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Milk (I) (2008)

7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 109,849 users   Metascore: 84/100
Reviews: 266 user | 313 critic | 39 from Metacritic.com

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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Title: Milk (2008)

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 45 wins & 66 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Mayor Moscone
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John Briggs
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Howard Rosenman ...
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

Plot Keywords:

gay | activist | gay rights | birthday | bar | See more »

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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Country:

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) (23 January 2009)

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

After his first kissing scene with James Franco, Sean Penn texted his ex-wife Madonna saying, "I just broke my cherry kissing a guy." (Her texted response: "Congratulations.") See more »

Goofs

When Milk and his allies dispose of the Coors Beer, contemporary Bud Light and Budweiser taps are visible in the bar. Bud Light was introduced in 1982. See more »

Quotes

[from trailer]
Harvey Milk: All men are created equal. No matter how hard you try, you can never erase those words.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #2.17 (2011) 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
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A chronicle of history
28 November 2008 | by (San Francisco) – See all my reviews

I had little expectations walking into this film. The trailer for this movie has appeared at almost every feature film I've seen for the last two months. But, the trailer is a facile example of this minutely detailed story of the rise of a leader and his martyrdom. While I'm familiar with the story from other sources (Shilts' "The Mayor of Castro Street," and the 1984 documentary "The Times of Harvey Milk"), Gus Van Sant and his cast bring a new immediacy to this story.

None involved in this project could have anticipated the political climate of the premiere of this film: Both the hope of the Obama Presidency and the propaganda that helped Proposition 8 win in California. It seems a perfect environment for this story to reach across America.

The dignity with which all of this is told and acted is its success. At the same time, it doesn't shy away from the culture of the Castro. Perhaps the greatest compliment is the rendering of Dan White here. He is neither demonized nor excused.

We also don't get a white-washed version of Harvey Milk. He's there on the screen with all his foibles and kinks. Although his humanism shines in Sean Penn's unsettlingly accurate portrayal. It was Milk's love of--and impatience with--the rest of us that makes him a legend. And that is center stage in this film.

What Van Sant gives us is both humbling and an inspiration.


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