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The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Passed  -  Drama | Romance | War  -  3 October 1947 (France)
8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 31,387 users  
Reviews: 220 user | 87 critic

Three WWII 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)
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Title: The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

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Top 250 #191 | Won 7 Oscars. Another 13 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Al Stephenson (as Frederic March)
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Roman Bohnen ...
...
Minna Gombell ...
Mrs. Parrish
Walter Baldwin ...
Mr. Parrish
Steve Cochran ...
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

Plot Keywords:

veteran | pity | love | marriage | banker | See more »

Taglines:

The Most Honored Picture of All Time (1954 widescreen reissue) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 October 1947 (France)  »

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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In order to give the film a documentary-style realism, the director drew each member of the crew - props, grips, mixers, etc. - from the ranks of WWII veterans. See more »

Goofs

When Peggy makes scrabbled eggs and toast for Fred she brings the eggs to the table but not the toast. The next camera shot shows Fred taking toast from the table that was never brought there. See more »

Quotes

Wilma Cameron: You wrote me that when you got home, you and I were going to be married. If you wrote that once, you wrote it a hundred times. Isn't that true?
Homer Parrish: Yes, but things are different now.
Wilma Cameron: Have you changed your mind?
Homer Parrish: Have I said anything about changing my mind?
Wilma Cameron: No. That's just it. You haven't said anything about anything... I don't know what to think, Homer. All I know is, I was in love with you when you left and I'm in love with you now. Other things may have changed but that hasn't.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"and introducing Cathy O'Donnell" See more »

Connections

Referenced in Family Matters: Best Years of Our Lives (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Toot, Toot, Tootsie (Goo' Bye!)
(1922) (uncredited)
Music by Dan Russo and Ernie Erdman
Played on piano by Hoagy Carmichael
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

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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