The Best Years of Our Lives

Synopsis: The story concentrates on the social re-adjustment of three World War II servicemen, each from a different station of society. Al Stephenson returns to an influential banking position, but finds it hard to reconcile his loyalties to ex-servicemen with new commercial realities. Fred Derry is an ordinary working man who finds it difficult to hold down a job or pick up the threads of his marriage. Having had both hands burnt off during the war, Homer Parrish is unsure that his fiancée's feelings are still those of love and not those of pity. Each of the veterans faces a crisis upon his arrival, and each crisis is a microcosm of the experiences of many American warriors who found an alien world awaiting them when they came marching home.
Genre: Drama, Romance, War
Director(s): William Wyler
Production: RKO Radio Pictures
  Won 7 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
170 min

(PA) Announcing the departure

of American Airlines westbound flight 9.

Flight 9 now loading at gate three'

for immediate departure.

- Yes, sir?

- Got anything to Boone City?

Three scheduled daily flights,

but there's no space available.

- Would you care to make a reservation?

- Yes.

- Your name, please?

- Derry. D-E-R-R-Y. Fred.

- How long will it be?

- We can get you on flight 37 on the 19th.

I can't wait that long. I just got back

from overseas and I want to get home.

- There's a long waiting list.

- I arranged to have my tickets here.

- My name is Gibbons. George H Gibbons.

- They're right here.

- Thank you.

- May we weigh your baggage?

- Excuse me. Put them right there, please.

- Sorry.

You might try the ATC, Captain.

- Where are they?

- Out the terminal, and across the field.


- You have 16lb excess baggage.

- That's all right. How much is it?

Righto, sir.

At ease, men. Flight 93.

Flight 93 for Denver,

San Francisco and Seattle.

That flight has been cancelled

until further notice.


- Yeah?

- You got anything for Detroit?

- Nope. How about Cleveland?

- Cleveland?

- OK.

- Fill this out.

- Guess I'm going to Cleveland.

- It's a nice town.

Yeah, but Detroit's where I live.

Sarge, what's the chances

of a ride to Boone City?

You got orders?

- Sure.

- OK.

I haven't got anything now, but fill this out

and I'll call you if anything comes up.

OK. I guess I'll wait.

I need a couple of men to give me

a hand with this out to a plane.

- OK.

- Let's go.

Let's go, huh?

- I bet this thing weighs a ton.

- What's the matter? Tired or something?

OK, let's go. Out this way.

Fellas, take it easy down the stairs.

Got it?

- Take it easy going down the stairs.

- Oh, my aching back.


- Derry. Captain Fred Derry.

- Coming!

- Parrish. Homer Parrish.

- Here!

- You Derry?

- Yeah.

- Parrish?

- Right.

Got a call from Base Ops.

There's a B-17 taking off for Boone City.

She's making a lot of stops,

but you'll get there tomorrow afternoon.

- That's swell.

- OK, sign here.

Boy, it sure is great to be going home.

- Here you go, sailor.

- Sign on the dotted...

- I'll do it for you.

- Think I can't spell my own name?

No, I... I just thought that...

I know, sarge. Thanks.

You'd better hurry up out there,

cos she's taking off soon.

Right, thanks.

Come on, sailor.

Where's your stuff?

Excuse us, Corporal.

- Boone City your home, sailor?

- Yes, Captain.

Forget the rank, chum. I'm out.

- Whereabouts do you live in Boone?

- On West 17th Street.

- Know where Jackson High is?

- Sure.

It's a couple of blocks past it.

- Hiya, sarge.

- How are ya?

- My name's Fred Derry.

- Al Stephenson.

- And this is Homer... What is it, Homer?

- Parrish.

- Glad to know you.

- You from Boone too?

- Yeah, sure am.

- How long since you've been home?

A couple of centuries!

Let's sit in the radio compartment

for takeoff.

Then we'll get in the nose and

get a nice view of the good old USA.

Look at that. Look at those

automobiles down there.

You can see them so plain,

you can see the people.

Yeah, looks like we're flying by road map.

- Is this your first ride in one of these?

- This is my first plane ride.

I saw plenty of flying, all right.

I was on a CV. That's a flattop.

But I never knew things

looked so pretty from up here.

Sure is beautiful.

I never thought so.

This used to be my office.

- Bombardier, weren't you?

- Yeah. That's where the bombsight was.

I spent a lot of time on my knees up there.

- Praying?

- (laughs) Yeah, that too.

- Cigarette, Homer?

- Thanks.

It's all right, I can get it.

Here, I've got a match, Captain.

- Thanks.

- Thank you.

- Anybody superstitious?

- No, go ahead.

Well, I am.

Boy, you ought to see me

open a bottle of beer.

- You got nothing to worry about.

- Thanks.

- I guess you saw a lot of action.

- No, I didn't see much of the war.

- I mean, the way you fellas did.

- You trying to kid the army?

No, I was stationed in

the repair shop, below decks.

Oh, I was in plenty of battles.

But I never saw a Jap

or heard a shell coming at me.

When we were sunk, all I know is

there was a lot of fire and explosions.

I was ordered topsides and overboard,

and I was burned.

When I came to I was on a cruiser,

and my hands were off.

- After that I had it easy.

- Easy?!

That's what I said.

They took care of me fine.

They trained me to use these things.

I can dial telephones, I can drive a car.

I can even put nickels in a jukebox.

I'm all right. But...

- But what, sailor?

- Well...

Well, you see, I've got a girl.

- She knows what happened to you?

- Sure. They all know.

But they don't know

what these things look like.

- What's your girl's name, Homer?

- Wilma.

She and I went to high school together.

- I'll bet Wilma's a swell girl.

- She is.

And it'll be all right, sailor.

You wait and see.

Yeah. Wait and see.

Wilma's only a kid. She's never seen

anything like these hooks.

Say, wait till I get home

and tell the folks about this trip.

I'm the first one in my family

that ever rode in an aeroplane.

- Hey, Al.

- Yeah?

Remember what it felt like

when you went overseas?

As well as I remember my own name.

I feel the same way now.

Only more so.

I know what you mean.

Just nervous out of the service, I guess.

The thing that scares me most is that

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Robert E. Sherwood

Robert Emmet Sherwood (April 4, 1896 – November 14, 1955) was an American playwright, editor, and screenwriter. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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