The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
Updated: Oct 15, 2022
Plot Summary: Fred, Al and Homer are three World War II veterans facing difficulties as they re-enter civilian life. Fred (Dana Andrews) is a war hero who, unable to compete with more highly skilled workers, has to return to his low-wage soda jerk job. Bank executive Al (Fredric March) gets into trouble for offering favorable loans to veterans. After losing both hands in the war, Homer (Harold Russell) returns to his loving fiancée, but must struggle to adjust.
*Recognition: Nominated for Best Sound Recording; Won for Best Picture, Director (William Wyler), Actor (Fredric March), Supporting Actor (Harold Russell), Screenplay, Film Editing, Score, Honorary and Memorial Awards; AFI #37 (both 1998 and 2007); National Film Registry 1989
What is this movie is about?: How do you rebuild your life after going through one of your most defining events especially when that is serving during a war.
Best Performance: Harold Russell/Frederic March
Best Minor Performance: Teresa Wright
Most Charismatic Award: Dana Andrews
Best Scene: Al, Fred, and Homer fly home/First Night Home
Favorite Scene: First Night Home/Al gives the loan to the farmer
Most Indelible Moment: Fred knocks out the customer/Homer letting Wilma see his weakest moments
Marie Derry: What do you think I was doing all those years?
Fred Derry: I don't know, babe, but I can guess.
Marie Derry: Go ahead. Guess your head off. I could do some guessing myself. What were you up to in London and Paris and all those places? I've given you every chance to make something of yourself. I gave up my own job when you asked me. I gave up the best years of my life, and what have you done? You flopped! Couldn't even hold that job at the drugstore. So I'm going back to work for myself and that means I'm gonna live for myself too. And in case you don't understand English, I'm gonna get a divorce. What have you got to say to that?
Fred Derry: Don't keep Cliff waiting.
"We never had any trouble." How many times did I tell you I hated you and believed it in my heart? How many times did you tell me you were tired of me; that we were all washed up? How many times did we have to fall in love all over again?
There are some lighter moments, but it's not that kind of movie.
The Stanley Rubric:
Audience Score: 9.3