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The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Passed | | Drama, Romance, War | 17 June 1947 (Argentina)
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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(screen play), (from a novel by) (as Mackinlay Kantor)
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Top Rated Movies #239 | Won 7 Oscars. Another 13 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)
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Mrs. Parrish
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Mr. Parrish
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Cliff
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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:

Three wonderful loves in the best picture of the year! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 June 1947 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

Glory for Me  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,100,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$23,650,000 (USA)
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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

This is the first film role for which Cathy O'Donnell, in the role of Wilma Cameron, receives screen credit. Her film debut was in Wonder Man (1945) as an uncredited extra in a nightclub scene. See more »

Goofs

Although Boone City is obviously some Midwestern city, Homer Parrish, who supposedly lived his entire civilian life there, speaks with a noticeable Boston accent. See more »

Quotes

Butch Engle: Give 'em time, kid; they'll catch on. You know your folks'll get used to you, and you'll get used to them. Then everything'll settle down nicely. Unless we have another war. Then none of us have to worry because we'll all be blown to bits the first day. So cheer up, huh?
See more »

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 »


Soundtracks

Toot, Toot, Tootsie (Goo' Bye!)
(1922) (uncredited)
Music by Dan Russo and Ernie Erdman
Played on piano by Hoagy Carmichael
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Forgotten now that it was mildly controversial in its day
23 September 2004 | by (Columbia, South Carolina) – See all my reviews

My parents were of that generation, and the movie was cathartic for returning veterans and their families and friends; it's small wonder that it eclipsed <i>It's A Wonderful Life</i>, which arguably is a better picture. But at the time, the movie had some shocking elements to it. In fact, my mother (roughly the character Peggy's age then) saw it against her parents' wishes.

Back in 1946, it was a jaw-dropper to have a character in a movie utter the word "divorce" or to aver an intent to break up a marriage -- such ideas just weren't voiced in films then. To modern audiences, they come across as melodramatic, but I'm told they elcited genuine gasps from audiences then.

Even more astonishing was William Wyler's decision to cast real-life amputee Harold Russell in the key role of a returning Navy veteran. Until <i>The Battle of Britain</i>, in which an actual, disfigured RAF veteran made a cameo appearance, directors didn't make those sorts of courageous gestures. The intimate yet innocent scene in which Homer Parrish (Russell) demonstrates his helplessness to his fiancé Wilma Cameron (Cathy O'Donnell) is beautiful, heartbreaking and uplifting; later, during the wedding scene, Russell stumbled over a line in saying the vows, and Wyler left the humanizing mistake in, God bless him for it.


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