The Best Years of Our Lives

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The Best Years of Our Lives film poster.

Movie (1946)
French title : Les plus belles années de notre vie

Starring:
Dana Andrews (Fred Derry)
Harold Russell (Homer Parrish)
Fredric March (Al Stephenson)

William Wyler's classic film follows the lives of three American servicemen as they transition to civilian life following WWII.

Douglas DC-4-1009

Following their return from overseas, the men initially try to fly home via commercial airlines, but there are no seats available.
Registration NC10201, c/n 42904.

A Western Air Lines DC-4 provides no accommodation for a war weary GI.
NC10201 was the first civilian DC-4 built. She served only a short time with Western Air Lines before being sold. She ended her days in South America and was scrapped in 1972.

Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress

Undeterred, they take a "space available" hop on an Air Transport Command B-17.
Actually Boeing B-17F s/n 42-3360 just registered as N67974.

BYOLB17-1.jpg
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Bell P-39 Airacobra

A number of stripped P-39s appear, awaiting the scrappers torch.

BYOLP39-1.jpg
BYOLP39-2.jpg

Boeing YB-40 Flying Fortress

Also being scrapped are a couple of rare YB-40 gunships. These modified B-17Fs had additional gun mounts and were intended to act as escorts accompanying flights of bombers on their way to and from the target. A second top turret was installed in the radio compartment. Although the second turret has been removed from these aircraft, the shortened fairing ahead of the radio room (and just behind the open life raft compartments above the wing), identify them as YB-40s.

BYOLB17-4.jpg
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Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress

Towards the end of the film, Fred Derry reconsiders his life options while strolling amongst veteran aircraft being scrapped in a boneyard.

BYOLB17-7.jpg

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