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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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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

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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

After his first kissing scene with James Franco, Sean Penn texted his ex-wife Madonna saying, "I just broke my cherry kissing a guy." (Her texted response: "Congratulations.") See more »

Goofs

A red "UNITE HERE" poster is visible in the camera shop, after Harvey has given his speech on the soap box. "UNITE HERE" formed in 2004. See more »

Quotes

Jim Rivaldo: You replaced Scott with a lesbian?
See more »

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: Episode #7.1 (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Wake Up, San Francisco
Written by Ken Stange and Robert Hackl
Performed by Sourcerer
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Moving and inspiring
15 November 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I saw this last night at the Portland premiere with Gus Van Sant and James Franco among others. This is a powerful work and, in my opinion, Gus Van Sant has taken a big step towards the mainstream in his artistic direction. To me, the person who is by no means a movie expert, it seems that this movie had a much faster, accessible pace than his other movies. There were no long-shots or minutes at a time without dialog, etc.

I've really never thought much of Sean Penn before, but, with this role, I expect him to sweep up the awards. Everyone was great in their parts, but he did such an excellent job in portraying the Harvey Milk that I have seen before in clips and documentaries. They did not make out Milk to be a choir-boy, which was one thing I was afraid was going to happen. This story seems long overdue in it's telling, but so completely relevant to today's news.

I expect, as the movie hits theaters, this will cause quite a stir, with both sides using it as fodder in their fight. I expect the ratings will reflect this as there are already people giving it 0's who obviously did not attend the premiere. I don't think it deserves a 10 either, but is much, much closer to that end. Looked at objectively, it is a sometimes tearful, sometimes funny movie that was put together masterfully


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