The Best Years of Our Lives 1946

Critics score:
98 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Bosley Crowther, New York Times: It is seldom that there comes a motion picture which can be wholly and enthusiastically endorsed not only as superlative entertainment but as food for quiet and humanizing thought. Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: I'd call this the best American movie about returning soldiers I've ever seen -- the most moving and the most deeply felt. Read more

Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader: The film is very proud of itself, exuding a stifling piety at times, but it works as well as this sort of thing can, thanks to accomplished performances by Fredric March, Myrna Loy, and Dana Andrews, who keep the human element afloat. Read more

Richard Brody, New Yorker: Profoundly and sensitively balances the private demons of scarred veterans and the press of public policies that leave their mark on daily life. Read more

Kate Cameron, New York Daily News: As far as this review is concerned, it is the best picture to come out of Hollywood since the end of the war. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: The feeling of warmth and satisfaction that accompanies the conclusion is the hallmark of a great drama. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: Surprisingly modern: lean, direct, honest about issues that Hollywood then studiously avoided. Read more

TIME Magazine: Like most good mass entertainments, this picture has occasional moments of knowing hokum; but unlike most sure-fire movies, it was put together with good taste, honesty, wit -- and even a strong suggestion of guts. Read more

Geoff Andrew, Time Out: Overlong, perhaps, but this tender and occasionally tough look at the plight of returning war veterans is one of Wyler's best films. Read more

Keith Uhlich, Time Out: [A] powerful, if cumbersome prestige picture. Read more

Abel Green, Variety: One of the best pictures of our lives. Read more

Michael Atkinson, Village Voice: 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. Read more