A tale of outsized ambition and outrageous excess, it traces the rise and fall of multiple characters during an era of unbridled decadence and depravity in early Hollywood.
Jack Conrad is a struggling actor in Hollywood who will do anything to make it big. He meets Nellie LaRoy, a former actress who is now a successful from the talkies. She takes him under her wing and helps him get started in the business. Conrad quickly becomes a star, but his ego and ambition get the better of him. He starts to believe that he is invincible and that he can have anything he wants. This leads to a spiraling downward spiral of drugs, alcohol, and women. His career and personal life are in shambles, but he doesn’t care. He is until he meets a young woman who makes him realize that he has to get his life together. With her help, he gets sober and tries to make amends with the people he has hurt. He also tries to revive his career, but it is not as easy as he thought it would be.