The Best Years of Our Lives

Watch The Best Years of Our Lives

"Three wonderful loves in the best picture of the year!"
  • Approved
  • 1946
  • 2 hr 52 min
  • 8.1  (69,721)
  • 93

The Best Years of Our Lives is a classic American drama film that was released in 1946. The movie, which was directed by William Wyler and produced by Samuel Goldwyn, is set in the aftermath of World War II and follows the lives of three soldiers who return home to civilian life after serving their country. The three main characters are Al Stephenson (played by Fredric March), a banker and family man who served as a sergeant in the war; Fred Derry (played by Dana Andrews), a former Army Air Forces captain who struggles to find work as a civilian; and Homer Parrish (played by Harold Russell), a sailor who lost both of his hands in battle and must learn to adjust to his disability.

The movie opens with the three soldiers returning home to their families and friends in the fictional town of Boone City. They are greeted with parades and celebrations, but soon realize that readjusting to civilian life is not as easy as they thought. They each face their own unique challenges and struggles as they try to pick up where they left off before the war.

Al Stephenson, for example, has to learn to balance his responsibilities at work with his newfound appreciation for life after experiencing the horrors of war. He also struggles to reconnect with his wife Milly (played by Myrna Loy) and their adult daughter Peggy (played by Teresa Wright) who have grown accustomed to running the household without him.

Fred Derry, on the other hand, finds himself stuck in a dead-end job as a soda jerk and unable to connect with his wife Marie (played by Virginia Mayo) who has become accustomed to a more glamorous lifestyle while he was away at war. He also finds himself unexpectedly drawn to Al's daughter Peggy, causing tension between the two families.

Homer Parrish faces perhaps the biggest challenge of them all as he tries to come to terms with his disability and learn to live his life without his hands. He struggles to find a sense of purpose and self-worth, until he meets a young woman named Wilma (played by Cathy O'Donnell) who helps him regain his confidence and find meaning in his life once again.

Throughout the movie, the characters' stories intertwine and overlap as they navigate the complexities of their post-war lives. They struggle with issues such as alcoholism, infidelity, and financial instability, but they also find moments of joy and connection as they come to appreciate the simple pleasures of life that they had taken for granted before the war.

The Best Years of Our Lives was a critical and commercial success upon its release, winning seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Fredric March. It remains a beloved classic of American cinema, known for its emotional depth, nuanced performances, and realistic portrayal of the challenges faced by returning soldiers after World War II.

Overall, The Best Years of Our Lives is a powerful and poignant movie that explores the complexities of post-war life for returning soldiers and their families. It is a timeless masterpiece that continues to resonate with audiences nearly eight decades after its initial release.

The Best Years of Our Lives is a 1946 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 52 minutes. It has received outstanding reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 8.1 and a MetaScore of 93.

The Best Years of Our Lives
Where to Watch The Best Years of Our Lives
The Best Years of Our Lives is available to watch free on Peacock, Plex, Pluto TV, Kanopy and YouTube. It's also available to stream, download, buy and rent on demand at Amazon Prime, Vudu, Amazon and Google Play. Some platforms allow you to rent The Best Years of Our Lives for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 52 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    8.1  (69,721)
  • Metascore