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The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, War | 1947 (UK)
Three World War II veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed.

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Writers:

(screen play), (from a novel by) (as Mackinlay Kantor)
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Top Rated Movies #238 | Won 7 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Al Stephenson (as Frederic March in closing credits)
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Hortense Derry
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Mr. Milton
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Mrs. Parrish
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Mr. Parrish
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Mrs. Cameron
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Storyline

The story concentrates on the social re-adjustment of three World War II servicemen, each from a different station of society. Al Stephenson returns to an influential banking position, but finds it hard to reconcile his loyalties to ex-servicemen with new commercial realities. Fred Derry is an ordinary working man who finds it difficult to hold down a job or pick up the threads of his marriage. Having had both hands burnt off during the war, Homer Parrish is unsure that his fiancée's feelings are still those of love and not those of pity. Each of the veterans faces a crisis upon his arrival, and each crisis is a microcosm of the experiences of many American warriors who found an alien world awaiting them when they came marching home. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

THE SCREEN'S GREATEST LOVE STORY IS THE BEST FILM THIS YEAR FROM HOLLYWOOD! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1947 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Glory for Me  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,100,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$23,650,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Myrna Loy receives top billing, as she was the most successful female star at the time. See more »

Goofs

The scene at Butch's, when Al introduces his wife and daughter to Fred and Homer, he refers to Dana Andrews as Homer and Harold Russell as Fred. This was intended as a consequence of Al being drunk. See more »

Quotes

[Homer has asked Wilma into his bedroom to see what happens as he prepares for bed. After removing his hooks and harness, he 'wiggles' into his pajama top]
Homer Parrish: I'm lucky. I have my elbows. Some of the boys don't. But I can't button them up.
Wilma Cameron: I'll do that, Homer.
Homer Parrish: This is when I know I'm helpless. My hands are down there on the bed. I can't put them on again without calling to somebody for help. I can't smoke a cigarette or read a book. If that door should blow shut, I can't open it and get out of this...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

The character played by Ray Teal (the Axis sympathizer whom Homer Parrish attacks at the soda fountain) is listed in the credits as "Mr. Mollett". However, the character's name is never mentioned or otherwise alluded to. See more »

Connections

Remade as Returning Home (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Among My Souvenirs
(1927) (uncredited)
Music by Edgar Leslie
Lyrics by Lawrence Wright
Played on piano by Hoagy Carmichael and danced by Fredric March & Myrna Loy
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
wonderful post-war epic
11 July 2003 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This is a home-coming tale of three WWII veterans, returning to the same small town. One was a bank clerk who rose through the military ranks (Fredric March, who got the Best Actor Oscar for this, well-deserved) with an understanding wife (Myrna Loy, excellent) and daughter (Teresa Wright). One has lost his hands (Harold Russell, real-life veteran, putting in a touching performance) and struggles to cope with this and with his relationship with his girlfriend (Cathy O'Donnell). The other was a soda jerk but has flown bomber planes throughout the conflict (Dana Andrews, in one of his best roles) and is now heading back to his pin-up wife (Virginia Mayo, a small role but an interesting one).

We follow them on their respective journeys, often meeting up in Butch's bar (run by Hoagy Carmichael, who gets the chance to play piano, etc.) and often finding their paths cross. The film comes in at around 3 hours, but it is time well spent. 'The Best Years' is not only perceptive and clever, with some great scenes, but also is innovative in some of its cinematography, thanks to the great Gregg Toland, master of the deep focus.


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