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The story of Harvey Milk, and his struggles as an American gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California's first openly gay elected official.

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 61 wins & 140 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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John Briggs
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David Goodstein (as Zvi Howard Rosenman)
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Storyline

Using flashbacks from a statement recorded late in life and archival footage for atmosphere, this film traces Harvey Milk's career from his 40th birthday to his death. He leaves the closet and New York, opens a camera shop that becomes the salon for San Francisco's growing gay community, and organizes gays' purchasing power to build political alliances. He runs for office with lover Scott Smith as his campaign manager. Victory finally comes on the same day Dan White wins in the city's conservative district. The rest of the film sketches Milk's relationship with White and the 1978 fight against a statewide initiative to bar gays and their supporters from public school jobs. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Never blend in See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some sexual content and brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Language:

Release Date:

30 January 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Untitled Harvey Milk Project  »

Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£336,027 (UK) (25 January 2009)

Gross:

$31,841,299 (USA) (16 April 2009)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Banned in Samoa. See more »

Goofs

During the Proposition 6 election, the characters mark Imperial County in red, discuss losing Imperial County, then mark it on the wall board. See more »

Quotes

Harvey Milk: A homosexual with power... that's scary.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in G.B.F. (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

E lucevan le stelle
from "Tosca" by Giacomo Puccini
Performed by Giuseppe Di Stefano and the Orchestra e Coro del Teatro alla Scala (as Orchestra Del Teatro Alla Scala)
Conducted by Victor de Sabata
Courtesy of EMI Classics
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

'All Men Are Created Equal. No Matter How Hard You Try, You Can Never Erase Those Words'.
11 March 2009 | by (Fraggle Rock) – See all my reviews

The last Gus Van Sant movie I saw was 'Elephant', a film that did not work for me. Thankfully he is back with 'Milk' which pretty much gives a detailed account of the rise of Harvey Milk and his martyrdom. Van Sant uses live footage between scenes which reminds one of how much harsher the world once was to people who were 'different'. The writing is stupendous and the dialogues are especially effective. The portrayal of the characters are very human. There is no hero or villain. There are just humans with flaws, humans fighting for what they believe in. Van Sant sets a tense and chaotic tone right from the beginning. The 70s atmosphere is well created through makeup and costumes. The use of brownish tinted light may arise nostalgia. It is two remarkable performances that make 'Milk' stand out: Sean Penn's very accurate and nuanced portrayal of Harvey Milk and Josh Brolin's layered portrayal of a complex Dan White. I doubt 'Milk' would have been effective enough if it weren't for such strong acting. The director deserves mention for his brilliant work. Movies like 'Milk' are relevant today because they serve as a reminder of how difficult life once was and how people fought against it and lives were sacrificed in order to create a better society for those living in today's world.


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