270 user 119 critic

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, War | 29 May 1947 (Mexico)
1:46 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Prime Video

Three World War II veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed.


William Wyler


Robert E. Sherwood (screen play), MacKinlay Kantor (from a novel by) (as Mackinlay Kantor)
Won 7 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

More Like This 

Mrs. Miniver (1942)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A British family struggles to survive the first months of World War II.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Teresa Wright
Certificate: Passed Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A poor Midwest family is forced off their land. They travel to California, suffering the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A spoiled heiress running away from her family is helped by a man who is actually a reporter in need of a story.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The desperate life of a chronic alcoholic is followed through a four-day drinking bout.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Ray Milland, Jane Wyman, Phillip Terry
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A naive man is appointed to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A man from a family of rich snobs becomes engaged to a woman from a good-natured but decidedly eccentric family.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Jean Arthur, James Stewart, Lionel Barrymore
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In Hawaii in 1941, a private is cruelly punished for not boxing on his unit's team, while his captain's wife and second-in-command are falling in love.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A young soldier faces profound disillusionment in the soul-destroying horror of World War I.

Director: Lewis Milestone
Stars: Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim, John Wray
Rebecca (1940)
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A self-conscious woman juggles adjusting to her new role as an aristocrat's wife and avoiding being intimidated by his first wife's spectral presence.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A tyrannical ship captain decides to exact revenge on his abused crew after they form a mutiny against him, but the sailor he targets had no hand in it.

Director: Frank Lloyd
Stars: Charles Laughton, Clark Gable, Franchot Tone
Going My Way (1944)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Father Charles O'Mailey, a young priest at a financially failing Church in a tough neighborhood, gains support and inspires his superior.

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Bing Crosby, Barry Fitzgerald, Frank McHugh
Sunrise (1927)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An allegorical tale about a man fighting the good and evil within him. Both sides are made flesh - one a sophisticated woman he is attracted to and the other his wife.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston


Cast overview, first billed only:
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


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 alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Most Honored Picture of All Time (1954 widescreen reissue) See more »


Drama | Romance | War


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

29 May 1947 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

Glory for Me See more »


Box Office


$2,100,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


"The Hedda Hopper Show - This Is Hollywood" broadcast a 30-minute radio adaptation of the movie on March 15, 1947, with Dana Andrews and Harold Russell reprising their film roles. See more »


When Fred Derry presses the tiled wall in the entrance of his wife's apartment building, it gives way slightly. See more »


Wilma Cameron: Tell me the truth, Homer. Do you want me to forget about you?
Homer Parrish: 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.
Wilma Cameron: Oh, Homer! Why can't you ever understand the way things really are, the way I really feel? I keep trying to tell you.
Homer Parrish: 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
[his hooks]
Homer Parrish: every day, every night.
Wilma Cameron: But I can only find out by trying. And if it ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Only twelve cast members are listed in the opening credits. Cathy O'Donnell receives an "and introducing" credit before her name. Victor Cutler, who plays Woody, is listed last in the opening credits but does not appear in the cast list of 23 names in the end credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

The film was modified to play on a wide screen and reissued on February 3, 1954. See more »


Featured in The 40th Annual Academy Awards (1968) See more »


Among My Souvenirs
(1927) (uncredited)
Music by Edgar Leslie
Lyrics by Lawrence Wright
Played on piano by Hoagy Carmichael
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Some of this film's greatest moments were scenes without a spoken word!
18 January 2001 | by jackbootSee all my reviews

There are several thoughtful reviews of this movie here already - most all of which I concur with.

I'll try to add a couple of unique comments about this most wonderful of films.

It occurred to me that some of this films greatest and most touching moments are told without dialogue:

The scene so many readers here have already mentioned - when Fred visits the boneyard for all those bombers waiting for the scrap heap. Through the camera work and Mr. Andrews' acting, we too are transported back to his harrowing missions aboard one of these planes. The urgency, the fear, the terror, the danger are all palpable at once as though we're in the cockpit too, flying over Europe against great enemy resistance, even though it's a sunny day somewhere in America in a lot for surplus aircraft. When I watched that scene, I felt like I really knew what tremendous ordeals he had endured. I felt for Fred now that this plane, that had been so decisively important, just as he himself had been so important, risking his life in service to his country as part of the plane's crew suddenly no longer served any useful purpose.

The scene where Homer is just about to go to his girlfriend's, Wilma's, house as planned - but he stops and he watches her through the window as she works in the kitchen, and plainly, we see that she is dear to him. But instead of going in to see her, with great struggle he changes his mind and he goes home and to his room. What a sweet room it is! It's the room he left - just out of high school - to join the navy. It's a high school student's room, a boy's room in his parent's house, with his trophies and pennants on the wall. He looks around at his boyhood triumphs and - we see through the camera - he stops and looks at his posed portrait in his football uniform, his right arm cocked back holding the football, his left arm pointing towards the imaginary receiver his head up, proud, and his gaze confident and purposeful. And then he looks at an action shot of himself dribbling the basketball past defenders. I can't begin to assess what Homer could be feeling at that moment - feelings of loss? of uselessness? Is he thinking that he'll be forever a boy - dependent on his parents and that he'll never be able to be his own man? That sequence - all without dialogue - speaks volumes!

The kicker for me though, is the reminder that this is not merely a character in a story that has moved me, but this is also a real person who lost both his hands in service to his country. Those photographs of him holding the football and dribbling the basketball sure look to me like they are real pictures of the real person, Mr. Harold Russell, who plays Homer. What kind of courage did he have to look those things in the face for millions of viewers to witness? And how hard was it for Mr. Russell the person to make light of his character's and his own real life disability by playing Chopsticks on the piano with his "hooks" for everyone's amusement?

Those two scenes stick in my mind as the most powerful to me - but there are so many more in this movie. It's worth noting that they were so effective without any dialogue at all. An actor shares a soul stirring revelation and it is carefully captured and revealed for us with sensitive and skillful film making.

This is one of those movies that would go on a very short list of all time favorites. It's not perfect - when I can detach myself emotionally from the people in this story I can say that it could possibly be just a little heavy handed with it's message, but to watch this movie with all it's masterful performances from so many in the cast all assembled so lovingly and with great such great care by a great director - I have to think that it is very near perfect.

I read here on IMDB under Harold Russell's (plays Homer) bio that he sold his Oscar in order to pay for surgery for his wife!! He is still living, retired on Cape Cod. Someone, somehow should get his Oscar back to him. It seems so wrong!! He paid very dearly with flesh and blood and bone and then had to, while on display, stare his loss in the face for the benefit of the movie going public. Someone should return his Oscar to him - the Academy? Steven Spielberg? Tom Hanks? William Wyler's heirs? I don't know who, but someone should really do that for him. It seems like a small price to pay for what he gave.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 270 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed