The People Behind the Movie
By Caroline Thompson and Jenna Berkenkamp
Forrest Gump (1994)
Genre: Comedy Drama
Objective: By the end of the lesson students will be
able to develop an appreciation for
the artistic collaboration of the crew members who
contributed to the making of Forrest Gump
"Life is like…"
"Stupid is as…"
Director: Robert Zemeckis
– Academy Award for Best Director (1994)
– Other films include "Back to the Future", "Cast Away", "The
Polar Express" and "A Christmas Carol"
– Zemeckis, an undisputed master of film technology, shows
off an equal aptitude for vivid storytelling.
"a human, life-affirming, hopeful story"
The hardest thing about this movie was the overall scope
and the epic size of it, the logistics we had to handle. We
built 150 sets, shot in eleven states, costumed 12,000
Forrest Gump is the story of a simple man who was able
to achieve great things. The story begins with Forrest as a child
living in Alabama with his mother. Forrest is an outsider at
school and is often bullied but is able to find friendship with a
girl named Jenny. Forrest life takes him on a series of journeys
including playing college football, fighting in Vietnam, playing
Ping-Pong in communist china, and running across the country.
Along these journeys Forrest overcomes major obstacales and
gains lifelong friends.
Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Other Films include The Heights, Ali, The Good Shepherd,
and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The writer, Eric Roth, Departed substantially from the book. We Flipped the two
elements of the book, Making the love story primary and the fantastic adventures
secondary. Also, the book was cynical and colder than the movie. In the movie,
Gump is a completely decent character, always true to his word. He has no
agenda and no opinion about anything except Jenny , his mother and God.
Cinematographer: Don Burgess
"How we choreograph the shot and how we light our work,
because the lighting has to match perfectly with the rest of
the scene, are very important."
"The camera was mounted on a Steadicam on a dolly that was tracking
with the character while he was walking. We wanted it as smooth and
steady as possible. When the enemy started firing and Gump hit the
deck, camera operator Chris Squires jumped off of the dolly and
followed him into the ditch. The movement of the camera was
significant because it allowed the audience to experience the chaotic
Editor: Arthur Schimdt
Editing and Special Effects
Throughout the combination of editing and CGI made it
possible to shoot Forrest Gump with deceased people.
For the Kennedy scene, Hanks was shot first against a blue
screen with reference marks then the footage was matched
up against historical footage. Voice doubles were then used
to fit the script and special effects were used to match the
The scene where Forrest spots Jenny at a peace rally at the
Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. required visual effects
to create the large crowd of people. Over two days of
filming, approximately 1,500 extras were used. With the help
of computers, the extras were multiplied to create a crowd of
several hundred thousand people. (include pictures)
– Lieutenant Dan s legs were wrapped in a special blue fabric
that allowed them to be digitally removed later
– During the ping pong matches, there was no ball; it was
entirely CGI, animated to meet the actors paddles
Music: Alan Silvestri
"I know with Bob Zemeckis, he gets me involved before he
even goes to shoot. I see a script I hear about. He tells me the
story at dinner before he s ready to go. Im in constant touch
with the project while hes shooting, Ill spend some time on the
set, Ill see the first assembly of the film, Ill see every screening
from there on. Thats really the most effective way, and I think
because its about assisting the director in its most ideal sense.
I think the job is to assist the director in achieving a vision of
Combination of original score and songs from the time
period (60's and 70's)
Soundtrack includes: "All Along the Watchtower" by Jimi
Hendrix, "California Dreamin" by The Mamas and the Papas,
"For What it's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield
Production Design: Rick Carter
He was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on
He also worked on What Lies Beneath, Jurassic Park, and
The film was shot in several locations in South Carolina
even though Forrest Gump takes place in Alabama. Some
of these locations included Colleton County, this is where
Forrest's boarding home was.
Carter also collaborated with Costume designer Joanna
Johnston for the original designs for the film
The Legacy of Forrest Gump
Forrest Gump is a classic film because it is an incredible
story about a man who is told he is "different" an therefore
will not be able to succeed. It is an underdog story so it can
and will be appreciated by many future generations.
The film is also iconic because "Gump is not a man to look
down on with sympathy as he is a figure to look up to with
awe. He also is a metaphorical figure by which we, the
viewer, can live vicariously through to witness the various