->After that, I had it 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 the jukebox. I'm all right, but... well, you see, I've got a girl.
->These are [[TitleDrop the best years of our lives]], and we're wasting them!
''The Best Years Of Our Lives'' was a 1946 film directed by Creator/WilliamWyler and starring Frederic March and Harold Russell. It won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture of the Year.
Just after the end of WorldWarII, servicemen Fred Derry, Homer Parrish, and Al Stephenson return home to Boone City to their loved ones. Their adjustment to post-war life is met with varying levels of success. Al, a banker, finds it difficult to reconnect with his family and even more difficult to be as stern as he was before. Homer, who lost both hands in a fire, can't stand the pity that he detects from others, including his fiancee. Meanwhile, Fred is infuriated that the only real job he can hold is a soda jerk, and discovers the woman he married before heading off to war wasn't worth it. Somehow, they are going to have to go on with their lives...
This movie is interesting (and this is probably the reason it was so well received) for being one of the first movies that showed war as it was, instead of romanticizing it like movies and books were prone to.
!!This work features examples of:
* BettyAndVeronica: Fred between Peggy (Betty) and Marie (Veronica).
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:the three war veterans are slowly returning to normal lives, with Homer marrying Wilma, and Fred getting divorced from his unloving wife freeing him to court Peggy. But all three acknowledge they still have tough roads ahead of them.]]
* CastTheExpert: Harold Russell, a man who had lost both hands in WorldWarII, was cast as a man who had lost both hands in WorldWarII. He did such a good job he won an Oscar (plus a second honorary Oscar), despite never having acted before.
* DisabledCharacterDisabledActor: Harold Russell, a drill sergeant during the war, lost his hands in a training accident involving a defective bomb.
* EyeTake: Millie rolls her eyes as she listens in on Al's conversation with his boss.
* GirlNextDoor: Literally with Homer's girlfriend Wilma. Peggy could also count.
* HookHand: Homer Parrish -- played by real-life double amputee Harold Russell.
* MundaneMadeAwesome: Homer writing a check at the bank. For a person with two working hands it's a simple task. For Homer to do it, it's an act so amazing it shames Al into giving another veteran a loan without sufficient collateral.
* RealitySubtext: The man Fred punches out at the drugstore is based on a man Wyler had an argument with when he came home from the war.
* RelationshipSabotage: Peggy intends to break up Fred's marriage to Marie.
* ShellShockedVeteran: Though they all have traits of this, one of the original plans before they found the man who played Homer was to have a full-on Shell Shock victim who constantly had panic attacks.
** Al can no longer relate to his wife or his children who grew up without him, and is turning into an alcoholic;
** Fred dismisses the war medals he's earned, and finds himself climbing into the remains of a bomber plane that are getting taken apart now that the war's over;
** Homer is ashamed of his artificial hooks and can't keep himself around his family or his girl-next-door sweetheart.
* ThrowItIn: Harold Russell, a real life veteran who never acted before, flubbed his lines during his character's wedding scene. Creator/WilliamWyler left it in, considering it natural.
* WarIsHell: We don't see any battles on the screen. All we see is [[ShellShockedVeteran the damage each war veteran]] brings back with him.
* WorldWarII: Or, at least, the psychological effects of it.
* WrittenInInfirmity: Homer was supposed to be merely shell-shocked, but when real-life amputee Harold Russell was cast, [[DisabledCharacterDisabledActor his disability was written in]].