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Stonewall (1995)

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 1,036 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 19 critic

A group of homosexual people try to live with dignity and self-respect while events build to the opening battle in the major gay rights movement.

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4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Documentary about transgender women and drag queens who fought police harassment at Compton's Cafeteria in San Francisco's Tenderloin in 1966, three years before the famous riot at Stonewall Inn bar in NYC.

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Drama

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Director: Roland Emmerich
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
La Miranda
...
Matty Dean
Brendan Corbalis ...
Ethan
...
Bostonia (as Duane Boutté)
...
Vinnie
Peter Ratray ...
Burt
...
Helen Wheels
...
Mizz Moxie
Michael McElroy ...
Princess Ernestine
...
Vito (as Luiz Guzman)
...
Angelo
Tim Artz ...
Plainclothes Cop
...
Uniformed Cop
...
Diva
...
Diva
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Storyline

Who could have guessed that a bunch of men in dresses would breath life into the movement to win equal rights for gay men and lesbians? Certainly not the police who raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular "drag" bar in Greenwich Village. After a long history of police raids, extortion, and brutality, a gaggle of drag queens at the Stonewall decide they have had enough and begin to riot when the police try to load them into a paddy wagon. Told by "La Miranda" (Hector), a regular customer at the Stonewall Inn, the film is a recounting of events that led up to that fateful day in 1969. "Matty Dean" is the handsome angry young man that La Miranda meets at the Stonewall one day and with whom she/he quickly falls in love. "Bostonia" is the self-styled Queen Mother of the drag queens and guides each initiate gently "into the life." Her lover, Vinnie, is the closeted proprietor of the Stonewall. His tragic response to the suffocation he feels bearing down on him from a homophobic world -- perhaps... Written by Mark Fleetwood <mfleetwo@mail.coin.missouri.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gay | police | drag | raid | police raid | See more »

Taglines:

Stonewall. The Story Begins. [Australia theatrical] See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, sexuality and language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

3 September 1996 (USA)  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$74,052 (USA) (26 July 1996)

Gross:

$616,248 (USA) (27 September 1996)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Several film clips are seen and sound clips are heard of Judy Garland, who died June 22, 1969, just six days before the Stonewall Riots started on June 28, 1969. See more »

Goofs

The sip-in depicted took place in 1966, not 1969. It was not the Stonewall Inn that refused service, but a bar called Julius (which is shown as the sip-in's first stop in the film). See more »

Quotes

Vito: Okay, girls. We see ID, or we see blood.
La Miranda: Here's my ID, baby. You recognize?
See more »

Connections

References Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

He Ain't No Angel
Written by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich
Performed by The Ad Libs (as The Ad-Libs)
Courtesy of Sun Entertainment Corp.
By arrangement with Celebrity Licensing Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
There are several thousand Stonewall stories in the Big Apple, this is one of them.
8 May 2013 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The major value of the film Stonewall is to remind all of us just what gay people dealt with before a big rebellion took place in the last week of June in 1969. The film is based on a novel by historian Martin Duberman and the director Nigel Finch died before his testament of the Stonewall Rebellion could be seen and appreciated.

A couple of love stories are involved here. Country boy Frederick Weller arrives from Kansas and he's hoping that New York City will be more accepting of him. Or at least he'll find a community of sorts. That part of the story hasn't ever changed. He's caught between young closeted gay lawyer Brendan Corbalis and professional drag queen Guillermo Diaz.

The second love story is between the owner of the Stonewall Inn and a drag queen played by Bruce MacVittie and Duane Boutte. MacVittie has lived all his life with all the insane rules placed on same sex contact by society and its criminal code against sodomy. Boutte is ready to rebel, but MacVittie counsels go slow it's the way of things in this world. Still he's having just about enough of it.

Weller is a rebellious sort, he gets caught in a bar raid the first night he's in New York. Apparently the concept of freedom in America doesn't extend to those who love of the same sex. He finds the Mattachine Society with their button down ways and it ain't for him. But in a way they do fire his revolutionary ardor.

The Mattachine Society comes in for quite a beating in Stonewall. They were a radical concept in their idea when the mere idea of protesting these laws was radical. In a scene laced with humor and irony Weller is with a group with accompanying press who challenges the law against serving liquor to known homosexuals. Yes there indeed was such a law. The only place that enforces the ordinance is a gay bar because they're afraid of police entrapment.

Of course the end of the film is the riot at the Stonewall Inn which sparked a movement. The unbelievable but true twist on events is the cops including the NYPD's crack tactical police unit equipped for riots retreating into a newly emptied Stonewall Inn for their own safety is truly a sight to behold.

This is a fine film which captures the spirit of that night when it wasn't button down businessmen and lawyers, but rebels in high heels who changed America and the world.


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