On July 6, 1994, the film Forrest Gump opened to great acclaim. Based on a book that had been released a decade earlier, Forrest Gump told the story of a boy who ended up becoming involved in some of the more intense moments of U.S. history. Here are five things you didn't know about Forrest Gump...
The Film Made Tom Hanks the Second Actor to Win Back-to-Back Oscars It's not that unusual for an actor to win multiple Academy Awards over an entire career. However, it's not that easy to win those awards in the Best Actor category two years in a row. Not only does your performance have to be worth it, but you also have to win over not just one group of terrific actors, but two groups of terrific actors. Hanks won the Best Actor Oscar for Forrest Gump a year after winning the Best Actor Oscar for Philadelphia. The only actor to do that before Hanks was Spencer Tracy in 1937 and 1938. There have been other actors who won consecutive awards for other categories, such as Jason Robards (1976, 1977) in the Supporting Actor category, and Luise Rainer (1936, 1937) and Katherine Hepburn (1967, 1968) in the Best Actress category.
The Film Became a Darling of the Conservative Movement Forrest Gump's depiction of abusive hippies and violent Black Panthers, and its implication that promiscuous women will be punished with disease, gave many viewers the impression that the film was championing conservative values. While many fans still watch the film because they like the homey, comforting quality of many of the scenes, the film also became a darling of the growing conservative movement that was in the process of winning over voters (remember, 1994 was the year of Newt Gingrich's "Contract With America").
The Film Spawned a Restaurant Franchise If you had ever wondered if the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurants you'd see around town had any link to the movie, yes, they were directly linked. (That may sound obvious to those who have seen the film, but believe it or not, many people never saw the movie and thus did not know about Forrest's shrimp business.) The restaurant was founded by Viacom Consumer Products a couple of years after the film's release, eventually becoming a worldwide chain. In 2010, however, Landry's bought the chain, so while each restaurant still has the name and references to the movie, it's no longer that directly affiliated with the movie studio itself.
Co-star Gary Sinise Became Involved in Military Veteran Charity Work Because of the Film Sinise played Lt. Dan Taylor in the movie, a character who ultimately lost his legs in Vietnam and who goes on to work at that shrimp restaurant with Forrest. As a result of Sinise's portrayal of the character, the charity Disabled American Veterans asked Sinise to accept an award at an event just a few weeks after the movie opened. Since then, Sinise has remained a staunch supporter of veterans, including starting a foundation dedicated to helping military members, veterans, and their families.
Forrest's Interactions With the "Real World" Continued in a Self-Referential Book Sequel The movie Forrest Gump was based on a book by Winston Groom, and the movie was known for its special effects that inserted Tom Hanks' character into scenes with famous people. In 1995, Groom came back with a sequel, Gump & Co., that took the blending of reality and fiction even further. In the book, the movie Forrest Gump is treated as an actual biographical film that was made of Forrest's life and even starts out with the advice never to let people turn your life into a movie.