* ActorAllusion: In the musical-- Creator/GlennClose portrays a lonely troubled woman slowly driven to insanity due to her unhealthy obsession with a man. Eventually she's pushed over the edge and goes on a murderous rampage... But enough about Alex Forrest in ''Film/FatalAttraction''.
* BeamMeUpScotty: People often misquote this movie's famous line as "I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. [=DeMille=]."
* CutSong: "[[http://www.rayevans.org/music/song.cfm?tSong_id=1394 The Paramount Don't Want Me Blues]]"
* ExecutiveMeddling: Probably for the better. The original cut of the film involved [[spoiler: Joe Gillis]]'s corpse talking to other corpses in the morgue, which made test audiences laugh uproariously. All that survives of this early opening consists of script pages and some silent footage of morticians transporting and storing the corpse.
* HeyItsThatGuy: Alongside all the silent movies stars "as themselves", Joe's very happy go lucky friend Artie is played by Jack Webb, who had just begun to hit it big on the PoliceProcedural ''Franchise/{{Dragnet}}''. It's so weird to see that guy smile.
* RealitySubtext: Norma is played by Gloria Swanson, who was a silent film star, and worked with Cecil B. [=DeMille=]. Max is played by Erich von Stroheim, who was a silent film director.
** The movie that Norma and Joe watch together was comprised of footage of from TroubledProduction ''Queen Kelly'' (1929) - directed by none other than Erich von Stroheim.
** And Cecil B [=DeMille=] referred to Swanson as "young fella" when both were getting started in Hollywood.
** The Waxworks, of course, were real former Hollywood stars then considered has-beens, including Buster Keaton.
* ThoseTwoActors: After the success of the film, this was attempted with William Holden and Nancy Olson; they appeared in three further films together, but none of them was really successful.
* TypeCasting: Filmmakers just [[FollowTheLeader rehashed Norma]] whenever they wanted to give Gloria a part in a film after that, and some people still confused Swanson with Desmond.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen:
** Several other old-time stars were considered for the role of Norma Desmond including Pola Negri, Mary Pickford, and even Mae West. Montgomery Clift was originally cast as Joe Gillis, but pulled out - reputedly because he himself was [[RealitySubtext dating a much older (and arguably washed up) singer at the time]].
** Creator/StephenSondheim began work on a musical version, before the release of Andrew Lloyd Webber's play. He abandoned the project due to Billy Wilder saying that he'd prefer a ''Sunset Boulevard'' opera to a musical.