25 years ago today, Forrest Gump, directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, and Gary Sinise, was released in US theaters. The film that won the Academy Award for Best Picture depicts several decades in the life of a slow-witted but kind-hearted man from Alabama who joins the army and unwittingly influences several defining historical events in the 20th century.

The film’s soundtrack of popular hits from the 60s sold over 12 million copies and reached #2 on the Billboard chart. It also won Oscars for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor (for Hanks), and Best Visual Effects for all the scenes of Gump digitally inserted seamlessly among celebrities and presidents in vintage news clips like the Where’s Waldo character.

Two of Hanks’s relatives were in the film and one major star turned down the role. READ about that, the new remake, and more trivia—and WATCH 25 of the best Gump quotes… (1994)

Tom’s younger brother Jim Hanks was his acting double in the movie for the scenes when Forrest runs across the U.S. Tom’s daughter Elizabeth Hanks appears in the movie as the girl on the school bus who refuses to let a young Forrest sit next to her. John Travolta was the original choice to play the title role and admits passing on the role was a mistake. In March, Bollywood actor and filmmaker Aamir Khan announced he will produce and star in an Indian remake of Forrest Gump due out in 2020.

The film critic Roger Ebert wrote, “I’ve never met anyone like Forrest Gump in a movie before, and for that matter I’ve never seen a movie quite like it. Any attempt to describe him will risk making the movie seem more conventional than it is.”

Some of the movie’s famous lines that are often quoted are “Life is like a box of chocolates—you never know what you’re gonna get,” and “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Sally Field, who portrayed Gump’s beloved mama compared the white feather floating down at the beginning and end of the film to fate and the chance elements that enter one’s life: “It blows in the wind and just touches down here or there. Was it planned or was it just perchance?”

The Bubba Gump Shrimp Company Restaurant, an American seafood chain was inspired by the film’s shrimp boat scenes with Forrest’s army buddies.

MORE Good News on this Day:

  • Pope Clement VI issued a Catholic decree protecting Jews during the Black Death and urged clergymen to take action to protect the innocent as popular opinion blamed Jews for the plague, and massacres erupted throughout Europe (1348)
  • Louis Pasteur, the French chemist-microbiologist renowned for his discoveries of the principles of vaccination, fermentation and pasteurization, successfully tested his breakthrough rabies vaccine on a boy who was bitten by a rabid dog (1885)
  • Uncle Sam’ (initials U.S.) was first depicted as an elderly man with white hair and goatee, wearing a top hat and red-and-white-striped trousers by James Montgomery Flagg publicly for the first time on the cover of Leslie’s Weekly magazine with the caption “What Are You Doing for Preparedness?”—and between 1917-1918, more than four million copies of this image were printed (1916)
  • The current Tibetan Buddhist monk known as the Dalai Lama, 84, was born in Taktser, China (1935)
  • Althea Gibson won a Wimbledon championship, the first black athlete to do so (1957)
  • Garrison Keillor’s weekly LIVE radio show A Prairie Home Companion first aired from a theater in St. Paul, Minnesota (1974)
  • Bob Geldof and Bono met with the G8 finance ministers to discuss increasing aid to Africa, then performed at the final Live 8 concert for 50,000 in Edinburgh (2005)
  • An ancient pass on the Silk Road between India and China, sealed during the Sino-Indian War, re-opened for trade after 44 years (2006)

Notable Birthdays: Della Reese, Emmy and Grammy nominated actress/singer who starred in Touched by an Angel (1931–2017); Sylvester Stallone (73); Geoffrey Rush (68); Kevin Hart (40)

And on this day in 1957, John Lennon and Paul McCartney met for the first time in Liverpool when John’s band was performing. Lennon (aged 16) and his band the Quarrymen were performing at a St. Peter’s Woolton Parish Church dance. 

Paul McCartney (aged 15) was wheeling around on his bicycle – hoping to pick up girls – and heard the Quarrymen playing. Luckily, a mutual friend was there. Ivan Vaughan introduced John to Paul, who whipped out the guitar that was strapped to his back and played “Twenty Flight Rock” and “Be-Bop-a-Lula”, among others. John was impressed that Paul could tune a guitar and knew the words to the latter song. He “looked like Elvis,” said John, and he “dug him.” A few months later, Ivan told Paul that John wanted him in the band. Later they formed The Beatles, and the rest is musical history.