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The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Passed  |   |  Drama, Romance, War  |  17 June 1947 (Argentina)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 36,793 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 250 Movies #197 | 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) »




Drama | Romance | War


Passed | 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?


"Screen Director's Playhouse" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on April 17, 1949 with Dana Andrews reprising his film role. See more »


At the end of the film, Homer hands Fred the wedding ring and says, "Here's the ring. Don't lose it." However, his lips say, "Here's the ring. Don't drop it." See more »


Rob Stephenson: We've been having lectures in atomic energy at school, and Mr. McLaughlin, he's our physics teacher, he says that we've reached a point where the whole human race has either got to find a way to live together, or else uhm...
See more »

Crazy Credits

"and introducing Cathy O'Donnell" See more »


Referenced in A Decade Under the Influence (2003) See more »


Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride)
(1850) (uncredited)
from "Lohengrin"
Written by Richard Wagner
Played on piano by Hoagy Carmichael and sung by the children at the wedding
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Over 60 years old and still a classic!
22 February 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In 2004, I wrote the following statements on an IMDb message board when a user wondered if The Best Years of Our Lives was a forgotten movie:

***** To me watching this movie is like opening up a time capsule. I think in many ways "The Best Years of Our Lives" is probably one of the more fascinating character studies and it holds up extremely well as a look at life in the US in the mid-1940s after WWII. I believe "Coming Home" and "The Deer Hunter", both released in 1978, were the most recent films that were closest in capturing the numerous issues of military men returning from war that were brought up in "The Best Years of Our Lives".

What really impressed me was watching the movie in its entirety when I was in college around 1980-81 and many if not all of the college students applauded at the end of the movie.

This movie still packs a wallop and I'm very happy to read in other posts other users feeling of a movie that will definitely stand the test of time. *****

I'm very happy to see the movie ranked near the top 100 movies on IMDb and AFI. Also, though it was in competition with what eventually became a Christmas classic, It's a Wonderful Life, arguably, The Best Years of Our Lives' Oscar wins, including Best Picture, were very well-deserved.

I've just seen the film again in 2005 and after almost 60 years, The Best Years of Our Lives is still a powerful, beautifully acted and well-crafted motion picture.

123 of 140 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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