Wineburg, of Stanford, surveyed students about the movie and found that they remembered iconic moments, such as the scene where Forrest accidentally addresses an anti-war protest in Washington and reunites with Jenny. But the students didn't remember how Forrest got there, or understand the scene's historical undercurrent -- that disillusioned Vietnam veterans were instrumental in turning public opinion against the war.
Hey, lighten up! It's just a fable
Many believe "Forrest Gump," adapted liberally from Winston Groom's novel, is not meant to be taken literally. Some viewers see Forrest as a Christ-like figure, especially in the scenes when he's trotting across the country, long-haired and bearded, with a herd of followers behind him.
Even its floating feather, which opens the film, can be seen as a metaphor for the randomness of fate and the direction of one's life.
It was a pioneer in visual effects
"Forrest Gump" received kudos for its unobtrusive and Oscar-winning digital effects that made Gary Sinise's Lt. Dan look like he had no legs and turned a few thousand extras at the Lincoln Memorial into half a million war protesters.
The filmmakers also inserted Hanks seamlessly into archival footage of presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon, providing some of the movie's funniest moments.
OK, but it's no 'Pulp Fiction'
Although "Forrest Gump" beat "Pulp Fiction" for the 1994 best picture Oscar, many film scholars rate Quentin Tarantino's film -- with its vivid antiheroes, nonlinear plot and pungent dialogue -- as the better movie.
"Pulp Fiction" and its gallery of colorful criminals didn't stand a chance of winning top honors at the Oscars that year. But Tarantino's brash movie inspired countless imitators.
If you ask a film critic to list the most influential movies of the 1990s, you probably won't hear them mention "Forrest Gump."
Who cares? It's a classic
"Forrest Gump" blends drama, comedy, reality and fantasy into a genre-busting saga that almost defies description. It shouldn't work, but it does.
Its scenes, and lines, are indelible to many of us: "Run, Forrest, run!" "I gotta pee." "Stupid is as stupid does." "That boy sure is a runnin' fool!" "I'm sorry I had to fight in the middle of your Black Panther party." "There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp ..."
The list, and "Forrest Gump's" legacy, goes on and on. And that's all we have to say about that.