Follow TV Tropes


Characters / Forrest Gump

Go To

    open/close all folders 

    Forrest Gump
Portrayed by: Tom Hanks, Michael Conner Humphreys (child)

Though at an early age he is deemed to have a below average IQ of 75, he has an endearing character and shows devotion to his loved ones and duties, character traits which bring him into many life-changing situations. Along the way, he encounters many historical figures and events throughout his life.

  • The Ace: Star track runner, war hero, table tennis champion, and successful shrimp businessman.
  • 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: Played with. Forrest only ran back into the combat zone to try and find Bubba but continuously stumbled upon other wounded soldiers, whom he then carried to the riverside. While he didn't intend to save four others and be awarded the Medal of Honor, he nonetheless deliberately brought them back one-by-one, while being fully 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 Curves: Inverted; he was very muscular in the book, but while he's no stringbean in the movie, he doesn't have the same herculean physique.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: In the book, Forrest was more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold; in the movie he's a straight up nice guy.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: Downplayed. Few would call his movie incarnation ugly, but he's not an Adonis like in the book.
  • Affluent Ascetic: Lives the same lifestyle despite his money. The most expensive things he has are a pair of sneakers Jenny bought him.
  • All-Loving Hero: Forrest doesn't have a mean bone in his body. He's compassionate to everyone and only gets violent when someone hurts Jenny.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Due to having to wear leg braces as a child, Forrest was shunned by his peers. Except Jenny.
  • 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.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Downplayed. It's established early on that his IQ is only 75, just below an average person's. Bear in mind, however, that this was based on heavily biased 1950's standards of intelligence. Nowadays, especially given Forrest's numerous life achievements, most psychologists would probably place him on the moderate to high functioning levels of the autism spectrum and some might even call him a savant.
  • Babies Ever After: He and Jenny have a son together, Forrest Jr.
  • 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.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Well meaning in general, but if you do anything to hurt Jenny...
    • Also applies to his squadmates in Vietnam. When they're ambushed, Forrest returns fire with his rifle, marking the only time he attempts to actively kill another person.
  • 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.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Gender-Inverted. Forrest is a Kindhearted Simpleton who doesn't have a mean bone in his body and grew up in a loving household; Jenny is a Broken Bird from an abusive home life and became riddled with terrible choices in men (sans Forrest) and drugs.
  • Buffy Speak: Forrest's Verbal Tic.
  • Catchphrase: Forrest is rather good with these (many of which have become pop culture icons):
    • "Life is like a box of never know what you're gonna get."
    • "Stupid is as stupid does."
    • "My name's Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump."
      • Alternatively, "Hi, I'm Forrest. 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..."
    • "A-GAIN..."
  • Childhood Friend Romance: With Jenny — Met as children on their school bus, remained friends in their adult years, would eventually have a son.
  • Dad the Veteran: He is a Vietnam Veteran and has a son with Jenny.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Named after his deceased ancestor, Nathan Bedford Forrest.
  • Disappeared Dad:
    • "He's on vacation."
    • Forrest himself is a downplayed example. He missed roughly the first five years of his son's life, but only because Jenny never told him. After he does know, he becomes a devoted father.
  • Dumb, but Diligent: Forrest is mentally handicapped, but was able to run without ankle braces, get multiple successful jobs, enlist in the army and fight in the Vietnam War, and run cross-country completely on foot.
  • 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.
  • Good Parents: Forrest absolutely adores his son and does everything a loving, devoted parent would, including nurturing Little Forrest's love of reading.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Zig-Zagged with Forrest and in some way a Truth in Television way of depicting success. While Forrest is mentally handicapped and doesn't have any higher goals for himself, whatever he does decide to do, he gives his 100% maximum effort. While opportunities were seemingly handed to him, he also didn't waste them and through his determination made a damn good life for himself. He is never once shown as being lazy or lackadaisical with his endeavors. Forrest proves by the end of the movie that not everyone who works hard succeeds, but everyone who has truly succeeded has worked hard.
  • 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.
  • High-School Sweethearts: He and Jenny met in childhood, stayed friends all the way to college, had a son, and got married.
  • Idiot Houdini: Forrest is cognitively impaired, yet all his decisions lead to success, wealth and fame. He becomes a star footballer just by running into a stadium during a match. He survives an ambush and napalm strike in Vietnam, saving some of his fellow soldiers, and emerges with nothing more than a stray bullet in the ass. He becomes a world table tennis champion because he was bored while recovering from his bullet wound and wanted to occupy himself. He makes millions as a shrimp boat captain despite having no skills, experience or success until a freak storm wipes out the local industry leaving him and his boat miraculously unscathed. He inspires the creation of the smiley face and the phrase "shit happens." He meets three different presidents and exposes the Watergate break-in by pure accident. He fumbles and stumbles through life pursuing on a whim whatever seems like a good idea at the time, yet nothing he ever does throughout the film leads to negative consequences for him. One film review describes it thusly:
    "...demonizing social awareness and activism, lionizing apathy and outright retardation, and reducing all of American history to quips, clips, and humorous anecdotes. That it transforms a supreme dolt to the level of hero is beyond debate... Civil rights marches, anti-war protests, and even literacy itself led one to drug abuse, violence, disease, and death, while an all-consuming self-absorption typical of the brain damaged brought down the angels from their heavenly perch. Arguably the most reactionary motion picture ever conceived, it ruined the world most of all because it made deep, unshakable idiocy acceptable, even valued..."
  • I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy: While he's very much in love with Jenny, it's notable that he never really displays signs of resentment towards her boyfriends until he sees them visibly harm her. He's also quick to assume that Jenny's son isn't his, but displays nothing but support and happiness at Jenny's parenthood, even when he thought it was with someone else.
  • Ill Boy: As a child, he had to wear leg braces because he had a crooked spine.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Forrest has an immensely good heart, doesn't have a mean bone in his body, always does the right thing and is kind and compassionate towards everyone.
  • Ironic Name: Despite being named after and descended from the founder of the KKK, Forrest lacks any sense of bigotry in spite of being a Southerner in the pre-Civil Rights era and treats everyone with basic respect.
  • Kindhearted Simpleton: Not a bright one, but a true gentleman.
  • Literal-Minded: Forrest takes every word at face value.
  • Lonely at the Top: Forrest cares deeply about his loved ones and friends, but most of them tend to leave him or die.
  • Lovable Jock: A star football running back in his college years and still the same Nice Guy before and afterwards.
  • Meaningful Name: His last name can mean "to clown," "battle," and "war." Makes sense for the Kindhearted Simpleton Idiot Hero who fought in the Vietnam War.
  • 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."
  • Mr. Fanservice: The book described him as a muscular Adonis and he had a Shirtless Scene in it to drive the point home; in the film, we get to see him naked from behind at one point in a locker room, with the front only covered by a Modesty Towel.
  • Named After Someone Famous: His mother named him after Nathan Bedford Forrest, founder of the Ku Klux Klan and his supposed ancestor, as a reminder to others of the stupidity of mankind.
  • Nice Guy: The sweetest and nicest man you will ever meet.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Thanks to his Army training kicking in, Forrest acts very different during the ambush in Vietnam. He intentionally tries to harm other people by shooting at them (understandable given the circumstances), acts very professionally with his weapon, and is actually fully aware of what's going on, rather than his usual slight obliviousness. The moment the U.S. warplanes arrive to drop their payload is one of the few times he looks genuinely frightened as he knows full well what an air strike entails.
  • Oh, Crap!: When he realizes he left his entire platoon, including Bubba, behind.
  • Potty Emergency: "I gotta pee!" Drinking 15 Dr Peppers will do that to you.
  • Protagonist Title: His whole name is the film's title and he's the central character.
  • Puppy Love: With Jenny, as children.
  • The Quiet One: In his childhood, he was quite silent, until he met Jenny.
  • Rags to Riches: Downplayed. It's shown that Forrest grew up in a middle-class family, and thus didn't suffer any particular financial difficulties, but once he reached adulthood, he became a millionaire.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Forrest never seems to notice any women other than Jenny, from when he was a kid.
  • So Proud of You: Forrest is ecstatic to learn that his son is very intelligent and doesn't hesitate to encourage and boast about Little Forrest's accomplishments.
  • Static Character: He never goes through any kind of character development, and stays the same simple-minded, but kindhearted jock throughout the entire film's runtime. But, there's no problem with that, and the audience still loves him despite this.
  • Super Speed: A mundane version, but a lot of Forrest's 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.
  • Trademark Favorite Drink: He loves Doctor Pepper.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: His ancestor, Nathan Bedford Forrest, looks a lot like him.
  • Uptown Guy: Zig-Zagged. He and Jenny grew up in similar backgrounds (excluding the abuse Jenny suffered at the hands of her father). Things changed when they became young adults — Jenny was kicked out of college, became a junkie, and ended up as a waitress when they meet again; on the other hand, Forrest became a college graduate, a Vietnam veteran/war hero, and a successful shrimp businessman.
  • The Vietnam Vet: For Forrest, it was just a stage in his life that he remembered; this contrasts with Lt. Dan, who lost his legs and suffers from PTSD.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Gender-flipped. Lay a hand on Jenny while Forrest is around. Go ahead, try it.
  • 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 he's also protective of Forrest and underneath his disdain 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
Portrayed by: Robin Wright, Hanna R. Hall (child)

Forrest's childhood friend whom he immediately falls in love with and never stops loving throughout his life. A victim of child sexual abuse at the hands of her bitterly widowed father, Jenny embarks on a different path than Forrest, leading a self-destructive life and becoming part of the hippie movement in the 1960s and the 1970s/1980s drug culture. She re-enters Forrest's life at various times in adulthood. Jenny eventually becomes a waitress in Savannah, Georgia, where she lives in an apartment with her (and Forrest's) son, Forrest Jr.

  • Adaptational Jerkass: All of Book!Forrest's negative qualities were given to her.
  • Addled Addict: She becomes a drug addict as an adult to try to cope with her childhood sexual abuse, and she's shown to be a physical and psychological wreck as a result.
  • 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 her in some way. note 
  • Animal Motifs: She's always associated with birds, from the moment she asks Forrest to pray with her.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: Near the end of the second act she rebukes Forrest's latest profession of love, and his response leaves her speechless.
    Jenny: You don't even know what love is!
    Forrest: I may not be very smart, but I know what love is.
  • Babies Ever After: She and Forrest have a son together, Forrest Jr.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Gender-Inverted. Jenny is a Broken Bird from an abusive home life and became riddled with terrible choices in men (sans Forrest) and drugs; Forrest is a Kindhearted Simpleton who doesn't have a mean bone in his body and grew up in a loving household.
  • Byronic Heroine: Jenny is a good person, but has a Dark and Troubled Past, with Abusive Parents, and when she grows up she often engages in self-destructive behaviour, until her death.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: With Forrest — Met as children on their school bus, remained friends in their adult years, would eventually have a son.
  • Children Raise You: It's strongly implied that mothering Forrest Jr. is what helps her finally snap out of the self-destructive spiral she locked herself into, and helped her finally recover enough to reciprocate Forrest's feelings.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: 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..."
  • Death by Adaptation: Jenny survives the original novel, although she is killed off at the beginning of the sequel novel, Gump and Co.
  • Defiled Forever: Likely feels this way about being sexually abused by her father, hence her string of abusive boyfriends and promiscuity coupled with her refusal to marry Forrest until near the end of her life.
  • The Disease That Shall Not Be Named: It's never stated what her terminal illness actually is, only that it's caused by a virus. Given that she was diagnosed around the start of the AIDS Epidemic...
    • Although in the sequel novel, Gump & Company, which was released a year after the film was, Jenny dies of Hepatitis C caused by her sharing needles with other intravenous drug users. Hepatitis C was not identified by the medical community until 1989.
  • Domestic Abuse: At least two of her boyfriends are physically abusive towards her.
  • 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 she slowly steps 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.
  • Fatal Flaw: Jenny wishes she could be a bird to fly away from her horrible life, and that's the problem: She always tries to flee from her childhood trauma (first by leaving town and traveling around with musicians, hippies, and drug addicts, then through drugs herself), rather than confront or try to work through her trauma. She does after the time skip, but it's too little too late since she dies of an unnamed virus not long after marrying Forrest.
  • Good Bad Girl: Deconstructed. While Jenny is a good person, her wild lifestyle, which includes sex with abusive boyfriends, represents her destructiveness.
  • Good Parents: As evident by Forrest Jr.'s attitude, Jenny was clearly a loving and proper mother to him.
  • Granola Girl: Becomes a hippie in her early adult years.
  • The Hedonist: Becomes this in her adulthood, as she fills her life with drugs and sex.
  • High-School Sweethearts: She and Forrest met in childhood, stayed friends all the way to college, had a son, and got married.
  • Ill Girl: Becomes sick shortly after marrying Forrest and dies from the complications.
  • 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, and the abuse she suffered from her father.
  • In-Universe Catharsis: After years of running from her past with sex, drugs, and alcohol, Jenny returns to the house where her father hurt her, throws rocks at it, and finally breaks down crying. While it still takes her a long time to recover, it's implied to be the time she finally stopped actively self-destructing.
  • Love Cannot Overcome: It's implied that she loves Forrest too, but her love is not enough to overcome her childhood trauma or the self-loathing and self-destruction that springs from it. It takes her becoming a mother and learning she's dying before she's finally able to reciprocate Forrest's feelings... just in time to die.
  • Missing Mom: Downplayed. Jenny was a constant and good mother to Forrest Jr. Unfortunately, she dies due to complications of an unknown disease.
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: She joins the movement during the 60s.
  • 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. At first it appears that she was not meant to be Forrest's love, but she comes to reciprocate his feelings in their adult years.
  • Promiscuity After Rape: Jenny was sexually abused by her father and grows up to become very promiscuous, and has sex with a long series of men.
  • Psychological Projection: A few times in the movie, Jenny brushes off Forrest's confessions of love by telling him he doesn't know what love is. When she leaves Forrest around the end of the second act, it becomes clear that she's really the one who doesn't know what love is (due to her childhood sexual abuse) and tells herself that he simply doesn't know to justify pushing him away.
  • 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. Jenny was born on July 16, 1945, the date of the Trinity Test when the United States successfully tested an atomic bomb in the New Mexico desert. Her date of death - March 22nd, 1982 - is also significant, as it was the launch date of the Space Shuttle Columbia on STS-3...which landed at White Sands Space Harbor, New Mexico, the only shuttle mission to do so.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Jenny finally goes towards after numerous disastrous relationships, and falls in love and marries Forrest Gump.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Becomes an activist in her adulthood.
  • The Stoner: As an adult, Jenny became addicted to drugs.
  • What a Senseless Waste of Human Life: A downplayed version. While she doesn't outright die like Bubba, it's clear that Jenny is a very smart, talented, loving person who would make Forrest happy and vice-versa, yet due to her early childhood sexual abuse she wastes most of her life getting high and sleeping around with one Bastard Boyfriend after another, trying to escape (yet subconsciously recreate) her past. Then it's implied her past finally catches up with her and she dies young from the AIDS Crisis, leaving a young son and heartbroken Forrest after just a few years of marriage.

    Lt. Dan Taylor
Portrayed by: Gary Sinise

Forrest and Bubba Blue's platoon leader during the Vietnam War, whose ancestors have died in every American war, and he regards it as his destiny to do the same. After losing his legs in an ambush and being rescued against his will by Forrest, he is initially bitter and antagonistic towards Forrest for leaving him a "cripple" and denying him his family's destiny, falling into a deep depression. He later serves as Forrest's first mate at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, gives most of the orders, and regains his will to live.

  • The Alcoholic: Post-Vietnam. The apartment he's living in when he and Forrest reunite is littered with liquor, beer, and wine bottles, and he spends some time seeing if any have a drink left in them.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Lt. Dan loses his legs in combat and winds up with Magic Legs (prosthetic legs)!
  • Back for the Finale: He disappears from the narrative when Forrest's mother falls terminally ill, but shows up at the end for Forrest and Jenny's wedding.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Grows one when he and Forrest catch up after the War.
  • Berserk Button: Forrest being called "stupid" (by anyone besides him) and himself being called a "cripple". Notably, the former was what initially set him off with the latter just adding fuel to the fire.
  • 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 overcomes his depression and finds new meaning in life.
  • Disabled Love Interest: His last appearance shows Dan engaged to a Vietnamese woman.
  • 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.
  • A Father to His Men: He's pretty welcoming to Bubba and Forrest when they first arrive in Vietnam, with his two rules being to take care of their feet and not to do anything stupid that will get them killed. Despite not quite grasping what's really going on in Vietnam, Forrest still knows he's lucky to have Lt. Dan as his commanding officer. Also the person most likely to have had the greatest impact in Forrest's Medal of Honor nomination, being his direct superior and highest-ranking witness to Forrest's bravery - It's highly likely that Dan's testimony as Forrest's CO more or less guaranteed Forrest being awarded.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: With Forrest. He starts out disliking Gump and greatly resents him after he saves his life in Vietnam and loses both of his legs. However, he eventually manages to find peace with himself and becomes good friends with Forrest, even becoming his first mate during his time as a Shrimp Boat captain.
  • First-Name Basis: Forrest always calls him "Lt. Dan," even after the War.
  • Gut Feeling: Lt. Dan's intuition is absolutely terrible. His "odd feelings" in Vietnam usually turn out to be nothing, while he fails to sense the real ambush. It turns out to be equally useless for finding shrimp.
  • Handicapped Badass: Losing his legs doesn't make him any less of a badass while working alongside Forrest in the shrimping business.
  • Heroic BSoD: After losing his legs. He eventually learns to live with it and gets a pair of prosthetics.
  • Heroic Lineage: Deconstructed: one man from his family had fought and died in every American war, so he feels he has to do the same.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Downplayed, but he's contemptuous of the proselytizers at the V.A.; and it, of course, stems from his experiences in Vietnam.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: As much as he belittles Forrest after they come home from Vietnam, he absolutely will not tolerate anyone else insulting Forrest, especially if they call him stupid.
  • Identical Grandson: In the short montage of all his ancestors dying in every American war, Gary Sinise plays all of them, costumed in the appropriate uniform.
  • 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. Even when he tries to stop Forrest from rescuing him, when Forrest gets shot, he shoots back at the shooter.
    • Forrest's internal thoughts lead him to believe Lt. Dan didn't want to be called a cripple, but his actual Berserk Button was when someone called Forrest stupid.
  • The Lancer: Becomes this to Forrest after Bubba's death.
  • My Greatest Failure: He was a Death Seeker during the war and wanted to die in battle. However, he wanted his men to stay alive. Losing nearly his entire platoon, his legs, and not dying in battle gave him PTSD that took years to overcome.
  • Relative Button: Or "Friend Button" in this case. As he says: "Don't you ever call [Forrest] stupid!"
  • 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.
  • Survivor Guilt: It's implied this is part of why he's upset at Forrest for saving him.
  • Took a Level in Idealism: He eventually regains his sense of living after the war, thanks to Forrest. This occurs mainly because a terrible storm they went through that should have sunk their ship, instead ended up making them rich because they had the only functioning shrimp boat left after it.
  • True Companions: He and Forrest become lifelong friends and business partners after serving together in the Vietnam war.
  • 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).
  • Two First Names: "Taylor" can also be a first name.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: All of his deceased ancestors who died in war are shown to have a striking resemblance to him.
  • The Vietnam Vet: Unlike Forrest, the Vietnam War was a traumatizing period in his life. He was a Death Seeker going in, then had to live with losing most of his men and both his legs.

    Benjamin Buford "Bubba" Blue
Portrayed by: Mykelti Williamson

Bubba is Forrest's friend whom he meets upon joining the Army. Bubba was originally supposed to be the senior partner in the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, but due to his death in Vietnam, their platoon leader, Dan Taylor, took his place. The company posthumously carried his name. Forrest and Dan later gave Bubba's mother Bubba's share of the business.

  • Adaptational Personality Change: In the novel, Bubba was more intelligent and perhaps a little snarkier, and also more like a big brother figure of sorts for Forrest. He was also apparently supposed to be this in the original screenplay, but Bubba's actor Mykelti Williamson suggested that he should only be a tad smarter than Forest but also have a heart of gold, making them more similar and leading to a tighter connection between the two.
  • Alliterative Name: Not just first and last, but his middle and even nickname all start with "B."
  • Black Dude Dies First: Forrest loses a lot of loved ones throughout the film, and Bubba is the first.
  • Blatant Lies: When Forrest finds him bleeding out from his wounds, Bubba tries to assure him it's Only a Flesh Wound. Even Forrest didn't buy that one.
  • Desperate Plea for Home: After being fatally wounded in a surprise attack, he weakly tells Forrest that he wants to go home.
  • 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.
  • Ironic Nickname: He's black, but his nickname "Bubba" is commonly associated with white rednecks, which he lampshades in his intro scene.
  • Kindhearted Simpleton: He's rather simple-minded, but one of the nicest characters in the story.
  • The Lancer: To Forrest until his death. Lt. Dan takes over the role after that.
  • Nice Guy: Bubba is just as kind and good-natured as Forrest.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Granted, he tells Forrest his given name during their first meeting, but is OK with being called Bubba.
  • Present Absence: Forrest never forgets Bubba. He dedicates a good chunk of his life to realising Bubba's dream of starting a shrimp fishing business, co-names the company after him, and cuts Bubba's family in on the profits generated to help them out of poverty.
  • Sacrificial Lion: He's the first of Forrest's friends and family to die, and his death is the first truly heartrending scene in the film.

    Mama Gump
Portrayed by: Sally Field

Forrest's devoted mother, who raises him after his father abandons them.

  • Mama Bear: Was willing to have sex with the sleazy principal of Forrest's school to get him a good education.
  • Noble Bigot: She did seem to be quite a racist, naming her son after the leader of the Ku Klux Klan. This part is justified due to the time period she was raising her son in. When you take that part out, she really genuinely loves her son, and it's likely Forrest became a good person because of her. Besides, Forrest mentions that his mom told him he was named after the KKK leader because "sometimes people did things that made no sense" which indicates that she may not have been that racist after all.
    • May count as playing with the trope, considering General Forrest only led the Klan for one year — then disbanded it, ordered the members to destroy their robes and hoods, and went on to advocate for the admission of black students to law schools.
  • Playing Gertrude: Sally Field is only ten years older than Tom Hanks. Justified, however, since in most of her scenes, Forrest is a child, and for scenes where he is an adult, Field wears significant aging make-up.
  • Unnamed Parent: Her first name is never referred to in the film and Forrest only calls her "Mama".

    Forrest Jr.
Portrayed by: Haley Joel Osment

Forrest and Jenny's son.