forrest gump apple stock

Forrest Gump Apple Stock: Letter, Quote: What’s it Worth?

The movie Forrest Gump came out 30 years ago this summer, and most people are pretty happy with the $5-7 investment they made to see it in the theater.

Do you know what’s an even better investment? Forrest Gump’s fictional 1974 purchase of a piece of Apple in the film!

Actually, if it were real it might have been the greatest angel investment of all time! Let’s look at Forrest Gump’s Apple investment, even though upon closer examination we see that the timeline is wrong in the movie.

Forrest Gump: Apple investment | Stock value | Apple letter | Apple scene | Wrong date| Apple quote

Forrest Gump’s Apple Investment:

If you pause the movie, you’ll notice that the letter to Forrest Gump is dated September 23, 1975. However, Apple didn’t go public until December 12, 1980. That means that Forrest bought Apple stock 5+ years before it was available to the public, making him an “angel investor” in Apple when it was still a private company.

These types of investments in startup companies are hard to make unless you know someone in private equity or a friend like Lieutenant Dan Taylor who, “got me invested in some kind of fruit company.”

How much stock did Forrest Gump buy? We can guess that Forrest paid about $100k for a 3% stake in Apple in 1974 which would value the company at $3 million. That was a generous valuation to give a company that was not yet incorporated and essentially just 3 guys in a garage at that time. However, it would have paid back in spades long-term as Apple is worth thousands of times more than that today!

How Much is Forrest Gump Apple Stock Worth?

bubba gump mom check

When Apple went public in 1980 the company was worth $1.8 billion making Forrest Gump’s stake worth about $60 million at that time.

Apple is now a $3 trillion company so that 3% stake would be worth about $90 billion in 2024! If Forrest never sold his Apple stock he would currently be one of the richest men in America alongside the founders of Google and Microsoft.

However, we know that Forrest probably sold some of that Apple stock as gets pretty charitable at the end of the movie in 1981. You might remember that Forrest uses some of that Apple cash to build a church, fund the Gump Medical Center, and gave Bubba’s mom a check that makes her faint. She later buys a mansion and has servants, so although they never reveal the amount, it’s a huge sum!

We can speculate that if Forrest sold half of his Apple stock in 1980 and gave all the after-tax money to Bubba’s mom, that check might be for $20 million!

Fun fact: If you had bought $10k of Apple stock the week Forrest Gump hit the theaters in 1994 you would also be a millionaire, as that would have bought you about 10,000 (split-adjusted) shares which are now worth over $200 each!

Here’s the full letter from Apple Computer Inc. to Forrest Gump:

Forrest Gump Apple Letter

Here is a photo of the actual prop letter from Apple Computer Inc. addressed to Mr. Forrest Gump that was featured in the movie plus what it said:

forrest gump apple letter

September 23, 1975

Mr. Forrest Gump
River Road
Greenbow, Alabama 35505

Dear Investor,

Thank you for believing in our company. Your investment in our endeavor to make computers accessible to the ordinary citizen came at a time when investing in the consumer computer industry was thought to be a folly.

Your foresight, perspicaciousness, and most of all, your money has made it possible for our little company to become one of the leaders in the computer industry. It has also rewarded you with one of the most incredible investment returns in the history of modern finance. (*Not true in 1975!)

There are many new innovations soon to be introduced in our line of products, most notably the, “Lisa” personal computer, which promises to be a huge success.

Looking forward to our continued relationship,

J. Wellington Bigby
Chief Financial Officer
Apple Computer, Inc

*In case you are wondering, J. Wellington Bigby is a fictional CFO and never worked for Apple.

Forrest Gump Apple Scene:

Want to refresh your memory of the scene when Forrest gets the letter from Apple Computer? Makes you want to quit your job as a millionaire and buy a riding mower:

*We have coupons for VistaPrint, TurboTax, Lids, and Fanatics here

The Date of Forrest Gump’s Apple Investment Is Wrong!

apple computer original

To properly value Forrest Gump’s stock we have to do some mental gymnastics as the dates are wrong in the movie.

It’s odd that the letter to Forrest is dated September 23, 1975, as Apple was not incorporated until January 3, 1977. That means Forrest invested super-early but would not have had the “incredible investment return” mentioned in the letter until at least late 1980 after Apple stock went public.

For example, Steve Jobs still worked for Atari in 1974 when Forrest bought his stake in Apple. We also can’t ignore that Apple co-founder Ronald Wayne sold his 10% share of Apple back to Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak on April 1, 1976 for a paltry $800!

Also, the Apple Lisa desktop computer wasn’t released until 1983, so why would they mention it in 1975 Hmmm… Looks like the Forrest Gump prop folks got their dates wrong.

That doesn’t make sense, but at least we can agree that Ronald Wayne’s decision to sell his 10% stake in Apple for $800 (now worth $300 billion) is the worst investment decision ever!

Forrest Gump Apple Quote:

forrest gump apple quote

“Lieutenant Dan got me invested in some kind of fruit company. I got a call from him saying we don’t have to worry about money no more, and I said, good… one less thing!”

I wonder if Forrest used some of the money to bulldoze the homes of those bullies from his youth?

Lieutenant Dan Deserves the Credit

Forrest Gump had the habit of being in exactly the right place at exactly the right time, but it was Lieutenant Dan Taylor who made the brilliant investment in pre-IPO Apple in 1974.

They never reveal how Lt. Dan made a deal with the group of a few geeks working in a garage on Crist Drive in Los Altos, California, but it became the most famous fictional investment of all time.

It also shows that the best investment strategy might just be to get lucky and then hold long-term.

Thanks for visiting!

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