All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…
The Best Years of Our Lives
Three wonderful loves in the best picture of the year!
The Best Years of Our Lives is a classic film from director Williams Wyler about three war veterans. The film earned seven Oscars in 1946.
Film #23 of Project 40
”I'd stand up for you, kid, til I drop.”
The Best Years of Our Lives has a special place among the movies made about WWII, you may expect to see some sort of a heroic movie celebrating the valor and sacrifice of those young men who went to the brutal battlefields of war but William Wyler’s film takes a totally different path. It might be one of the very earliest movies exploring the joyless and ruined lives of individuals who experience the horrors of war as Wyler zooms on a triangle of American war veterans who return home to continue their normal lives but soon realize that the experience they have gone through will cast…
The other day, I found myself watching a lovely episode of China Beach entitled "The Thanks of a Grateful Nation". The story follows Dodger as he returns home from Vietnam and struggles to reintegrate into everyday life. It reminded me that we have a lot of Vietnam-centric films on this topic. And it occurred to me I had never seen the granddaddy of all 'coming home' films; I decided it was time to fix that oversight.
Best Years of Our Lives is not the first 'coming home' film. (See the John Gilbert silent classic "The Big Parade" for a heartbreaking example from World War I.) But it's this film that to this day is one of the top 100 moneymakers…
Encapsulating the worrisome uncertainty of a post-World War II America, The Best Years of Our Lives is an albeit long-winded three-pronged romantic drama but with a realism. Which is a strange way to describe I suppose, since realism is constantly in flux - constantly changing alongside time and events and personal experience, but for its time - this film was considered a realistic portrayal of three veterans' and their return home to a fictitious town by the name of Boone City. They're all of different military rank, different class but become pals on their journey home.
When they arrive home: life has changed for them. They each have potential/current wives and must reintegrate into civilian life negotiating their love life…
I'm struggling to think of what a contemporary equivalent of this would look like.... Something from Hollywood with A-list actors that confronts the emotional and psychological toll of war on fully realized characters while still working as masterfully filmed melodrama... How mentally malnourished are people who hold the (demonstrably false) opinion that new Hollywood movies are somehow more sophisticated than "old ones?" We've been at war for over a decade and we get a few Lone Survivors a year, but where are the stories about soldiers at home? Too uncomfortable to confront, I suppose.
I came upon this film from my wife and she came upon it by reading about it in a Paul Auster book. Backstory!
Color me pleasantly surprised because I was immensely entertained and awestruck for the better part of 172 minutes, that's even with little droplets of melodrama sprinkled throughout, although not enough melodrama that the refreshingly natural and humanistic aspects couldn't overcome.
All the performances are fantastic while every character seems effortlessly multi-dimensional as Wyler brilliantly balances the three separate storylines that are both distinct yet comparable all at once. This 1946 gem is a perfect blend of emotional heart-wrenching, playful camaraderie, quick witted one liners, and above all honest, sincere depictions of the tribulations faced by all those…
The perfect movie.
A spectacular film presented in wonderful color. Wish it could have been shorter, but the costume design was amazing! I'm not a big fan of musicals but the acting was pretty good. The story was a little flat, partly because it focused on the sining parts, which drew me away a bit, then I remembered this was a movie and had to focus back on the actual film. It surely is an event to go see.
Absolutely fantastic movie. The acting is wonderful. Teresa Wright does great work, as does Harold Russell. The ending, while a bit rushed, is not a cheap payoff, and feels earned. Russell manages to elicit sympathy without being pitiable.
I found The Best Years of Our Lives to be extremely moving. The story of these three servicemen returning from duty after WWII is told compassionately but without whitewashing their flaws. This will be one I watch again.
And yet another classic that absolutely lives up to its masterpiece mantle. My top 5 per year is starting to look pretty pedestrian for a cinephile! Perfect writing, perfect directing, perfect cinematography, perfect acting, perfect cast. Everything about this heartbreaking humanistic work on the postwar lives of soldiers is perfect. My favorite moments are the small ones, in between oners that appear deceptively simple yet they burn into my memory than flashier bits from other films. I see this as a huge influence on Spielberg.
I need to revise my top 100 soon. Oh and I totally bawled.
Overrated. Contrived. Manipulative. Etc.
I don't know why it took me so long to check this out. Great, nuanced performances, and a melancholy, realist tone that pervades the story of WWII veterans trying to readjust in ways big and small to civilian life. All three interweaving stories (a nice narrative structure) are moving in their own ways, and the ending feels totally earned. For once, closing on a wedding isn't corny at all.
I can see why this is heralded as a great movie, but as with most old movies, one has to put oneself into a certain frame of mind to watch it. Movies were different back then, from the manner of acting to the pacing of the editing, and they can seem so strange and old-fashioned to modern eyes. But putting in the effort to experience them is worth it, since there's so much good stuff here. There have been so many movies about the experience of war, but not as many about what happens afterward, and sections of this one are harrowing as we see the fear in these veterans' eyes as they approach the rest of their lives after…
Melodrama, Melodrama Everywhere!
Overall, a good film but it definitely drags a bit
The Best Years of Our Lives was probably the first 'big' film to depict the effects of the second World War on the personal lives of the American war veterans after returning home from said war. It is a pretty straight forward film but it's the character's experiences and the way they're presented that allow the film to soar to great heights. Harold Russell's handicapped Homer Parrish is the highlight here. The film gets melodramatic but it's never overwhelming. Technically, the film is a great achievement, too. Hugo Friedhofer's score is a thing of beauty and Greg Tolland's magnificent cinematography (with it's use of deep focus) is the 11th nomination that the film never received, sadly. William Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives doesn't tread any new ground today but it's a remarkable film when you consider how relevant it was at the time of its release.
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!