise's legs. In fact, there's only one scene in the ''entire movie'' where the digital erasure of Sinise's legs fails: when he's picking himself up after the party girls leave on New Year's Eve. Watch carefully and you can see Sinise is clearly propping himself up on supposedly nonexistent legs.
* DudeWheresMyRespect: Lt. Dan wanted to die in combat, so naturally, he doesn't take living with amputated legs too well. And watching Forrest receive a Medal of Honor from the President himself sure didn't help.
-->'''Lt. Dan:''' They gave you the Congressional Medal of Honor.\\
'''Forrest:''' That's Lt. Dan … [turns around and sees Lt. Dan] Lt. Dan!\\
'''Lt. Dan:''' They gave ''you'' the Congressional Medal of Honor!\\
'''Forrest:''' Yes sir, they sure did.\\
'''Lt. Dan:''' They gave you, an imbecile, a moron who goes on television and makes a fool out himself in front of the whole damn country, the Congressional Medal of Honor?!\\
'''Forrest:''' Yes, sir.\\
'''Lt. Dan:''' Well, then, that's just perfect! Yeah, well I just got one thing to say to that. Goddamn bless America.
* DuringTheWar: [[UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar Vietnam]].
* DumbIsGood: Forrest is "stupid is as stupid does" which in practice means that he is polite to everyone he meets, and never considers sinister undertones in what he hears or sees.
* EndOfAnAge: Many have interpreted [[spoiler: Jenny's death from a disease that might be [=AIDS=]]] as being symbolic of the death of the 1960s/1970s counterculture in the early 1980s.
* EngineeredPublicConfession: Inverted: During Forrest's stump speech during an anti-Vietnam rally that he somehow got convinced to go to, a large percentage of the speech involving things he was going to admit to the people about his experiences in Vietnam during the speech actually ended up ''missed'' because a Pro-Vietnam police officer pulled the plug on the mike, and the mike's sound output was only restored right when Forrest finishes up the statements.
** According to Tom Hanks, the actual censored portion of the speech was "Sometimes when people go to Vietnam, they go home to their mommas without any legs. Sometimes they don’t go home at all. That’s a bad thing." Arguably, seeing Abby Hoffman (who apparently heard the whole thing) moved to tears by Gump's speech was effective enough.
%%* EpicMovie
* ExactWords:
** When he receives the Medal of Honor from Lyndon B. Johnson, Johnson jokingly expresses interest in seeing the wound on Gump's butt. Gump interprets this as literal, and… [[{{Mooning}} obliges his request]]. (LBJ, never the most reserved or well-mannered individual, absolutely loves it.)
** Jenny gets caught by this too, after she tells Forrest "I wanna be up on a stage with just my guitar and my voice..." She later gets that dream. But she never specified whether she'd be wearing clothes at the time, and ends up with ''just'' her guitar and her voice.
** Jenny also tells Forrest that when he's in Vietnam, if he finds himself in danger, she wants him to run. As it happens, he ends up doing just that... running back and forth carrying wounded soldiers to a river bank during an ambush, earning himself the Medal of Honor.
** Forrest thinks his Vietnam wound was literally worth a million dollars.
-->'''Forrest:''' They called it a "million dollar wound" but the army must keep that money 'cos I still haven't seen a nickel of that million dollars.
* FlyAtTheCameraEnding: The feather.
* {{Foil}}: Forrest (the cheerful, innocent man) serves as this to Lt. Dan (the grumpy, disillusioned, emotionally broken man).
* TheFool: Forrest is good natured but naturally dim witted, most importantly though, he appears to be quite lucky throughout the film.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: "I wanna be up on a stage with just my guitar and my voice..."
** At the very beginning of the movie, Forrest opens his suitcase and we see not only the ''Curious George'' book (which Mama reads to him and [[spoiler:Forrest Jr. takes to show-and-tell]]) but also his Bubba Gump hat and his ping-pong paddle. We also see he's wearing muddy Nikes, which he wore when he ran for two and a half years. Even the box of chocolates shows up in his story when he gives Jenny a box at college.
*** A subtle example. Lt. Dan pokes fun at Forrest over his aspirations of captaining a shrimping boat, saying, "If you're ever a shrimping boat captain, I'll be an astronaut." Later, Lt. Dan shows up at Forrest and Jenny's wedding, sporting titanium legs which Lt. Dan explains "is what they made the space shuttle out of."
* FramingDevice: Most of the movie is Forrest telling his life's story to people at a bus stop.
* FreezeFrameBonus: When we first see Forrest's platoon in action, they are walking through a rice paddy. You can see plumes of smoke behind, indicating they torched a village on the way over.
* GeniusDitz: Forrest in the book has savant syndrome. In the film, his natural talent is running but he's also really good at putting guns together.
* TheGhost: Jenny's sisters are spoken of but never seen.
* GodIsGood: After coming back from Vietnam, Lt.Dan is told stuff like this. One example is, "If I let Jesus into my heart, then I will walk beside him in the kingdom of Heaven". He thinks it's bullcrap for a while, but after Hurricane Carmen, the two of them come to an understanding. Forrest notes that he "made his peace with God".
* GoodOlBoy: Forrest and many other folks from Greenbow, Alabama are honest and hardworking, but many others are not.
* HandicappedBadass: Lt. Dan has no legs and he can still work on a shrimp boat and survive a hurricane from a ship's mast.
* HardWorkHardlyWorks: Forrest is a natural runner and a natural table tennis champion.
* HaveANiceDaySmile: According to the film, Forrest is the originator of the design. He wiped his face on a yellow shirt and the person who handed him the shirt saw the design.
* TheHedonist: Jenny becomes this in her adulthood: drugs, sex, you name it.
* HippieVan: Jenny's friends pick her up in a van.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Forrest meets various celebrities who were historically, culturally or sociologically important to the history between 1945 and 1981: Music/ElvisPresley, George Wallace, UsefulNotes/JohnFKennedy, UsefulNotes/LyndonBainesJohnson, Abbie Hoffman, Music/JohnLennon and UsefulNotes/RichardNixon.
* HistoricalInJoke: So many that not all of them made it to the movie. Forrest inspired and named for a while the trope that is now BeenThereShapedHistory.
* HistoryRepeats: A lot of scenes mirror each other.
** Forrest meets Jenny on the bus, where nobody wants him to sit next to them. Later when he joins the army by bus the same situation happens again, but this time its Bubba who allows him to sit next to him. Later when Forrest's son goes to school by bus he also introduces himself to the bus driver first.
** Forrest being chased by bullies with Jenny defending him occurs both when he is a child, as well as when he is a teenager. The only difference is that they chase him by bike as child and by car as an adult.
** Forrest's mother dies in bed in his house, mirrored later by Jenny dying in the same bed.
** Forrest meets a President of the USA: Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon.
** Forrest beats up men who mistreat Jenny.
* HonorBeforeReason: Lt. Dan started off as this as his main goal was to die with honor, and was appalled at surviving as a cripple. Eventually he came to terms with this and became grateful that Forrest saved him.
* HowWeGotHere: Twice. The framing narrative is Forrest talking with people at a bus stop.
* IGaveMyWord: Lieutenant Dan was being sarcastic when he said that if Forrest ever became a shrimp boat captain, he'd be his first mate. But when Forrest ''does'' become a shrimp boat captain, Dan becomes his first mate.
* IWasJustJoking: It was strongly implied that LBJ's "desire" to see the wound on Gump's behind was actually intended to be a joke. Forrest, being Forrest, [[ExactWords interprets this literally]], and proceeds to [[{{Mooning}} oblige his "request"]] on live TV, causing Johnson to chuckle to himself and say "Goddamn, son!"
* IdenticalGrandson: Lieutenant Dan's ancestors are all played by Gary Sinise; all of Mrs. Blue's ancestors are played by the same woman who plays Mrs. Blue, Forrest's namesake General Nathan Bedford Forrest, the founder of the Ku Klux Klan, is also played by Tom Hanks.
* IdiotHero: Forrest Gump becomes, among other things, a war hero and a successful shrimp boat captain based on single minded determination and a lack of sense to know that what he's doing is stupid/crazy/dangerous etc.
* ImagineSpot: When Forrest talks about Lieutenant Dan and Bubba's ancestors, and then happily inverted when Bubba's mom uses Bubba's share of Forrest's shrimping venture.
* InnocentInaccurate: Among other things, Forrest doesn't quite understand what the big deal is with desegregation, the war protesters, or the Black Panther Party. Also, he calls Jenny's father a "very loving man" because he was "always touching her".
* InspirationallyDisadvantaged: Forrest (spine problems and autism) and later Lt. Dan (crippled). Both of them come to terms with their conditions and reach success.
* InsultBackfire: "Stupid is as stupid does."
* IronicEcho:
** Bubba's mother being served lunch by a white lady, using the exact same shot as the ImagineSpot of Bubba's mother's ancestors doing the same thing for their white employers. "…and so they shot him" is sort of one as well, considering the famous people Forrest has met (does the man have a death god following him?).
** A less straightforward example is when Forrest's mother had to sleep with the principal just to allow Forrest to have a regular school environment instead of a special needs environment. During the mom and the principal's … "pleasure time", The Principal is faintly heard panting from outside. When the Principal afterwards asks Forrest whether he says anything at all, Forrest's response is to mime said panting (without realizing what it meant).
* ItBeganWithATwistOfFate: In the original book version most of Forrest's adventures start with some variation of the following: "So I was just sitting there minding my own business and a guy comes up to me and says 'Do you want to [join the army/be in a play/play college football/get shot into space/star in a movie/etc.]?' Well, I had nothing else to do that day so I said OK."
* ItWillNeverCatchOn: Forrest doesn't seem too impressed by the "fruit company" Lt. Dan suggested he invest in, which we see is really Apple Computers, now Apple Inc.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Lieutenant Dan in the movie is a rude hardass but also a patriot who wants to be the only casualty in his group. Perhaps surprisingly to some, Forrest in the original novel was more violent than the one in the film.
* JustFollowingOrders: A staple of Gump's character, and arguably why he sits at the core of a ReactionaryFantasy:
--> "Run Forrest, Run", "[Because] you told me to, Drill Sergeant?", "The secret of ping pong is never taking your eye off the ball", "I got it -- The Medal of Honor -- just by doing what you told me to do."
** Defied in that Gump ignores Lt. Dan's order not to rescue him and [[ToBeLawfulOrGood chooses Good over Lawful]], which leads to him winning that Medal Of Honor.
* KidsAreCruel: None of the kids, except Jenny, would let Forrest sit next to them on the school bus. A few in particular made a hobby of chasing Forrest around after school and throwing rocks at him.
* {{Kissgusting}}: One of the hookers kisses Forrest on the lips and he pushed her away and spits, prompting her to ask if he's stupid (pissing off Lieutenant Dan). After they left, Forrest apologizes for ruining his good time, saying that she tasted like cigarettes.
* TheKlan: Forrest says he was named after Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
* LetThePastBurn: Forrest eventually does Jenny a favor by having her abusive home demolished.
* LiteralMinded: Forrest has no concept of metaphor. For example, he thinks that "Recon plan Charlie" means looking for a guy named Charlie.
* TheLongList: "Shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo ..."
* LukeYouAreMyFather: Forrest [[spoiler: finds out he has a son via Jenny]]. EpilepticTrees say [[spoiler: this might not be the case, but Forrest is the only reliable parent Jenny can find]].
* MeaningfulEcho: When Forrest tells Jenny he loves her, she annoyingly tells him he doesn't know what love is. Years later, he proposes to her, but she declines, telling him he doesn't really want to marry her. His response: "I'm not a smart man, but I know what love is."
* MeaningfulName: Forrest names his boat ''Jenny''.
* MentorOccupationalHazard: Lt. Dan tries to be this to a T, as he gives Forrest and Bubba advice on how to survive Vietnam (concluding the mentor part) and then tries to die fighting in the war, believing that it was his [[YouCantFightFate destiny.]] However, he didn't count on Forrest to [[ScrewDestiny defy that.]]
%%* MisterSandmanSequence:
* {{Mooning}}: Forrest does this to President Johnson. See ExactWords for more details.
* NarrationEcho: On multiple occasions, due to Forrest's thoughts being so straightforward.
-->'''Forrest:''' [=*narrating*=] When I got home, I had no idea, but Mama'd had all sorts of visitors.\\
'''Mrs. Gump''': We've had all sorts of visitors.
* NiceGuy: Forrest, it's this character trait that makes him the ideal hero for this film because there are few other nice guys. The summary calls him "an innocent in a nation losing its innocence".
* NoodleIncident: Forrest's speech during the Vietnam protests, lost to everyone except those standing near him because the microphones have been sabotaged, but it moves those people to tears. According to Tom Hanks, it goes something like this:
-->"Sometimes when people go to Vietnam, they go home to their mommas without any legs. Sometimes they don't go home at all. [[AndThatsTerrible That's a bad thing.]] That's all I have to say about that."
** Bubba's montage talking about how shrimp can be cooked ends with him and Forrest scrubbing the floor with toothbrushes, which is a punishment. Why is never is explained.
* NoInfantileAmnesia: Averted: Forrest explicitly states that he has absolutely no recollection of his birth.
* NoOneGetsLeftBehind: Forrest's CrowningMomentOfAwesome.
* NothingButHits: From the '50s on through the '70s.
* ObjectTrackingShot: The feather.
* OnlyAFleshWound: Forrest gets shot in the buttocks in Vietnam and suffers no long-lasting ill effects. In fact, he gets all the ice cream he can eat. Notably, this is about the only part of the body where this can realistically happen (thus, why it's called a "million-dollar wound"). It also happens to infantrymen ''a lot'', as one's natural inclination when crawling is to stick your butt in the air. Army training tries to curtail this but not everyone remembers.
* OverlyLongGag: The LongList of shrimp recipes and the {{imagine spot}}s for Lieutenant Dan and Bubba's ancestors.
* PhraseCatcher: "Are you crazy, or just plain stupid?"
* PinballProtagonist: Forrest just does whatever he feels like doing at the time. At one point, he becomes sort of a running guru and unintentionally leads a group of literal cross-country runners for months. At one point, he stops running ("Listen, he's about to say something!") and he just says "I'm kinda tired. I'm going to go home now," and just walks home (from the Nevada desert).
-->'''Runner''': What are we going to do now?
* PlayingGertrude: Sally Field, who plays Mrs. Gump, is just ten years older than Tom Hanks. And on top of that, they previously played love interests in the film ''Punch Line''.
* ProtagonistTitle: Forrest Gump.
%%* PopularHistory
* PottyEmergency: Happens to Forrest, simply saying "I gotta pee!" as he meets [[UsefulNotes/JohnFKennedy President Kennedy]]. Drinking fifteen Dr. Peppers will do that to you.
* PragmaticAdaptation: While the screenplay stays fairly close to the novel's structure (mostly as it relates to Forrest getting involved in life events), the character of Forrest is, in the novel, fairly smart; he just has extreme difficulty articulating his thoughts. The book is also rather dark and mean-spirited in several instances.
* PunctuatedForEmphasis: Lieutenant Dan's SmiteMeOMightySmiter antics.
-->'''Lt. Dan:''' "YOU'LL NEVER! SINK! THIS! BOAT! AAAA-HAAHAAAAW!"
** Also:
--->'''Abbie Hoffman:''' "The war … in [[LargeHam Viet-FUCKING-NAAAAM]]!"
* PuppyLove: Jenny and Forrest as children.
* RageAgainstTheHeavens: Lt. Dan in the storm scene is basically him venting all his frustration about being denied his "destiny" of dying in battle at God.
* RapeAsBackstory: It's heavily implied that Jenny and her sisters were sexually abused by her father.
* ReactionaryFantasy: This is the story of how a GoodOlBoy who sincerely believes he lives in {{Eagleland}} type 1 finds happiness and wealth by JustFollowingOrders, because DumbIsGood. It is mirrored by the story of [[TheSmartGuy The Smart Girl]] who ReallyGetsAround, and who was driven to such behavior by her AbusiveParents. She sincerely believes she lives in {{Eagleland}} type 2, becomes a SoapBoxSadie trying to change things for the better, and lives a life that goes FromBadToWorse, because she should have been content with her bucolic and All-American origins (and it's implied she meets DeathBySex).
* RunningGag: It's subtle, but in every photo of Forrest, his eyes are closed.
** In a darker extent, many celebrities that Forrest met or talked about end up getting killed, most of them getting shot.
* ScarpiaUltimatum[=/=]SexForServices: A rather loose variation.
-->'''Hancock:''' "Your mama sure does care about your schooling, son!"
* SceneryPorn: Many shots in Alabama are beautiful to look at. When Forrest decides to go running you see marvelous natural landscapes in various places in the USA.
* SeeminglyProfoundFool: A lot of people take Forrest's words at greater value than he does. The cross-country running, for instance. There's nothing political, social, or philosophical about it; he just "felt like running".
* SeenItAll: After a while, Forrest finds it hard to work up enthusiasm for meeting Presidents after meeting virtually each one during his life.
* SexyDiscretionShot: Invoked in the film, where Jenny climbs into Forrest's bed and the scene fades to black.
* ShotInTheAss: "I got shot in the butt-tocks."
* ShoutOut: At various times we see archival footage or well known TV series play on TV sets, such as Creator/BobHope greeting the American troops at New Year's Eve 1971, Bert and Ernie on ''Series/SesameStreet'',...
* SignificantBirthdate:
** Jenny's date of birth ([[spoiler: which can be seen on her tombstone]]) is July 16, 1945, the date of the Trinity test in New Mexico, the world's first successful test of the atomic bomb. [[spoiler: Her date of death, March 22, 1982, is also the date that the Space Shuttle ''Columbia'' launched on its 3rd mission (STS-3) … which landed at White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico.]]
** The latter would at first glance seem not so significant within the film's context as [[spoiler:the Columbia disaster happened long after the film's release.]] However, the backup commander for mission STS-3 was Ken Mattingly, who was portrayed by Gary Sinise (Lt.Dan) in ''{{Film/Apollo 13}}'', which also starred Tom Hanks.
* SingleTargetSexuality: Forrest has eyes for Jenny. No one else.
* SmiteMeOMightySmiter: Lieutenant Dan rides out Hurricane Carmen clinging to the mast of a small boat, challenging the lightning and waves to kill him while giving God the middle finger. Which, according to Forrest after, results in Dan's religious epiphany.
* StillWearingTheOldColors: Forrest meets some anti-Vietnam activists who mostly wear their old uniforms, but made into {{Non Uniform Uniform}}s.
* SweetHomeAlabama: The film takes place in Greenbow, Alabama. Also, when Jenny and Forrest are at Forrest's home they are dancing to ''Sweet Home Alabama'' by Music/LynyrdSkynyrd.
* TearJerker (in-universe):
** The old lady that Forrest is narrating his story to has this reaction, to the point where she sticks around after missing her bus.
** Forrest's speech when getting his medal also causes this reaction in those that can actually hear him.
* TemptingFate:
-->'''Lt. Dan:''' Where's this god of yours now?
-->'''Forrest:''' (narrating) It's funny Lt. Dan said that, 'cause right then, [[HostileWeather God showed up.]]
* ThisIsMyStory: "Hello, my name is Forrest, Forrest Gump. Would you like a chocolate?"
%%* TooQuirkyToLose: Forrest, in general.
* TryNotToDie: One of Lieutenant Dan's two standing orders for his platoon (the other one is to always, ''always'' change your socks for clean ones regularly).
* UnflinchingWalk: While carrying the somewhat heavyset Bubba to the shore in Vietnam, an airstrike is raining bombs down just behind Forrest's heels. The only acknowledgement he gives of the explosions is a slight increase in walking speed near the end of the shot. It's made especially impressive considering he has a fresh bullet wound in his buttocks. Which may sound vaguely humorous, especially remembering Hanks' pronunciation of the word, but just take a moment to think about what it actually means. He either has a bullet or a jagged piece of debris lodged in a part of his body that is moving and flexing around with every step he takes, even moreso for the fact that he's running over difficult terrain and he still ''never even considers stopping''. Unflinching indeed.
* UnfortunateNames: Forrest is named after Nathan Bedford Forrest, the founder of the KKK. This is awkward, seeing as how he would describe Bubba as "[[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment my best good friend.]]" Forrest being Forrest, he didn't really understand what the KKK was.
* UnreliableNarrator: Played straight for laughs, and for drama. The naive Forrest incorrectly describes events he witnesses through his life. Notable examples:
** He believes that Charlie was someone the Army was looking for, as opposed to the codename for the Vietcong; and that Apple (Computers) was a fruit company.
** A few darker examples occur, as well - like describing Jenny's [[AbusiveParents father]] as "a very loving man," unaware that what he witnessed were signs of sexual abuse.
** The novel ends with the iconic image of Forrest sitting on a park bench in Savannah, GA, not long after an encounter much like the one with the incredulous man in the movie ("Boy, I've heard some whoppers in my time..."), leaving open the possibility that Forrest is nothing more than a halfwit telling tall tales to strangers on a park bench. Consider the story from that perspective for a moment...
* UnusuallyUninterestingSight: During the live broadcast of the first moon landing, everyone at the Army hospital is watching Forrest play Ping-Pong with himself and ''no one'' is watching the TV.
** This happens a lot to Forrest. When Reagan is shot he the footage is playing on TV but he is not even watching the screen.
** When we first see Forrest play football, he's just zoned out unaware of the game he's participating in.
* UnwantedRescue: Lt. Dan was furious that Forrest saved his life, rather than leave him to die. He eventually gets over his rage. Later in the film, when Lt. Dan fiercely defends Forrest after their female companions call him "stupid", the implication becomes that while Lt. Dan loses his legs, gets lost in his own misery, and spends decades watching the world fly apart, Forrest is his polar opposite -- innocent, kind, confused and, above all, ''happy''. Lt. Dan doesn't want ''anything'' to spoil that.
* VitriolicBestBuds: Forrest doesn't see it but Lt. Dan has a lot of anger towards him and generally treats him with contempt. But underneath it is an appreciation that Forrest holds no grudges and will do anything to help a person in need. By the end, there is no doubt they are best friends.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Jenny's sisters were never mentioned again. Were they sent to live with their grandma like Jenny?
* WearingAFlagOnYourHead: Abby Hoffman wears an American flag-patterned shirt at the Vietnam protest rally.
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''And that's all I have to say about that.''
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