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Milk (I) (2008)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  30 January 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 129,475 users   Metascore: 84/100
Reviews: 279 user | 322 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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Won 2 Oscars. Another 53 wins & 121 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Briggs
David Goodstein (as Zvi Howard Rosenman)


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


Never blend in See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

30 January 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Untitled Harvey Milk Project  »

Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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


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

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Number 2 on Lisa Schwarzbaum's Entertainment Weekly Magazine list of the 10 best movies of 2008. See more »


When Dan White's son is baptized, two godfathers and one godmother are at the altar. A Roman Catholic baptism includes one godfather and one godmother. Protestant baptisms include two godparents who are the same gender as the baby, and one of the other gender. See more »


Anita Bryant: Tonight the laws of God, and the cultural values of man have been vindicated. The people of Dade County, the Normal majority, have said 'Enough, enough, enough.'
See more »


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


Takin' My Time
Written by Robert Hackl & Ken Stange
Performed by Victoria Hamilton
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

"I'm 40 and I haven't done anything"
3 November 2008 | by (Silver Lake, CA) – See all my reviews

Gus Van Sant's talent and humility allows Harvey Milk to be a the center of this remarkable story without putting himself in front of the camera. Sean Penn shines with a new and extraordinary light as Harvey Milk. His humanity is overwhelming at times. That permanent smile defining his face talks volumes about his faith in people, no matter what. His awareness is filled with truth and innocence, he worries he's about to be 40 and hasn't accomplished anything. Little did he know.The film is constructed brilliantly in a series of vignettes that builds up into a whole fluid narrative. Josh Brolin, as the disturbed Dan White is another standout in a complex and remarkable performance. No cheap shots here. Diego Luna, Joseph Cross and Emile Hirsch are also terrific as the boys around Harvey but it is James Franco who truly gets under your skin. His romantic turn is one of the most compelling gay love stories I've ever seen (and I've seen Brokeback Mountain). Highly recommended!

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