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
Came sixth in the UK's Ultimate Film, in which films were placed in order of how many seats they sold at cinemas See more »
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 »
Tell me the truth, Homer. Do you want me to forget about you?
I want you to be free, Wilma, to live your own life. I don't want you tied down forever just because you've got a kind heart.
Oh, Homer! Why can't you ever understand the way things really are, the way I really feel? I keep trying to tell you.
But, but you don't know, Wilma. You don't know what it'd be like to have to live with me. To have to face this
every day, every night.
But I can only find out by trying. And if it ...
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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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