Sunset Boulevard

Watch Sunset Boulevard

"A Hollywood Story."
  • Passed
  • 1950
  • 1 hr 50 min
  • 8.4  (232,191)
  • 94

Sunset Boulevard is a timeless classic that follows struggling screenwriter Joe Gillis (William Holden) as he becomes entangled with faded silent film star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) and her obsessed former director and husband Max von Mayerling (Erich von Stroheim). The film is a commentary on the dark side of Hollywood and the struggles of those who can’t escape its grasp.

The movie opens with a dramatic shot of Gillis floating lifelessly in a pool. He then narrates his own story through flashback, beginning with his reluctant move to Los Angeles to try and break into the film industry. He crosses paths with Norma, who is living in a decaying mansion on Sunset Boulevard, surrounded by mementos of her former fame. She hires Gillis to help her write a screenplay for a comeback film, a move that thrusts him deeper into her delusions of grandeur.

Swanson gives a powerful performance as Norma, a tragic figure who is desperate to hold onto her former glory. She becomes increasingly obsessive and possessive of Gillis, even as he becomes more and more disillusioned with her and her unhealthy lifestyle. Holden also shines in his portrayal of the cynical and opportunistic Gillis, who struggles with his own moral compass as he becomes more involved with Norma.

The supporting cast is also strong, with von Stroheim standing out as the cold and calculating Max von Mayerling. His character adds to the sense of unease and tragedy that permeates the film.

Director Billy Wilder’s use of shadow and light adds to the movie’s noir feel, and the score by Franz Waxman is both dramatic and haunting. The climax of the film is both shocking and inevitable, with Norma’s tragedy seemingly predestined by her own psychological issues and the unyielding pressure of the film industry.

Sunset Boulevard remains relevant today as a cautionary tale of the dangers of chasing fame and the dehumanizing power of Hollywood. The film has been praised for its dark humor, layered characters, and scathing commentary on the industry. Its powerful performances, striking visuals, and unforgettable ending make it a must-see for any film lover.

In conclusion, Sunset Boulevard is a timeless masterpiece that explores the dark side of Hollywood through the eyes of a struggling screenwriter and a delusional former star. Its themes of obsession, desperation, and the blurred line between reality and fantasy make it a haunting and unforgettable film. The performances by Holden, Swanson, and von Stroheim, along with Wilder’s direction and Waxman’s score, make it a true classic that has stood the test of time.

Sunset Boulevard is a 1950 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 50 minutes. It has received outstanding reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 8.4 and a MetaScore of 94.

Sunset Boulevard
Where to Watch Sunset Boulevard
Sunset Boulevard is available to watch free on Pluto TV and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Paramount+, Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels, The Roku Channel, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Sunset Boulevard for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 50 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    8.4  (232,191)
  • Metascore