Directed by William Wyler, and starring Myrna Loy, Fredric March, Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright, Virginia Mayo and Harold Russell. The film is about three United States servicemen re-adjusting to civilian life after coming home from World War II.
The film was a critical and commercial success. It won seven Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director (William Wyler), Best Actor (Fredric March), Best Supporting Actor (Harold Russell), Best Film Editing (Daniel Mandell), Best Adapted Screenplay (Robert E. Sherwood), and Best Original Score (Hugo Friedhofer). It was the highest-grossing film in both the United States and UK since the release of Gone with the Wind, and is the sixth most-attended film of all time in the UK, with over 20 million tickets sold.
In 1989, The Best Years of Our Lives was one of the first 25 films selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
The plot follows the lives of three veterans returning from service at the end of World War II to the fictional mid-western town of Boone City: bombardier captain Fred Derry, naval petty officer Homer Parrish, and infantry sergeant Al Stephenson. Before their respective military service, Fred was a soda jerk who married Marie shortly before shipping out. Al was a banker living with his wife Millie, adult daughter Peggy and teen-aged son Rob. Homer was a star high school athlete living with his parents and sister, next door to his girlfriend, Wilma. Homer lost both arms during the war and returns with mechanical hook prostheses.
Myrna Loy as Milly Stephenson
Fredric March as Platoon Sergeant Al Stephenson
Dana Andrews as Captain Fred Derry
Teresa Wright as Peggy Stephenson
Virginia Mayo as Marie Derry
Cathy O’Donnell as Wilma Cameron
Hoagy Carmichael as Butch Engle, Homer’s uncle
Harold Russell as Petty Officer 2nd Class Homer Parrish
Gladys George as Hortense Derry
Roman Bohnen as Pat Derry
Ray Collins as Mr. Milton
Minna Gombell as Mrs. Parrish
Walter Baldwin as Mr. Parrish
Steve Cochran as Cliff
Dorothy Adams as Mrs. Cameron
Don Beddoe as Mr. Cameron
Marlene Aames as Luella Parrish
Charles Halton as Prew
Ray Teal as Mr. Mollett
Howland Chamberlain as Thorpe
Dean White as Novak
Erskine Sanford as Bullard
Michael Hall as Rob Stephenson