Here is the scene where the cop is shown removing sound cables while Forrest Gump was giving a speech. As a result, the crowd couldn’t hear him:

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Why did the cop remove sound cables while Forrest Gump was giving a speech?

  • 6
    I never knew that was a cop. I just thought that he was some military guy Jul 1 at 12:45
  • 5
    The movie makers did not want you to know what Forrest said. Why? Because it makes Forrest political, and that's not what the story is about.
    – RonJohn
    Jul 1 at 15:33
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    @RonJohn: +1 but I always thought it's also because speaking loud and clear would make it look stupid in front of the nation and that's not something the filmmakers wanted to do.
    – OldPadawan
    Jul 1 at 17:32
  • 3
    If we were allowed to hear, I think Forrest would've described his experience as naively as possible, in line with him literally showing his wound on his buttocks earlier (amongst many other scenes). Something to the tune of "I met my best friend at Vietnam, but he died". But even describing the reality of the situation would be considered dangerous to supporters of the war. It's possible that's what the filmmakers were suggesting with the scene, but in a funny way.
    – jmathew
    Jul 2 at 22:18

2 Answers 2


At the time the movie describes, there were already huge demonstrations and Vietnam War Protests. Many people couldn't understand why there were such mass protest. Both sides were acting and supporting their ideas, and there were marches and riots:

The Deputies and soldiers were taunted and assaulted with vegetables, rocks, and bottles. The troops inside the Pentagon rushed outside as the violence escalated. A full-scale riot erupted.

Forrest was wearing his uniform, and acting as if he was supporting the protest. Which led police officer to see him as a traitor to the cause. He then wanted to shut him down. Without being able to talk about the war and its atrocities, Forrest isn't a support to the protesters anymore. That's also why a protester is really pissed off and comes to fight the policeman.

When you (or after you did) serve in the US Army, you often hear people saying: "Thank you for your service". How do you thank someone who is willing to risk their life for yours? Actually, not by saying their duty is worthless. The Vietnam war being legitimate or not (this is not the point here), many soldiers were just doing what they thought was their job: protect their country. During the rallies, people were fighting against the war, thus many people in the Forces saw their action criticized and belittled. When Forrest was about to speak, the man who unplugged the mics wanted to prevent that: a possible rant against war and soldiers.

  • 1
    Doesn't that (what I wrote) mean "prevent from speaking"? I don't know how to better phrase it, but that's the point. Anyone with better English please edit thanks :)
    – OldPadawan
    Jul 2 at 4:10
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    Two different phrases. "Shot him down" means destroyed him, metaphorically, with arguments or insults (and it's past tense, so for tense, you'd have wanted "shoot him down" if that was what was intended). "Shout him down" is to literally shout louder than him to avoid others hearing what he has to say (it could be arguments or insults, but the important part is your decibels are higher than his). Not recalling the scene well enough, not sure which, if either, applies. Jul 2 at 14:16
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    @ShadowRanger: In the movie, because of the mics unplugged, only the people close to Forrest can hear him. "Shut him down" maybe?
    – OldPadawan
    Jul 2 at 14:34
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    Pretty sure that it's shut him down Jul 2 at 16:09
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    Since you mention it, the "Thank you for your service" is now common, but it wasn't always. I sometimes speculate that it emerged in U.S. culture in part as a (much later) reaction to widespread shame over how many Vietnam veterans were treated when they returned to civilian life. That's another part of the historical and social context for this section of the film. Jul 3 at 16:48

In the context of the movie, it's because the event is an anti-war rally. It's attended by people opposed to the US presence in Vietnam. The veterans giving speeches are talking about their own experiences in Vietnam and how bad it is for American soldiers there.

The cop is politically opposed to the anti-war movement, and doesn't want the people being stirred by the first hand experiences of the veterans waiting to speak to them.

In the context of making the movie, I believe that they wanted Gump's statement to be incredibly profound, but they couldn't have it go out to the general public because it would effectively change history. So having the PA system be sabotaged means that Gump can give an incredibly moving first hand account of the war without having to ignore the real-world consequences it would bring.

  • 1
    The accepted answer is good, but this is better.
    – dtw
    Jul 3 at 10:57
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    An incredibly profound history-changing speech doesn't really seem like it would've been in character for Forrest, and a movie is about showing, not telling. Any of Forrest's experiences we're aware of are already shown in the movie, so the movie itself could serve the purpose that the speech would've served. (Not that a speech would necessarily have been entirely useless - reiterating, contextualising or framing shown events could help bring a particular message across.)
    – NotThatGuy
    Jul 3 at 11:34
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    As a plot point, I believe the purpose of being muted is that the film would have been politicized if Gump had offered an opinion about the war. He can play a straight man character in all the other scenes, but in this particular scene it would have been impossible.
    – Avery
    Jul 3 at 12:23
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    I think it's rather so the movie audience can make up their own mind about what Forest would have said about his war experience instead of handing that character interpretation to the audience directly. Would he have said something profound and moving about the nature of war, or would he have embarrassed himself with rambling about trivialities the audience can't contextualize? That's up to the audience to decide.
    – Philipp
    Jul 3 at 12:48
  • @NotThatGuy - It would have been profound based on what Hanks has said about what Forrest's speech was. It's not that it was a deep political or philosophical statement, just that it was about the loss and pain that he had witnessed and saying it wasn't right. Those sentiments, from someone who was wearing a MOH would have been profound. Jul 3 at 17:45

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