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

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Top Rated Movies #52 | 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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Larry J. Blake ...
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

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

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:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 August 1950 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

A Can of Beans  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,752,000 (estimated)
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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

Billy Wilder originally wanted another silent star, Pola Negri, to take the part of Norma Desmond. Upon telephoning her, however, Wilder found that Negri's Polish accent, which had killed her career, was still too thick for such a dialog-heavy film. 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 Color Me Kubrick (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
weird, bizarre, fascinating, great
26 March 2001 | by See all my reviews

This movie deserves all the accolades it has gotten here, as well as "Maltin's" four stars. It certainly ranks up there as one of Hollywood's greatest achievements. Seeing it again only reinforces my opinion that William Holden was one of the truly great actors of the last [!] century. Gloria Swanson, however, steals every scene she's in; you can't turn away from watching her, even though she makes you really uncomfortable - it's like watching a train wreck. I don't know if the black & white was an economic or an artistic choice, but the film would never have been as effective in color. The opening shot - the floating, dead body of Joe Gillis, eyes wide open, shot looking up from the bottom of the pool - is one of the great shots, and an unforgettable opener, matched perfectly by the unforgettable closing closeup of Norma Desmond. To have Cecil B. deMille actually play himself was an inspired touch. Throw in Eric von Stroheim and you have an unbeatable combination. Truly one the all-time must-see films, although I don't know how to classify it - film noir? black comedy? Hollywood fable ? horror story? psychodrama? Who cares; just see it.


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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
First Time Viewing... monroehepburn
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