The Best Years of Our Lives

The Best Years of Our Lives quotes

50 total quotes (ID: 72)

Al Stephenson
Fred Derry
Multiple Characters


Pat Derry: [to his wife, reading Fred's citations] Headquarters, Eighth Air Force. Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross...Despite intense pain, shock, and loss of blood, with complete disregard of his personal safety, Captain Derry crawled back to his bombsight, guided his formation on a perfect run over the objective, and released his bombs with great accuracy. The heroism, devotion to duty, professional skill, and coolness under fire displayed by Captain Derry under the most difficult conditions reflect highest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States of America. By command of Lieutenant General Doolittle.


Homer: Boy, oh boy, hey, look at that. Look at those automobiles down there. You can see them so plain, you can even see the people in them.
Fred: Yeah, it looks like we're flying by a roadmap.

Homer: I didn't see much of the war...I was stationed in a repair shop below decks. Oh, I was in plenty of battles, but I never saw a Jap or heard a shell coming at me. When we were sunk, all I know is there was a lot of fire and explosions. And I was on the topsides and overboard. And I was burned. When I came to, I was on a cruiser. My hands were off. After that, I had it easy...That's what I said. They took care of me fine. They trained me to use these things. I can dial telephones, I can drive a car, I can even put nickels in the jukebox. I'm all right, but...well, you see, I've got a girl.
Fred: She knows what happened to ya, doesn't she?
Homer: Sure, they all know. They don't know what these things look like.
Al: What's your girl's name, Homer?
Homer: Wilma. She and I went to high school together.
Al: I'll bet Wilma's a swell girl.
Homer: She is.
Fred: Then it will be all right, sailor. You wait and see.
Homer: Yeah, wait and see. Wilma's only a kid. She's never seen anything like these hooks.

Fred: Do you remember what it felt like when we went overseas?
Al: As well as I remember my own name.
Fred: I feel the same way now - only more so.
Al: I know what you mean.
Fred: Just nervous out of the service, I guess.
Al: The thing that scares me most is that everybody is gonna try to rehabilitate me.
Fred: All I want's a good job, a mild future, a little house big enough for me and my wife. Give me that much and I'm rehabilitated [he clicks his fingers] like that.
Al: Well, I'd say that's not too much to ask.
Fred: Are you married, Al?
Al: Yup.
Fred: How long?
Al: Twenty years.
Fred: Twenty years?! Holy smoke! We didn't even have twenty days before I went over. I married a girl I met when I was in training in Texas.
Al: Well, now you and your wife will have a chance to get acquainted.

Fred: There's the golf course, people playing golf just as if nothing had ever happened.
Homer: Hey, there's Jackson High football field. Boy, I sure would like to have a dollar for every forward pass I threw down there. Good ol' Jackson High. Say, that must be the new airport.
Fred: We're turning into her now.
Al: Holy smoke. [They view an airfield graveyard]
Homer: I never knew there was so many planes.
Fred: And they're junking them...Boy, oh boy, what we could have done with those in '43!...Some of 'em look brand new, factory to the scrap heap. That's all they're good for now.

Fred: Some barracks you got here. Hey what are you, a retired bootlegger?
Al: Nothing as dignified as that. I'm a banker. '[to the cab driver] How much do I owe ya?
Fred: Take your hand out of your pocket, Sergeant. You're outranked.
Al: [saluting] Yessir, Captain, sir.

Hortense: [about Fred's wife Marie] Well, she's not living with us anymore, Freddy. She took an apartment downtown.
Fred: Why didn't anybody write me about it?
Hortense: Well, we were afraid it might worry you, you being so far away and everything. And it was kinda inconvenient for Marie living in this place after she took that job.
Pat: But we forwarded all your letters and the allotment checks.
Fred: She took a job? Where?
Pat: Uh, some nightclub, I don't know just which one.
Hortense: Oh the poor girl works 'til all hours.
Fred: Where does she live?
Pat: Uhm, Grandview Arms, on Pine Street.
Hortense: But there's nothing to worry about, Freddy. Marie's fine. We saw her last, last Christmas. She brought us some beautiful presents.
Pat: Marie's a good-hearted girl.
Fred: Do you know what time she goes out to work?
Pat: Uhm, 'long about supper time, I imagine.

Rob: Say, you were at Hiroshima, weren't you Dad?..Well, did you happen to notice any of the effects of radioactivity on the people who survived the blast?
Al: No, I didn't. Should I have?
Rob: 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...
Al: Or else...?
Rob: That's right. Or else. Because when you combine atomic energy with jet propulsion and radar and guided missiles, just think of the...
Al: I've seen nothing. I should have stayed home and found out what was really going on. What's happened to this family? All this atomic energy and scientific efficiency.
Peggy: Nice to have you around, dad. You'll get us back to normal.
Al: Or maybe go nuts myself.

Milly: What do you think of the children?
Al: Children? I don't recognize 'em. They've grown so old.
Milly: I tried to stop them, to keep them just as they were when you left, but they got away from me.

Mr. Cameron: Have you thought anything about getting a job, Homer?
Wilma: Father, it's much too soon for Homer to be thinking about a job. He's just out of the hospital.
Mr. Cameron: Yes, I know but a few months from now, the same opportunities won't exist that exist today. You might think about my business Homer, insurance. We've taken on a number of veterans. They make very good salesmen, you know. Men who have suffered from some kind of disability.

Homer: Wilma? What does she want?
Butch: You.
Homer: Oh, why can't they leave a guy alone?
Butch: Because they're fond of ya, that's why. What made you leave the house and get them all worried?
Homer: Oh, they, they got me nervous...well, they keep staring at these hooks, or else they keep staring away from them.
Butch: Do you mean, whatever they do is wrong?
Homer: Why don't they understand that all I want is to be treated like everybody else?
Butch: Give 'em time, kid. They'll catch on. You know, your folks will get used to you, and you'll get used to them. Then everything will settle down nicely, unless we have another war. Then none of us have to worry because we'll all be blown to bits the first day. So cheer up, huh?

Fred: You don't seem like Al's daughter.
Peggy: Actually, I'm not. He's my son by a previous marriage.
Fred: [laughing] What did you say your name was?

Peggy: What d'ya do before the war, Fred?
Fred: I was a fountain attendant...soda jerk...Surprised?
Peggy: Yes, a little. I betcha you mixed up a fine ice cream soda.
Fred: You're darn right. I was an expert behind that fountain. I used to toss a scoop of ice cream in the air, adjust for wind drift, velocity, altitude. Then wham, in the cone every time. I figured that's where I really learned to drop bombs.
Peggy: What do you think you'll do now?
Fred: I'm not going back to that drugstore. Somehow or other, I can't figure myself getting excited about a root beer float. I don't know just what I will do. I'm gonna take plenty of time looking around.
Peggy: I guess after all the places you've been, Boone City looks pretty dreary to you.
Fred: Not from where I'm sitting right now. That's not just a line. I really meant it.

Al: You know, I had a dream. I dreamt I was home. I've had that dream hundreds of times before. This time, I wanted to find out if it's really true. Am I really home?
Milly: It looks like it, and you're going to be royally treated. You're having breakfast in bed.

Milly: You ought to rest a while. Take a vacation.
Al: Got to make money. Last year it was kill Japs. And this year it's 'make money.'
Milly: We're all right for the time being.
Al: Then why do they have to bother me about problems like that the first day I get home. Why can't they give a fella time to get used to his own family?