You may not have noticed because it doesn’t really show, but I’m obsessed with running. Yes I am! I think about it even when I’m watching a film or a good show, so when said film or TV show mentions running, I obviously notice it and I make a big deal of it! So I figured I’d start a series of articles about things to watch that mention running although they’re not specifically about running.

Forrest Gump Point in Monument Valley

Forrest Gump Point in Monument Valley photo by Chao Yen

Forrest Gump

The most famous reference to running in cinema is probably Forrest Gump, directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring a very young Tom Hanks in 1994. It is a must-see classic. The story of Forrest Gump is intertwined with the contemporary history of America: he meets Elvis Presley and several Presidents, he goes to Vietnam to fight under the start spangled banner, plays ping pong against the Chinese and is at the origin of several big US companies, including Apple in the fiction, and he also inspired the creation of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co in real life!

Everyone still remembers the famous quote “Run Forrest, Run” from the legendary scene where from cripple he becomes a runner, then a college football star and finally meets the President of the US of A. Not only this scene is very emotional but it is also hilarious, which pretty well sums up the film:

And the end of the scene:

Later on, he goes on running across America for three years. A feat that was probably inspired by the Trans-American footrace created in the 1920s. But since 1994, it is Forrest Gump himself who has inspired a whole truckload of runners to do the same. Although I bet none of them were as influential on American Culture as he was: during this run, he is (fictionally) credited for the invention of the smiley face and for the expression “shit happens”. Not to bad huh?

If you haven’t seen the film yet (shame on you), run to the nearest VHS rental (or simply watch it on Amazon). And just for the pleasure, here’s the scene where he runs across America: