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 37,408 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 #197 | Won 7 Oscars. Another 13 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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A British family struggles to survive the first months of World War II.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Teresa Wright


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) »


Filled with all the love and warmth and joy. . .the human heart can hold! 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
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Did You Know?


William Wyler wanted a completely unglamorous look, requiring all costumes to be bought off the rack and worn by the cast before filming, and making sure all sets were built smaller than life-size. See more »


Although Boone City is clearly some Midwest City, Homer Parrish is the only one on his block, in his family and among the entire cast who has clearly a Boston accent. See more »


Peggy Stephenson: Well, what have you been doing with yourself lately?
Fred Derry: Working.
Peggy Stephenson: Yes, Dad told me he heard you were in some kind of building work.
Fred Derry: Well, that's a hopeful way of putting it. I'm really in the junk business - an occupation for which many people feel I'm well-qualified by temperament and training.
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Crazy Credits

"and introducing Cathy O'Donnell" See more »


Referenced in The Man from Elysian Fields (2001) 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

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User Reviews

Refreshing To See
13 August 2003 | by (Tulsa, OK) – See all my reviews

Very glad to see that this excellent film gets such high marks from the users of IMDB. The Best Years of Their Lives remains the finest cinematic statement about veterans returning from war that I have come across. Easily the finest performance by the often overlooked Frederick March. In fact the entire cast shines, including music legend Hoagy Carmichael who treats us all with a subtle version of his classic Lazy River. I would recommend this excellent film to anyone who loves movies.

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