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Sunset Boulevard (1950)

Sunset Blvd. (original title)
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A hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former silent-film star who has faded into Hollywood obscurity.


2,334 ( 301)
Top Rated Movies #53 | Won 3 Oscars. Another 15 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »



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


The story, set in '50s Hollywood, focuses on Norma Desmond, a silent-screen goddess whose pathetic belief in her own indestructibility has turned her into a demented recluse. The crumbling Sunset Boulevard mansion where she lives with only her butler, Max who was once her director and husband has become her self-contained world. Norma dreams of a comeback to pictures and she begins a relationship with Joe Gillis, a small-time writer who becomes her lover, that will soon end with murder and total madness. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A Hollywood Story See more »


Drama | Film-Noir


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

29 September 1950 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

A Can of Beans  »

Box Office


$1,752,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


According to Cameron Crowe, who shadowed Billy Wilder in his twilight years, a typical day in his office would consist of him answering numerous phone calls from people requesting to remake this film, upon which he would inform them that he didn't own the rights and promptly hang up. See more »


The morning Joe Gillis wakes up after his first night in Norma Desmond's house, he sees all his belongings in his room over the garage. Angry, he puts on his jacket over his shirt and leaves the room. In the next shot, when he is walking down the stairs, his shirt is inside his trousers. See more »


[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 »


Referenced in Drop Dead Diva: The Dress (2009) See more »


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

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User Reviews

A Bitter and Tragic Masterpiece
18 January 2008 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

In Hollywood of the 50's, the obscure screenplay writer Joe Gillis (William Holden) 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 (Gloria Swanson), who lives alone wit her butler and driver Max von Mayerling (Erich von Stroheim). 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 (Nancy Olson), Norma becomes jealous and completely insane and her madness leads to a tragic end.

"Sunset Boulevard" is a bitter and tragic masterpiece of the genius Billy Wilder that exposes how Hollywood uses people and forgets them when they get old and are considered decadent by the industry. Further, it also shows the consequences of the lack of adaptation of a former star to the end of a successful career, being forgotten by fans and the industry, and the price that some persons accept to pay to join this business. The last time I saw this film was on 22 September 2002 and even having watched "Sunset Boulevard" for maybe five or six times, I still get excited with most of the scenes and I dare to say that it is in my Top 10 movies ever. The DVD has an interesting documentary called "Sunset Blvd.: A Look Back" (a.k.a. "The Making of Sunset Boulevard" with the presence of a still impressively beautiful Nancy Olson telling peculiarities about this awesome feature. My vote is ten.

Title (Brazil): "Crepúsculo dos Deuses" ("Dusk of the Gods")

37 of 53 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Recent Posts
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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