Characters: Forrest Gump
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Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks)
- The Ace: Forrest is this most of the time without even realizing it.
- Accidental Athlete: 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.
- Accidental Hero: Of a sort. Forrest ran back into the combat zone to try finding 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.
- Achievements in Ignorance: 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.
- Adaptational Heroism: In the book, Forrest was more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold; in the movie he's a straight up nice guy.
- Almighty Janitor: 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.
- Badass: Heck yeah. Just see his ace section, which include star track runner, war hero, tennis champion, and successful shrimp businessman.
- Beard of Sorrow: Grows one on his cross-country jogging spree.
- Been There, Shaped History: Forrest's defining trait is that he manages to affect the course of history without realizing it. The trope was originally named "The Gump" after him.
- Berserk Button: Lay a hand on Jenny whenever Forrest is around. Go ahead, try it.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Well meaning in general, but if you tap his aforementioned Berserk Button...
- Born Lucky: Forrest just falls ass-backwards into multiple jaw-dropping accomplishments; any one of which other people could spend their whole lives trying to achieve.
- Buffy Speak: Forrest's Verbal Tic.
- Catch Phrase: Forrest is rather good with these (many of which have become pop culture icons):
- "Life is like a box of chocolates... you never know what you're gonna get."
- "Stupid is as stupid does."
- "My name's Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump."
- "And that's all I have to say about that..."
- "And just like that, my [x] days was over..."
- "But most of all, I thought about Jenny..."
- Childhood Friend Romance: Eventually becomes this with Jenny.
- Disappeared Dad: "He's on vacation."
- Dumb Is Good: Forrest is this trope.
- The Dutiful Son: He's eternally dedicated to his mother.
- The Fool: One thing for certain about this movie is that Forrest has pure luck on his side (or fate, whichever one you prefer to call it).
- Genius Ditz: In the books.
- Good Ol' Boy: ...from Greenbow, Alabama.
- The Hero: The movie focuses on his entire life.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: He and Bubba seemed destined to be this until Bubba's death. Forrest and Lt. Dan become a variation of this afterward.
- Kindhearted Simpleton
- Modest Millionaire: Lives the same lifestyle despite his money. The most expensive things he has are a pair of sneakers Jenny bought him.
- Momma's Boy: Forrest dearly loves his mother.
- Mooning: President Johnson found out how Literal-Minded Forrest is the hard way when he joked that he would like to see his "million dollar wound."
- Nice Guy: The sweetest and nicest man you will ever meet.
- Forrest was a Jerk with a Heart of Gold in the original novels.
- Potty Emergency: "I gotta pee!" Drinking 15 Dr. Peppers will do that to you.
- Protagonist Title
- Puppy Love: With Jenny, as children.
- The Quiet One: In his childhood, until he met Jenny.
- Rich Idiot with No Day Job: Thanks to Bubba-Gump Shrimp and Apple.
- Seemingly Profound Fool
- Single-Target Sexuality: Forrest never seems to notice any women other than Jenny, from when he was a kid.
- Super Speed: A mundane version, but a lot of Forrests' talents and accomplishments such as his football stardom, his super-fast gun-loading, his war heroism, and his uncanny talent for ping-pong, all come from being able to move and act extremely fast.
- Too Quirky To Lose
- Vitriolic Best Buds: 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.
- Wealthy Philanthropist: Forrest Gump's shrimp business really takes off and Lt. Dan wisely invests their money in Apple Computer. Following his mom's philosophy, Forrest starts giving money to various projects in his town and state, like renovating their town church or founding a new hospital department.
Jenny Curran (Robin Wright)
- Abusive Parents: In the words of Forrest, who didn't quite understand what was going on in the Curran household: "Her father was a very loving man. He was always kissing and touching her and her sisters..."
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Justified since she was raised in her early life by an abusive father. Deconstructed when all of her boyfriends were complete assholes who only hurt in some way.
- Animal Motifs: She's always associated with birds, from the moment she asks Forrest to pray with her.
- Childhood Friend Romance: Eventually becomes this with Forrest.
- Death by Adaptation: Jenny survives the original novel, although she is killed off at the beginning of the sequel novel, Gump and Co.
- Driven to Suicide: The first time is after her nude guitar show when she is standing on a bridge and talking to Forrest about the time they prayed together. She is about to leap out of her shoes until slowly stepping back down. The second is when she's high on drugs and standing on an apartment balcony, ready to do a swan dive into the streets below... but comes to her senses at the last moment and climbs off the ledge.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: In the sequel novel, Gump and Co., when she dies quite early.
- False Soulmate: To Forrest until the end.
- Granola Girl: Becomes a hippie.
- Hate Sink: Invoked. Forrest was made nicer in the film, though some of his negative personality traits were given to Jenny, mostly to contrast their respectively simple, stable, and extravagant and dangerous lifestyles.
- The Hedonist: Becomes this in her adulthood.
- Insecure Love Interest: The reason she didn't want to get with Forrest. She didn't feel like she was good enough for him because of her past mistakes.
- No Last Name Given: Her last name, "Curran", is never spoken in the film; we only find out that it's "Curran" from a batch of letters Forrest gets in the Army.
- The Not-Love Interest: Subverted.
- Puppy Love: With Forrest, as children.
- Rape as Backstory: Her father sexually abused her and her sisters.
- Really Gets Around: Which she's not proud of. Mostly due to having a lot of Bastard Boyfriends.
- Significant Birth Date: Perhaps. See the entry on the film's page.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Jenny finally goes towards after numerous disastrous relationships, and falls in love and marries Forrest Gump.
- Soap Box Sadie: Becomes an activist in her adulthood.
- The Stoner: As an adult.
Lt. Dan Taylor
Lieutenant Dan Taylor (Gary Sinise)
- An Arm and a Leg: Lt. Dan loses his legs in combat and winds up with Magic Legs (prosthetic legs)!
- Beard of Sorrow: Grows one when he and Forrest catch up after the War.
- Berserk Button: "Don't you ever call him stupid!"
- Deadpan Snarker: Just look who plays him.
- Death Seeker: He's had a family member die in every single war America has fought in, and thus feels it's his duty to do the same in Vietnam. He actually has a nervous breakdown after Forrest rescues him, because not only has he lost his legs, he doesn't know what to do now. He eventually gets better.
- Disabled Snarker: Having no legs breaks his morale, but doesn't take away his sense of sarcasm.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: In the sequel novel, Gump and Co., when he gets killed by friendly fire during Operation Desert Storm.
- First Name Basis: Forrest always calls him "Lt. Dan", even after the War.
- Handicapped Badass: Losing his legs doesn't make him any less of a badass while working alongside Forrest in the shrimping business.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In the second half of the movie. It's understandable why he was so hostile to Forrest, though, seeing as how he thought Forrest had "cheated" him out of dying.
- The Lancer: Becomes this to Forrest after Bubba's death.
- Screw Destiny: He's eventually glad he didn't die in Vietnam.
- Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter: Has a moment of this when the Jenny gets caught in Hurricane Carmen.
- Try Not to Die: One of Lt. Dan's two standing orders for his platoon (the other one is to always, always change your socks for clean ones regularly).
Benjamin Buford "Bubba" Blue
Benjamin Buford "Bubba" Blue (Mykelti Williamson)
- Alliterative Name: Not just first and last, but his middle and even nickname all start with "B."
- Black Best Friend: For Forrest.
- The Ditz: One reason that he and Forrest got along well was that Bubba himself was not all there.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: He gets shot during an unexpected platoon attack during the Vietnam War, and doesn't even get to live out his dream as a shrimp boat captain.
- Genius Ditz: He knows everything there is to know about the shrimping business.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: He and Forrest seemed destined to be this until his death.
- The Lancer: To Forrest until his death. Lt. Dan takes over the role after that.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Granted, he tells Forrest his given name during their first meeting, but is OK with being called Bubba.
Mama Gump (Sally Field)
- Mama Bear: Was willing to have sex with the sleazy principal of Forrest's school to get him a good education.
- No Name Given / Only Known by Their Nickname: Her first name is never referred to in the film; Forrest only calls her "Mama."
- Playing Gertrude: Sally Field is only ten years older than Tom Hanks.