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Sunset Blvd. (1950)

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A screenwriter is hired to rework a faded silent film star's script only to find himself developing a dangerous relationship.

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Top Rated Movies #53 | Won 3 Oscars. Another 15 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Lloyd Gough ...
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1st Finance Man (as Larry Blake)
Charles Dayton ...
2nd Finance Man
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Cecil B. DeMille (as Cecil B. De Mille)
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Anna Q. Nilsson
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H. B. Warner
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Storyline

In Hollywood of the 50's, the obscure screenplay writer Joe Gillis is not able to sell his work to the studios, is full of debts and is thinking in returning to his hometown to work in an office. While trying to escape from his creditors, he has a flat tire and parks his car in a decadent mansion in Sunset Boulevard. He meets the owner and former silent-movie star Norma Desmond, who lives alone wit her butler and driver Max von Mayerling. Norma is demented and believes she will return to the cinema industry, and is protected and isolated from the world by Max, who was his director and husband in the past and still loves her. Norma proposes Joe to move to the mansion and help her in writing a screenplay for her comeback to the cinema, and the small-time writer becomes her lover and gigolo. When Joe falls in love for the young aspirant writer Betty Schaefer, Norma becomes jealous and completely insane and her madness leads to a tragic end. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This is it .. the most compelling dramatic story ever unfolded on the screen .. a tale of heartache and tragedy ..love and ambition .. told against the fabulous background of Hollywood. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 September 1950 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

A Can of Beans  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,752,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first floor set of Norma Desmond's mansion was also used in the western comedy Fancy Pants (1950) starring Bob Hope and Lucille Ball, giving fans a chance to see it in full color. See more »

Goofs

When Joe is initially examining the scripts, Norma is shown with a very short cigarette butt. The camera pans to Joe and then back to Norma, whose cigarette is now (seconds later) significantly longer. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Joe Gillis: Yes, this is Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, California. It's about 5 0'clock in the morning. That's the homicide squad, complete with detectives and newspaper men.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Paramount logo appears as a transparency over the opening shot. The words "Sunset Blvd." are shown stenciled on the curb of that street. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Thief: Truth-Telling Style: Michael Mann on 'Thief' (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Toccata and Fugue in D-Minor, BWV 565
(ca 1705) (uncredited)
Music by Johann Sebastian Bach
Played on an organ by Erich von Stroheim
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Another Billy Wilder masterpiece
11 April 2004 | by (Milwaukee, WI) – See all my reviews

I have yet to see a Billy Wilder film that I haven't loved, and Sunset Boulevard is definitely one of those films. It's interesting to watch the film during different times in one's life – when I was a child watching this film, I thought the story was good and that Norma Desmond (Swanson) was a pretty scary lady. In my teens/college years, I appreciated it as a certified classic and for its commentary on Hollywood. Now, in my late 20's and early 30's I found it to have a different impact on me – I was saddened by Desmond's mental illness, and when she makes her final descent down her staircase and utters her famous line as the camera pans the faces of the people around her, so full of pity, and the care her butler/ex-husband takes to make sure she's happy for maybe the last time in her life made more of an impact on me than any other time in the 20-odd times I've seen this film. There are only a small handful of central characters in Sunset Boulevard and they are so richly written that this film will remain timeless. There are not a lot of `dated' themes in this film – the circle of life that is Hollywood isn't going to be much more evolved in 2050 than it was in 1950. If you haven't seen this film, watch it because there is something for just about anyone in this film.

--Shelly


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How did silent movie stars react to the movie? raginghobbitinjapan
Aging or the arrival of sound? Erniesam
One of the greatest and possibly THE most unique performance ever JPLogan54
DeMille was quite a good actor yniehr
Someone please answer nitinmohankapoor
Nancy Olson IloveMuggy
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