- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
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War Veterans Return Home
"The Best Years of Our Lives" is an introspective movie about three veterans adjusting to civilian life after World War II. The film, directed by William Wyler and released in 1946 strikes a significant chord even today. The story follows Fred Derry (Dana Andrews) an Army Air Force Captain, Homer Parrish (Harold Russel) a Navy man who lost his hands in the war, and Al Stephenson (Frederic March) an infantry platoon Sergeant. They meet on their way home to Boone City and each one experiences excitement and apprehension in resuming the life they had before the war. The three veterans have their own personal story. Fred Derry before leaving for the war, impulsively married a showgirl (Virginia Mayo) who turns out is only interested in money and having a good time. Harold and his longtime girlfriend Wilma had plans to marry, but fears she won't accept him with his physical disability, and Al Stephenson returns to his banker's job and a family who has grown up while he's been away. "The Best Years of Our Lives" is beautifully and poignantly shot by Academy award cinematographer Gregg Toland, famous for films like "Citizen Cane" and "Grapes of Wrath." A strong performance by Theresa Wright as Stephenson's daughter who is in love with Fred Derry, adds to the conflict. Myrna Loy and Cathy O'Donnell round out an excellent cast. The biggest surprise for me was the performance of real life disabled veteran Harold Russell. He gives a sensitive and straightforward performance as "Homer" that earned him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. "The Best Years of Our Lives" won 8 academy awards including Best Score and Best Picture.
- Ann Phillips
Some of the same issues faceReturning vets today and willFor years to come!!!Timeless
The Best Movie of our Lives
- Matthew P.
This movie is my #1 favorite of all time. I made a point of purchasing it for my private DVD collection. It's a sensitive tribute to "The Greatest Generation." This movie is like a scrapbook you'd find under grandma's coffee table, filled with glorious black and white photos capturing life at a different time. After the movie ends I find myself wondering what happened to Millie & Al, Peggy & Fred and Wilma & Homer. Maybe their "Best Years" were ahead of them.
Every time I view, I find something new- some nuance unnoticed before. It is a stunning film with uniformly excellent performances. Dana Andrews is phenomenal in his portrayal- never better- and so handsome! Scenes between him and the wonderful Teresa Wright are magical. Myrna Loy and Fredric March are perfection. The praise could go on and on- Just see this! Truly unforgettable.
Best Movie of All Time
- Ron R
No question, "Best Years of Our Lives" is number one in Hollywood movies when all factors are considered: setting, the times, the objective of the movie makers, the cast, the story, the music, the performances. I think I have seen it all the way through at least twenty times and I have rerun favorite scenes literally hundreds of times. What are those scenes? Too many to count really. Al's homecoming, of course. Fred Derry in the hull of the plane, Homer and Wilma's wedding. The scene at the start when Homer's "hooks" are first revealed is a masterpiece. I have used that one in a class in "American Studies" to make a point to students about WW II vets. My only quibble, and it is hardly worth mention, is that Frederic March and Dana Andrews were both a bit too old to play their roles. Fred would likely have been a mid-twenties Air Force Captain (Dana Andrews was about 37) and Al would have been a mid-thirties sergeant, if that much (March was about 50). And they would not have been a soda jerk and a banker! But I can live with those small glitches. Greatest movie ever made.
No one mentions the split focus scenes.
When my advanced drama students asked me, some years back, about my favorite movie, I said, "you probably won't know it. It's older than me, but it's a great movie. It's The Best Years of Our Lives." I love it so much I bought the DVD. When it's on TCM, I watch it, just so I can hear Robert Osborn, or Ben Mankiewicz, or the guest programer talk about the movie. I know, they don't have lots of time to talk, but just once I want someone to mention the cinematography. I know, the story is fantastic. I'm with Billy Wilder I cry every time Al walks down that long hallway to hug his wife Milly. I cry at Al's homecoming partly because of the way William Wyler shot it. I want Homer to face his inner demons, and I want Fred and Peggy to end up together. I love the way Wyler uses the enclosed environments to add to the distress of the three heroes who have returned home. Maybe it's because I'm a theatre artist that the composition of shots interest me. So much can be said with the placement of the actors. While every scene is memorable, there are two scenes that I think have some of the best composition in all movie history. They are the scene in the bar when Fred is calling Peggy to tell her they can't see each other any more. Butch and Homer are in the foreground playing the piano. Al is watching them and Fred, who is in the phone booth in the background. Al is the character that ties the scene together. The second scene is at the wedding at the end of the movie. On the right side of the screen, we see Wilma and Homer saying their vows. Fred is standing away from them enough, so that we see Al, Milly and Peggy across the room. Fred is guiding our focus. He's looking at Peggy almost the entire time. We know before he moves to talk to her after the vows are finished, that they are in love and will end up together. Both scenes are so poignant. They make the movie for me.Next time you watch this movie, pay attention to the cinematography.
One Of The Best!
- Bruce Reber
"The Best Years Of Our Lives" (1946) is one of the best films of all time. It's about three veterans returning home after WW2, and their own personal struggles to readjust to civilian life. Frederic March (in an Oscar-winning role) is Al Stephenson, returning to his wife and two kids, Dana Andrews is Fred Derry, welcomed home by his father and stepmother and finding out his wife has moved out and works in a night club, and Harold Russell is Homer Parrish, concerned about how his family and his girlfriend will react to the loss of both his hands. Al has to deal with returning to his job at the bank and with his daughter falling in love with Fred; unqualified for any other work, Fred has no option but to return to his job as soda jerk at the drugstore, something he swore he'd never do again. But it's Homer who faces the greatest struggle of all, wondering if his girlfriend still feels the same about him and if they will be married as they had planned. In the end things work out for Al, Fred and Homer. The rest of the cast is fantastic, i.e. Virginia Mayo, Teresa Wright, Myrna Loy, Gladys George, Roman Bohnen, Ray Collins, Cathy O'Donnell, etc., also great photography by Gregg Toland and direction by the great William Wyler. TBYOOL has the universal theme of veterans readjusting to postwar life, but maybe it applies best to WW2, since it was that conflict that changed America and the world more than any other event of the 20th century.
A top 5 All-time Movie
- Oracle 1
I read that a few critics found the movie too self-absorbed or overly sentimental, but I believe that they missed the mark. I grew up around the WWII generation, and they had REALLY been in/endured that long war. I never knew an Uncle Alvin who died over Germany in May, 1944 doing just what Fred Derry had done in the story-- a flight officer and bombardier/navigator in the famed 8th Air Force. The movie poignantly captured the myriad emotions of those returning from a long war and those back home who also had to adjust to the veterans' return. Those returning wondered if their girls would have been faithful to them; many were not...Virginia Mayo captured this. Casting was EXCEPTIONAL, right down to the many supporting roles. It was Dana Andrews' best ever role, and Myrna Loy would call it her favorite of her many fine films. Bette Davis said that it might have been the best film Hollywood EVER made. The music is haunting and dovetailed so well with the plot. It was also Fredric March's best role of many good ones...he captures a multitude of emotions so well. Wyler wonderfully captures myriad conflicting emotions; the bar scene where the father Al Stephenson tells married Fred Derry to stay away from his daughter Peggy has a number of subtleties, as when Fred Derry agrees to go call her and end their relationship; her father watches Fred hang up, obviously in pain, and knows that Fred truly loves his daughter. Another great scene: Peggy tells her parents that she is going to break up Fred's marriage...when the parents protest, she wonders aloud how they could possibly understand what she is going through because everything had always been so perfect for them in their lives. Then her parents, two sublime actors, calmly explain that they had had to fall in love again multiple times after weathering daunting challenges in their marriage.The movie resolves the plot with a hopeful tone, but with nothing guaranteed-- c'est la vie!
- Jim andrus
I,m confused about part of this Movie. Fred Derry is from the poor side of town, but yet, he comes home a Captain!. Mentions he needs to go to Night School to his wife to get a decent job. He tells the Drug store manager his only experience is as a soda jerk and a bombardier. Al Stephenson is a Banker and lives in a swanky apartment, yet he comes home a Sargent!. Any explanation or thinking on the part of the Director? Still an awesome movie.
An all time favorite
- Joe Spigner
This movie has such a rich plot with the many stories of the returning veterans and their families. It never drags and the characters are so varied. Combine all that with wonderful actors and you get one of my all time favorite movies. I am a sucker for anything with the wonderful Myrna Loy, and this film shows her beauty so well. Frederic March is so versatile in his portrayal of Al. Theresa Wright is marvelous and so graceful and Harold Russell provides an ordinary guy aspect. The actors mesh so well with the script that its no wonder this classic is so revered.
Thank You TCM for keeping this film alive!
- Karen Clark
How lucky I feel to have TCM air such high quality movies such as this without commercial interuption! This movie is my absolute favorite of all time - even though I have it on DVD, I still watch it when it airs on TCM. All of the major actors delivered performances worthy of Oscars and the writing and every other aspect of this film was superb. My very favorite scene is at the end when Fred can't take his eyes off Peggy; how he heads straight towards her and she doesn't lose her gaze towards him while everyone else is congratulating the newly wed Homer and Wilma - such an amazing way to do a scene! And a huge part of the appeal of this movie is Hugo Freidhofer's soundtrack - a masterpiece indeed! I could go on and on about so many other scenes in this movie as so many have done. Thank you to all who had a part in the making of this movie - every film buff needs to have this one in their library!
I love this movie. My dad was a WWII vet, an Army Air Corps pilot serving 21 years. My hubby is a Vietnam and Desert Storm Vet having served 21 years in the infantry. In case it has escaped the attentionn of some viewers, this fillm is based on a book of the same name and Harold Russell, the author, was cast in the role of the sailor who lost his hands. Russell won the Oscar before 1950 and so was allowed to sell his Oscar to pay his wife's medical bills. I believe this was a real stand up guy who somehow got his priorities straight.
My favorite movie of all time
- Russ Roberge
I could write volumes about how this film struck home with me. My dad was a wounded WWII vet, and his homecoming is burned in my mind. I don't cry...ever. But I've seen this movie about 8 times, and I can't hold it in during the scene when Homer shows his girlfriend what he has to do to get ready for bed with his prosthetics. Most moving scene I've ever witnessed. You owe it to yourself to see this one...more than once.
Jogs Many Memories
"The Best Years of Our Lives," besides being relevant to my own return from duty in Vietnam, struck a special chord for me by jogging some distinct childhood memories of the late 1940s and early '50s; things not seen today that were a very distinct part of those times.The first is the large "gas holder" structure in the background in the scene when Fred surprises Peggy after lunch with a kiss. I remember a huge gas holder near my dad's business in L.A. when he would take me there as a kid. These structures are long gone. The second occurs during Al, Millie and Peggy's "night on the town" when a Wurlitzer juke box that plays 10-inch 78-RPM records is seen in the Pelican Club. In the scene where Fred approaches the house to visit Pat and Hortense is an old backyard incinerator, just like the one my parents had. Until these were outlawed to limit air pollution, we regularly burned our trash there. Another memory is the non-powered "push" type lawnmower Wilma's father is using just before she goes to see Homer doing target practice. I remember how hard these were for a kid like me to push through grass that had gotten too thick.The biggest problem for me returning from Vietnam was getting my old job back. But the union stepped in to remind the employer of his duties to veterans under the law. Now I'm in a somewhat similar situation, working to find a new direction after my mom's passing (at 102). I've been living with and taking care of her in her last few years. So the movie again seems relevant and, of course, it's one of the great ones.
- perry casner
I'm happy that TCM airs this wonderful film often. I never miss it when it comes on.
THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIFE
- Gary P Bellotti
AS A DISABLE VET. THIS MOVIE HITS HOME EVEN TODAY!!!!!!! IT`S SHOW THAT THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE THAT CARE .FOR VETS. VETS NEED TO KNOW THIS AND SEE MORE MOVIE LIKE THIS
Top five fav films
I love this film! Beautifully done, engaging plot, well developed story and characters. It has a memorable soundtrack. It is an excellent picture of how life was and looked back then-things lost to us now. It is a wonderful film to study and is visually beautiful. This is a must see film!
Just like it was
- Robert Wilson
This has to be one of my most favourite movies of all time along with "She wore a yellow ribbon". It brings back memories of my father coming home from the war in 45. I don't know how many times I have watched it but I will be watching it again tonight! Nothing like the movies and actors from the 40's & 50's. Just love watching them.
Th Best Years of our Lives/Genius Throughout
- Roger S. Burlingame
In the top five movies that were ever made.Great script.It's always about the script in movies,isn't it?The cast is simply brilliant.Teresa Wright and Dana Andrews are fantastic.Andrews diserved an oscar nomination for his performance.March and Loy;what can you say;simply the best.My two most memorable scenes,Dana Andrews walking in the discarded plane yard and the final scene in the movie where Dana Andrews and Teresa Wright embrace and he tells her what their lives will be like.The hidden treasure in this movie;the musical score,it captures the mood of this movie so well.Willy Wyler one the greatest directors ever.
You would have a hard time finding a love story better than this. Three men returning from war and the differn't experiences they encounter as they try to get back to civilian life. The three men take differn't roads as they rekindle and fall in love. Have the hanky's handy.
The Best Years of our Lives
- Dashiell Barnes
A tender drama that has unfortunately aged in some aspects, but it's still not dated. The ensemble gives first rate work. March won the Best Actor Academy Award, but the undisputed scene stealer is Russell who won two Oscars, one for Best Supporting Actor plus an Honorary award. Wyler's sensetive direction earned him an Oscar, the film received accolades for it's adapted screenplay, editing, score & the coveted Best Picture prize. The film perfectly captures the story of men returning home after another world war. I give it a 4.5/5.
One of the best motion pictures ever made
65 years and one day ago, my father, a WWII vet, went to see this movie to calm down while my brother was being born. They're both gone now and although this movie perfectly captures a moment in time, the movie is timeless. The scene of Myrna Loy in the kitchen when Frederick March returns home could not be more moving. I was recently asked what was my favorite movie of all time and this was the movie that came to mind. Brilliant.
The Best Years of our Lives
- Evelyn Loda
I LOVE....LOVE THIS MOVIE,,,,,I CAN'T FIND IT IN ANY STORES,,,WHERE CAN I BUY IT? PLEASE LET ME KNOW.IT REMINDS US TO BE THANKFUL FOR OUR SOLDIERS, CAUSE WITHOUT THEM WE WON'T BE HERE IN THE USA THE WAY WE CHOOSE TO LIVE.
One of the best 'war' movies of all time.
- Hollis B
After the guts and glory, death and life, coming home is an adjustment. This movie shows this reality of war and life after. It peers into these service members lives and watches them answering their own question...'What do I do now?' Needs to be given it's due. Restore it and release it in widescreen!
A Great Film....
- Grant Waara
According to Tom Brokaw and the late Stephen Ambrose, the men who came back from the war met the challenges of returning home with the same steadfastness they so admiringly displayed during their respective war service. William Wyler's masterpiece quietly suggests otherwise. Each soldier, sailor and airman (and of course, Marines) faced their own difficulties when they came home from the war. Some met them quickly, some struggled and there were those who would bear the physical scars that they would take to the grave with them. "The Best Years of Our Lives," also shows that some scars were inside and were perhaps, the most difficult of all to confront. I won't rehash the storyline here, but suffice to say that this film holds up, and is still the best movie ever made about veterans returning home in war's aftermath. Top notch direction, a superb cast delivering natural performances, wonderful cinematography, and capped off by a great score. I'm hard pressed to find flaws in it. Ignore the negative reviews here. Watch it and judge for yourself. This is easily one of my top five favorites...
My best years were wasted watching this movie
- Erik Wagner
It is still considered one of the top 100 films of all time, but I just don't think it holds up. And the fact that it won over "It's a Wonderful Life", one of the absolute greatest films of all time, is just a bitter pill for me to take. I get why it would have been popular in 1946. We are coming off of a tremendous 'win' and patriotic history for America, but families were dealing with the harsh realities of the difficulties of men coming home. It was one of the first to really examine the issue. It works well in that we've got three men's stories, so we get a nice ensemble and a variety of issues: disability, lack of work, family roles, not connecting with the same people anymore, depression
Best Years Best Movie
- Dalton Trogdon
Amazing cast touching story as relevant today as it was in 46
William Wyler and Sam Goldwyn created this film starring Myrna Loy, Frederic March, Dana Andrews with a superlative supporting cast beginning with Harold Russell and Teresa Wright. Ms. Loy is first billed due to her stature as a Star but it is Frederic March and Dana Andrews with whom the picture revolves.I am a Veteran myself and I cry every time I see the reunion scene between March and Ms. Loy. Dana Andrews is perfect in his role as the young Captain. I could go on for paragraphs about the greatness of this movie but suffice to say, it is a Masterpiece. William Wyler's body of work is simply stunning: Mrs. Miniver, The Little Foxes, The Letter, Friendly Persuasion, Ben Hur, The Best Years of Our Lives, Wuthering Heights, Funny Girl.
The Best Years of Our Lives (1945)
If you're talking about the aftermath and tragedy of war, this film will almost always pop up. It is a very powerful film of that specific topic. The film is about veterans coming home, mentally, physically, or emotionally distraught. The film has several top notch performances, however it is Harold Russell who has the most powerful. He was never in a film before this one and his film debut sent shock waves through the audience as he played a character like himself, without hands. William Wyler directed this masterpiece that is still as relevant today as it was in 1945 when it was first released.
Wyler's Masterpiece Pulls No Punches
Robert Osborne said that Bette Davis called "The Best Years of Our Lives" the best movie ever made. It's difficult to find a better movie. The power of this movie is due to William Wyler's very careful directing. He made sure that the message of how difficult it is to return from war, and a very popular war, was clearly stated in this movie. And it is a tender, heart rending portrayal of the lives of three different characters that delivers that message. Yet Wyler develops the roles of those who are involved with those characters, which is the power of this movie. While Frederick March delivers an outstanding role, the cast is also outstanding, and puts together the knock-out punch of this extraordinary work.There are many great scenes in this movie, but as I view it again, the exchange between Homer and Butch at the piano when Homer is upset about the confrontation he has had with his family, hits hard. Butch ends with the dry comment that if there is another war, it won't matter because we'll all be blown to bits. Hoagy Carmichael is poignant in this role, and Wyler introduces a very powerful additional message of how serious is the situation in which war has left us. The movie is about three returning veterans, but Wyler casts it in the deeper backdrop of the very fragile world condition in which all of the characters have to live.I am impressed with Teresa Wright's role as Peggy Stephenson. We don't see her maturing work at the hospital (as her mother Milly remarks to husband Al, "She knows more than the both of us"), but she acts that role as if she has been there, and we feel it.A great movie that all should see. Kudos to Turner Classic Movies for making available to all.
One of the best movies ever made.
Flawless, timeless and hauntingly beautiful. When I was younger my mom asked me to watch this with her. Being a teenager I had no interest. Foolish me, but I was lucky enough to get to see it on TCM recently. It left me speechless. The acting is incredible and the characters are so real.This movie is also phenomenal because it's so relevant today. It doesn't offer unrealistically happy endings or easy solutions, but it is filled with empathy, and with hope.
"Sheer perfection" of a movie. Acting is so real it doesn't seem like acting. Real life Americana. You cannot stop watching this movie once you start, and you cannot see it just once. Uplifting. All the main characters struggle but do the right thing in the end. It will tap into all of your emotions and it brings out the best. Timely. Relevant today with our veterans' issues. Educational. Can be shown in schools for a gllimpse into the realities of life. Compelling performances, no overacting. Not to mention the musical score is wonderful. Watch it with your loved ones and appreciate them more. Or if you are a baby boomer appreciate your WWII-era parents' struggles. Wow. There is no way you won't love this movie.
The Best Years of Our Lives
This is one of the best movies ever made. The story line had to strike a chord for all returning servicemen and women. The music is so moving and haunting. My favorite scene is when Fred Derry's father is reading his son's citations and falters when he has to read his son's name. It gets me everytime. One of the best moments in all of film history. My other favorite scene is at the end when Fred is telling Peggy how hard their life will be in the future, but all she does is smile more and more and then her hat falls to the floor. What an ending. I feel the same way at the end of Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights", another must see ending. Another great moment in the film is when Fred Derry hits the man at the lunch counter. Homer happens to glance down to the floor and notices the man's American Flag lapel pin had fallen to the floor. He then bends down and picks it up with his hook and puts it in his pocket. That moment says it all for our wounded vets of all wars. A great, great, film.
One of the best
This is one of my 3 favorite movies. The acting, photography and music are amazing. I can watch it over and over. Dana Andrews and Theresa Wright are fantastic together.
Still needed at age 64
- Jeff Boston
One of my favorites. Last night, I watched "The Best Years Of Our Lives" for the fourth time and I believe there is something for everyone in this masterpiece. There are so many good scenes and such great acting. I especially enjoyed March, Andrews, and the underrated Ray Collins, who was awesome in "Citizen Kane." I have watched March act in seven films, and I enjoyed his Al Stephenson the most. Teresa Wright as the wholesome Peggy and Virgina Mayo as the ****some Marie shine as well. Watch this for the acting, the emotion, and the timeless messages. The year was 1946. The Beatles sang a song about whether one would still be needed when age sixty-four. "The Best Years Of Our Lives" is needed, and I believe it always will be.
Amazing Veteran Movie
- Nancy Cook
I just watched this movie on TCM tonight (11-13-10). What a great flick! I myself am retired military and really appreciate any movie with a military theme. I can only imagine how it was for military personnel returning home after WWII. Watch this movie. It is well worth nearly three hours of your time. Bravo!!
The Best of the Best
I love everything about this movie but what I love most is the relationship and the chemistry between Teresa Wright(Peggy) and Dana Andrews(Fred). They make their characters seem so real that you feel their emotions. The actors have very expressive faces which makes their scenes together wonderful to watch. You can see very easily when each of the characters falls in love. Peggy knows at the breakfast table and Fred knows at the lunch table. It always takes the man a bit longer! You can't beat the emotional embrace at the end. Peggy's smile, the way she slides her arms around Fred's neck and her hat falling off just at the right moment. Superb acting for the perfect ending to a great film. BRAVO!!!
The Best Years of Our Lives(1946)
The Best Years of Our Lives defines Sacrifice, Love, and Devotion to Country. Al Stephenson(Fredric March) in a Tour De Force performance returns home from World War Two duty, to restore, rediscover,and complete his life. This film also explores the lives of two other Veterans Fred Deryy(Dana Andrews) and Homer Parrish(Harold Russell) who discover that returning to regular civilian life is anything but normal.. William Wyler magnificently directs the trials of war,separation ,loss, gain and change. By viewing the changes of life through the Veterans eyes, the viewer is drawn into the emotional turmoil experienced by our Gladiators for Freedom and learn that the sacriifices of our men and women are real, and that the United States bears many scars for that sacrifice. God Bless Our Military, Veterans and thier Families...5 stars out of 5 for humanity...
With no fewer than eight well-deserved Oscars, you have to think this movie's got something. I have a short list of films that I'll gladly watch over again and this one is at the top. The direction, acting, book, score, cinematography, all sheer genius. Watch this movie. Then buy the DVD and watch it again. And again. What a joy. Thanks for bringing this to us, TCM!
Fabulous movie all around
I couldn't find anything wrong with this movie. In fact, I had never seen this movie until Memorial Day weekend 2010 and saw the synopsis of this particular movie and hesitated seeing it. I ended up recording it on my DVR to watch later and twice in a row. From the stellar lineup of Fredric March to Myrna Loy and the beautiful Virginia Mayo to the flawless script and genius directing and camera work, you can't go wrong with a movie like this that actually takes you through the lives of three returning WWII heroes and one who was truly a WWII in real life (Howard Russell). This movie has a little bit of something for everyone in it.
Best of the Best
- Linda Nitzschke
In reading all the reviews for this movie, one cannot help but notice how many men thought it was a great movie, which is saying something for a movie with so many tender moments. I hated to see it end, but what an ending! I don't think I can add anything more to what has already been said, so I'll just simply say, this is and always will be The Best Movie Of Our Lives!
Amazing film that touched my heart and soul
Wow ,what a film! My father told me that I had to watch this film when I first got into classic films when I was about 15. I am now 22 and thanks to TCM which showed it just the other day I finally sat down and watched it. I prepared myself because I knew what it was about and knew I would cry. The film is great and I think its one of those films that will stay with you. Excellent acting and there are so many sweet tender moments.I loved the scene when Peggy goes into her room where Fred is having a nightmare and wipes his the sweat off his face. It was such a touching scene. The whole film was beautiful and I will always cherish it.
Wyler's Epic Throb
- Henry Hoffman
I am gratified to read the outpouring for this wonderful film artifact & that its humanity has reached so many hearts. Billy Wilder said that the first 20 minutes choked him up every time & this coming from one of the great film noir practitioners! I heard the noted film historian David Thomson just the other day on NPR cite it as the best war film ever. In this regard, the subtext is profound: the film is really about the women loving the war out of their men: Myrna Loy, Teresa Wright & Cathy O'Donnell are so brass-tacks honest. It's as if they are rebirthing, reparenting, these wounded souls, because the residue of battle (its horrors) stll clings to them: Fredric March (so precise) is the alcoholic; Dana Andrews (so subtlely sullen) is death-soaked; & Harold Russell as Homer (like his Greek counterpart), the most unfortunate, makes the most compelling journey of all--and he unites the triad (to boot) at his wedding. Watching over it all is the choregos in the person of the piano man: Hoagy Carmichael (Butch). Interesting sidebar brought up about Rusty: where does he go?
The Best Years of our Lives
- John Cunningham
One of the best, and most cherished movies of all time. It gives those who were not around then, a chance to feel, and experience, what families went through during those times. It gives us an experience of the Greatest Generation ever. I am a product of that Generation, and will always be grateful, for all they have done.
Agreed - A pure TEN!
- Steve S.
Wyler got EVERYTHING right on this one - cinematic genius!
The Greatest Kiss Of All Time
- Robert Metcalf
I agree with everything Raymond Parker said. Very rarely do you happen to get the perfect combination of people and circumstance that produces a work of art this close to perfection. I would only add one thing. In my opinion, the final kiss between Dana Andrews and Teresa Wright is simply the greatest kiss ever filmed. You can see and feel both of them surrender to the moment with the culmination being Teresa Wright's hat falling off. It takes your breath away. Pure genius, there is no other way to describe it.
The Best Movie Ever
- Raymond Parker
I saw the latter part of this movie at a friends house several years ago. I enjoy watching this movie over and over. In fact I have it on commercial grade. The plot is excellent. The actors do a great job. The musical score is fantastic. I think the best part is the last scene where Dana Andrews (Fred Derry) keeps looking toward Teresa Wright (Peggy Stevenson), and finally walks over to her and says it's going to be tough for several years in our marriage. She smiles and he kisses her very romantically.
March, Loy in Wyler/Goldwyn Masterpiece
- David Atkins
Samuel Goldwyn produced many fine films in his illustrious carrier such as Wuthering Heights, Little Foxes, etc but reached his peak in "The Best Years Of Our Lives" as beautiful and evocative as its title.Goldwyn assigned this film to William Wyler who cast the film impeccably with Myrna Loy top billed and with Frederic March, Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright heading a superb cast. William Wyler was a genius and arguably one fhe top 5 Directors in movie history with such films as The Letter, Jezebel, Ben Hur, Funny Girl etc in his portfolio..there was no genre he could not do, and do it finer than just about anyone. Known for retake after retake, he was asked once by Olivia De Havilland what he wanted, and Wyler replied, " I want it better" Guiding a cadre of players such as Olivia De Havilland Barbra Streisand, Charlton Heston, et al to Oscars and also guiding Jennifer Jones, Henry Fonda, et al to fine performances, Bette Davis claimed Wyler was her greatest Director and the Great Love of Her Life.Of the many memorable scenes in this movie, the one that gets me all the time is the return of Frederic March to his home after years of war service as a returning Veteran ( of another War) this is a particularly moving scene. Wyler does it well with Miss Loy-one of the treasures of the American Screen- and Frederic March playing it superbly. Loy, March, Wright, Andrews, Goldwyn, Wyler and others reached the peak of their respective careers in this great movie...a movie that deserved all the accolades it received.
One Of A Kind Movie!
- Clare Ikeguchi
William Wyler did an outstanding job directing this masterpiece! This movie is my favorite movie of all time. I'm really glad it won 7 Acadamy Awards including best picture. You could not have picked a better cast for this movie. Most of all, I love its message, things may not turn out as expected for homecoming veterans but in the end they find a way to start a new beginning. This movie really stands the test of time. Even though I'm 15, I'm an OLD MOVIE FANATIC! This makes me appreciate what TCM does by playing these wonderful classic movies. Thank you so much TCM.
Samuel Goldwyn's Masterpiece
- Ann Brown
The great William Wyler explores returning veterans' ambivalence just after WWII. Astounding performances from a great ensemble cast results in a patriotic and optimistic treatment of the problems which ensue when the men resume their civilian roles. Fredric March and Myrna Loy tentativley feel their way back to a loving marital relationship. Dana Andrews is disappointed in how slutty his gorgeous war bride is upon closer inspection, and Harold Russell is amazing as the terribly maimed sailor trying to figure out where he fits in to the family and girlfriend he left behind. This movie is the result of talent combined in titanic proportions and is not to missed.
Reply to Saereg:
The wide aspect ratio was not available at the time of this movie's filming. You're seeing the whole thing, which makes Wyler's blocking all the more admirable.
powerful acting/raw emotions
the best years of our lives is one of the best movies ever made showing real love and drama in everyday life of ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances. i try to watch this movie every chance i get. the only question i have is what ever happened to rob stephenson, the son of al and milly, brother of peggy, (michael hall) he just sort of disappears! I just wish this movie could be in letterbox because i think i am not seeing the whole scene as it is being played out.
Dana & Teresa! The most powerful ending
The framing & camerawork not to mention direction of the final scene are so spectacular. As the couple are giving their wedding vows the focus is on Teresa Wright & Dana Andrews in one of the most brilliant & touching shots I have ever seen. The wedding is finished & Dana walks over to Teresa & says how hard their life will be together. Absolutely amazing & brings tears to this tough guy every time. Unbelievably romantic. Also Dana in the plane is stunning
History Repeats Itself
I started watching this movie earlier this evening as I was simply flipping channels and was instantly drawn to the subject matter. Helping veterans transition from their war experience to returning home is a cause that is dear to my heart and watching this movie just further inspired me to help. It's unreal to see events taking place sixty years ago still taking place in the 21st century. You would've thought things had changed for the better. Now, there are many more programs available than back then but we still have a long way to go. Incredibile acting further brought the message home. I wish more of today's movies had the same spirit in them.
Harold Russell, you are amazing!!
'The best years of our lives' is a great movie, though I'm still doubtful that Fredric March won best actor instead of James Stewart. I know that sounds strange, but even though Mr. March was good, in my opinion, Jimmy Stewart in 'It's a wonderful life' is a greater preformance. But that's only my opinion. But I believe that Mr. Harold Russell is a wonderfully talented actor. Especially since he had absolutley NO acting experiance. And since he's a real-life amputee, it makes his performance even more tear jearking. My fav scene is when his sweethart tells him she will never leave him. Be still my heart! This is wonderful and I recomend it to suckers for happy endings.
Can't be beat!
- pat harris
This is one of the best movies I have ever seen. It takes you back to that time in our past and really lets you feel what it must have been like then and how those people felt. Harold Russell gave such an excellent performance it is hard to believe that he had no acting experience. He was a natural. And Myrna Loy and Teresa Wright played such good parts. They were so direct with their feelings. I could go on and on, but if you haven't ever seen this movie you need to. And if you have seen it, watch it again.
The Best Years of Our Lives
A Great Film. I enjoyed it. The actors and actress are just perfect for this movie.
One of my most favorite films! I watch it every time it is shown and always love it. It makes me nostalgic for a time I never knew--it helps me to understand those who returned from WWII and the families who had waited so long for them. Highly recommend!
Best Film Ever Made
No doubt in my mind that this is the best film ever made. Excellent story portraying the returning vets after WWII and the people they come home to. Well acted by all.
My Favorite Film
In my opinion, "The Best Years of Our Lives" was molded into a brilliant film that satifies any natural hunger for romance or comedy while whispering poigant messages on war to the audiance. Naturally, the aduiance leans forward to quickly hear the war-whipers but instead they become enamored by the beautiful authenticity of how this film depicts readjustment for WWII vets.
One of the All-time Great American Films
- Leigh Cox
I first saw this movie about 35 years ago as a child, and I loved it. The characters are so real that I found myself wondering after the movie was over what happened to them later.Still today, I take time to watch this movie every time it comes on TCM. And darned if it doesn't makes me cry in the end each time! That shows you how touching and profound it really is."The Best Years of Our Lives" is a close second only to "Marty" as my all-time favorite movie.
one of the top ten films
- michael york
i can watch this film every time i see it is on wish there was a dvd loaded with special features if ever a film deserved a deluxe dvd presentation this is one and dana andrews was unjustly not nominated wyler and toland are an unbeatable pair
a memorable film
I absolutely love this movie,I catch it everytime it appears on TCM.One of the best films of 1946.Great performances from the entire cast,including real-life veteran Harold Russell(homer)who had never acted in a film before.The scenes between he and Cathy O'Donnell(wilma)are especially strong.
Who is this Lady?
Can anyone tell me the name of the Black Lady who was the Ladies Room Attendant in the movie "The Best Years of our Lives"