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:
8.3/10   30,365 votes »
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Down 1% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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 13 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Forgotten now that it was mildly controversial in its day See more (219 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)
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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 (art direction)
George Jenkins (art direction)
 
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 direction
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


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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:
"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on November 24, 1947 with Fredric March, Myrna Loy and Teresa Wright reprising their film roles.See more »
Goofs:
Factual errors: Fredric March's name is misspelled as "Frederic" March in the closing credits.See more »
Quotes:
Milly Stephenson:What do you think of the children?
Al Stephenson:Children? I don't recognize 'em. They've grown so old.
Milly Stephenson:I tried to stop them, to keep them just as they were when you left, but they got away from me.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Jack Benny Hour (1959/I) (TV)See more »
Soundtrack:
ChopsticksSee more »

FAQ

Is "The Best Years of Our Lives" based on a book?
Where is the airplane graveyard located?
How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
See more »
118 out of 143 people found the following review useful.
Forgotten now that it was mildly controversial in its day, 23 September 2004
Author: Bill McClain from Columbia, South Carolina

My parents were of that generation, and the movie was cathartic for returning veterans and their families and friends; it's small wonder that it eclipsed <i>It's A Wonderful Life</i>, which arguably is a better picture. But at the time, the movie had some shocking elements to it. In fact, my mother (roughly the character Peggy's age then) saw it against her parents' wishes.

Back in 1946, it was a jaw-dropper to have a character in a movie utter the word "divorce" or to aver an intent to break up a marriage -- such ideas just weren't voiced in films then. To modern audiences, they come across as melodramatic, but I'm told they elcited genuine gasps from audiences then.

Even more astonishing was William Wyler's decision to cast real-life amputee Harold Russell in the key role of a returning Navy veteran. Until <i>The Battle of Britain</i>, in which an actual, disfigured RAF veteran made a cameo appearance, directors didn't make those sorts of courageous gestures. The intimate yet innocent scene in which Homer Parrish (Russell) demonstrates his helplessness to his fiancé Wilma Cameron (Cathy O'Donnell) is beautiful, heartbreaking and uplifting; later, during the wedding scene, Russell stumbled over a line in saying the vows, and Wyler left the humanizing mistake in, God bless him for it.

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