The Best Years of Our Lives
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The Best Years of Our Lives
The postwar classic The Best Years of Our Lives, based on a novel in verse by MacKinlay Kantor about the difficult readjustments of returning World War II veterans, tells the intertwined homecoming stories of ex-sergeant Al Stephenson (Fredric March), former bombadier Fred Derry (Dana Andrews), and sailor Homer Parrish (Harold Russell). Having rubbed shoulders with blue-collar Joes for the first time in his life, Al finds it difficult to return to a banker's high-finance mindset, and he shocks his co-workers with a plan to provide no-collateral loans to veterans. Meanwhile, Al's… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"William Wyler's powerful, if cumbersome prestige picture ..."
‑ Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
"Although it contains moving passages, Best Years is not much more than a conventional drama on the problems of servicemen attempting to adjust to life in postwar America, well served by an all-star cast and Toland's ingenious deep-focus setups."
‑ Elliott Stein, Village Voice
"The nation's problems are right there in plain sight, just as clear as cinematographer Gregg Toland's typically precise deep-focus shots."
‑ Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine
"The underlying satirical nature of William Wyler's post-war paean to American soldiers returning home from World War II lurks throughout this beloved drama."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"Fine movie for families with older kids."
‑ Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
"Profoundly and sensitively balances the private demons of scarred veterans and the press of public policies that leave their mark on daily life."
‑ Richard Brody, New Yorker
"One of the best pictures of our lives."
‑ Abel Green, Variety
"This enduring classic remains perhaps the best film ever made about the hardships endured by soldiers returning home from war."
‑ Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing
"This is intelligent, liberal-minded Hollywood moviemaking at its most crafted -- if a tad overlong at just under three hours."
‑ , Total Film
"Este belíssimo estudo sobre as seqüelas sociais e psicológicas da guerra (para não mencionar as físicas) permanece atual mais de 60 anos depois de seu lançamento, impressionando não só pelas atuações, mas também pelo virtuosismo estético."
‑ Pablo Villaca, Cinema em Cena
"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
"Surprisingly modern: lean, direct, honest about issues that Hollywood then studiously avoided."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"...captures the sort of confusion, condescension and even revulsion faced by returning veterans, then and today."
‑ Josh Larsen, LarsenOnFilm
"The movie has plenty of faults, and the worst of them are painfully exasperating; yet this is one of the very few American studio-made movies in years that seem to me profoundly pleasing, moving, and encouraging."
‑ James Agee, The Nation
"I found it notable mainly because its massive 172 minutes are exclusively devoted to exploring characters, rather than showing any giant-sized, dazzling "epic" scenes."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
More reviews for The Best Years of Our Lives on Rotten Tomatoes