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The Best Years of Our Lives - Research Article from St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture

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A 1946 film that perfectly captures the bittersweet sense of post-World War II American society, The Best Years of Our Lives examines three war veterans as they adjust to new stateside roles. Former sergeant Al Stephenson (Fredric March), disillusioned with his banking career, develops a drinking problem but learns to control it with the support of his wife Milly (Myrna Loy) and adult daughter Peggy (Teresa Wright). Fred Derry (Dana Andrews), one-time soda jerk and bombadier, finds that his wartime skills are now useless and eventually leaves his self-centered wife Marie (Virginia Mayo) for Peggy. Homer Parrish (Harold Russell), an ex-sailor who lost his hands in a shipboard accident, learns to deal with the rudeness of well-meaning civilians and shapes a new life with his fiancée Wilma (Cathy O'Donnell). A much-honored film (it won eight Oscars, including Best Picture), Best Years is a beautiful, simple, and eloquent evocation of postwar America.

Further Reading:

Anderegg, Michael A. William Wyler. Boston, Twayne, 1979.

Gerber, David A. "Heroes and Misfits: The Troubled Social Reintegration of Disabled Veterans in The Best Years of Our Lives. " American Quarterly. Vol. 24, No. 4, 1994, 545-74.

Kern, Sharon. William Wyler: A Guide to References and Resources. Boston, G. K. Hall, 1984.

Norden, Martin F. The Cinema of Isolation: A History of Physical Disability in the Movies. New Brunswick, Rutgers University Press, 1994.

This section contains 231 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
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