Forrest Gump is one of the great 90s movies loved by critics and fans alike. Directed by Robert Zemeckis from a screenplay by Eric Roth, the film won six Academy Awards and became a huge hit. Based on the book of the same name by Winston Groom, the plot of the 1994 movie focuses on the dim-witted Forrest Gump (a superb Tom Hanks) and his life adventures. Although possessed with a low IQ, Gump is a kind and considerate person who lives a rich and fulfilling life.
As he recounts his life to strangers on a park bench, he drops gems of knowledge in the form of Forrest Gump quotes that offer an insight into his mind and outlook on life. Gump manages to impact a variety of major events in history over the years and meets a wide array of famous people, including John Lennon, Elvis Presley, and John F Kennedy. Throughout it all, he remains down to earth and oblivious to his influence on the world and the people around him.
The movie was a huge success when released in the summer of 1994, grossing $678.2 million worldwide. It’s still immensely popular with movie lovers today. While it might just be an escape for some, Forrest Gump contains many quotes and phrases that are relevant to real life. Some provide life lessons and others might change your view on things, while some are just funny in the context of the movie.
Here are the 12 greatest Forrest Gump quotes that will give you a fresh perspective on the movie and life in general.
12 Greatest Forrest Gump Quotes
1. “My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” – Forest Gump
Arguably the most famous Forrest Gump quote in the movie, this snippet of good advice occurs during the opening scene of the movie. As Forrest Gump is sitting on a bench waiting for his bus, he introduces himself to a lady who sits next to him. Offering her a chocolate, he utters the famous phrase and begins to recount his adventurous life.
It’s quite a profound moment in the movie, with Gump philosophizing about life as a box of chocolates. It’s a great metaphor for life. Sometimes you get what you want and other times things don’t exactly work out as you planned. Life, like a box of chocolates, is full of surprises and unexpected events. Just like the box of chocolates he is chowing down on, life is a series of random events that you just have to embrace, whatever the outcome.
This memorable quote is still used by many who have seen the movie and often tops the lists of the greatest movie quotes of all time.
2. “Run, Forrest, Run!” – Jenny Curran
This is another fantastic quote people often shout out when they see someone running. Young Jenny Curran (Robin Wright), Forrest Gump’s longtime friend and crush, shouts the line at him when a young Forrest Gump is being chased by local bullies.
Born with a curved spine, the young Forrest Gump must wear leg braces to correct the problem, but they make him walk awkwardly. When he is confronted by bullies from school, Jenny Curran implores him to run, which is exactly what Gump does. He runs so fast that he breaks the leg braces and discovers that he has incredible speed. As he tells the nurse on the bench sitting next to him, “I can run like the wind blows.”
While not a profound quote, it does have a major impact on the film. The young Forrest Gump is scouted to play American football and ends up receiving a football scholarship at the University of Alabama in 1962. He is coached by the great Bear Bryant and becomes a top kick returner, even nabbing a spot on the All-American team.
3. “You have to do the best with what God gave you.” – Mrs Gump
Mrs Gump (Sally Field) plays a massive role in shaping the person Forrest Gump turns out to be. She is always offering sage advice to her son, particularly on her death bed. Struck down by cancer, she talks with Gump one final time, reminding him “You have to do the best with what God gave you.”
While we won’t get into the religious aspect of this quote, Mrs Gump is spot on with her advice. Life is hard. Sometimes you are dealt a bad hand and just have to live with it. You need to make the best of a bad situation and try and find the positives.
Mrs Gump also believes you make your own fate, which is exactly what Gump does throughout the film. No matter the situation he is put in or the obstacles he encounters, he manages to find a way to succeed in life and make every moment count.
4. “I’m not a smart man Jenny. But I know what love is.” – Forrest Gump
Throughout the film Forrest Gump finds himself crossing paths with his childhood crush Jenny Curran. From the moment he lays eyes on her, Gump is smitten. While he does his best to look out for her and be there for her, Curran never shows the same love or kindness towards Gump.
After years of drug addiction and abuse, Curran returns to see Gump. The slow-minded Gump professes his love for Curran and asks her to marry him. “I’m not a smart man Jenny. But I know what love is,” he tells her, with Curran finally understanding the type of person Gump is and realizing that she too loves him.
5. “Bubba was my best good friend. And even I know that ain’t something you can find just around the corner.” – Forrest Gump
The friendship between Forrest Gump and Benjamin Buford Bubba Blue (Mykelti Williamson) is another core pillar the movie is based around. The two meet after joining the army and strike up an unlikely friendship. Bubba is obsessed with shrimp and loves talking about shrimp gumbo. He plans on starting his own shrimp boating business once the war is over. He wants Private Gump to join him so they can work together.
Tragically Bubba Blue dies during the Vietnam War. While distraught, Gump realizes how lucky he was to have had a friend like Bubba. It’s a great reminder to love your friends and let them know what they mean to you. We often go through life with only a handful of true friends who are there for us no matter what. These are the people you need to keep close to and tell them you love them and how much you cherish having them in your life.
6. “Stupid is as stupid does.” Forrest Gump
This is a quote that appears several times throughout the film and highlights Forrest Gump’s simple outlook on life. He first utters the phrase upon meeting Jenny Curran. When she asks him if he is stupid, he tells her that his momma always said “Stupid is as stupid does.” He says it again when talking with Bubba’s mom about his and Bubba’s plans to start a shrimp boat company.
There is no clear definition of what this quote actually means in the context that Gump uses it, but at a basic level, it states that stupid people do stupid things. While Gump might be seen as stupid by others, he knows that not being as smart as everyone else doesn’t make him dumb. Gump is defined by his actions rather than his intelligence and manages to have a great and positive influence on those he comes in contact with.
7. “I don’t know if we have a destiny…” – Forrest Gump
As the film draws to a close, Gump pays a visit to the grave of the love of his life, Jenny Curran. Unsure about his place in life, Gump talks to Curran about their son Forrest and muses on life and his place in it.
“I don’t know if we have a destiny, or if we’re all just floatin’ around accidental-like on a breeze, but I think maybe it’s both. Maybe both is happenin’ at the same time.”
These are wise words from Gump. Nobody truly knows if we all have a destiny to fulfill or if life just happens and you need to make peace with who you are and your station in life. Whatever your thoughts are, Gump reminds us to make the most of life and cherish those you love as you never quite know when they might no longer be here.
8 “My mama always said you’ve got to put the past behind you before you can move on.” Forrest Gump
Once again referencing his mother, Forrest Gump ruminates on the past and the future while running across the United States. There is a point in the film where Gump just starts running for no apparent reason. He becomes a national TV star as camera crews and hordes of fans follow him.
While telling this part of his story, Gump remembers that his “mama always said you’ve got to put the past behind you before you can move on.” Sage words.
He understands that he used running as a way to escape his past. He can’t change what has already happened and realizes he must focus on the present and the future. Live for the now and the challenges coming your way. There is nothing you can change about the past, but you can change the future.
9. “Don’t ever let anybody tell you they’re better than you.” – Mrs Gump
This quote is pretty self-explanatory but still holds weight. No matter who you are, don’t let people walk over you and think they are better. We are all equals and deserve the same rights and privileges. Even though Forrest Gump might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, he is still a human who should be treated like everyone else.
Forrest Gump quotes like this one can be applied to your everyday life and make you a better person. It’s another great life lesson from the Forrest Gump movie.
10. “Forrest, I never thanked you for saving my life.” – Lieutenant Dan Taylor
This might seem like a strange quote to include, but it’s a good reminder to give thanks to those around you. Lieutenant Daniel Taylor (Gary Sinise) is Forrest Gump’s platoon leader during Vietnam. He has a death wish to die in battle like his ancestors, but Forrest saves his life. Confined to a wheelchair after losing his legs in the war, Taylor blames Gump for letting him live as he finds himself falling into a deep depression and spending his money on alcohol and women.
Gump seeks Lt Dan Taylor out to help him with his shrimp business. While they struggle at first, the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company eventually becomes profitable and makes both Gump and Lt Dan a heap of money. It’s during his time on the boat that Lieutenant Dan begins to turn his life around and appreciate what he has. This leads him to eventually thank Gump for saving him in Vietnam. He is finally at peace with himself and life.
This is a great scene that makes you thankful for everyone you have in your life. You only get one shot and you can’t waste it on being bitter or resentful towards others. Forgive and forget and move on. Life is too short to hold grudges.
11. “Lieutenant Dan Got Me Invested In Some Kind Of Fruit Company…” – Forrest Gump
Towards the end of the film, as Gump recounts how his later years are going, he tells a tale about Lieutenant Dan helping him with his money. It seems the former solider is a shrewd investor and put all their money from the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company into “some kind of fruit company.”
This company turns out to be Apple, with both Dan and Gump earning hundreds of millions of dollars from the investment. When he is informed that he no longer has to work anymore, Gump reacts by saying; “That’s good. One less thing.” This illustrates Gump’s easy-going nature and outlook on life.
12. “Mama always said, dying was a part of life. I sure wish it wasn’t.” – Forrest Gump
The inevitability of death is something we all face in life. Forrest Gump sees his fair share of death throughout the movie. His mother, best friend, and wife all pass away, causing Gump much sadness. While his mother tells him “dying is a part of life,” it’s not something Gump agrees with.
Despite his feelings toward death, Gump doesn’t let it bring him down too much. Although upset at the loss of those close to him, Gump understands this is part of life and you have to keep on keeping on. Each death inspires him to be better as a person and make the most of his short time on this earth.