The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Romance, War  |  17 June 1947 (Argentina)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 37,338 users  
Reviews: 234 user | 94 critic

Three WWII veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed.



(screen play), (from a novel by) (as Mackinlay Kantor)
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Top Rated Movies #198 | Won 7 Oscars. Another 13 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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


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 All (312) »


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


Drama | Romance | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 June 1947 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

Glory for Me  »

Box Office


$2,100,000 (estimated)


$23,650,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Al Stephenson is wearing a shoulder patch for the 25th Infantry Division, which fought in the Philippines. See more »


During Al Stephenson's speech at the bank get-together party, he talks about his division being in Okinawa. The 25th Infantry Division (Tropic Lightning), was part of the Luzon campaign that started January 1945 and ended with the divisions relief at the end of June 1945. At no time was the 25th on Okinawa. The divisions that did participate in the Okinawan campaign (April 1 - June 22, 1945) were the: 7th, 96th, 27th, and 77th Infantry Divisions of the army and the 1st, 2nd, and 6th Marine Divisions. See more »


[Al and Fred have arrived at Al's fancy apartment building]
Fred Derry: Some barracks you got here. Hey, what are you? A retired bootlegger?
Al Stephenson: Nothing as dignified as that. I'm a banker.
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Crazy Credits

"and introducing Cathy O'Donnell" See more »


Referenced in The Majestic (2001) See more »


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

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User Reviews

The ravages of war don't end on the battlefield.
25 April 2001 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I watch this movie every time it plays on TV. A simply brilliant film. Three men return home from war and try to return to civilian life with great difficulty. All three led opposite lives during the war (Executive Banker became an army corporal, a soda jerk became an Air Force Captain and the High School Football hero loses both his arms in battle)and now each must reconstruct his life and connect with a new reality. The homes they return to, with grown children and independent, working women along with a depressed economy, only add to the strife. It's the scenes just off camera and the unspoken dialog which resonates the most loudly, however. The awkward intimacy of Frederich March and Myrna Loy and his struggle to return to his place as leader (both at home and at work) are heartbreaking.

Dana Andrews is riveting as the handsome, decorated Captain who struggles to keep his life together without the uniform.

The film is filled with honest characters and each is portrayed by a gifted actor.

This film, however, took on a whole other level after seeing, "Saving Private Ryan." The reality and magnitude of what these men lived through for love and country......and obviously it didn't end on the battlefield.

This is an essential for any collection.

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