The Best Years of Our Lives 1946 (1946) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: Three World War II veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed. Runtime: 170 mins Release Date: 21 Nov 1946
Over 60 years old and still a classic! (by GMJames)
In 2004, I wrote the following statements on an IMDb message board when a user wondered if The Best Years of Our Lives was a forgotten movie: ***** To me watching this movie is like opening up a time capsule. I think in many ways "The Best Years of Our Lives" is probably one of the more fascinating character studies and it holds up extremely well as a look at life in the US in the mid-1940s after WWII. I believe "Coming Home" and "The Deer Hunter", both released in 1978, were the most recent films that were closest in capturing the numerous issues of military men <more>
returning from war that were brought up in "The Best Years of Our Lives".What really impressed me was watching the movie in its entirety when I was in college around 1980-81 and many if not all of the college students applauded at the end of the movie.This movie still packs a wallop and I'm very happy to read in other posts other users feeling of a movie that will definitely stand the test of time. *****I'm very happy to see the movie ranked near the top 100 movies on IMDb and AFI. Also, though it was in competition with what eventually became a Christmas classic, It's a Wonderful Life, arguably, The Best Years of Our Lives' Oscar wins, including Best Picture, were very well-deserved. I've just seen the film again in 2005 and after almost 60 years, The Best Years of Our Lives is still a powerful, beautifully acted and well-crafted motion picture.
The ravages of war don't end on the battlefield. (by Heiress)
I watch this movie every time it plays on TV. A simply brilliant film. Three men return home from war and try to return to civilian life with great difficulty. All three led opposite lives during the war Executive Banker became an army corporal, a soda jerk became an Air Force Captain and the High School Football hero loses both his arms in battle and now each must reconstruct his life and connect with a new reality. The homes they return to, with grown children and independent, working women along with a depressed economy, only add to the strife. It's the scenes just off camera and the <more>
unspoken dialog which resonates the most loudly, however. The awkward intimacy of Frederich March and Myrna Loy and his struggle to return to his place as leader both at home and at work are heartbreaking. Dana Andrews is riveting as the handsome, decorated Captain who struggles to keep his life together without the uniform.The film is filled with honest characters and each is portrayed by a gifted actor.This film, however, took on a whole other level after seeing, "Saving Private Ryan." The reality and magnitude of what these men lived through for love and country......and obviously it didn't end on the battlefield. This is an essential for any collection.
What's Missing? Your Life Maybe!! (by dataconflossmoor)
Blue ribbon banners, stars and stripes forever, decorated generals, and unconditional surrender from the enemies which required tons and tons of radiation, this was the summon substance of the United States victory in World War II!! The celebration on Times Square as well as everywhere else in the United States suggests a national zenith!!! America is on top right!! one thing, one agonizing and painstakingly perverse thing..The period of adjustment!!..The actual celebration ended when the bottle of champagne was finished..Now everyone needs to get on with their lives...only one problem <more>
though...they have to get new lives...the old lives are gone forever...Polite and pleasant smiles had a fragile facade with a longevity of ice cubes in boiling water!! Everyone of the characters in the movie is paraded by primal doubts, and unable to masquerade a pretense about how nothing was seriously wrong, for the simple reason that it was not true!!! Once sergeants, and generals, and their wives, and daughters, and sons and virtually all other Americans touched by World War II, were exposed to disabilities, nightmares and recriminations of World War II and what it really accomplished as well as negated, nobody was the same!! For now, social and moral issues had a self serving interest...Frederick March and Myrna Loy had to start over!! Dana Andrews realized that he should never have been married to Virginia Mayo in the first place!!! Theresa Wright has become painfully aware of the fact that she is constructively selfish!! Las but not least, the character, Homer, is about to get married and he thinks that everyone around him is as devastated by his injury as he is, basically in the sense that they are unable or unwilling to cope!!The reason this film is so fabulous is because a happy ending was attained the hard way, once everybody recognized the new beginning of the new United States and the new world overall, tragedy from WWII was recognized, and things that were emotionally torn asunder were taken in stride, and dealt with accordingly!! Frederick March and Myrna Loy need to go back to chapter one in their marriage, Homer has apprised his new bride as to what it takes to be married to him i.e. half the times, she will feel like a nurse and Thresa Wright's involvement with Dana Andrews means that her entrance into adulthood has resulted in partial responsibility for breaking up a marriage...This is tantamount to learning how to drive a car to get your driver's license at the Indianapolis 500...The characters in the movie are the typical post WWII Americans in that they are stalemated by the rude awakening of coercive changes to their lives...Happiness no longer is afforded the luxury of the adjective cop-aesthetic...it is now about formidable conditions, and good winning out over evil by way of the less ugly choice!!...World War II did not just happen!! It will henceforth dominate the social patterns of American living!!!The aggregate catastrophe of World War II has mirrored most Americans' feelings of personal human inadequacy as well!!I loved this film and so did AFI, probably for the reason that it brought out issues that were at one time unjustifiably taboo!!..Bottom line, see this movie!! Nightmares about combat, dilemmas about marital unhappiness and/or readjustment, coping with your life when stricken-ed by a disability and just basically acting human are portrayed constantly in movies and television today, HOWEVER!! this is 1946!! Very new to Americans then....REMEMBER THAT!! Director William Wyler has illustrated how Americans feel about the aftermath of WWII in the days when the movie industry has left him with one hand tied behind his back!!! Take that into account and you will probably realize just how sensational this movie really was!!
A deeply personal motion picture... (by Nazi_Fighter_David)
This American masterpiece came as near perfection as popular art contrives to be, from its beautifully equivocal and suggestive title to the magnificent performance elicited by William Wyler from the nonprofessional amputee Harold Russell The film epitomized both the dream and the reality of the postwar world This intimate engagement with the psychological facts of American life gave it an almost universal audience But, unlike contemporary and preceding "message" pictures, it was not a preachment It showed Americans as they are, presented their problems as they themselves <more>
see them, and provided only such solutionspartial, temporary, personalas they themselves would accept The picture's values are the values of the people in it William Wyler, an outstanding director, triple winner of the best picture Oscar, adds an air of distinction to melodrama, epic and Westerns... With his distinguishing visual style and his taste for solemn material, he gained a reputation as a meticulous, serious artist... Wyler's most adept use of deep-focus reveals the real commitment to emotional content...The film tells the story of three men coming home from war to a small middle-American community, and find it variously difficult to pick up where they left off... The three heroes are: a middle-aged sergeant Fredric March , magnificent as the devoted family man who succeeds in breaking the ice with his family; an incisive Air Force captain Dana Andrews returning to an unfaithful wife; and a tormented sailor Harold Russell who has lost both hands in service, replaced by hooks in real life...Winner of 7 Academy Awards including Best Picture, "The Best Years of Our Lives" is eloquent and compassionate, a deeply personal motion picture with touching wordless homecoming scenes: The first words of the sergeant's loving wife when he arrives home unexpectedly: "I look terrible! It isn't fair of you to burst in on us like this."The involuntarily sob of the sailor's mother when she first sees her son's mechanical hands... She blurts out: "It's nothing!"With her dry-martini voice, Myrna Loy combines charmingly her wifely qualities with motherly ones; Teresa Wright is lovely as the sergeant's nice daughter who falls in love with the pilot; Virginia Mayo is harsh as the disloyal flashy blonde wife whose first loves are money and high life; and Cathy O'Donnell is wonderful and sensitive as the sailor's fiancée...The situations and even some of the characters seem a little obvious, but this is a superb example of high-quality film-making in the forties, with smiles and tears cunningly spaced and a film which says what is needed on a vital subject...
When I saw the title of this great Oscar winning film of 1946, I immediately thought of what our returning soldiers from the war had gone through. Who would ever guess that the title emanates from the likes of the character of Virginia Mayo, scolding her husband a marvelous Dana Andrews. She had the nerve to tell him that she wasted the best years of her life while waiting for his return. Actually, she didn't wait, she had Steve Cochran,in a very brief part, to wait the war out.Who can forget that scene when Frederic March returns home and is greeted by his family. Myrna Loy didn't <more>
have to say anything. The way she stood there was forever memorable.What did Dana Andrews have to do to win an Oscar? He was so good here as a returning GI but was denied a nomination. March was adequate and was rewarded with a best actor Oscar. I don't know why in a year, when Jimmy Stewart was up for It's A Wonderful Life, did March deserve the accolade.The movie was timely as the war had just ended. Other poignant scenes dealt with Harold Russell, who had lost his limbs during the war, dealing with his handicap.Unlike her undeserved Oscar for Mrs. Miniver, Teresa Wright, who died this year, was effective as March's daughter.
Well,it's a good film for gender studies... (by colleenthewall)
Here's a few of the gender themes that I've found thus far: The Best Years of Our Lives1. The New Woman vs. The Fallen Woman Peggy and Marie Peggy comforts Fred when he is scared, cares for the sick, helps out in the war effort, and is kind and domestic. She, like Fred, wants a nice house in the suburbs. Marie doesn't want the house. She wants to be young, have fun, and she cheats on Fred. She also tries to make him go out to dinner and wants to spend her own money.Of course, Fred's cheating kiss is seen as excusable,because of her wicked behavior.2. Independent Women are <more>
lustful and sinful Marie Example: Marie has a career as a singer,which allows her to display her sexual side by seducing men with her siren's song. Fred wants her to give up her nightclub career.3. Domestic women must look respectable Marie Example:She doesn't "look like a wife" according to Fred's comrades. She's blond, made up, and sexy. She's what men want to f***-not to marry. Fred made a mistake by marrying a "whore."4. Women must submit their household status to the returning male member Millie & Al Example:"I'm the head of the household again," Al says. Too bad Al has been away so long that has no idea what is going on in the house. Plus, he's a still living through the war in his head. Wouldn't it be more logical to have Millie make more of the decisions for awhile?5. A woman must be a mother and a sexual being Wilma and Homer's relationship Example:After helping Homer remove his hooks, Wilma kisses him erotically. Homer admits that without his hands he is, "As helpless as a baby."6. Infidelity is forgivable if your wife isn't ideal Fred and Peggy Even though Fred is married to Marie,he kisses domestic Peggy. The film makes this excuseable,since Marie is such a wanton woman.7. Women don't need intellectual connections/respect to fall in love-they just need a chance to nuture Peggy and Fred Fred hits on Peggy before he even goes home to see his wife. But Peggy calms Fred after his night terror. She's a new woman ,after all, and she is willing to act like a doormat to comfort the returning GI's. The two of them share a lunch and all of a sudden they're in love. Peggy has had one decent conversation with this fellow. She refers to him as broken and hints to her parents that she could fix him now that his wife has tossed him aside. These are just the gender themes. There are so many other fun things that can be pulled out of this movie vets will adapt to home life, let's move to the suburbs, let's stand up for soldiers rights, what if there is another depression,etc,etc,etc .
The stories of three men Fredric March, Dana Andrews, Harold Russell returning home from WWII and having problems readjusting to civilian life. Andrews has to deal with dissatisfied wife Virginia Mayo; March has to adjust to being back with wife Myrna Loy and their two grown children; Russell has had his hands blown off in war he was played by non-actor Russell who really had lost his hands in the war .I first saw this back in the 1980s at a revival theatre. I remember being totally bored and fighting to stay awake. I think I was too young to appreciate it. Years later I started watching <more>
it casually on TV--and liked it. I was almost never bored and the stories pulled me in. It is exceptionally well directed by William Wyler and virtually the entire cast is flawless. The women in the movie actually give the best performances. Loy, Mayo and Theresa Wright are all just great. Andrews also was very good. March, however, came across as very unsympathetic and Russell was terrible but he never was an actor .However it's way too long--three hours is a bit much. This movie could easily lose an hour. And this movie was for its time relevant and pretty shocking. Today it still is relevant sadly with the war we have now but no longer shocking. I found many of the situations contrived and forced and there were some REALLY unbelievable happy endings all around. Still this should be seen for just the acting and directing alone.A good film but no masterpiece. I give it an 8.
How will this fare in the future? (by lee_eisenberg)
With WWII over, movie studios quickly rushed to focus on vets returning home. "The Best Years of Our Lives" was probably the best example. It portrays various people returning home and how they have to readjust not only to their pre-war lives, but to the overall changing world. Probably the most interesting cast member is non-actor Harold Russell. Having lost his hands in the war, he plays a man with hooks where his hands used to be, and reminds people that he wants to be treated just like everyone else; he went on to win Best Supporting Actor and a special Oscar for the role, <more>
making him the only person ever to win two Oscars for the same role. There will probably always be debate over whether this deserved Best Picture more than "It's a Wonderful Life", but I certainly think that they did a good job with it. Very well done.
Enjoyable, but strange habits from today's point of view. (by Juhahin)
Nice and tender. Quite realistic. Strange habits as seen in 2003. For instance, who would smoke a cigarette or drink a glass of milk without brushing one's teeth just before going to bed? When the film had been made smoking was more common than today and it shows!