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

"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
"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
"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
"I'd call this the best American movie about returning soldiers I've ever seen -- the most moving and the most deeply felt."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"...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
"One of the best pictures of our lives."
‑ Abel Green, Variety
"The film is very proud of itself, exuding a stifling piety at times, but it works as well as this sort of thing can, thanks to accomplished performances by Fredric March, Myrna Loy, and Dana Andrews, who keep the human element afloat."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"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
"It may be corny, but you'd have to be a real cynic not to be drawn in."
‑ , Film4
More reviews for The Best Years of Our Lives on Rotten Tomatoes