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Alison Grace Macor
Unaffiliated independent scholar
The Best Years of Our Lives: The Forgotten Film that United a Postwar Nation

Research and writing leading to a book about the making of the film The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), veterans, and post-World War II American culture.

Decades before one in five veterans was being diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a double amputee and two Hollywood idols starred in a 1946 blockbuster that boldly addressed the country’s “veterans problem.” William Wyler’s "The Best Years of Our Lives" broke new ground with its stark visuals and provocative story about three servicemen who struggle to return to their civilian lives, yet the film is only dimly remembered today. This narrative history examines "Best Years’" tumultuous journey from script to screen against the backdrop of a nation struggling to deal with its walking wounded. My project seeks to go beyond textual analysis to explore the making of this landmark film as a means to expand existing cinema studies scholarship. The Best Years of Our Lives: The Forgotten Film that United a Postwar Nation also examines how this Academy Award-winning film changed the national conversation about PTSD and how it can still influence the public discussion today.

Project fields:
Film History and Criticism; History, Criticism, and Theory of the Arts; U.S. History

Public Scholars

Research Programs

$30,000 (approved)
$30,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 2/29/2020