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Milk (I) (2008)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  30 January 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 129,493 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


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:



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
See  »

Did You Know?


The real Harvey Milk was 48 years old when he was killed in 1978. Sean Penn (portraying Milk) was also age 48 when the movie was released. 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 »


Dan White: Dan White's got an issue!
See more »


Referenced in Fish Out of Water (2009) See more »


Happy Birthday to You
Written by Mildred J. Hill and Patty S. Hill
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Great Actors and a Great Filmmaker at the service of a Great Story
4 November 2008 | by (New Zealand) – See all my reviews

Enormously moving film/document about the raise and fall of Harvey Milk. If you don't know who he was, you will. The most startling feature of the film is the casting of Sean Penn. A stroke of genius. I, personally, never would have though that the range of this fantastic actor was as wide as this. He took me over and convinced me. I was watching Harvey Milk himself and Penn with the extraordinary support of his director never betrays that illusion. I'm sorry "Milk" didn't come out a few weeks ago. For those in California having to vote for Proposition 8, it would have been easier to decide just by watching Anita Bryant ranting about the evils of homosexuality. She sounded ridiculous then, Im sure, but today she sounds ridiculously ancestral. The vision of Harvey Milk is still, unfulfilled but we're certainly getting closer. Gus Van Sant surrounds our hero by an extraordinary group of young actors, in particular Emile Hirsch, James Franco and a superlative Josh Brolin. Not to be missed.

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