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 Stephenson: [to Milly, about Fred] He said he's sorry for what happened but it was just one of those things. He said it wouldn't be fair to his wife for us to see each other anymore because I'm obviously the kind of girl that takes these things too seriously. Then he said goodbye very politely and hung up. Well, I guess you and Dad don't have to worry about me anymore. That's the end of my career as a homewrecker. Mom, I know you feel sorry for me. You think my poor little heart is broken, but you can save your sympathy. I can see things clearer now. I made a fool of myself. I'm getting some sense hammered into me now. I'm glad I'm out of that mess. I'm glad I'll never see him again.


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.

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?

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.

Homer: I know what it is. How did I get these hooks and how do they work? That's what everybody says when they start off with 'Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?' Well, I'll tell ya. I got sick and tired of that old pair of hands I had. You know, an awful lot of trouble washing them and manicuring my nails. So I traded them in for a pair of these latest models. They work by radar. Look. [He takes a scoop of his ice cream sundae with a spoon] Pretty cute, hey?
Customer: You got plenty of guts. It's terrible when you see a guy like you that had to sacrifice himself - and for what?
Homer: And for what? I don't getcha Mister?
Customer: ...We let ourselves get sold down the river. We were pushed into war.
Homer: Sure, by the Japs and the Nazis so we had...
Customer: No, the Germans and the Japs had nothing against us. They just wanted to fight the Limies and the Reds. And they would have whipped 'em too if we didn't get deceived into it by a bunch of radicals in Washington.
Homer: What are you talkin' about?
Customer: We fought the wrong people, that's all. Just read the facts, my friend. Find out for yourself why you had to lose your hands. And then go out and do something about it.

I'm sure you'll all agree with me if I said that now is the time for all of us to stop all this nonsense, face facts, get down to brass tacks, forget about the war and go fishing. But I'm not gonna say it. I'm just going to sum the whole thing up in one word. [Milly coughs loudly] My wife doesn't think I'd better sum it up in that one word. I want to tell you all that the reason for my success as a Sergeant is due primarily to my previous training in the Cornbelt Loan and Trust Company. The knowledge I acquired in the good ol' bank I applied to my problems in the infantry. For instance, one day in Okinawa, a Major comes up to me and he says, 'Stephenson, you see that hill?' 'Yes sir, I see it.' 'All right,' he said. 'You and your platoon will attack said hill and take it.' So I said to the Major, 'but that operation involves considerable risk. We haven't sufficient collateral.' 'I'm aware of that,' said the Major, 'but the fact remains that there's the hill and you are the guys that are going to take it.' So I said to him, 'I'm sorry Major, no collateral, no hill.' So we didn't take the hill and we lost the war.' I think that little story has considerable significance, but I've forgotten what it is. And now in conclusion, I'd like to tell you a humorous anecdote. I know several humorous anecdotes, but I can't think of any way to clean them up, so I'll only say this much. I love the Cornbelt Loan and Trust Company. There are some who say that the old bank is suffering from hardening of the arteries and of the heart. I refuse to listen to such radical talk. I say that our bank is alive, it's generous, it's human, and we're going to have such a line of customers seeking and getting small loans that people will think we're gambling with the depositors' money. And we will be. We will be gambling on the future of this country. I thank you.

Homer: I'm lucky I have my elbows. Some of the boys don't, but I can't button them up.
Wilma: I'll do that, Homer.
Homer: This is when I know I'm helpless. My hands are down there on the bed. I can't put them on again without calling to somebody for help. I can't smoke a cigarette or read a book. If that door should blow shut, I can't open it and get out of this room. I'm as dependent as a baby that doesn't know how to get anything except to cry for it. Well, now you know, Wilma. Now you have an idea of what it is. I guess you don't know what to say. It's all right. Go on home. Go away like your family said.
Wilma: I know what to say, Homer. I love you and I'm never going to leave you, never. [She kisses him]
Homer: You mean you, you didn't mind?
Wilma: Of course not. I told you I loved you.
Homer: I love you, Wilma. I always have and I always will.
Wilma: Good night, darling. Sleep well.

Fred: We spent it, babe. That's what happened. I'm sorry it's so sudden. I didn't tell you the money was almost gone because every day I kept hoping I was going to land a good job. But at last, I've got it through my thick skull that I'm not going to get one so we'll just have to forget about Jackie's Hotspot and the Blue Devil and all the rest.
Marie: Can't you get those things out of your system?
Fred: Oh sure.
Marie: Maybe that's what's holding you back. You know, the war's over. You won't get anyplace 'til you stop thinking about it. Come on, snap out of it.
Fred: When we were married, babe, the Justice of the Peace said something about 'For richer, for poorer, for better, for worse.' Remember? Well, this is the 'worse.'
Marie: Well, when do we get going on the 'better?'
Fred: Whenever I get wise to myself, I guess. Whenever I wake up and realize I'm not an officer and a gentleman anymore. I'm just another soda jerk out of a job.

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.

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.

[to Homer, about Wilma] Take her in your arms, and kiss her. Ask her to marry you. Then marry her. Tomorrow if you can get a license that fast. If you want anybody to stand up for you at your wedding...

Marie: Say, who is this Peggy Stephenson?
Fred: She's a girl.
Marie: I didn't think she was a kangaroo. Where did you meet her?
Fred: I told you. The night I got back when you weren't here. Al Stephenson and his wife took me home with them. She's their daughter. I'd never seen her before.
Marie: Or since?
Fred: Listen, babe, if you think you're gonna make anything out of this, you're due for a big disappointment. I just don't like to be accepting handouts when we're broke.
Marie: Well, if that's it, you'd better get used to it, because I don't see how we're gonna get much fun on your thirty two fifty a week.

[to Marie] I don't want to be right back where we started. We can never be back there again. We never want to be back there.

Homer: I was afraid you wouldn't be able to stand up for me.
Fred: I'd stand up for you, kid, 'til I drop.

[to Peggy] I think they ought to put you in mass production.