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Forrest Gump as an Existentialist Film

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The film Forrest Gump has hints of Existentialism. Forrest Gump’s story shows that human life is not pre-determined. The film shows three existential tenets: Religion, Ethics, and Nature of reality.

Existentialism is the existence of an individual as a free and responsible person that determines their own development through actions of the will. The concept of religion is the major topic in this movie. Forrest and his mom are both religious. Forrest’s mom believed that God could get them through anything and any situation no matter how big it was. For example, Forrest says that Mother says we don’t have to go to church to meet God because God is always with us, even when he was at Vietnam. His mom believed that God was always with Forrest and would help him through any of his situations he faces. The meaning of having a religion and believing that God could do anything for you was a repeating concept in the movie.

Existentialism says that you must do things for yourself and not base the decisions and choices you make for yourself off of other people and society. Forrest never waited around to do, he did what he thought was right and based off of what he wanted to do. He just did what he thought was best for him. For example, this would be Forrest starting the company called the Bubba Gump Shrimp. Although, Forrest and Bubba had decided they wanted to start this company, Forrest continued the company in his honor after Bubba died and went against the Lieutenant, Dan’s advice. Forrest, while he was in Vietnam he really tried to save Bubba, and all the other people with him and he did this by going against the orders because he felt it was right for him to do it and as a kid he was bullied for his leg braces, but in return the bullying had taught him how to run. From there on Forrest had made the football team, and he ran across the country many times. He didn’t care about the others opinions, judgments, and choices, he just did what he thought was the right to do for him elf at the moment.

Ethics are rules that are made by society and there is a line between Forrest’s ethical and moral responsibilities he has. A great example is when Forrest learns that Jenny had his child named Forrest Jr. and soon Forrest then learned that Jenny had gotten HIV and he decided that they have to come live with him, so he can be a good father and take care of Jenny. When Forrest found out he was able to take care of his son. It is expected by society that parents would take care of their children. If he had decided to not look after his son, society would be disappointed in him. Even though he didn’t want to take care of his son, it was an ethic responsibility to be the dad figure at the time.

Morals are the set of what is right and wrong rules made by one’s self and people. Forrest never question what was is right and wrong because he just did what he thought was best for him at the moment. Forrest Gump lives with a materialistic reality.

Materialism is a belief that everything, including a things soul is made of a material. The example would be for Forrest, the task that he had at that time was all he cared about and an example of Forrest’s materialism is when he would go to his moms and Jenny’s grave and speak to them like they were still there physically and spiritually. He believed that his mom and Jenny’s souls were like objects and were something that could be interacted with. I realized that Forrest Gump is an Existentialist film.

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Forrest Gump as an Existentialist Film. (2018, December 17). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 26, 2021, from
“Forrest Gump as an Existentialist Film.” GradesFixer, 17 Dec. 2018,
Forrest Gump as an Existentialist Film. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 Jul. 2021].
Forrest Gump as an Existentialist Film [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Dec 17 [cited 2021 Jul 26]. Available from:
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