“The Best Years of Our Lives” is a Hollywood film released in 1946, directed by William Wyler and music composed by Hugo Freidhofer. The revival soundtrack was released in 1979 from Entr’acte Recording to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the composer Hugo Freidhofer.

The liner notes is by Louis Applebaum and titled “Analysis of the score”. It is a very detailed, but not too technical, analysis of the music by referring to excerpts from the score that are visually presented in the writing. Louis successfully put the music in context by mentioning that “Best Years” score won the Academy Award for music in 1947 and it was an obvious win against other nominees. He also mentioned at the beginning that this record was a re-recording of the original soundtrack after 30 years of its publication, which gave me a sense that the music was perceived very well in the film-making and music-making community. Freidhofer’s career and achievements were presented to explain how exceptional Freidhofer was as a film composer, which also helped to put the music in context.

The detailed explanation of the materials used in the music helped to understand how carefully and delicately composed the music was. It devoted about a page to explain how the leitmotivs were used and developed to depict the reappearance of character and other elements in the screen. It also included some photo footage from the film as well as photos of the composer himself which successfully kept my attention on the writing throughout the whole essay.

The writing prompted me to watch the movie and listen to the music again to see the effects of music in the movie.


Stevenson, J. “Hugo Freidhofer: The Best Years of Our Lives, film score” in Allmusic. 2017. Available from Accessed on 20 May 2017.

Leyton, R. Original Motion Picture Score by Hugo Friedhofer: Samuel Goldwyn’s The Best Years of Our Lives, Frank Collura conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Entr’acte Records. Canada. 1979.