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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:

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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

Director Gus Van Sant has been involved with the making of Harvey Milk projects for over fifteen years. For his unsuccessful attempt to film The Mayor of Castro Street (2011) in the early 1990s, many actors were under consideration for the role of Harvey Milk including Robin Williams, Richard Gere, Daniel Day-Lewis, and James Woods. See more »

Goofs

When Harvey Milk moves from New York City to San Francisco, a shot of Highway 280 shows modern freeway signs (bright green, with exit numbers) instead of the 1970s versions (darker green, no exit numbers). See more »

Quotes

Harvey Milk: Anita Bryant has already said that the Jews and the Muslims are going to hell, so you know she has a shopping list.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bob's Burgers: Dr. Yap (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Everyday People
Written by Sly Stone (as Sylvester Stewart)
Performed by Sly and the Family Stone (as Sly & the Family Stone)
Courtesy of Epic Records
By Arrangement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment
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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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