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The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

HD   NR Closed Captioning

William Wyler

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About the Movie

At the end of World War II, Fred Derry (Dana Andrews), Al Stevenson (Fredric March) and Homer Parrish (Harold Russell) return home to Boone City. Fred was a decorated captain in the Army Air Forces in Europe, Al a sergeant in the Army who saw action in the Pacific, and Homer a sailor who served on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. Homer's ship was sunk, killing many of his fellow sailors; his arms were burned off below the elbow and he now uses metal hook prostheses. The three men share first a plane trip then a cab ride and become friends. Fred eventually finds work when he convinces a foreman who is also a veteran that he can learn new skills just as he learned to be a bombardier. He also finds love in the form of Peggy Stephenson. Al and Milly are opposed at first, but when Fred's marriage finally ends, they become supportive. The movie ends with the Stephenson family, Homer and Wilma, and Fred and Peggy all facing challenging but nonetheless bright futures.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 48
  • Fresh: 46
  • Rotten: 2
  • Average Rating: 8.6/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: It is seldom that there comes a motion picture which can be wholly and enthusiastically endorsed not only as superlative entertainment but as food for quiet and humanizing thought. – Bosley Crowther, New York Times, Jan 22, 2014

Fresh: Like most good mass entertainments, this picture has occasional moments of knowing hokum; but unlike most sure-fire movies, it was put together with good taste, honesty, wit -- and even a strong suggestion of guts. – TIME Magazine, Jun 24, 2010

Fresh: One of the best pictures of our lives. – Abel Green, Variety, Feb 27, 2018

Fresh: William Wyler's heartbreaking postwar ballad seems even more radical today than it did in its Oscar-thick heyday. It's as non-propagandistic as an unemployment line. – Michael Atkinson, Village Voice, Feb 22, 2015

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Great WWII Coming Home Story

A Air Force Captain, a double amputee Sailor and a Army Sergeant take a flight home to Boone City and history is made in this "coming home" film. All three try to fit in and all three work though the troubles by helping each other.

This Movie is on my top 4 favorite movies!

From start to finish, it is one of my favorite films of all times! After watching it you will see why it won all of the awards that it did! Although it was done in 1946, the themes still hit home with todays Vets coming home from war! A must watch for those that served, are serving and to those that have loved ones that are serving and have served!

A refreshing cinematic experience!

It's not often that I can say that I watched a truly pleasurable movie where the characters appeared genuine and altruistic.
As a veteran I felt that the director and actors valued America's veterans for their sacrifice and service to their country. Thank you.

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
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  • $9.99
  • Genre: Drama
  • Released: 1946

Customer Ratings