‘We Were Diabolical Geniuses’: Tom Hanks Defends Forrest Gump’s Success as Pulp Fiction Fans Goad Him


Tom Hanks is a kind one defending Forrest Gump from charges that it didn’t deserve to win Best Picture over Pulp Fiction. Robert Zemeckis’ film starring Tom Hanks as a man on an impulsive journey through decades of American history went on to be an unbelievable hit, reaching up to $678 million in 1994. After that, it went on to the achievement of Best Picture at the Oscars, blowing out Quentin Tarantino’s marvelous crime film Pulp Fiction.

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Pulp Fiction, John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson
Pulp Fiction, John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson

Also read: Pulp Fiction: Film Distributor Miramax Is Suing Director Quentin Tarantino


In a recent New York Times story, Tom Hanks took off on his way to defend his movie against Tarantino fans who reject it as mere “boomer nostalgia.”

Tom Hanks Defends ‘Forrest Gump’ Beating ‘Pulp Fiction’ for Best Picture

Tom Hanks protects Forrest Gump from criticism
Tom Hanks protects Forrest Gump from hate

Tom Hanks pointed out Forrest Gump’s power to move an audience in trickier ways than the term “boomer nostalgia”. He further says:


“The problem with “Forrest Gump” is it made a billion dollars. If we’d just made a successful movie, Bob and I would have been geniuses. But because we made a wildly successful movie, we were diabolical geniuses. Is it a bad problem to have? No, but there are books about the greatest movies of all time, and “Forrest Gump” doesn’t appear because, oh, it’s this sappy nostalgia fest. Every year there’s an article that goes, “The Movie That Should Have Won Best Picture” and it’s always “Pulp Fiction.” “Pulp Fiction” is a masterpiece without a doubt. Look, I don’t know, but there is a moment of undeniable heartbreaking humanity in “Forrest Gump” when Gary Sinise — he’s playing Lieutenant Dan — and his Asian wife walk up to our house on the day that Forrest and Jenny get married.

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In those lines, Tom Hanks of course referred to the movie’s popular “magic legs” moment where Forrest, who himself once sported “magic legs” due to a bad spine, sees his fellow soldier and friend Lieutenant Dan (Gary Sinise) with prosthetic limbs. According to Tom Hanks, Forrest’s expression of “magic legs” and “Lieutenant Dan” makes people understand all they had been through and feel appreciation for every ounce of pain and hardship that they survived.

Forrest Gump receives criticism from audience
Forrest Gump receives criticism from the audience

Check out: Movies We Appreciate Now but Were Unfairly Shown in Bad Light Back Then

It’s clearly and possibly incontrovertible that Pulp Fiction had a good influence on other filmmakers, but there’s no issue with Forrest Gump having a big influence on pop culture, and is still an achievement to this day. It was a popular beloved film, while Pulp Fiction pleaded more to cinephiles and fans of everything related to hippie and indie.


Related: Quentin Tarantino and His Lawyer Respond to Miramax Pulp Fiction Lawsuit


Written by Shreeparna Das