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Sunset Blvd. (1950)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Film-Noir  |  25 August 1950 (Australia)
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 126,825 users  
Reviews: 444 user | 185 critic

A hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former silent-film star who has faded into Hollywood obscurity.


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Top 250 Movies #50 | Won 3 Oscars. Another 19 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lloyd Gough ...
Larry J. Blake ...
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


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 August 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?


One of only 13 films to be nominated for Best Film, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Director. For the record, the other 12 films to achieve a similar feat are Mrs. Miniver (1942), Johnny Belinda (1948), A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), From Here to Eternity (1953), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), Network (1976), Coming Home (1978), Reds (1981), Silver Linings Playbook (2012) and American Hustle (2013). See more »


When Norma Desmond drives through the Paramount gate, Jonesy, the guard who let her in, dials his phone and speaks into the phone, asking for "stage 18" before the phone's dial has even returned to zero. 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 The 55th Annual Academy Awards (1983) See more »


(1950) (uncredited)
Words & Music by Erno Rapee & Lew Pollack
Played by the band on New Year's Eve
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

They Don't Make 'Em Like This Anymore
2 July 2004 | by (NYC) – See all my reviews

This is such a great film on so many levels I can't really settle on where to begin. It is so beautifully shot (in that stark black/white that only nitrate negative could achieve), has a witty, clever and extremely well-written script, features some of the best acting in film's history, acrobatically balances the main plot/subplots with expert precision, contains some of the best characters on celluloid, has many true-to-life parallels (Swanson's career/real life cameos/DeMille's involvement/etc) and is peppered with such great dialogue/narration that today's film writers should take note. If that weren't enough, there's even a cameo by silent film great Buster Keaton (among others).

One of the most appealing aspects of this film is how, in the story, an aging, forgotten star is trying to recapture a bygone era (the silent film era). What's interesting is that now, so many years later, we're looking back at her looking back. To present day viewers, Gloria Swanson of the 1950's is a long forgotten lost gem and to experience her own longing for the 1920's is especially captivating (and a little chilling, I might add). I don't think this film could have had that same effect when it debuted and maybe this added dimension holds so much more appeal for today's audiences. We all know that nothing lasts forever, but we don't often consider the abandoned participants; much like the veterans of a past war.

In response to the famous Swanson line (while watching one of her silent films): "...we didn't need dialogue; we had faces", I'd like to also add that they "didn't need movies; they had films."

They truly don't make them like this anymore. 10/10

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Message Boards

Recent Posts
Aging or the arrival of sound? Erniesam
DeMille was quite a good actor yniehr
Does this film fall under the Hays Code marhefka
Someone please answer nitinmohankapoor
At what age is it okay to watch this? sabika-angelz
Nancy Olson IloveMuggy
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