The Best Years of Our Lives

The Best Years of Our Lives

Director: William Wyler | Genre: Drama, Romance, War

Released: 1946 | Runtime: 170 min

Three World War II veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed.

The Best Years of Our Lives Quotes

  • [ after Peggy tells her parents that they never had any trouble in their relationship ]
    Milly Stephenson : "We never had any trouble." How many times have I told you I hated you and believed it in my heart? How many times have you said you were sick and tired of me; that we were all washed up? How many times have we had to fall in love all over again?
  • Al Stephenson : I've seen nothing, I should have stayed at home and found out what was really going on.
  • Rob Stephenson : We've been having lectures in atomic energy at school, and Mr. McLaughlin, he's our physics teacher, he says that we've reached a point where the whole human race has either got to find a way to live together, or else uhm...
  • [ last lines ]
    Fred Derry : You know what it'll be, don't you, Peggy? It may take us years to get anywhere. We'll have no money, no decent place to live. We'll have to work, get kicked around.
  • Al Stephenson: I think that, uh, little story has considerable significance; but I've, uh, I've forgotten what it is.
  • Marie Derry: What do you think I was doing all those years?
    Fred Derry: I don't know, babe, but I can guess.
    Marie Derry: Go ahead. Guess your head off. I could do some guessing myself. What were you up to in London and Paris and all those places? I've given you every chance to make something of yourself. I gave up my own job when you asked me. I gave up the best years of my life, and what have you done? You flopped! Couldn't even hold that job at the drugstore. So I'm going back to work for myself and that means I'm gonna live for myself too. And in case you don't understand English, I'm gonna get a divorce. What have you got to say to that?
    Fred Derry: Don't keep Cliff waiting.
  • Milly Stephenson: What do you think of the children?
    Al Stephenson: Children? I don't recognize 'em. They've grown so old.
    Milly Stephenson: I tried to stop them, to keep them just as they were when you left, but they got away from me.
  • Peggy Stephenson: I've made up my mind.
    Al Stephenson: Good girl.
    Milly Stephenson: To do what?
    Peggy Stephenson: I'm going to break that marriage up! I can't stand it seeing Fred tied to a woman he doesn't love and who doesn't love him. Oh, it's horrible for him. It's humiliating and it's killing his spirit. Somebody's got to help him.
  • [Al is explaining to the bank president why he made the loan to Mr. Novak]
    Al Stephenson: You see, Mr. Milton, in the Army I've had to be with men when they were stripped of everything in the way of property except what they carried around with them and inside them. I saw them being tested. Now some of them stood up to it and some didn't. But you got so you could tell which ones you could count on. I tell you this man Novak is okay. His 'collateral' is in his hands, in his heart and his guts. It's in his right as a citizen.
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