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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 #56 | Won 3 Oscars. Another 15 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Joe Gillis
... Norma Desmond
... Max Von Mayerling
... Betty Schaefer
... Sheldrake
... Morino
... Artie Green
... Undertaker
... 1st Finance Man (as Larry Blake)
Charles Dayton ... 2nd Finance Man
... Cecil B. DeMille
... Hedda Hopper
... Buster Keaton
... Anna Q. Nilsson
... 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 with 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 her 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:

Not Rated | 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  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,752,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$5,123,000, 31 December 1950

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,303,175
See more on IMDbPro »

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

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 »

Goofs

As the policemen run towards the pool, you can see the dead man's head lift up out of the water. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Joe Gillis: Yes, this is Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, California. It's about 5 o'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 »

Connections

Referenced in The Apprentice: May the Spoon Be with You (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

La Cumparsita
(1916) (uncredited)
Music by Gerardo Matos Rodríguez
Tango played by the band on New Year's Eve and danced by William Holden with Gloria Swanson
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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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