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Life-After-Wartime Masterpiece The Best Years of Our Lives Returns to the Big Screen

Life-After-Wartime Masterpiece <I>The Best Years of Our Lives</I> Returns to the Big Screen

William Wyler's heartbreaking postwar ballad seems even more radical today than it did in its Oscar-thick heyday. It's as non-propagandistic as an unemployment line.

This definitive life-after-wartime masterpiece is filthy with resonant quantities Hollywood wasn't supposed to know from: real-life ambivalence, disappointment, social humiliation, threadbare hopes, very American dreams crushed by time, adulthood, and happenstance.

Three weary soldiers come home to the same Midwestern town after years away — one a small-time banker too old to have gone (Fredric March), one a grown soda jerk now sourly matured out of his life (Dana Andrews), and one a high school jock returning, with crippling self-consciousness, minus his hands (Harold Russell). Tapping our empathy with his trademarked deep-focus compositions, Wyler often places the emotional flame-ups far across these familiar rooms. But at any distance, instead of mega-melodrama, you get the moments when reunions go awkward, the struggles of going back to work where you're not needed, the family squabbles that disguise problems that will never go away.

Critics' Pick Critics' Pick

Location Info

Map

Film Forum

209 W. Houston St.
New York, NY 10014

Category: Movie Theaters

Region: Greenwich Village

Details

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
Directed by William Wyler
Park Circus Films
Opens June 6, Film Forum



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This wasn't the movie 1946 we thought we knew all about, but it hews closely enough to reality, in a pre-Method way, to punch a hole in your heart.

 
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6 comments
Rusti Restaino
Rusti Restaino

I have never seem this movie, but would like to see it. Thank you!!

Hope Anne Nathan
Hope Anne Nathan

I love this movie so much, and I don't think I've ever seen it on the big screen. Can't wait!

 

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