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The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, War | 29 May 1947 (Mexico)
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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 #245 | 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

"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30-minute radio adaptation of the movie on May 19, 1947, with Dana Andrews, Virginia Mayo and Cathy O'Donnell reprising their film roles. 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

[Homer has asked Wilma into his bedroom to see what happens as he prepares for bed. After removing his hooks and harness, he 'wiggles' into his pajama top]
Homer Parrish: I'm lucky. I have my elbows. Some of the boys don't. But I can't button them up.
Wilma Cameron: I'll do that, Homer.
Homer Parrish: This is when I know I'm helpless. My hands are down there on the bed. I can't put them on again without calling to somebody for help. I can't smoke a cigarette or read a book. If that door should blow shut, I can't open it and get out of this...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Alternate Versions

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

Connections

Featured in Waga jinsei saiaku no toki (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride)
(1850) (uncredited)
from "Lohengrin"
Written by Richard Wagner
Played on piano by Hoagy Carmichael and sung by the children at the wedding
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The ravages of war don't end on the battlefield.
25 April 2001 | by HeiressSee all my reviews

I watch this movie every time it plays on TV. A simply brilliant film. Three men return home from war and try to return to civilian life with great difficulty. All three led opposite lives during the war (Executive Banker became an army corporal, a soda jerk became an Air Force Captain and the High School Football hero loses both his arms in battle)and now each must reconstruct his life and connect with a new reality. The homes they return to, with grown children and independent, working women along with a depressed economy, only add to the strife. It's the scenes just off camera and the unspoken dialog which resonates the most loudly, however. The awkward intimacy of Frederich March and Myrna Loy and his struggle to return to his place as leader (both at home and at work) are heartbreaking.

Dana Andrews is riveting as the handsome, decorated Captain who struggles to keep his life together without the uniform.

The film is filled with honest characters and each is portrayed by a gifted actor.

This film, however, took on a whole other level after seeing, "Saving Private Ryan." The reality and magnitude of what these men lived through for love and country......and obviously it didn't end on the battlefield.

This is an essential for any collection.


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