- Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump: though at an early age he is deemed to have a below average IQ of 75, he has endearing character and devotion to his loved ones and duties, which brings him into many life-changing situations. Along the way, he encounters many historical figures and events throughout his life. John Travolta was the original choice to play the title role, and admits passing on the role was a mistake. Bill Murray was also considered for the role. Hanks revealed that he signed onto the film after an hour and a half of reading the script. He initially wanted to ease Forrest's pronounced Southern accent, but was eventually persuaded by director Bob Zemeckis to portray the heavy accent stressed in the novel. Hanks agreed to take the role only on the condition that the film was historically accurate. Michael Conner Humphreys portrayed the young Forrest Gump. Hanks revealed in interviews that after hearing Michael's unique accented drawl, he incorporated it into the older character's accent.
- Robin Wright as Jenny Curran Gump: Forrests's childhood friend who he quickly falls in love with, and never stops loving throughout his life. Jenny re-enters his life at various times in adulthood. A survivor of child sexual abuse, Jenny embarks on a different path to Forrest, leading a self-destructive life and becoming part of the hippie movement in the 1960s and the 1970s/1980s drug culture. She eventually becomes a waitress in Savannah, Georgia where she lives in an apartment with her (and Forrest's) son, Forrest Jr. They eventually get married, but soon afterwards she dies of an unspecified illness. Hanna R. Hall portrayed the young Jenny.
- Gary Sinise as Second Lieutenant Dan Taylor: Forrest and Bubba Blue's platoon leader during the Vietnam War, whose ancestors have died in every American war. After losing his legs in an ambush and being rescued against his will by Forrest, he is initially bitter towards Forrest and falls into a deep depression. He later serves as Forrest's first mate at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, gives most of the orders, and regains his will to live and ultimately forgives Forrest for his actions in Vietnam and acknowledges that Gump saved his life. By the end of the film, he is engaged to be married and is sporting "magic legs" – titanium alloy prosthetics which allow him to walk again.
- Mykelti Williamson as Benjamin Buford "Bubba" Blue: Bubba is Forrest's friend whom he meets upon joining the Army. Bubba was originally supposed to be the senior partner in the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, but due to his death in Vietnam, their platoon leader, Dan Taylor, took his place. The company posthumously carried his name. Forrest later gave Bubba's mother Bubba's share of the business. Throughout filming, Williamson wore a lip attachment to create Bubba's protruding lip. David Alan Grier, Ice Cube and Dave Chappelle were all offered the role before turning it down. Chappelle claimed he believed the film would be unsuccessful and has also admitted that he regrets not taking the role.
- Sally Field as Mrs. Gump: Forrest's mother, who raises him after his father abandons them. Field reflected on the character, "She's a woman who loves her son unconditionally. ... A lot of her dialogue sounds like slogans, and that's just what she intends."
- Haley Joel Osment as Forrest Gump, Jr.: Forrest and Jenny's son. Osment was cast in the film after the casting director noticed him in a Pizza Hut commercial.
- Peter Dobson as Elvis: a house guest Forrest encounters. Although Kurt Russell was uncredited, he provided the voice over for Elvis in the scene where Elvis meets Forrest.
- Dick Cavett as himself. Cavett played the 1970s version of himself, with makeup applied to make him appear younger. Consequently, Cavett is the only well-known figure in the film to play a cameo role rather than be represented through the use of archival footage.
- Sam Anderson as Principal Hancock: Forrest's elementary school principal.
- Geoffrey Blake as Wesley: A member of the SDS group and Jenny's abusive boyfriend.
- Siobhan Fallon Hogan as Dorothy Harris: The school bus driver who drives both Forrest, and later his son, to school.
- Sonny Shroyer as Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant: Forrest's football coach of the University of Alabama.
- Grand L. Bush, Conor Kennelly, and Teddy Lane Jr. as the Black Panthers: Members of an organization that protests against the Vietnam War, President Lyndon B. Johnson, and anti-black racism.
Read more about this topic: Forrest Gump
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