Forrest Gump: The Soundtrack



Stellar showcase of rock, soul, pop from '50s, '60s, '70s.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

In almost three dozen songs spanning three decades, there's quite a variety of messages. Some are sweet tunes about peace and love ("What the World Needs Now," "Let's Get Together"), others explode with political fury ("Fortunate Son") or hope ("Volunteers"). Several '60s songs seem to celebrate drugs.

Positive role models

The songs are varied, but most of their characters, like Forrest Gump himself, manage to stay upbeat and on a good path. Bob Dylan's "everybody must get stoned!" chorus of "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" may require a bit of explaining. Other songs offer more wholesome advice, from the Youngbloods' "get together and love one another" to the Fifth Dimension's "Let the Sun Shine In." Darker, more thoughtful songs like Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" and the Mamas and the Papas' "California Dreamin'" proceed from a standpoint of moral conviction. Lynyrd Skynyrd's Ronnie Van Zant defends his home state against the nasty things Neil Young said about it in "Sweet Home Alabama."


Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son" involves less lucky people being sent to war; Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" describes armed cops trying to scare people for no clear reason.


Aretha Franklin's "Respect" is very much about the singer getting r-e-s-p-e-c-t in the form of s-e-x when her lover gets home, including the lines  "whip it to me" in a chorus and  "roll it out" in the outro.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The Beach Boys' version of the folk song "Sloop John B," drunken crew members contribute to "the worst trip I've ever been on." Bob Dylan's "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" and The Supremes' "Stoned Love" seem to take drug use as a positive thing.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that like the Best-Picture Oscar-winning movie Forrest Gump, its soundtrack offers a travelogue through three eventful 20th-century decades. One of those decades was the '60s, so some of the songs have drug references, from Bob Dylan's "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" ("Everybody must get stoned!") to The Supremes' dreamy "Stoned Love," and there are anthems from the revolutionary to the hippie-dippy. The 34-song, two-CD set as a whole rises above the usual greatest-hits collection in that it emphasizes songs that weren't just the soundtrack of the time, they reflected the popular mood, gathered people around a cause, created a new sense of urgency. There are probably some great conversation-starters with your kids here.

What's the story?

This two-disc CD soundtrack was a surprise hit when Forrest Gump hit the big screen in 1994, its tunes tracking the lead character's progress through the turbulent times of the '50s, '60s, and '70s. From culture-shifting pop (Elvis Presley's \"Hound Dog\") to political anthems (Jefferson Airplane's \"Volunteers\") to wistful ballads (Jackie DeShannon's \"What the World Needs Now\"), many of these songs aren't just musical wallpaper; they helped define the era and what Americans were thinking.

Is it any good?


As large and diverse as this collection is, you're almost sure to have some of the tracks already, and many of the rest of them -- e.g. Simon and Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson," Aretha Franklin's "Respect," Three Dog Night's "Joy to the World," Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way," Bob Seger's "Against the Wind," Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again" -- are oldies-channel staples. But what these tracks lack in rarity they make up for in quality; they seem to have been carefully selected to reflect or comment upon something unique and essential happening at a particular moment in time, from Duane Eddy's power chords on "Rebel Rouser" to Creedence Clearwater Revival's furious "Fortunate Son" to Randy Newman's "Mr. President (Have Pity on the Working Man)." As such, they rise above mere background music, and may introduce kids to some worthy artists they've missed.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what some of these songs meant to the parents and grandparents of today's kids when they were kids themselves. How did Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog" change everything for millions of teens, for example?

  • What do you think Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" is about? Do you know what the guys in the band went on to do?

  • Have you ever seen the movie The Graduate, where the song "Mrs. Robinson" first appeared? What did you think of that movie?

Music details

Artist:Various Artists
Release date:January 1, 1994
Label:Sony Music
Parental advisory:No
Edited version available:No

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 17 years old Written bymoviewannabe April 19, 2013

Great soundtrack

Greatest songs on this two-disc album (in my opinion) are "Hound Dog" by Elvis Presley, "Fortunate Son" by Creedence Clearwater Revival, "California Dreamin'" by The Mamas and The Papas, "For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield, "Break on Through (To the Other Side)" by The Doors, "Mrs. Robinson" by Simon & Garfunkel, "Joy to the World" by Three Dog Night, "On the Road Again" by Willie Nelson and "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd. For those who love rock and roll from the 50s to the 70s, no matter how young, listen to this.
Adult Written byTrevorsHeartburn September 22, 2015

Subpar Compositions Reflect the Mediocrity of the Motion Picture

While these particular compositions captured a general sense of post-modern musical literature, the compositions failed to meet the standards of even the least versed in such acquired music. To begin, artists such as The Doobie Brothers, and Lynyrd Skynyrd lack the sophistication needed to support a motion picture of such high caliber. Songs such as "Sweet Home Alabama", and "It Keeps You Runnin" however qualify as semi-appropriate "pieces" in the sense that they provide an accurate description of the time period and setting of the motion picture. The film would reach intellectual heights that compare to "The End of the Tour", if the all the pieces were composed similar to that of "Forrest Gump Suite". In spite of the potential housed within the film's musical content, it falls short of the expectations assumed by members of the fine arts community.


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