Three veterans returning home at the end of World War 2 must deal with the challenges of restarting their lives and returning to the families they left behind. Each man faces his own demons in becoming a civilian again after many years in combat. One of the men, played by real-life disabled veteran Harold Russell must learn to overcome his own doubts and fears about being accepted for who he really is in spite of his severe disability, after losing both of his hands. It is a poignant, honest, and emotional portrayal of each man and how he deals with facing his post-war life, love and relationships at work and at home.
As the movie opens, we meet the three veterans flying home. Al Stephenson is an Army Sergeant who will be returning to his job as a banker. Fred Derry was a drugstore soda jerk before the war, but found his niche in the Air Corps, attaining the rank of Captain as a bombardier. Al and Fred's complete reversal of position in moving from military to civilian life could make for some awkwardness, but both are the kind of men who won't let that happen.
Homer Parrish is a former high school football star who lost both hands in an explosion. Rather than being bitter, he is grateful to the Navy for providing him with a pair of artificial hands and help in rehabilitation, and is upbeat about his future. Even as time goes by and he starts to lose some of his optimism, you will never hear him say (or tolerate anyone saying) anything negative about the Navy or his war experiences. The movie then follows the separate but often intersecting paths of the three as they readjust to civilian life.
Al moves back in with his wife Milly, his grown daughter Peggy, and his son Rob. He has been gone so long that he hardly recognizes his children, but the adjustment is not nearly as uncomfortable as it could be, due in large part to his wife's understanding and forbearance. What frustrations he encounters have more to do with his job. On the one hand, he is enth