The purpose of this paper is to give a review of RKO Radio Picture’s 1946 film: The Best Years of Our Lives, which was written by William Wyler, produced by Samuel Goldwyn, and directed by Robert E. Sherwood. The movie won a Best Picture award, and seven Oscars.
This film focuses on the hard and painful adjustments: ostracism, alcoholism, adultery and unemployment, which three veterans went through after they returned home after serving their country in World War 2. The main characters comprise: Harold Russell who plays the World War 2 veteran Homer Parrish, a former football star of the region; Dana Andrews who portrays Fred Derry, the bombardier; and actor Fredric March, who plays Sergeant Al Stephenson, the alcoholic.
The film’s title relates to the cold harsh reality that a large number of servicemen experienced the greatest time in their lives during the war, but not after it. This is because when the US was at peace, former servicemen were obliged to change their lives in ways that were too difficult for them to cope with. It was not like these days when veterans receive social and psychological support to help them get back into civilian life.
This touching and often painful film takes viewers back in time to the end of the 1940s. The three servicemen go back to their pre-war lives, which could never be the same as they were before they left to fight. Right away, they are faced with bad situations, both mentally and physically. They find themselves in the midst of conflicts, uncertainties, and domestic tragedies.
I thought that this film was very thought provoking, and it made me think a lot about out veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan. It enables viewers to take an intimate and realistic look at how getting back into civilian life is extremely difficult. It also shows us just how much our veterans need support when they return from active duty.