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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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2,312 ( 35)
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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Country:

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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)
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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

The movie starts out with Harvey Milk talking into a tape recorder on Saturday, November 18th, 1978, the same day as the Jonestown Massacre. The People's Temple was based in San Francisco before departing for Guyana in 1977. See more »

Goofs

When Harvey and Dan are being interviewed on TV in January 1978, Dan says he's expecting his first child. At the baby's christening, which appears to take place a few weeks later, baby Charles can hold his head up. Babies can usually hold their heads up at around four months old. Also Charles White was born in mid-June 1978, after the contentious vote on the youth campus, and after Harvey's forty-eighth birthday in May. (Dan's grudge against Harvey developed before Charles's birth, but Harvey was still invited to the christening.) See more »

Quotes

Dianne Feinstein: As President of the Board of Supervisors it's my duty to make this announcement: both Mayor Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk have been shot and killed.
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Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #33.23 (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik K525
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Arranged by Ward Swingle
Performed by The Swingle Singers
Courtesy of Universal International Music, B.V.
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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Frequently Asked Questions

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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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