The Best Years Of Our Lives

MGM Released 1946


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William Wyler
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The Best Years Of Our Lives is the 1946 classic award nominated romance drama from legendary director William Wyler (Ben Hur, Roman Holiday, Funny Girl) that perfectly meditates on how the horrors of war affect those returned who fought in it. The film is a study of what happens to three GIs when they are shipped home after WWII, and how their home lives have both changed and adjusted without them. One is soldier Homer Parrish (Harold Russell) who lost his hands in the war and now must use hooks. Despite his incredible attitude and the skill with which he uses the hooks, he finds himself the object of pity among his family and some friends, and is uncertain about his longtime sweetheart's level of commitment, now that his handicap will affect them the rest of their lives. There is also Fred Derry (Dana Andrews) who married his wife 20 days before he shipped off overseas and as a result, never really got to know her or start a life with her, and finds that she has done just fine without him. Finally, there is middle-aged soldier Al Stephenson (Fredric March) who returns to his wife and two children, and back to his life as a bank executive.moreless


Metacritic Score

  • 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    It feels surprisingly modern: lean, direct, honest about issues that Hollywood then studiously avoided. After the war years of patriotism and heroism in the movies, this was a sobe...

  • 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    The Best Years of Our Lives runs almost three hours, but it doesn't seem nearly that long. The film is so involving that there's no temptation to glance at a watch, nor a need to g...

  • 88

    Slant Magazine Eric Henderson

    If The Best Years of Our Lives emerges as a more contemporary-seeing film than almost anything else to which its ingredients could compare, it's because of how it wrestles with the...

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