Forrest Gump is a 1994 American romantic drama film based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson, and Sally Field. The story depicts several decades in the life of its titular character (Hanks), a slow-witted but kind-hearted, good-natured and athletically prodigious man from Alabama. Gump witnesses, and in some cases influences, some of the defining events of the latter half of the 20th century in the United States, specifically the period between his birth in 1944 and 1982. The film differs substantially from Winston Groom's novel, including Gump's personality and several events that were depicted.
Principal photography took place in late 1993, mainly in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Extensive visual effects were used to incorporate the protagonist into archived footage and to develop other scenes. A comprehensive soundtrack was featured in the film, using music intended to pinpoint specific time periods portrayed on screen. Its commercial release made it a top-selling soundtrack, selling over 12 million copies worldwide.
Released in the United States on July 6, 1994, Forrest Gump became a commercial success as the top-grossing film in North America released in that year, being the first major success for Paramount since the studio's merger with Viacom, earning over US$677 million worldwide during its theatrical run. In 1995, it won the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director for Robert Zemeckis, Best Actor for Tom Hanks, Best Adapted Screenplay for Eric Roth, Best Visual Effects, and Best Film Editing. It also garnered multiple other awards and nominations, including Golden Globes, People's Choice Awards, and Young Artist Awards, among others. Since the film's release, varying interpretations have been made of the film's protagonist and its political symbolism. In 1996, a themed restaurant, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, opened based on the film and has since expanded to many locations worldwide. The scene of Gump running across the country is often referred to when real-life people attempt the feat. This aspect of the story was based on a man named Robert Sweetgall who walked across the continental United States seven times; at the end of one of his trips a crowd of spectators included the film's screenwriter.
In 2011, the Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".