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The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, War | 29 May 1947 (Mexico)
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1:47 | Trailer

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Airs Sun. Dec. 16, 1:00 PM on TCM

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

Director:

William Wyler

Writers:

Robert E. Sherwood (screen play), MacKinlay Kantor (from a novel by) (as Mackinlay Kantor)
Top Rated Movies #243 | Won 7 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 May 1947 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

Glory for Me See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,100,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$23,650,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$44,309,982
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In order to give the film a documentary-style realism, the director drew each member of the crew--props, grips, mixers, etc.--from the ranks of WWII veterans. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the film, Homer hands Fred the wedding ring and says, "Here's the ring. Don't lose it." However, his lips say, "Here's the ring. Don't drop it." See more »

Quotes

Milly Stephenson: You're crazy.
Al Stephenson: No. Too sane for my own good.
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 »

Connections

Referenced in Fallen Angels: Since I Don't Have You (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Beer Barrel Polka (Roll Out the Barrel)
(1927) (uncredited)
Music by Jaromir Vejvoda
Played on piano by Hoagy Carmichael and danced by Fredric March & Myrna Loy and other couples
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Over 60 years old and still a classic!
22 February 2005 | by GMJamesSee all my reviews

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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