People either love or hate "Forrest Gump." It's as divisive an issue as gun control. Okay it's not, but I am a true blue fan of the movie and the reaction is always intense whenever I discuss it. Those who love it (like me) think it's an exceptional military movie about a misfit whose odyssey through war, and life, and love, is a reminder of how random life can be and to appreciate the moments we have with those we love.
The 1995 Best Picture winner has just been reissued in 4K UHD and, in honor of this occasion, we've made a list of the top four military moments from "Forrest Gump."
Those who hate it think the plot is unrealistic, the characters are weak and some have even ventured to suggest (gasp) that perhaps it was not Tom Hanks's best work (even though he won a Best Actor Oscar). They may be right on that one, his best work was clearly in "Joe Versus the Volcano" and I'll fight anyone who says otherwise.
When Forrest goes to find Bubba after the attack on the platoon in Vietnam, we can see the panic in his face and his actions. Of course he runs into every other member of the team and has to save them first which eventually earns him the Medal of Honor, but the look of determination on his face even as Lieutenant Dan orders him to stay and physically holds him back is pure gold. Once found and back with the rest of the platoon, his simple "hey Bubba" hits me in all the feels. He knows he is saying goodbye to his friend and so do we. Cue tears.
Introducing the platoon
When Forrest and his platoon are on patrol Lt. Dan get's a "feeling" and as they wait for him to check out the road, Forrest says he thinks some of American's finest young men fought in that war and then introduces them. Of course they have funny nicknames that don't match where they are from but that short sequence encapsulates the humanity of the people inside the uniforms. This short but powerful segment reminds us that our troops always are and always have been real people--sometimes just kids--with a name and a hometown.
Anyone who has ever been to boot camp relates to this portion of movie. You get yelled at, you clean the floor, you find a best friend or two and you talk about shrimp. Well, maybe not everyone talks about shrimp, but the bond forged between Bubba and Forrest is like so many other friendships forged by people who might never have met or interacted but for boot camp. Bonus points for the scene where Forrest sets a new record for putting together his weapon and the Drill Sergeant (perfectly played by Afemo Omilami) proclaims him to be the smartest recruit who will someday be a general.
I realize this isn't a "moment" from the movie but you cannot pick one moment over another when it comes to Lt. Dan. He lives the Vietnam veteran experience in this movie from the brash young leader to the wounded vet putting his life back together and working through his combat experiences and perceived destiny. Lt. Dan's story is such a powerful reminder of what our Vietnam Veterans experienced. Gary Sinise is a genius and I don't know if he is annoyed by everyone still calling him "Lt. Dan" all these years later, but I recently saw him speak at a G.I. Film Festival event and he is one of the most passionate advocates for our veterans and military. He is a class act.