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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 61 wins & 140 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Rick Stokes
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David Goodstein (as Zvi Howard Rosenman)
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Art Agnos
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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  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,453,844, 30 November 2008, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$31,841,299, 16 April 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Matt Damon was originally cast as Dan White. He had to back out due to scheduling conflicts with Green Zone (2010). See more »

Goofs

At the beginning, when Scott and Harvey are lying in bed together, Scott tells Harvey he'll be "fat by 50." When the same scene is shown at the end of the film, Scott tells Harvey he is going to be "a fat ass." See more »

Quotes

Harvey Milk: If we had someone in the government who saw things the way we see them, the way the black community has black leaders who look out for their interests...
Scott Smith: You're gonna run for Supervisor, is that the idea?
Harvey Milk: I could go right for mayor, but I think I should work my way up to it... You'll be my campaign manager.
Scott Smith: Because I have so much experience in politics.
Harvey Milk: Politics is theater. It doesn't matter if you win. You make a statement. You say, 'I'm here, pay attention to me.'
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Soundtracks

Love in C Minor
Written by Alec Constandinos (as Alec Costandinos) and Marc Cerrone (as Cerrone)
Performed by Marc Cerrone (as Cerrone)
Courtesy of Malligator Productions S.a.r.l.
By Arrangement with The Licensing Partnership UK Ltd
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"I'm 40 and I haven't done anything"

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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