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On location: Beaufort

A look at the Lowcountry’s starring role in the movies 

Forrest Gump (1994)

Starring Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump, Robin Wright as Jenny, Gary Sinise as Lieutenant Dan, Mykelti Williamson as Bubba, Sally Field as Mrs. Gump and Haley Joel Osment as Forrest Gump Jr. 


Details

  • Although most of this Academy Award-winning classic was set in Alabama, much of the filming took place in and around Beaufort. 
  • The University of South Carolina-Beaufort campus was transformed into Gump Medical Center through the magic of CGI. 
  • Scenes of Forrest cutting grass were filmed at the Basil Green Complex. The baseball field was transformed into a football field using CGI. 
  • The running scene where Forrest is interviewed by the press was shot on Woods Memorial Bridge. A “Mississippi River” sign was added to the bridge. 
  • Other running scenes were filmed on Sea Island Parkway, the road you take to get to Hunting Island. A “Mississippi Welcomes You” sign was placed near Chowan Creek Bridge. 
  • The shrimp boat scenes were shot along Lucy Creek on Lady’s Island. 
  • The hurricane scene was shot at the Port Royal SC Ports Authority Terminal. A jet engine was used to simulate the strong winds. 
  • All of the shrimp caught after the hurricane scene came from Gay Fish Company on St. Helena Island, a family-owned shrimp company that has served the Lowcountry for more than 70 years. 
  • The dock and boat house on Coosaw Island owned by Stan and Marie Lawson was transformed into Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. 
  • The scene of Forrest running through Vietnam while under fire was filmed on Hunting and Fripp islands. The spot where Forrest dropped off the wounded soldiers was the lagoon on Hunting Island. 
  • The Gump family home set was built along the Combahee River near Yemassee. Since the home was hastily built and not up to code, it was torn down after filming. 
  • The live oak featured prominently in the film is located near the entrance of the Carolina Shores subdivision in Beaufort. 
  • The chocolates used in the film were provided by the owners of The Chocolate Tree in Beaufort. Unlike the famous quote, actor Tom Hanks knew exactly what he was going to get, selecting all of his favorites for the box. Each year The Chocolate Tree sends him those favorites as a gift. 

Film facts

  • Many locals were cast as extras in the film. Bubba’s mother, who fainted after Forrest handed her a check, was played by local singer and Gullah historian Marlena Smalls. The choir in the film is the Hallelujah Singers, a Beaufort-based group that Smalls founded. The group has performed for the U.S. Congress, Hillary Clinton and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
  • Forrest’s shrimp boat, a 55-foot trawler which he affectionately calls “Jenny,” was owned by Beaufort shrimper Jimmy Stanley. Film scouts spotted the boat during the Beaufort Water Festival and loved how wide it was, allowing the filming crew plenty of room to move around. After filming, Stanley sold the boat to Planet Hollywood at Walt Disney World Resort. The boat was removed from the Planet Hollywood moat in 2014 and is currently in storage.

  • Forrest narrated his life’s story on a bus-stop bench at Chippewa Square in Savannah. Many tourists visit the popular square, but the bench is no longer there; it is on display at the Savannah History Museum.


Watch it

  • Amazon Prime