Now, me, I was scared, but Lieutenant Dan, he was mad.
What does "mad" mean in the above sentence?
Lt. Dan: "You'll never sink this boat!"
Forrest: "Now, me, I was scared, but Lieutenant Dan, he was mad."
Lt. Dan: "Come on! You call this a storm? Blow, you son of a bitch, blow! It's time for a showdown! You and me! I'm right here! Come and get me! Ha ha! Ha ha! You'll never sink... this... boat! Ha ha ha ha!"
(Quoted from the movie Forrest Gump)
In this example, "mad" means that Lieutenant Dan was angry. Forrest Gump was a new recruit, whereas Lieutenant Dan had been in the jungles of Vietnam for some time. So Lt. Dan lost patience with the new soldiers who were frightened of things that he took for granted.
Americans are far less likely to use "mad" for "crazy" and someone like Forest Gump would be less likely still.
He was angry at the weather and the effect it was having on their plans.
I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.
From watching the scene in question, Dan seems crazy and not angry, but it is still not entirely clear in which sense Forrest used the word "mad".
Perhaps I am reading too much into this line, but here is my take on it. Forrest says a lot of things that are "accidentally wise". By that I mean he is very naive but things he says have more significance and deeper truth than he realises. So maybe from his simple point of view he thinks Dan is angry, but the audience knows that you would have to be at least a little crazy to sit at the top of a mast screaming during a storm.
So Forrest meant "angry" but the audience understands "crazy".
Last edited by Munch; 07-Nov-2010 at 03:04.
As Barb mentioned, "mad" meaning crazy is not used very often in common AmE, and the Forrest Gump character was a man of limited intellect. He certainly wouldn't have known the word "mad" to mean anything other than "angry." If he'd thought that Lt. Dan was acting crazy he would have said so in those words.