Forrest Gump famously places its titular character at the center of a number of significant historical events, yet many people are unaware of the character’s real-life inspirations. Forrest Gump, one of the most beloved films of all time, is regarded as a modern-day classic.
The adaption, which stars Tom Hanks in an Oscar-winning performance, chronicles the events of Forrest’s life, from his infancy in Alabama to his military duty in Vietnam and his successful career choices, to meeting his son, Forrest Gump, Jr., at the end.
Is Forrest Gump Based on a True Story?
Forrest Gump is a 1994 American comedy-drama film directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Eric Roth. John Travolta, Bill Murray, and Chevy Chase are surely kicking themselves for passing up the chance to portray the titular Forrest Gump, but we can’t see anyone else playing the lead role other than Tom Hanks.
The plot spans several decades and focuses on Forrest Gump, a slow-witted but kind-hearted Alabama man who unknowingly influences key American historical events. Forrest Gump changes from Winston Groom’s original novel, yet it remains a great commercial success, generating over $678.2 million worldwide and becoming the second-highest-grossing film of 1994. The film swept the world by storm and has since been ingrained in American society.
The Influence of Forrest Gump on Popular Culture
It would not be an exaggeration to say that most people have heard of the goody two shoes Forrest Gump at least once in their lives, or have seen a reference to the film in various forms of pop culture. Forrest Gump has become such a fixture in the film business that it’s practically impossible not to have come across some component of it.
And, even if the tale didn’t manage to touch your heart, you’ve probably become accustomed to some of the movie’s life mottos, such as “Life is like a box of chocolates” and “Stupid is as stupid does.” There have also been various adaptations of the film, the most recent being the Indian version of Laal Singh Chaddha. Forrest Gump has also been chosen for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress due to its political symbolism and cultural significance.
The film won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (for Hanks), and Best Director (for Zemeckis). Despite the fact that even Hanks did not expect the park bench sequences to be so memorable, they are. Perhaps it’s because of the political relevance or the human character of the plot, but many people swear that watching the film will transform your life or, at the very least, totally modify your morals.
Forrest’s Experience in The Vietnam War Is Loosely Based on A Real-Life Veteran’s.
“We were out walking one day, as we normally do. And then, all of a sudden, the rain stopped and the sun came out.” These are the iconic opening remarks to the harrowing ambush incident. Only seconds later, gunfire rang out from all around Forrest’s platoon, presenting a dramatic study of how horrible the Vietnam War was for men who were at the mercy of uncharted territory.
These cinematic sequences may appear too horrific to be true, yet the Vietnam War was far worse than Forrest Gump portrays. Real-life veteran Sammy Lee Davis influenced this chapter of Forrest’s life. In truth, the footage of Lyndon B. Johnson presenting the Medal of Honor to Forrest for his valor in Vietnam is a genuine film from Sammy Davis’ ceremony. The head of Tom Hanks was simply pasted over his.
Sammy Lee Lewis is a Vietnam War veteran.
Although Forrest Gump was not a real person, he was most likely inspired by veteran Sammy Lee Lewis, whose Vietnam War experience is extremely similar to Gump. Lewis was invited to fight in Vietnam after joining the Army right out of high school. Lewis supplied cover fire for his unit when the Vietcong launched a major ground attack.
He directed his troops to the opposite side of the river despite not knowing how to swim. On the route, he managed to rescue three wounded soldiers, administer morphine to them all, and transport them back to base. Lewis was shot 30 times over his body, including his buttocks, just like Forrest Gump in the film.
According to Slash Film, the editors even used the footage in the movie where Lewis is awarded the Medal of Honor by President Lyndon B. Johnson, but placed Hanks in his place and inserted the scene where he shows the President his buttocks wound.
Winston Groom’s childhood buddies inspired Forrest.
Sammy wasn’t the only one who influenced the character of Forrest. Winston Groom’s novel Forrest Gump was the inspiration for the film. The book is dedicated to his two boyhood pals, Jimbo Meador and George Radcliff, who have similar speaking patterns to Forrest.
Winston often jokingly refers to his two friends as “the two biggest idiots I know.” George responded with an equally amusing response, branding him a liar. Jimbo is the main source of inspiration when it comes to shrimp. Jimbo, like Forrest, worked on a river delta boat and in seafood processing. He didn’t work with shrimp, but he knew a lot about them.
“Despite the fact that he never did any shrimp farming, dad was always interested in it, and we used to talk about it a lot,” Winston explained. “Everything there is to know about shrimp is known by Jimbo.” “We used to have lunch once a week, and it occurred to me during one of these conversations while I was writing Forrest, ‘What better thing to do than make Forrest a shrimp farmer?” Winston added.
Jimbo was swamped with interview invitations once these facts became public. When David Letterman’s producers reached him, he said enough was enough and canceled the show.
Forrest is still a made-up character.
Despite the fact that aspects of real persons were utilized to construct the character of Forrest, Winston’s friend Jimbo will tell you that the story is a work of fiction, primarily because he does not want to be identified with the character. However, he may be misunderstanding the point of Forrest’s character.
Yes, he is gullible. However, the film demonstrates that he is a kind man who strives to do the right thing. That’s all we have to say about the subject.