Classic Film Review: The Best Years of Our Lives, 1946!

Classic Film!

(Minor Spoilers)

I do enjoy the old movies, especially the Academy Award winners. For 1946 or so, the entry The Best Years of Our Lives was an interesting drama.

First Impressions:

Three guys all going back to the old hometown to see what’s changed and to return to their families.

One guy was married to a blonde floozy and went off to war, quite decorated, and quite shy about talking about his war experiences. His occasional flash-backs and the crush he has on a buddy’s daughter, make for some tension. He was a bomber and highly decorated, yet can’t make his marriage work and is relegated to the same job he quit: a soda jerk!

Another is a Navy man, who lost both hands in a fire on a ship. He has “hooks” and is pretty versatile with them. Unfortunately in small town USA, people are not as forgiving and easily shocked. His mom sobs that her son is so crippled. His girlfriend actually doesn’t mind, but he’s too much feeling sorry for himself to notice. This character was hard for me to like, wallowing in self-pity. He did finally snap out of it, though. 

Finally we have an older guy who is returning to his wife and kids. The wife is played well by Myrna Loy (of Thin Man fame) and her comedic style pops out once in awhile as she plays a straight part. Her daughter falls in love with the airman with the blonde floozy and swears she will break up the marriage and take him for herself. “Who are you, God?” intones her father. A

Bottom Line:

Interesting story on how each man deals with family and how things have changed since they shipped out. Acclimating to a new life is hard, and going into denial through alcohol or wallowing in self-pity just don’t work. One of a kind film.



Interviews with two actresses, elderly now, express a lot of what was going on with the set, the director and the actors. Quite entertaining.

Directed by
William Wyler
Writing Credits
Robert E. Sherwood … (screen play)

MacKinlay Kantor … (from a novel by) (as Mackinlay Kantor)

Myrna Loy Milly Stephenson
Fredric March
Dana Andrews
Teresa Wright
Virginia Mayo


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