A screenwriter develops a dangerous relationship with a faded film star determined to make a triumphant return.

Director:

Billy Wilder
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Popularity
1,906 ( 204)
Top Rated Movies #65 | Won 3 Oscars. Another 15 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
William Holden ... Joe Gillis
Gloria Swanson ... Norma Desmond
Erich von Stroheim ... Max Von Mayerling
Nancy Olson ... Betty Schaefer
Fred Clark ... Sheldrake
Lloyd Gough ... Morino
Jack Webb ... Artie Green
Franklyn Farnum ... Undertaker
Larry J. Blake ... 1st Finance Man (as Larry Blake)
Charles Dayton Charles Dayton ... 2nd Finance Man
Cecil B. DeMille ... Cecil B. DeMille
Hedda Hopper ... Hedda Hopper
Buster Keaton ... Buster Keaton
Anna Q. Nilsson ... Anna Q. Nilsson
H.B. Warner ... 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:

A Hollywood Story See more »

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Unlike the character she played, Gloria Swanson had accepted the fact that the movies didn't want her anymore and had moved to New York, where she worked on radio and, later, television. Although she had long before ruled out the possibility of a movie comeback, she was nevertheless highly intrigued when she got the offer to play the lead. See more »

Goofs

At the New Year's Eve party (at Norma's house), we hear someone plucking a violin, but when we look at the orchestra, they are all playing with their bows. 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 Walking Shadow (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Sobre las Olas (Over the Waves)
(1887) (uncredited)
Written by Juventino Rosas
Hummed by Gloria Swanson
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User Reviews

 
Better Late Than Never
12 March 2005 | by queenruejeanSee all my reviews

Although this movie was made 8 years before I was, I saw it for the first time yesterday and I was blown away! I have spent my life missing what has just become one of my favorite movies of all time.

The acting was superb, the storyline riveting and the characters were people you could care about. Max was my personal favorite. There was a quiet, tragic dignity to him. I expected something to be revealed about him but was not prepared for the truth.

I've always liked William Holden but my experience with Gloria Swanson was limited to her brief role in "Airport 75". I will now look for more movies by her. What an expressive face.

It was fun to try to recognize some of the old time actors that were portraying themselves.

An all around excellent movie. One I truly regret having waited this long to see. But it is definitely a case of better late than never.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 September 1950 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

A Can of Beans See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,752,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$169,067, 13 May 2018

Gross USA:

$299,645

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$300,073
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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