This is what happens when your car breaks down on a Sunday morning and you have nothing else to do…
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.
The perfect movie.
I cried three times during this film. Then I cried again as I recounted to my wife what made me cry the first time I cried during the film. If I tried to write about the moment now I would probably tear up.
And The Best Years of Our Lives isn't even heartbreakingly sad. It never wallows in misery. It is even funny at times. Really it's just wonderfully human. And it is full of so many powerful little moments that translate amazingly well 70 years after it was made.
I didn't expect to be so blown away by this film, but I supposed the fact that it was expertly written, acted and directed helped too.
Letter Grade: B
A good character piece where you really care about its characters because of the great acting. A movie that still resonates 70 years later.
A film about WWII veterans re-integrating to live in America after the war. A kind of movie we don't see very much: a drama in which people always say exactly what's on their mind and are very open and honest with one another. The problem isn't that things aren't being talked about, but that even after talking about things these people can't truly understand what the soldiers went through and why they aren't their old selves again.
I got so invested in this movie, it's really sweet & emotional. Lovely performances all around. Also, this was my first Cathy O'Donnell film, and there's something very striking about her. I think it might be her eyes, they're really piercing.
Compelling. A very honest portrayal of three war veterans dealing with the challenges of starting a new life. Despite the predictable ending, it's captivating and visually appealing. No doubt, a classic to be revisited.
I went into this movie thinking it was going to be three hours of, I hate my life. It was a 1946 movie about returning servicemen directed by William Wyler , and the 1940's sometimes have a habit of being smolchy. And I really am not a fan of Ben-Hur (over three hours of magic Jesus rain - really?!?!). And even though this was a topical theme for 1946, just as it is today I was worried. But so says AFI 100.
I actually kind of liked it. Yes, it has a big helping of 1940's smolch, the good women are the homemakers and the bad are blonde and want to go out. And Dana Andrews is mostly a block…
It's been a long time since I've seen "The Best Years of Our Lives," and I'm sure I was way too young when I did see it to fully appreciate it, but even then I could tell it wasn't quite like other old black and white movies I was used to.
This film came out during a period in which Hollywood was interested in producing socially conscious message movies. "The Lost Weekend" addressed alcoholism; "Spellbound" addressed psychotherapy; "Mildred Pierce" addressed the impact WWII had on the women left behind; "Gentlemen's Agreement" addressed anti-Semitism. But these other films were heavy-handed, steeped highly in melodrama, and they seem laughable today, despite their good intentions. "The Best Years of Our Lives" is different.…
William Wyler charmed his audience through and through in his 1953s romantic comedy, Roman Holiday, but seven years before such a film arrived at our doorstep, he won the critics, the audience, and the Academy with his post-war drama, The Best Years of Our Lives; a film that modern audiences could easily dismiss as a dated melodrama, but instead proving itself to be a resonating feat that both charms and warms the hearts of its audience, handled with careful precision as it exposes the lives of returning men from the Second World War.
Within its narrative mould, it manages to encapsulate multiple themes that have been found in the realities of returning servicemen, the need and difficulty of re-assimilation within…
Nota = 8,5
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…