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This is the most iconic of all Hollywood films. Written and directed by that master of cynicism Billy Wilder, it stars faded silent-star Gloria Swanson as faded silent-star Norma Desmond, who lives in a gothic mansion with a desperate screenwriter boy-toy (William Holden), her faithful servant (Erich von Stroheim), and utterly hopeless hopes of regaining her old place in the Hollywood firmament. Very funny and crackling with a sense of the delusion that runs through the film industry. - ...

It's the pictures that got small", Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), Sunset Boulevard, 1950

In Vincente Minnelli’s riveting melodrama, Kirk Douglas shines as Jonathan Shields, a ruthlessly hard-climbing producer who uses and alienates a screenwriter (Dick Powell), an actress (Lana Turner), and a director (Barry Sullivan) to make his way to the top. Of course, those on the top in Hollywood tend to be lonely, unhappy, and a little bonkers. Seeing the film in a larger, more metaphorical context, you can trace a line from Shields’s miserable success to that of Don Draper. - Photo: ...

Kirk Douglas and Lana Turner dance in a scene from Vincente Minnelli's 1953 film "The Bad and the Beautiful." The actress, who died in 1995 at age was married and divorced eight times.

You get Hollywood seen through the looking-glass in Paul Thomas Anderson’s portrait of the adult-film industry starring Mark Wahlberg, Burt Reynolds, and an ever-bold Julianne Moore. Sure, porn budgets are smaller and the films sleazier, but no movie comes closer to capturing the strange, crazy quilt that is Hollywood—the camaraderie and exploitation, the idealism and greed, the love of stardom and rush to self-destruction, the fear of changing times and the sense of lost souls inventing ...

Maps to the Stars and 10 Other Essential Movies about Hollywood

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Burt Reynolds, Don Cheadle, Heather Graham, the usual P.