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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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Cast overview, first billed only:
La Miranda
Matty Dean
Brendan Corbalis ...
Peter Ratray ...
Dwight Ewell ...
Helen Wheels
Mizz Moxie
Michael McElroy ...
Princess Ernestine
Vito (as Luiz Guzman)
Tim Artz ...
Plainclothes Cop
Uniformed Cop


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


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


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

3 September 1996 (USA)  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

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


$616,248 (USA) (27 September 1996)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


First feature film role credit for (as) Candis Cayne, who had previously been credited as as Brendan McDanniel, in one previous feature film role, before name and gender change. See more »


The picket at Independence Hall was a yearly event called the Annual Reminder. It took place every July 4 from 1965 to 1969. The Stonewall riots began June 28, earlier in the summer than the Annual Reminder. See more »


Mizz Moxie: I'm drinkin', who's payin'?
See more »


References The Wizard of Oz (1939) See more »


Remember (Walkin' in the Sand)
Written by Shadow Morton (as George Morton)
Performed by The Shangri-Las
Courtesy of Mercury Records
With special permission of Polygram Special Markets
See more »

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User Reviews

The spirit is right; the details are wrong
26 September 1998 | by (Brooklyn, NY) – See all my reviews

I have a great deal of admiration for this engaging effort to explain the roots of the modern gay rights movement, produced on a shoe-string by a director with an admirable sense of style, pacing, and resourcefulness. Though filtered through a distinctly British class-consciousness, it does a highly respectable job of catching the main trends in gay America from my not-quite-misspent youth.

Furthermore, it is candidly presented as a subjective, fictional account, mooting complaints like "the bus is too old," "no New York apartment is that big" and "the Stonewall bar never looked that clean."

Nonetheless, one small detail and one large item are egregiously wrong. The detail is the rather elementary fact that the Stonewall was never licensed; it was a "private" mob-run club. It was raided not because all cops are homophobes but because, in the absence of official licensing, gay bars were, in every sense, illegal. The scenes where Stonewall employees display great care about the liquor laws are ridiculous, since the bar operated outside the law.

The larger item is the failure to capture the sense of exhilaration that swept throught the country in 1969. This was the year men walked on the moon, the year of Woodstock, the year an X-rated gay-themed film ("Midnight Cowboy") won the "Best Picture" Oscar, and (biggest miracle of all to us New Yorkers) the year the Mets, long "lovable losers," won the World Series. Anything was possible, and gay people joined the party with enthusiasm.

22 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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