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
For his performance as Homer Parrish, Harold Russell became the only actor to win two Academy Awards for the same role. The Academy Board of Governors thought he was a long shot to win, so they gave him an honorary award "for bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans through his appearance." Later that ceremony he won for Best Supporting Actor. See more »
When Fred Derry presses the tiled wall in the entrance of his wife's apartment building, it gives way slightly. See more »
[after Peggy tells her parents that they never had any trouble in their relationship]
"We never had any trouble." How many times have I told you I hated you and believed it in my heart? How many times have you said you were sick and tired of me; that we were all washed up? How many times have we had to fall in love all over again?
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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 »
The film was modified to play on a wide screen and reissued on February 3, 1954. 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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