Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Sunset Blvd. (1950)
(aka Sunset Boulevard)


Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Sunset Blvd. (1950) (aka Sunset Boulevard)

In director Billy Wilder's great black comedy/drama about Hollywood:

  • the opening scene of a body floating face down in a pool in a rotting mansion while the corpse started to narrate the flashback story: ("Yes, this is Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California. It's about five o'clock in the morning. That's the Homicide Squad - complete with detectives and newspapermen")
  • the scenes between failed, cynical hack screenwriter Joe Gillis (William Holden) and fading silent film star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) - with her faithful butler/ex-husband Max (director Erich von Stroheim)
  • the bridge game with her old "waxworks" friends
  • the moonlight funeral/burial of Norma's pet monkey in her backyard
  • the scenes of Norma watching screenings of her old silent movies (including Swanson's own disastrous and uncompleted Queen Kelly from 1928)
  • the classic line: "I am big - it's the pictures that got small"
  • the New Year's Eve party scene
  • Norma's transformation into Charlie Chaplin as The Tramp (with black mustache, derby hat, and cane), part of her playful "live show" entertainment for Joe
  • Norma's much-anticipated meeting with director Cecil B. De Mille on the set of Samson and Delilah (1949), after being chauffeured to the set in a large touring car - and deluded into believing that De Mille would naturally produce her triumphant comeback movie; upon her arrival, De Mille, on sound stage 18 in jodhpurs and boots, was informed through a succession of assistants, that Norma (who "must be a million years old") was on her way; the great director reacted with some sympathy for her as a destroyed victim of Hollywood's sound revolution, knowing that her youthful stardom was ruined by press agents "working overtime" as she aged; pioneering Hollywood director De Mille greeted her at the sound stage door when she arrived in the limousine: "Well, hello, young fellow...It's good to see you"; for a moment, Norma basked in the light of a spotlight and returned in her mnd to her days as a silver-screen beauty
  • Norma's shooting murder of Joe and his capsizing into the pool
  • deranged Norma's last great "entrance" and comeback scene as she made a grand descent of her staircase in her mansion - madly deluded that she was playing the part of Salome for the silent film cameras: ("...and those wonderful people out there in the dark. All right, Mr. De Mille, I'm ready for my closeup") as police, cameramen and press corps reporters waited below
  • the out-of-focus fade out to black at film's end


Greatest Scenes: Intro | What Makes a Great Scene? | Scenes: Quiz
Scenes: Film Titles A - H | Scenes: Film Titles I - R | Scenes: Film Titles S - Z