How Old Was Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump? Surprising Facts Behind the Movie

Forrest Gump is one of the most iconic movies of all time, starring Tom Hanks as the lovable and simple-minded protagonist who witnesses and influences some of the most important events in American history.

The film, released in 1994, was a huge success both critically and commercially, winning six Academy Awards and grossing over $678 million worldwide.

But how old was Tom Hanks when he played the role of Forrest Gump?

And what are some of the interesting facts and trivia about the movie and its cast?

In this article, we will answer these questions and more, as we explore the behind-the-scenes details of this classic film.

An image of Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump
Forrest Gump is a classic film that stars Tom Hanks as the lovable and simple-minded hero | PHOTO: AARP

How old was Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump?

Tom Hanks was born on July 9, 1956, which means he was 37 years old when he portrayed Forrest Gump in the movie.

He had already established himself as a successful actor by then, having won his first Academy Award for Best Actor in 1993 for Philadelphia.

For his performance in Forrest Gump, he won his second consecutive Oscar, becoming the second actor to do so after Spencer Tracy.

Hanks also received praise for his convincing Southern accent and his physical transformation for the role, as he lost and gained weight to portray Forrest at different ages.

How much money did Tom Hanks make for Forrest Gump?

Tom Hanks made a smart decision when he agreed to star in Forrest Gump.

Instead of taking a flat fee for his acting, he negotiated a contract that gave him a percentage of the film’s box office gross.

This turned out to be a very lucrative deal, as Hanks reportedly earned an estimated $65 million from the movie, far exceeding the film’s production budget of $55 million.

Hanks also invested his own money to keep some scenes in the movie that the studio was not willing to pay for, such as the iconic sequence of Forrest running across America.

He shared the cost with director Robert Zemeckis, and they both got their money back with interest.

Was Tom Hanks’ kid in Forrest Gump?

One of the most touching moments in Forrest Gump is when he meets his son, Forrest Jr., for the first time.

The boy is played by Haley Joel Osment, who was six years old at the time and went on to star in The Sixth Sense and other films.

However, some people have wondered if Tom Hanks’ real son, Colin Hanks, also appeared in the movie.

The answer is no. Colin Hanks was born in 1977 and was 17 years old when Forrest Gump was released.

He did not have any role or cameo in the film, although he later followed his father’s footsteps and became an actor himself.

Is Forrest Gump based on a true story?

No, Forrest Gump is not based on a true story.

The film is adapted from a novel of the same name written by Winston Groom and does not follow the book very closely.

However, you might find it interesting to know that some elements in the life of Forrest Gump have been inspired by actual events or people.

For example, one of the real-life inspirations for Forrest was Sammy Lee Davis, a Vietnam War veteran who received the Medal of Honor from President Lyndon B. Johnson and whose footage was used to insert Tom Hanks into the scene.

Another inspiration was Jimbo Meador, a friend of Winston Groom who owned a river delta boat and had a job processing seafood.

He gave Groom the idea for Forrest’s shrimping company.

Who first played Forrest Gump?

Tom Hanks was not the first choice to play Forrest Gump.

In fact, several other actors were considered or offered the role before him, but they all turned it down for various reasons.

Some of the names that were mentioned include John Travolta, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Robin Williams, Steve Martin, and even John Goodman.

The author of the novel, Winston Groom, had envisioned Goodman as his ideal Forrest because of his large size and physical strength.

However, none of these actors ended up playing Forrest Gump, and Tom Hanks eventually landed the role after reading the script and being impressed by it.

How old is Tom Hanks?

Tom Hanks is currently 65 years old as of 2021.

He has never retired from acting and has remained active in the film industry for more than four decades.

He has starred in over 140 movies and has won numerous awards and honors for his work.

Some of his most recent films include A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019), News of the World (2020), Elvis (2022), and Finch (2022).

He has also produced and directed several films and television shows, such as Band of Brothers (2001), The Pacific (2010), Greyhound (2020), and Masters of the Air (2022).

How old is Forrest Gump in the movie?

Forrest Gump covers several decades in the life of the main character, from his childhood in the 1950s to his adulthood in the 1980s.

We first meet Forrest when he is about seven years old in 1954, when he meets his lifelong friend Jenny and starts wearing leg braces.

We then see him grow up and go through various stages of his life, such as playing football, joining the army, becoming a ping-pong champion, starting a shrimping business, running across the country, and meeting his son.

The movie ends in 1982, when Forrest is 35 years old and sends his son off to school.

How old is Forrest Gump at the end of the movie?

As previously mentioned, Forrest Gump is 35 years old by the end of the movie, set in 1982.

He has recently laid his wife Jenny to rest, who passed away due to an unspecified illness, possibly AIDS or hepatitis C. Furthermore, he discovers he has a seven-year-old son named Forrest Jr.

With his son, he shares stories of his life, and together they head to the bus stop for Forrest Jr.’s inaugural school bus journey.

Alongside the young boy, he provides a letter from Jenny and expresses his affection.

As the school bus departs, Forrest observes with a contented grin, a feather drifting away in the breeze.


Forrest Gump, a heartwarming and inspiring movie, follows a man overcoming challenges to live an exceptional life.

Tom Hanks, as Forrest Gump at 37, earned acclaim and wealth for his role.

The film’s story does not involve his character having a son.

While inspired by a novel, it isn’t based on a true story.

The cast includes actors not initially selected for their roles. The film spans Forrest’s life, ending at age 35.

The film imparts enduring lessons like “life is like a box of chocolates” and “stupid is as stupid does”, remaining enjoyable through multiple viewings.