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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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2,119 ( 139)
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:

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:

$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

Chris Evans auditioned for the role of Scott Smith, but lost out to James Franco. See more »

Goofs

When Harvey Milk, Jack Lira, and a group of people stroll down Polk Street in the San Francisco Civic Center, the Civic Center Courthouse building is in the left background. In 1978, the San Francisco Superior Court was on the fourth floor of City Hall. The Civic Center Courthouse, designed by Hood Miller Associates and Ross Drulis Architects, was built in late 1997. See more »

Quotes

Harvey Milk: Even though the Castro was firmly our area by 1973 it wasn't safe for us. We would have to wear whistles on our necks or in our pockets and if you ever heard a whistle you would run for help.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Office: Blackmail: Oscar (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock the Boat
Written by Wally Holmes
Performed by The Hues Corporation
Courtesy of JiMi Lane Music
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

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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