• The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

The Best Years of Our Lives

Release Date: December 25th, 1946

DVD Release Date: October 28th, 1997

Not Yet Rated |2 hr 52 min

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.

Cast: Fredric March, Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright, Virginia Mayo, Harold Russell, Hoagy Carmichael, Gladys George

Director: William Wyler

Genres: Drama

Production Co: Samuel Goldwyn Company

Distributors: RKO Radio Pictures

Keywords: Fascinating, 1940s, Small town, Daughter, Transformation, Wife, Love, Sacrifice

Ratings & Reviews

  • 88
    Eric HendersonSlant Magazine

    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 burden of patriotism. The nation’s problems are right there in plain sight, just as clear as cinematographer Gregg Toland’s typically precise deep-focus shots. show more

  • 100
    James BerardinelliReelViews

    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 get a snack or take a bathroom break. In fact, when it's over, there's almost a sense of disappointment that there aren't a few scenes left hiding on the other side of the closing credits. The feeling of warmth and satisfaction that accompanies the conclusion is the hallmark of a great drama - a distinction that anyone who has seen The Best Years of Our Lives will apply to this landmark production. show more

  • 100
    Roger EbertChicago Sun-Times

    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 sobering look at the problems veterans faced when they returned home. show more

See all critic reviews on metacritic.com


Winner Film From Any Source
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1947)
Winner Directing
Nominated Sound Recording
Winner Actor in a Supporting Role
Winner Picture
Winner Film Editing
Winner Best Motion Picture
Winner Writing (Screenplay)
Winner Music (Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture)