The Best Years of Our Lives Overview:

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) was a Drama - Romance Film directed by William Wyler and produced by Samuel Goldwyn and Lester Koenig.

The film was based on the novel Glory for Me written by MacKinlay Kantor published in 1945.

SYNOPSIS

Perhaps the most memorable film about the aftermath of WWII, it unfolds with the homecoming of three veterans to the same small town. The leads all touch emotional truths: Loy seems able to express longing, joy, fear, and surprise - even with her back turned - in a particularly poignant welcome home. The movie never glosses over the reality of altered lives and the inability to communicate the experience of war on the front lines or the home front. A landmark achievement. WWII vet Russell, who lost his hands in the war, is the only person to win two Oscars for the same role, Best Supporting Actor and a special Oscar "for bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans through his appearance."

(Source: available at Amazon AMC Classic Movie Companion).

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The Best Years of Our Lives was inducted into the National Film Registry in 1989.

Academy Awards 1946 --- Ceremony Number 19 (source: AMPAS)

AwardRecipientResult
Best ActorFredric MarchWon
Best Supporting ActorHarold RussellWon
Best DirectorWilliam WylerWon
Best Film EditingDaniel MandellWon
Best Music - ScoringHugo FriedhoferWon
Best PictureSamuel Goldwyn ProductionsWon
Best WritingRobert E. SherwoodWon
Special AwardTo Harold Russell for bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans through his appearance in The Best Years of Our Lives.Won
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BlogHub Articles:

"The Best Years of Our Lives" is the Best Picture of 1946

By Stephen Reginald on Aug 22, 2022 From Classic Movie Man

"The Best Years of Our Lives" is the Best Picture of 1946 The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) is an American drama directed by William Wyler and starring Myrna Loy, Fredric March, Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright, and Virginia Mayo. The screenplay was written by Robert E. Sherwood, based on a novella... Read full article


Book Review: Making The Best Years of Our Lives: The Hollywood Classic That Inspired a Nation

By Stephen Reginald on Aug 17, 2022 From Classic Movie Man

Book Review: Making The Best Years of Our Lives: The Hollywood Classic That Inspired a Nation The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) is one of the most honored and beloved films from Hollywood's Golden Age. It was released over 75 years ago. Author and film historian, Alison Macor has written a ver... Read full article


Best Picture of 1946: "The Best Years of Our Lives"

By Stephen Reginald on Mar 7, 2021 From Classic Movie Man

Best Picture of 1946: "The Best Years of Our Lives" The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) is an American drama directed by William Wyler and starring Myrna Loy, Fredric March, Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright, and Virginia Mayo. The screenplay was written by Robert E. Sherwood, based on a novella, Glor... Read full article


The Best Years of Our Lives (1946, William Wyler)

By Andrew Wickliffe on Mar 3, 2018 From The Stop Button

If it weren?t for the first half of the film, The Best Years of Our Lives would be a series of vingettes. The film runs almost three hours. Almost exactly the first half is set over two days. The remainder is set over a couple months. Director Wyler and screenwriter Robert E. Sherwood don?t really d... Read full article


Teresa Wright in The Best Years of Our Lives

By 4 Star Film Fan on Jun 16, 2016 From 4 Star Films

I was born and bred a California boy, but there’s a certain something about the girl-next-door. Maybe it’s my midwestern roots, because after all, my mom was born in Iowa before making the move westward. Anyways, the first time I saw Teresa Wright onscreen I was immediately smitten. She ... Read full article


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Quotes from

Wilma Cameron: Tell me the truth, Homer. Do you want me to forget about you?
Homer Parrish: I want you to be free, Wilma, to live your own life. I don't want you tied down forever just because you've got a kind heart.
Wilma Cameron: Oh, Homer! Why can't you ever understand the way things really are, the way I really feel? I keep trying to tell you.
Homer Parrish: But, but you don't know, Wilma. You don't know what it'd be like to have to live with me. To have to face this
[his hooks]
Homer Parrish: every day, every night.
Wilma Cameron: But I can only find out by trying. And if it turns out I haven't courage enough, we'll soon know it.


Fred Derry: You know what it'll be, don't you, Peggy? It may take us years to get anywhere. We'll have no money, no decent place to live. We'll have to work, get kicked around.


[Al and Fred have arrived at Al's fancy apartment building]
Fred Derry: Some barracks you got here. Hey, what are you? A retired bootlegger?
Al Stephenson: Nothing as dignified as that. I'm a banker.


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Facts about

According to his biographer A. Scott Berg, Samuel Goldwyn re-released The Best Years of Our Lives in a modified format to play on wide screens. It opened with all the hoopla of a new picture, including a gala premiere in Washington D.C. on February 3, 1954, with Sherman Adams, five Supreme Court justices, two cabinet members, and twenty-four senators in attendance. There was a quarter-million-dollar campaign advertising it as "The Most Honored Picture of All Time". The film grossed another $1 million.
This is the first film role for which Cathy O'Donnell, in the role of Wilma Cameron, receives screen credit. Her film debut was in Wonder Man as an uncredited extra in a nightclub scene.
This was the first time Myrna Loy had worked with William Wyler and she was wary of his reputation as "90-Take Willy". As it turned out, the two got along very well.
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Best Picture Oscar 1946






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National Film Registry

The Best Years of Our Lives

Released 1946
Inducted 1989
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