The Return of the Best Years (2003/1946)

When I was 15 years old, I met a boy at the movies to watch the third installment of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. He held my hand but after that immediate excitement faded, I became transfixed on the dark adventures of the Hobbits and their fellowship. THE RETURN OF THE KING was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, winning all 11. Besides winning Best Picture and Best Director (Congrats Sir Peter Jackson), it didn’t win any “glamor” awards. Rather it won awards in music, screenplay, custom and editing, categories a typical movie-goer overlooks as they concentrate solely the actors.

Truth be told, I was surprised THE RETURN OF THE KING ranked so high on my list of Most Winningest Oscar Movies. LOTR isn’t a character driven story. There are to many great actors in this trilogy to name, but the story’s strength is the plot, plot evident with the chill I get every time I see Aragon running towards battle with his sword held high.

I have noticed there is not rhyme or reason to the order in which I’m watching these movies. Now that I’ve stated that fact, I find I don’t exactly care. After I watched THE RETURN OF THE KING this morning and was satisfied that Middle Earth and Viggo Mortensen were safe from the evil of Mordor, I watched THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES.

The film follows three veteran service men as they struggle to re-acclimate themselves with society. THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES won 7 Academy Awards, including two wins for Harold Russell, the only actor in history to win two awards for the same role. Besides winning Best Supporting Actor, he was giving an Honorary Award as a service man and an unprofessional actor.

In 1944, while training stateside, a defective fuse caused an explosion that cost him both his hands. He was given two hooks to serve in their place. Director William Wyler (who won his own statue) saw a film about the rehabilitating vet and cast him in the role of Homer Parrish, a sailor with Russell’s disability.

This film is purely character driven. With an all-star cast the litters the film poster, it’s no wonder my mother loves this movie so much and no wonder that it made my list of successful movies.

Congrats to Auburn, on a side note. I took a break from movie-watching to cheer on the Tigers. It was an entertaining game, and I’m glad I stayed tuned.

1 Comment

  1. susie koeneman says:

    I have loved ” The Best Years of Our Lives ” for 20 years. It is on my favorite movie list.

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