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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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Country:

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

Scott Smith's last name is never mentioned until the epilogue, and Jack Lira's last name is only given in the credits. See more »

Goofs

During Milk's speech in front of City Hall, after he reads the threatening postcard, his microphone switches between two different types. See more »

Quotes

Harvey Milk: Hey, I like the way your pants fit... Where are you from, kid?
Cleve Jones: [laughs] Sorry old man, not interested.
Harvey Milk: I'm Harvey Milk. I'm running for Supervisor. What's your name?
Cleve Jones: Cleve... Jones.
Harvey Milk: Well Mr. Jones, we should walk up to my camera shop and register you.
Cleve Jones: Fuck that. Elections of any kind are a fucking bourgeois affectation.
Harvey Milk: Is that right? So do you trick up on Polk Street?
Cleve Jones: If I need the cash... But I'm selective about my clients.
Harvey Milk: Tell me one thing before you get back to work then. What was it like ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Brows Held High: Gerry (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Presto, su! Mario! Mario!
Written by Giacomo Puccini
Performed by Symfonický orchester Slovenského rozhlasu (as The Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra)
Conducted by Alexander Rahbari
Courtesy of Naxos
By Arrangement with Source/Q
Tosca: Nelly Miricioiu (uncredited)
Spoletta: Miroslav Dvorský
Sciarrone: Jan Durco (uncredited)
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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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