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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 57 wins & 137 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:

His life changed history. His courage changed lives. 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:

$1,453,844 (USA) (28 November 2008)

Gross:

$31,838,002 (USA) (10 April 2009)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Thousands of people agreed to take part in the film as extras for free. See more »

Goofs

When Harvey Milk moves from New York City to San Francisco, a shot of Highway 280 shows modern freeway signs (bright green, with exit numbers) instead of the 1970s versions (darker green, no exit numbers). See more »

Quotes

Dan White: [extremely drunk, to Jack Lira] Whatever! I don't even know who you are, you just showed up out of nowhere, Latino man.
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Connections

Referenced in Entourage: Return to Queens Blvd (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Prelude No.7 in E Flat (The Well Tempered Clavier - Book 2 BWV 876)
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
Arranged by Ward Swingle
Performed by The Swingle Singers
Courtesy of Universal International Music, B.V.
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Van Sant delivers a great marriage of art and history
15 November 2008 | by (Portland, OR) – See all my reviews

Just caught the Portland premiere and have a few thoughts.

Very thankful this film was made. Until now, it seemed like I was fairly alone in knowing about Harvey's legacy. After "Milk" starts getting attention....I hope that a whole new generation will come to know the Mayor of Castro Street (see Randy Shilt's book) and the importance of the gay rights movement.

That being said, Van Sant's "Milk" is great marriage of art and history. Instead of a dry portrait of an assasinated leader, we get a beautifully rendered flavor of the times, and an intimate vision of a man finding his place within a community and history.

Casting is brilliant. Penn inhabits Harvey Milk in a way that few actors I believe would be capable. His physicality and energy is very believable - and it's easy to forget what actor you're watching. After a while...it's just Harvey. I could go on about the supporting cast...all very solid in their own way. James Franco (Scotty) stands out as well....showing his range and willingness to expand as an actor.

Kudos all the way around...I see this film getting several nods at Oscar time.

Additionally...Rob Epstein's Oscar-winning 1984 documentary "The Times of Harvey Milk" is a definite must for anyone who enjoyed this film. I watched it right after "Milk" - and am still impressed with how affecting it is.


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