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
The first film recorded in stereo using the Westrex Recording system. The stereophonic version exists in the form of studio acetate masters but they were never married to the picture. Only a handful of theaters were equipped for multi-channel sound at the time of its original release. See more »
The scene at Butch's, when Al introduces his wife and daughter to Fred and Homer, he refers to Dana Andrews as Homer and Harold Russell as Fred. This was intended as a consequence of Al being drunk. See more »
[Al is speaking to the banquet]
I'm glad to see you've all pulled through so well. As Mr. Milton so perfectly expressed it: our country stands today... where it stands today... wherever that is. I'm sure you'll all agree with me if I said that now is the time for all of us to stop all this nonsense, face facts, get down to brass tacks, forget about the war and go fishing. But I'm not gonna say it. I'm just going to sum the whole thing up in one word.
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The character played by Ray Teal (the Axis sympathizer whom Homer Parrish attacks at the soda fountain) is listed in the credits as "Mr. Mollett". However, the character's name is never mentioned or otherwise alluded to. See more »
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.
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