Liberalism In Forrest Gump

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Forrest Gump is an American classic. Released in 1994, the movie won 6 Academy Awards and was the fourth highest grossing movie at the time. The movie follows Forrest, a Protestant born in 1945 with an IQ of 75, as he grows up in the deep south during a tumultuous period of American history. Mysteriously, Forrest finds himself at the center of dozens of major events of the 60’s and 70’s. He was present during the forced integration of the University of Alabama, he was one of the players in so called “Ping Pong Diplomacy,” and his call to the front desk of his hotel created the Watergate scandal. He is a Vietnam War hero, plays all American football with Bear Bryant and makes a fortune investing in Apple. Forrest lived his life as a slow, …show more content…
In 1994, two years after Clinton defeated Bush Sr. for the Presidency, the Republican Revolution occurred, and Republicans won both the House and the Senate in their biggest national political victory in decades. Forrest Gump was released in the same year, to enormous box office success, and many conservatives claimed the success of the movie came down to its idealization of the American Dream and how it displayed the destructive potential of liberalism. “In both cases, a heretofore taciturn slice of the American pie . . . defied the pundits and cast a vote for a mixed message of candy-apple nostalgia and stern virtue” (Gordinier). Politicians claimed that the movie showed that if you work hard, do what you are told to do, and stay true to Protestant values, then success will come your way. On the other hand, Gingrich claimed that the movie was a “reaffirmation that the counterculture destroys human beings and basic values” and that if one turns to posing nude, doing drugs, and participating in protests as Jenny did, they could end up dying a young death as she did. Boyle notes that Jenny becomes “a sacrificial victim for the sins of the counterculture, leaving Forrest to bring up their son within the dominant culture which she has wasted her life resisting” (6). In many ways, Forrest’s values and childhood are the picture-perfect, …show more content…
Gump could have lived his entire life never leaving Greenbow, Alabama, but either his fate or his willingness to run allowed him to open up his mind, and the minds of his audience. At the time of the movie’s release, many Republican politicians identified with the conservative ideals present in Forrest’s life, but many others, with different backgrounds, saw the movie as simply a feel-good movie, taking us through history in the eyes of a curiously lucky guy who did not even know how lucky he was. As for a producer’s take on the movie, Steve Tisch was quoted as saying “[a]ll over the political map, people have been calling Forrest their own. But, Forrest Gump is not about politics or conservative values. It 's about humanity, it 's about respect, tolerance and unconditional love” (Byers 419). Regardless, Forrest Gump teaches Americans what is so great about this country, and that many different ideals can come together and somehow make the country

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