Sunset Boulevard (also known as Sunset Blvd.) is a 1950 American film noir containing elements of drama, horror, and black comedy. Directed and co-written by Billy Wilder, it was named for the famous boulevard of the same name that runs through Los Angeles and Beverly Hills.
It stars William Holden as down-on-his-luck screenwriter Joe Gillis, and Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond, a faded movie star and femme fatale who entraps the unsuspecting Gillis into her fantasy world in which she dreams of making a triumphant return to the screen. Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark, Lloyd Gough and Jack Webb play supporting roles. Director Cecil B. DeMille and gossip columnist Hedda Hopper play themselves, and the film includes cameo appearances by leading silent film figures Buster Keaton, H. B. Warner and Anna Q. Nilsson.
Praised by many critics when first released, Sunset Boulevard was nominated for eleven Academy Awards and won three. It is widely accepted as a classic, often cited as one of the most noteworthy films of American cinema. Deemed “culturally significant” by the U.S. Library of Congress in 1989, Sunset Boulevard was included in the first group of films selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. In 1998 it was ranked number twelve on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 best American films of the 20th century.