The Best Years of Our Lives

The Best Years of Our Lives

William Wyler (1946)

U Certificate


Our Score
Undoubtedly one of the finest and most satisfying achievements in American cinema, this Samuel Goldwyn production now tends, regrettably, to be overlooked by film scholars. The tale of three returning GIs adjusting to civilian life after the Second World War may have lost some relevance post-Vietnam, but there's no denying the magnificent craftsmanship as director William Wyler and photographer Gregg Toland (Citizen Kane) bring Robert Sherwood's vivid screenplay to life. Stars Fredric March, Myrna Loy and Dana Andrews are at their postwar peaks here, but it is the performance of real-life wartime amputee Harold Russell that is most touching, and he rightly won two Academy Awards for his role (a special award for bringing hope to other veterans along with that of best supporting actor). Awarded six other Oscars, this movie is hard to overpraise: clocking in at close to three hours, it provides a substantial and rewarding experience for all who watch it.


Three servicemen return home following the Second World War, but struggle with resuming their old lives. Banker Al wrestles with his conscience over handling the finances of fellow soldiers, Fred finds time apart has taken its toll on his marriage, and Homer fears his fiancee is only staying with him out of pity. Drama, starring Fredric March, Dana Andrews, Harold Russell, Myrna Loy and Virginia Mayo.

Cast & Crew

Al Stephenson Fredric March
Fred Derry Dana Andrews
Homer Parrish Harold Russell
Milly Stephenson Myrna Loy
Marie Derry Virginia Mayo
Peggy Stephenson Teresa Wright
Wilma Cameron Cathy O'Donnell
Butch Engle Hoagy Carmichael
Director William Wyler
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: R.K.O. Radio Pictures LtdAvailable on: video and DVD