the best years of our lives
the year: 1946
the genre: drama
the cast: Myrna Loy (Milly Stephenson); Fredric March (Al Stephenson); Dana Andrews (Fred Derry); Teresa Wright (Peggy Stephenson); Virginia Mayo (Marie Derry); Hoagy Carmichael (Butch Engle); Harold Russell (Homer Parrish)
the plot: At the end of World War II, a soldier, a sailor and an airman return to their hometown and must re-adjust to the society they left several years before.
Al Stephenson returns home to find that his children have grown up and he has to re-establish the relationship with his loving wife. He also finds it difficult to be the hardhearted banker he seemingly once was.
Fred Derry was an Air Force Officer and Bombardier uring the war, but realizes upon his return that he has no marketable skills. He finds himself pigeonholed into his old job as a soda jerk at the drugstore, and realizes that he married in haste during the war and his wife isn't quite as enamored with him now that he's out of uniform.
Homer Parrish lost both of his hands in a shipboard fire. He's become quite adept at using the prosthetics the Navy has provided him but resents the pity he sees in others eyes. He had hoped to marry his childhood sweetheart but is no longer sure he can burden her with his own physical limitations.
All three men become fast friends and in the end, find ways to move forward with their lives.
count: how many Academy Awards this film won.
check out: famous composer Hoagy Carmichael as Butch. In the scene at Butch's bar when Homer asks Butch if he would play a song for him, the song he picks ('Lazy River') was composed by Carmichael.
listen for: “You see, Mr. Milton, in the Army I've had to be with men when they were stripped of everything in the way of property except what they carried around with them and inside them. I saw them being tested. Now some of them stood up to it and some didn't. But you got so you could tell which ones you could count on. I tell you this man Novak is okay. His 'collateral' is in his hands, in his heart and his guts. It's in his right as a citizen.”
also listen for: “They trained me to use these things. I can dial telephones, I can drive a car, I can even put nickels in the jukebox. I'm all right, but... well, you see, I've got a girl.”
did you know: Director William Wyler was furious when he learned that Samuel Goldwyn had sent Harold Russell for acting lessons; he preferred Russell's untrained, natural acting.
hankie rating: 2. But not because it's sad.
extra bonus points: if you know what all the crew members (props, grips, mixers, etc.) from the film had in common.