Forrest Gump [1994]

The Academy Award winner for Best Picture, Best Director Robert Zemeckis, and Best Actor Tom Hanks, this unlikely story of a slow-witted but good-hearted man somehow at the center of the pivotal events of the 20th century is a funny and heartwarming epic. Hanks plays the title character, a shy Southern boy in love with his childhood best friend (Robin Wright) who finds that his ability to run fast takes him places. As an All-Star football player he meets John F. Kennedy; as a soldier in Vietnam he's a war hero; and as a world champion Ping-Pong player he's hailed by Richard Nixon. Becoming a successful shrimp-boat captain, he still yearns for the love of his life, who takes a quite different and much sadder path in life. The visual effects incorporating Hanks into existing newsreel footage is both funny and impressive, but the heart of the film lies in its sweet love story and in the triumphant performance of Hanks as an unassuming soul who savors the most from his life and times. --Robert Lane

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