Forrest Gump Versus Back to the Future: Comparative Essay

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There are many similarities and some differences between these two films. Both movies are very famous and have a similar narrative style. On the other hand, they also have some differences like period and emotion.

Forrest Gump(1994)is directed by Robert Zemeckis, he is famous for Back to the Future (1985). The main actor of this film is Tom Hanks who is known for Philadelphia(1993)which he get a Golden Globe Award.

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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) is directed by David Fincher, he is known for Alien 3 (1992) and The Social Network (2010). The main actor in this film is Brad Pitt, he is famous for Fight Club (1999),12 Monkeys (1995) and Legends of the Fall (1994)



In chapter three of Film Art, the term the narrative is studied. Every film has a description, which is the Story of the movie. These two-film are similar in the narrative that they are all born with a disability that Forest’s IQ is 75, which is below average, and Benjamin is born with the appearance and maladies of an elderly man and his mother died in order to give birth to him. They both join a war that Forrest enter the U.S. Army and he are sent to Vietnam to join a battle, Benjamin comes navy in World War 2. They both have their children; Benjamin has a daughter and Forest has a son. They both have a kind mother, Benjamin’s mother did not give him up because of his illness and Forrest’s mother had sex with the principal to keep him in school because his IQ is low than average. There is a ship in both films, one is called Chelsea, and the other one is named Jenny. In my opinion, these two films are very similar in narrative because they both screenplay by Eric Roth.

Non-linear narrative

In week two, we are introduced to the term, non-linear and linear narrative. Forrest Gump and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button are both non-linear narratives that Benjamin Button is his daughter told a story from his Journal to his wife in the hospital, and the Forrest Gump is at a man at the bus stop waiting for a bus and talking to people about his Story. Both films are break up a story into a non-linear format that helps the director only show an essential part of the Story. Both films use a lot of flashbacks that in Forrest Gump he telling a He recalled growing up from a boy to a man including join in the Vietnam War, join match of table tennis, and the Watergate event. In Benjamin, Button, Benjamin is dead already, so the director uses the memories of his wife, such as meeting him for the first time, falling in love with him, have a child with him.


These two films are both screenplay by Eric Roth and Adapted from the book that The Curious Case of Benjamin Button(2008)is based on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F.Scott Fitzgerald. The Forrest Gump(1994)are based on Forrest Gump by Winston Groom.


Both films get a lot of awards in world range that Benjamin Button(2008)is directed by David Fincher and screenplay by Eirc Roth. This movie won the academy awards for Best Art Direction, Best Makeup and Best Visual Effects.

Forrest Gump(1994) is directed by Robert Zemeckis and a screenplay by Eric Roth. This movie won the academy awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for Hanks, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Visual Effects, and Best Film Editing.


The Genre of Forrest Gump(1994)is the hybrid genre of the film is American underdog historical drama. The Story of Forrest Gump all happened in the United States. It is the underdog because Forest’s IQ is 75, which is below average. Still, he is very good at football that makes him become a student at the University of Alabama, and he invests in The Apple company that makes him become a millionaire. It is historical because Forrest’s destiny represents the history of the United States after world war 2. For example, the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal and the rise of Apple. The genre of Benjamin Button(2008)is American underdog Drama, It is American because the Story of Forrest Gump all happened in the United States. It is the underdog because of his mother died to give him a born, he gave up his father, and he is born to be an ancient man even can not walk. Both movies happened in the United States, and both films are underdog, so the genre of the film is also similar.

POV(The point of view)

The similarity of these two films is that the main idea of these two films is expectations for the future and uncertainty of destiny. If I summarize these two movies in two sentences For The Forrest Gump(1994)it must be ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button(2008)it will be, ‘You never know what’s coming for you.’ For these two-sentence is similar that representing expectations for the future. The second sentence for Forrest Gump will be ‘I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental—like on a breeze.’. The second sentence for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button will be, ‘Some people were born to sit by a river. Some get struck by lightning. Some have an ear for music. Some are artists and some swim. Some know buttons. Some know Shakespeare. Some are mothers. And some people, dance’. Two sentences are similar, which represent the uncertainty of destiny. They both meet many people, join in war and experience a lot of things. Therefore, they have a better understanding of the future.

Love story

The love story in these two films is also similar. In Forrest Gump(1994), When Jenny was young, she was a very indulgent woman. In the book, she died because of AIDS. The love story between Benjamin and Daisy was similar to ‘Forrest Gump’. Daisy is a willful girl and her emotional life when she was young is very indulgent. Benjamin returned to the nursing home when he saw Daisy again, and he listened to Daisy’s talk about her life. Benjamin came to find Daisy the second time after inheriting his father’s legacy. He inherits his father’s great legacy. Benjamin was confident of finding her but found that she was with another handsome young man and kissed in front of him; therefore, he chose to leave. The love story in these two-film is also similar that they both went from their lover; they both meet their lover when he was young, and they both have a child.

Happy ending

Both films have a happy ending that in In Forrest Gump(1994) that Forrest with his son at the bus stop to wait for the school bus. His wife Jenny and his best friend Bubba are dead, but he can spend time with his son and take after him, so I still believe it a happy ending.



Forrest Gump got a lot of Clichés, and Benjamin got no Clichés. For example, In Forrest Gump that he meets with the president. He fell on the road, a man gave him a T-shirt. Then there was a smile on that T-shirt and his mother having sex with the principal to keep him in school because his IQ is low than average.

Time period

Another difference is the period Forrest Gump is in 1950 after World War 2, United State’s economic grow painedly that cause Consumerism. On the other hand, the period of Benjamin was around 1930, which is the Great Depression, which is the main reason cause World War 2.

Different emotion

For the audience, they will have a different feeling when they watch these two films, Forrest Gump is made you happier, Benjamin make you more cry that when you watch The Curious Case of Benjamin Button(2008) you will be touched by the love story between Benjamin and Daisy. Most audiences cry when they see baby Benjamin dies in Daisy’s arms at the end of the film. On the other hand, when you watch Forrest Gump(1994) it will make you happy because of under god that he is. He has a low IQ and broken leg, which even can not run at the start of the film. Still, he improves step by step that he can run very fast, become a student of the University of Alabama, and becomes a millionaire become he invests in Apple.

Grow up Story

Grow up Story is Overused in Forrest Gump that from young to old, from weak to luxurious and from under god to successful man. But Benjamin Button(2008) is a different kind of narrative that from old to young, both films are about the underdog, which from weak to vigorous, from inferior to luxurious.

CGI(Computer-generated imagery)

This two-film is shot in a different time period that Forrest Gump is finished in 1994, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button finished in 2008 which means computer technology are improved a lot for 12 years. Forrest Gump is very successful in visual effects that use CGI techniques. For example. Forrest Gump meets with President John F.Kennedy that using computer technology to put Forrest into a historical video. According to Film arts, ‘Computer-generated imagery (CGI) has extended the importance of makeup because now the filmmaker can sculpt entire bodies. Gary Sinise’s legs were removed so that he could play an amputee in Forrest Gump’ (P124).The Curious Case of Benjamin Button uses CGI techniques for old Benjamin that create wrinkles on his face. According to Duncan that ‘The problem with old-age makeup is that it is additive, [. . . ] whereas the ageing process is reductive. You have thinner skin, less musculature, and everything is receding’ (Duncan 2009: 72). According to the book,’ in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, CGI substituted for makeup, allowing Brad Pitt and cate Blanchett to plausibly their characters through youth to age.’ (P.27). They both did very successfully using Computer-generated imagery to improve the quality of the film.

Implicit meaning

According to Film arts, ‘Robert Zemeckis described his Forrest Gump as ‘a movie about grieving.’ Director Greg Mottola describes the friends’ separation at the end of Superbad as having several possible subtexts: ‘It’s homosexual panic, or it’s bravado, or it’s all these shades of what young men go through to try to appear a certain way to women and to their peers.’ (P.59). And also, feathers appear multiple times in the film at the start and end of the movie. Feather represent unstable destiny that at the end of the movie Forrest said before Jane’s grave

‘I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating in’ around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it’s both. Maybe both is happening’ at the same time.’ For the Curious Case of Benjamin Button, at the start of the movie, Mr. Gateau’s clock on the train station means he hopes it can reverse time, therefore, the man dead in the war can live again. This clock Represents his anti-war mentality.

Symptomatic meaning

Forrest’s destiny represents the history of the United States after worldwar2 that he participated in almost all the big events that happened in the United States. For example, the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal and the rise of Apple. Forrest is a story that represents the American dream and value. Benjamin’s s destiny represents the opportunity. In Benjamin’s life, he meets a lot of people, such as the man who says he was struck by lightning seven times in his life and a woman’s attempt to swim the English Channel, which represents the importance of opportunity. The woman gives up five kilometres from the English Channel, and she Regrets for a lifetime; therefore, when we see a rare occasion, we should not give up.


In conclusion, I think these two films have a lot of things in common and few differences. But both films are very successful in the narrative, CGI (Computer-generated imagery) and POV(The point of view). After reading Film Arts, I can analyze the movie more deeply than before. It’s exciting to learn all the professional words and ideas about film and apply them to my analysis of Forrest Gump(1994)and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008).


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