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The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, War | 17 June 1947 (Argentina)
1:47 | Trailer

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Three World War II 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)
3,091 ( 2,595)
Top Rated Movies #238 | Won 7 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Al Stephenson (as Frederic March)
Hortense Derry
Mr. Milton
Mrs. Parrish
Mr. Parrish
Mrs. Cameron


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


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)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Harold Russell's Oscar winning performance in this film is his only acting Academy Award nomination, but along with it he was awarded an Honorary Oscar for his inspiring performance. See more »


An earlier character error comment criticized Fred Derry's wear of the Ike Jacket. The comment said that the belt buckle was not centered. Derry was wearing his Ike Jacket's belt buckle correctly--off to the right side of the wearer. The buckle was not a real belt buckle, but a kind of waist cinch. See more »


Fred Derry: I dreamed I was gonna have my own home. Just a nice little house for my wife and me out in the country... in the suburbs anyway. That's the cock-eyed kind of dream you have when you're overseas.
Peggy Stephenson: You don't have to be overseas to have dreams like that.
Fred Derry: Yeah. You can get crazy ideas right here at home.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Only twelve cast members are listed in the opening credits. Cathy O'Donnell receives an "and introducing" credit before her name. Victor Cutler, who plays Woody, is listed last in the opening credits but does not appear in the cast list of 23 names in the end credits. See more »


Referenced in Ben-Hur: The Making of an Epic (1993) 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
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The ravages of war don't end on the battlefield.
25 April 2001 | by 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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