During World War II, Larry Nevins, an American sergeant, is blinded by a German sniper while fighting in North Africa. He is taken to a hospital for other blinded soldiers, where he struggles to come to terms with his disability.
Larry quickly adapts physically, but the difficulty of forging relationships unknowing of race, creed, or appearance takes its toll. He befriends Joe Morgan, another blinded veteran, and Judy, a bank teller in town.
One day Larry, unaware that Joe is black, utters a racial slur. This causes a huge rift between Larry and others. Meanwhile, he progresses well in his recovery, passing a crucial test to see how well he can handle himself on the street. He is cleared for furlough, so Judy takes him to visit her sister's cabin.
Larry learns of a very successful blind lawyer, giving him hope for the future. After dinner, Judy reveals her love for him. Larry says he needs more security and already has a fiancee at home.
Somewhat dispirited, he goes home and has a rough time dealing with the racial attitudes of his Southern family and friends. His fiancee's family is having doubts about his fitness as a son-in-law and his parents are downcast because of his disability.
Larry is happy to see his fiancee, Chris, though he still thinks of Judy. After a bad experience at his homecoming party, he tells Chris the difficulties they can expect with his disability. Chris eventually tells Larry that she isn't strong enough to leave home while Larry struggles to make a new life for both of them.
Returning to the hospital, Larry takes a side trip to Philadelphia and meets the famous lawyer who had given him hope. The lawyer tells him that life is difficult but worth it and that his wife was an invaluable helper to him.
At the train station, Larry is unexpectedly reunited with Judy. They joyfully declare their mutual love.
Boarding the train, he hears Joe Morgan's name called. He catches Joe's arm, apologizes for all the hurt he caused and asks if they can be friends. Joe accepts the apology. They board and sit together as the train pulls out of the station.Arthur Kennedy as Larry Nevins
Peggy Dow as Judy Greene
Julie Adams as Chris Patterson (as Julia Adams)
James Edwards as Joe Morgan
Will Geer as Mr. Lawrence Nevins
Nana Bryant as Mrs. Clarie Nevins
Jim Backus as Grayson
Minor Watson as Mr. Edward Paterson
Joan Banks as Janet Grayson
Richard Egan as Sgt. John Masterson
John Hudson as Cpl. John Flagg
Marjorie Crossland as Mrs. Paterson
Donald Miele as 'Moose' Garvey
Murray Hamilton as Pate Hamiton
Larry Keating as Jess Coe
Hugh Reilly as Capt. Phelan
Mary Cooper as Nurse Bailey
Rock Hudson as Dudek
Ken Harvey as Joe Scanlon
Russell Dennis as Pvt. Fred Tyler
Philip Faversham as Lt. Atkins (as Phil Faversham)
Robert F. Simon as Psychiatrist
Virginia Mullen as Mrs. Coe
Ruth Esherick as Nurse
Bright Victory was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Arthur Kennedy) and Best Sound, Recording (Leslie I. Carey). The film was also entered into the 1951 Cannes Film Festival.
Part of the film was made at Valley Forge Army Hospital in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania - the town's name is mentioned in the film. There were also several scenes that were shot in downtown Phoenixville and Kimberton, PA.