The Best Years of Our Lives

The Best Years of Our Lives quotes

50 total quotes (ID: 72)

Al Stephenson
Fred Derry
Multiple Characters


Peggy: I've made up my mind...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...He doesn't love her, he hates her. I know it. I know it.
Al: Who are you, God? How did you get this power to interfere in other people's lives?
Milly: Is Fred in love with you?
Peggy: Yes.
Milly: You've been seeing him.
Peggy: Only once, today. Oh, it was all perfectly respectable. But when we were saying goodbye, he took me in his arms and kissed me and I knew.
Al: And you think a kiss from a smooth operator like Fred - you think that means anything?
Peggy: You don't know him. You don't know anything about what's inside him. And neither does she, his wife. That's probably what she thought when she married him. A smooth operator with money in his pockets. But now he isn't smooth any longer and she's lost interest in him.
Al: Whereas you're possessed of all the wisdom of the ages. You can see into the secret recesses of his innermost soul.
Peggy: I can see because I love him.
Al: So you're gonna break this marriage up. Have you decided yet how you're gonna do it? Are you gonna do it with an axe?
Peggy: It's none of your business how I'm gonna do it. You've forgotten what it's like to be in love.
Al: You hear that, Milly? I'm so old and decrepit I've forgotten how it feels to want somebody desperately.
Milly: Peggy didn't mean that, did you darling?
Peggy: Oh, no. I don't know what I do mean. It's just that, everything has always been so perfect for you. You loved each other and you got married in a big church, and you had a honeymoon in the south of France. And you never had any trouble of any kind. So how can you possibly understand how it is with Fred and me?
Milly: We never had any trouble. [To Al] 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?


Foreman: Hey you, what are you doing in that airplane?
Fred: I used to work in one of those.
Foreman: Reviving old memories, huh?
Fred: Yeah, or maybe getting some of 'em out of my system.
Foreman: Well, you can take your last look at these crates. We're breakin' them up.
Fred: Yeah, I know. You're the junkman. You get everything sooner or later.
Foreman: This is no junk. We're using this material for building pre-fabricated houses.
Fred: You don't need any help, do ya?
Foreman: Out of a job?
Fred: That's it.
Foreman: I see. One of the fallen angels of the Air Force. Well, pardon me if I show no sympathy. While you glamour boys were up in the wild blue yonder, I was down in a tank.
Fred: Listen, chum. Sometime I'd be glad to hear the story of your war experiences. What I asked you for is a job? You got one?
Foreman: Do you know anything about building?
Fred: No, but there's one thing I do know. I know how to learn, same as I learned that job up there.

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.

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.

Marie Derry: [To Peggy] Never mind the romantic part of it. That takes care of itself. And I'm speaking from experience. They'll tell you money isn't everything. Well, maybe it isn't, but boy how it helps! Do you know that while Fred was away, I was drawing over five hundred dollars a month, I mean, from his Army pay and the job I had. Now the two of us got to live on what Fred gets from being a drugstore cowboy - thirty two fifty a week. Poor Fred. I guess you think he's an awful sourpuss. He didn't used to be that way, though. The Army's had an awful effect on him - knocked all the life out of him...You can't have happy marriages on that kind of dough.

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 Stephenson: [to Al] All right Sergeant. Gosh, you got tough.

Mr. Milton: [to Al] There's considerable uncertainty in the business picture. Strikes, taxes still ruin us...Oh, things will readjust themselves in time. We want you back here in the saddle. You're the man for it...Your war experience will prove invaluable to us here. See, we have many new problems. This GI Bill of Rights, for instance. It involves us in consideration of all kinds of loans to ex-servicemen. We need a man who understands the soldier's problems. And at the same time, who's well grounded in the fundamental principles of sound banking. In other words, you.

Homer Parrish: [to neighborhood kids] You want to see how the hooks work? Do you want to see the freak? All right, I'll show ya! [He smashes his two hook-fists through the window] Take a good look.

Al: I happen to be quite fond of Peggy, and I, uh...
Fred: ...don't want her to get mixed up with a heel like me.
Al: I haven't called you a heel, yet. I just don't want to see her get into this mess...I don't like the idea of you sneaking around corners to see Peggy, taking her love on a bootleg basis. I give you fair warning. I'm going to do everything I can to keep her away from you, to help her forget about you, and get her married to some decent guy who can make her happy.
Fred: Then, I guess that's it, Al. I don't see her anymore. I'll put that in the form of a guarantee. I won't see her anymore. I'll call her up and tell her so. Does that satisfy you?

Marie Derry: [to Fred] Oh, you're marveous. All those ribbons. You gotta tell me what they all mean.

Fred: [about his military citations] They're just a lot of fancy words that don't mean anything. You can throw them away...Those things came in the packages of K-rations.
Pat Derry: Well, we'll treasure them, my boy. How do you know it will be different anyplace else? There's a need here for fellas like yourself that fought and won the war. I know you haven't had the best of breaks since you got back, but well, it seems like you ought to stick here and slug it out a while longer on your own home ground.
Fred: You're all right, Pop. But I know when it's time to bail out.

Fred: [about his lack of managerial experience] I didn't do any of that. I just dropped bombs...I was only responsible for getting the bombs on the target. I didn't command anybody.
Mr. Thorpe: Unfortunately, we've no opportunities for that with Midway Drugs. However, we might be able to provide an opening for you as an assistant to Mr. Merkle, the floor manager...Incidentally, your work would require part-time duties at the soda fountain.
Fred: At what salary?
Mr. Thorpe: Thirty-two fifty per week.
Fred: Thirty-two fifty. I used to make over four hundred dollars a month in the Air Force.
Mr. Thorpe: The war is over, Derry.

Fred: I knew I'd never go back to that drugstore...I dreamed I was going to have my own home. Just a nice little house with my wife out in the country, in the suburbs anyway. That's the ****-eyed kind of dream you have when you're overseas.
Peggy: You don't have to be overseas to have dreams like that.
Fred: Yeah. You can get crazy ideas right here at home.
[They kiss]
Fred: That shouldn't have happened, but I guess it had to.

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.