Joe Gillis is a young screenwriter. Unable to sell his scripts and left broke, Joe is in trouble with his old debts. He runs away from creditors and hides in a house on Sunset Boulevard.
The host here is Norma Desmond, an actress who became famous during the silent film era. Thinking that she can immediately regain her old reputation, Norma aims to return to the world of cinema with a script she wrote. Joe tells her that he can help her write the script so Norma lets him live in her house.