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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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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)
 »

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

Director Gus Van Sant has been involved with the making of Harvey Milk projects for over fifteen years. For his unsuccessful attempt to film The Mayor of Castro Street (2011) in the early 1990s, many actors were under consideration for the role of Harvey Milk including Robin Williams, Richard Gere, Daniel Day-Lewis, and James Woods. See more »

Goofs

A scene shows Harvey Milk at the opera during the last act of 'Tosca'. In the next scene, the next day, he says he saw Bidu Sayao, a Brazilian soprano, the night before. Harvey was referring to his date, not anyone on stage. Ms. Sayao never sang 'Tosca.' See more »

Quotes

Harvey Milk: [Scott Smith is heading down the stairs and Harvey tries to make eye contact] Hey, hey...
[Scott stops and looks at him]
Harvey Milk: I'm Harvey.
Scott Smith: Okay, Harvey...
[smiles a little awkwardly]
Harvey Milk: Today's my birthday.
[Scott laughs]
Harvey Milk: No, it actually is my birthday. At midnight.
Scott Smith: [still smiling, a little skeptical] Really.
Harvey Milk: And, believe it or not, I don't have any plans.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Simpsons: White Christmas Blues (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Everyday People
Written by Sly Stone (as Sylvester Stewart)
Performed by Sly and the Family Stone (as Sly & the Family Stone)
Courtesy of Epic Records
By Arrangement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Great man, Great film, Great performance by Sean Penn
28 November 2008 | by (Washington DC) – See all my reviews

"Milk" is the best film of 2008, hands down. Anyone unfamiliar with the story of Harvey Milk and his murder needs to know it. Those of us who have already read a ton of books and articles about Harvey Milk, and seen the award-winning documentary "The Times of Harvey Milk" will find a side of Harvey we had not seen before in this movie so the film really is a must-see whoever you are.

The performances by the entire cast are perfection... a notch better than even the best of films. I believe this is due to the story of Harvey Milk, who inspired so many of us and changed the lives of millions of us for the better. Harvey himself surely inspired these great performances. Once you have seen Harvey's smile, and heard Harvey's words, and seen Harvey in action (as we all can do by watching "The Times of Harvey Milk" documentary) you can never see the world the same way again.

Sean Penn's performance as Harvey could not be bettered by any actor living today, so we owe him a great debt for making this movie, and giving his heart and soul to the role. I believe it is Penn's most mature yet also most lovable role ever. I wanted the movie to go on and on, because I felt like I was actually there in San Francisco in 1978-79. Gus Van Sant recreated that world perfectly, and Sean Penn showed us the potential of this very real man with this unique ability to inspire and transform us. Gus and Sean have each earned a very special chamber in Heaven for giving us this beautiful tribute.


68 of 106 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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