Life is like a box of chocolates … or so says Forrest Gump, the beloved Tom Hanks character who won over moviegoers in 1994 with his Southern charm and folksy proverbs passed down from his mother (Sally Field).
Based on the novel by Winston Groom, Forrest Gump hit theaters less than four months after Hanks won an Oscar for his performance in 1993’s Philadelphia. In 1995, the Captain Phillips star took home his second Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Gump, becoming only the second actor in history to win the trophy two years a row.
The film also took home Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Visual Effects and Best Film Editing, and was nominated in seven other categories. “I feel as though I’m standing on magic legs in a special effects process shot that is too unbelievable to imagine and far too costly to make a reality,” Hanks said during his acceptance speech. “But here is my mark, and there is where I’m supposed to look. And believe me, the power and the pleasure and the emotion of this moment is a constant the speed of light.”
Forrest Gump told the story of a young man of the same name as he inadvertently witnessed tons of important events in American history while pursuing a career in the army and later as a shrimp boat captain in the Gulf of Mexico. Over the course of the film, Gump meets three presidents, witnesses Watergate, hangs out with the Black Panthers, fights in the Vietnam War, inspires John Lennon to write “Imagine” and teaches Elvis Presley how to dance.
“It was an absolute crapshoot,” Hanks told USA Today of the movie in 2019. “It’s a really crazy, unique motion picture without a doubt. And it’s a movie in which the great moments that resonate are going to change depending on when you’re watching it.”
While Hanks’ performance was one of the film’s highlights, it’s since become known for its many quotable lines: “Stupid is as stupid does” and the like. During a 2015 interview with Graham Norton, the Big star said that “Run Forrest, run!” was one of the most common things fans shouted at him when meeting him on the street until Cast Away premiered in 2000.
“Now they just yell, ‘WILSON!’” he joked. “Evidently ‘Wilson’ is a universal language word [so] they don’t bother dubbing it into any other languages. So it’s in Hindi, it’s in Japanese, Chinese.”
Keep scrolling to see what the cast of Forrest Gump has been doing since the movie premiered: