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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: Sensational...Daring...Unforgettable...Sunset Blvd. 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
See  »

Did You Know?


Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett met with Greta Garbo and tried to convince her to make a comeback for the role of Norma Desmond. Garbo declined the offer. Garbo was once rumored to be engaged to the innovative Hollywood and Broadway director Rouben Mamoulian whose film Golden Boy (1939) made William Holden famous. See more »


When Norma is holding the screenplay being written by Joe and Betty, their names are joined by the word 'and'. This would mean that Joe (who is listed first) had written the entire screenplay, sold it to a studio, only to have Betty revise/rewrite the script. Since the two characters were working together, their names should have been joined with an ampersand ('&'). 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.
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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 Igor (2008) See more »


Buttons and Bows
(1948) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
Played and sung by guests at Artie's Party
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A very brave look at Hollywood when Hollywood was bullied by an absurd censorship.
2 August 2003 | by (Istanbul, Turkey) – See all my reviews

Usually, Cinema is considered as the most delicate form of art because it has the biggest potential to become 'dated' one day. Once a movie thought as 'mind-blowing' can easily become a 'turkey' a decade later.

This is not the case here. Sunset Boulevard still remains as one of the most eerie film in the cinema history and still a realistic depiction because of its reflection of Hollywood. It can give you the idea of the dream land's transformation into a nightmare.

The film is about a troubled script writer 'Joe Gillis and a forgotten silent film star Norma Desmond's weird relationship and the madness that surrounds them and the people around them. Don't wanna give much of the plot, on account the fact that it is a pure gem that should be invented without knowing nothing. But I can talk about the cinematic aspects of this movie.

This movie has some very eerie moments because of using a great cinematography. The moments of burying the dead monkey and watching the old film of Norma Desmond are exquisitely presented. The movie has some one of the most innovative scripts of cinema and that is certainly justified by the unforgetable and memorable lines captured from the film. The directing is top-notch but who are we kidding it is Billy 'the great' Wilder. The end of the movie is one of the most chilling part of the movie and it can truly give you some nightmares about insanity. The narration of the movie by the head character was probably done by this movie at the first place and this influenced so many movies afterwards.

One of the reasons that this movie is still not dated is because of its courage. The Hayes code was at its peak at the beginning of fifties which manipulates the producers to limit their bad thoughts on one subject, especially on Hollywood. The movie got 11 oscar nomination but only got 3 of them. Apparently, the reason was its harsh criticism on Hollywood.

There are some arguements about Sunset Boulevard's genre. It is considered as the greatest film-noir of all time. I don't think it is a film-noir at all. For some aspects, the movie has some noirish elements such as the black and white German-expressionist cinematography and an 'on the edge of insanity', femme-fatale but these two are not enough to make a film-noir. I think this is a psyhcological drama with some horror(the end is horrifying for me) and with some very very dark comedy.

Overall, This is truly a classic and one of the best movies of cinema history that will never lose its effects on cinema. Heavily influences American Beauty and Mulholland Drive, also making those movies a must see. 10/10

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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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