IMDb > The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
The Best Years of Our Lives
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The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) More at IMDbPro »

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The Best Years of Our Lives -- Three WWII veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed.

Overview

User Rating:
8.2/10   32,415 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Robert E. Sherwood (screen play)
MacKinlay Kantor (from a novel by)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Best Years of Our Lives on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
3 October 1947 (France) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
THE SCREEN'S GREATEST LOVE STORY IS THE BEST FILM THIS YEAR FROM HOLLYWOOD! See more »
Plot:
Three WWII veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won 7 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
wonderful post-war epic See more (224 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Myrna Loy ... Milly Stephenson

Fredric March ... Al Stephenson (as Frederic March)

Dana Andrews ... Fred Derry

Teresa Wright ... Peggy Stephenson

Virginia Mayo ... Marie Derry

Cathy O'Donnell ... Wilma Cameron

Hoagy Carmichael ... Butch Engle

Harold Russell ... Homer Parrish

Gladys George ... Hortense Derry
Roman Bohnen ... Pat Derry

Ray Collins ... Mr. Milton
Minna Gombell ... Mrs. Parrish
Walter Baldwin ... Mr. Parrish
Steve Cochran ... Cliff

Dorothy Adams ... Mrs. Cameron

Don Beddoe ... Mr. Cameron
Marlene Aames ... Luella Parrish
Charles Halton ... Prew

Ray Teal ... Mr. Mollett
Howland Chamberlain ... Thorpe (as Howland Chamberlin)
Dean White ... Novak
Erskine Sanford ... Bullard
Michael Hall ... Rob Stephenson
Victor Cutler ... Woody Merrill
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jimmy Ames ... Jackie (uncredited)
Carol Andrews ... Saleswoman (uncredited)
Mary Arden ... Miss Barbour (uncredited)
Al Bridge ... Gus - Salvage Worker (uncredited)
Harry Cheshire ... Minister at Wedding (uncredited)
Sidney Clute ... Drugstore Clerk (uncredited)

Joyce Compton ... Hat Check Girl (uncredited)
James Conaty ... Man at Bank Dinner (uncredited)
Heinie Conklin ... Customer (uncredited)
Bert Conway ... ATC Sergeant (uncredited)
Clancy Cooper ... Taxi Driver (uncredited)
Mady Correll ... Announcer (uncredited)
Roy Darmour ... Parking Lot Attendant (uncredited)
Hal K. Dawson ... Man at Airport (uncredited)
Lester Dorr ... Bar Patron (uncredited)
Claire Du Brey ... Mrs. Talburt - Perfume Customer (uncredited)
Tom Dugan ... Doorman (uncredited)
Edward Earle ... Steese - Bank (uncredited)

Blake Edwards ... Corporal at ATC Counter (uncredited)
Billy Engle ... Customer (uncredited)
Ben Erway ... Lou Latham - Bank (uncredited)
Doris June Fesetta ... Camera Girl (uncredited)

Pat Flaherty ... Salvage Foreman (uncredited)

Tennessee Ernie Ford ... Nightclub / Hillbilly Singer (uncredited)
Louise Franklin ... Ladies' Room Attendant (uncredited)
Harry Gillette ... Card Player at Lucia's (uncredited)
Dick Gordon ... Maitre d'Hotel (uncredited)
Earle Hodgins ... Diner Attendant at Lucia's (uncredited)
Stuart Holmes ... Wedding Guest (uncredited)
Ray Hyke ... Gus the Foreman (uncredited)
John Ince ... Ryan (uncredited)
Teddy Infuhr ... Dexter - Brat in Drugstore (uncredited)
Jackie Jackson ... A Boy (uncredited)
Robert Karnes ... Technical Sergeant (uncredited)
Kenner G. Kemp ... Man at Bank Dinner (uncredited)
Donald Kerr ... Steve the Bartender (uncredited)
Gene Krupa ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Alyn Lockwood ... Counter Girl (uncredited)
Susan Mann ... Announcer (uncredited)
Thomas Martin ... Waiter (uncredited)
Michael Mauree ... Glamour Girl (uncredited)
Doreen McCann ... A Girl (uncredited)
Peggy McIntyre ... Girl at Soda Fountain - Mollett Scene (uncredited)
Chef Milani ... Giuseppe - Lucia's Restaurant Proprietor (uncredited)
Harold Miller ... Wealthy Man at Nightclub (uncredited)
Ernesto Molinari ... Card Player (uncredited)
William Newell ... Waiter at Bank Dinner (uncredited)
Georgie Nokes ... One of Homer's 'Kids' (uncredited)
William H. O'Brien ... Nightclub Waiter (uncredited)
Joe Palma ... Card Player (uncredited)
Leo Penn ... ATC Corporal (uncredited)
Caleb Peterson ... Black Soldier at Airfield (uncredited)
Norman Phillips Jr. ... Clarence 'Sticky' Merkle (uncredited)
Jack Rice ... Apartment Desk Clerk (uncredited)
Suzanne Ridgeway ... Girl at Table with Cliff (uncredited)
Mickey Roth ... Boy at Soda Fountain - Mollett Scene (uncredited)
Ruth Sanderson ... Mrs. Garrett (uncredited)
Ralph Sanford ... George H. Gibbons (uncredited)
Noreen Sayles ... A Girl (uncredited)
Stephen Soldi ... Card Player (uncredited)
John Tyrrell ... Gus - - Butch's Waiter (uncredited)
Amelita Ward ... Counter Girl (uncredited)
Jan Wiley ... Perfume Saleswoman (uncredited)
Marek Windheim ... Waiter at Lucia's Restaurant (uncredited)
Catherine Wyler ... Department Store Extra (uncredited)
Judy Wyler ... Department Store Extra (uncredited)

Directed by
William Wyler 
 
Writing credits
Robert E. Sherwood (screen play)

MacKinlay Kantor (from a novel by) (as Mackinlay Kantor)

Produced by
Samuel Goldwyn .... producer
Lester Koenig .... associate producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Hugo Friedhofer (music)
 
Cinematography by
Gregg Toland (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Daniel Mandell (film editor)
 
Art Direction by
Perry Ferguson 
George Jenkins 
 
Set Decoration by
Julia Heron (set decorations)
 
Costume Design by
Irene Sharaff  (as Sharaff)
 
Makeup Department
Marie Clark .... hair stylist
Robert Stephanoff .... makeup
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jonathan C. Boyle .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Dorothea Holt .... illustrator (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Richard DeWeese .... sound recorder
Larry Gannon .... sound (uncredited)
Gordon Sawyer .... supervising sound editor (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
John P. Fulton .... special effects director (uncredited)
Harry Redmond Sr. .... special effects (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
E. Truman Joiner .... key grip (uncredited)
Paul Mantz .... aerial director of photography (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Emil Newman .... musical director
Sidney Cutner .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Jerome Moross .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Edward B. Powell .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Leo Shuken .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Samuel Goldwyn .... presenter
Dale Tate .... title designer (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Samuel Goldwyn's The Best Years of Our Lives" - USA (poster title)
See more »
Runtime:
172 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:G | Australia:PG (alternate rating) | Finland:S | South Korea:15 (2002) | UK:U | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #11972) | West Germany:12 (f)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
According to his biographer A. Scott Berg, p0roducer Samuel Goldwyn re-released the film in a modified format to play on wide screens. It opened with all the hoopla of a new picture, including a gala premiere in Washington, DC, on February 3, 1954, with Sherman Adams, five Supreme Court justices, two cabinet members and 24 senators in attendance. There was a $250,000 campaign advertising it as "The Most Honored Picture of All Time". The film grossed another $1 million.See more »
Goofs:
Factual errors: Fredric March's name is misspelled as "Frederic" March in the closing credits.See more »
Quotes:
[Al and Fred have arrived at Al's fancy apartment building]
Fred Derry:Some barracks you got here. Hey, what are you? A retired bootlegger?
Al Stephenson:Nothing as dignified as that. I'm a banker.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
ChopsticksSee more »

FAQ

Weren't Dana Andrews and Fredric March a little old for their characters?
Is "The Best Years of Our Lives" based on a book?
Is there a reference to "the best years of our lives" in the movie itself?
See more »
59 out of 78 people found the following review useful.
wonderful post-war epic, 11 July 2003
Author: didi-5 from United Kingdom

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.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (224 total) »

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