And the Oscar Goes to…: The Best Years of Our Lives

Here we’ve come to what I consider the last contemporary World War II film in the Best Picture list. There were three: Mrs. Miniver (1942), Casablanca (1942), and now The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). They were the only World War II Best Picture movies to come out during the war, sort of. The Best Years of Our Lives premiered in 1946 and won big time at the 1947 Academy Awards. So, while the war was officially over by that point, since the film is about soldiers coming back to their homes after the war, I count it.

Anyway, this hard hitting film is considered one of the best, if not the best, movie about soldiers returning to civilian life. It was told from the perspective of a man who had served in the military, director William Wyler. Wyler had directed many Best Picture nominated films previous to The Best Years of Our Lives (one of those being Mrs. Miniver, which won Best Picture and won him the first of his three Best Director awards), and he also directed a few documentaries during his time as a major in the U.S. Air Forces. He came back from the war with, I believe, total deafness in one ear, partial hearing in the other, and concerns regarding his directing career. With his first hand experience of the battlefields and as a disabled veteran himself, he turned to the story of three veterans coming home. It became a classic that went on to win seven academy awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Screenplay, Best Editing, and Best Music. My thoughts in the video below.

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