Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump Study Guide

Based on the novel of same name by Winston Groom, Robert Zemeckis' 1994 film Forrest Gump tells the story of a mentally and physically challenged man in 1960s Alabama, and his various foibles and incredible luck. It chronicles Forrest's early childhood and struggle with disability, his eventual rise to success, and his relationship to his childhood soulmate, the troubled but effervescent Jenny.

Forrest Gump was met with mixed reviews at the time of its release. While some saw it as an inspiring and heartwarming film about a man's struggles to integrate himself into a world that sees him as an outsider and find meaning in his life, others thought it was saccharine and overly sentimental, amounting to little more than an emotionally manipulative and corny schlock fest with high production value. Roger Ebert called the film "magical," but Stanley Kauffmann of The New Republic wrote, "I can't see how people with low I.Q.s or those who love them are in any way comforted by all this hogwash. I can easily see how such people might be offended by its smug unreality."

Critical acclaim won out, and Forrest Gump won many Academy Awards, for Best Picture, Best Actor for Tom Hanks, Best Director for Zemeckis, Best Adapted Screenplay for Eric Roth, Best Film Editing, and Best Visual Effects. In his acceptance speech, Zemeckis said, "I would like to thank motion picture audiences all around the world. In historic numbers you have embraced a film that at its heart offers a human, life-affirming, hopeful story."