Elizabeth and John say good-bye as John leaves to go to war. When the war ends, Elizabeth receives a telegram that John has been killed in action. She finds comfort in Larry and they marry. John returns 20 years later, disfigured, with a new identity, Erik, and an adopted daughter, Margaret. John/Erik and Elizabeth accidentally meet and he learns that he has a son, Drew. John must then decide whether or not to reveal his true identity.
Homer thinks maybe they should stop at his Uncle Butch's saloon for a drink before they get home. "You're home now, kid," the older man Al tells him. Three military veterans have just returned to their hometown of Boone City, somewhere in the Midwest, and each in his own way is dreading his approaching reunion. Al's dialogue brings down the curtain on the apprehensive first act of William Wyler's "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946). Seen more than six decades later, it feels surprisingly modern: lean, direct, honest about issues that Hollywood then studiously avoided. After the war years of patriotism and heroism in the movies, this was a sobering look at the problems veterans faced when they returned home.