This documentary, part of American Experience (1988) series, examines the events leading up to what is now seen as the defining moment in the establishment of the gay rights movement in the... See full summary »


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Episode credited cast:
Virginia Apuzzo ...
Paul Bosche ...
Martin Boyce ...
David Carter ...
Raymond Castro ...
Alfredo del Rio ...
John DiGiacomo ...
William Eskridge ...
Dana Gaiser ...
Danny Garvin ...
Noah Goldman ...
J. Michael Grey ...
Jerry Hoose ...
David Huggins ...
Richard A. Inman ...
Himself (archive footage)


This documentary, part of American Experience (1988) series, examines the events leading up to what is now seen as the defining moment in the establishment of the gay rights movement in the United States: the riot at the Stonewall Inn in New York City in the summer of 1969. At that time, homosexuality was not only illegal, it was classified as mental illness. Bars like Stonewall were controlled by the mob and the police were paid to either look the other way or conduct their raids early in the day. On this night however, the police arrived when the bar was full. The reaction was swift with crowds quickly forming outside the bar. The next night, a crowd estimated in the thousands again confronted the police. As a result of these actions, the gay community made themselves known for the first time. A year later, in the summer of 1970, many of those involved staged the first Gay Pride parade. Written by garykmcd

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25 April 2011 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


In 1969, homosexual acts were illegal in every state except Illinois. See more »

Crazy Credits

Based on Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution by David Carter See more »


Features Activity Group Therapy (1950) See more »

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User Reviews

Touching--whether you are gay or not.
10 May 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Looking at this episode of "The American Experience", it's a bit shocking today. What I mean is that it's hard to believe life was that rough for gay Americans--especially for younger audiences watching the film. It wasn't just kids making fun of gay kids--but a systematic and harsh hatred of everything gay. You learn about the reaction of the psychiatric community to gay people--with electroshocks and hospitalizations in psychiatric facilities! To add insult to injury, the cops routinely beat up gay folks and incarcerated them. Now I had sympathy for the cops and politicians in some cases--sex in public restrooms is not good--whether you are gay or straight. But when homosexuals went into private clubs behind closed doors and STILL were beaten and arrested, there got to be a point where enough is enough--and this led to the famous Stonewall Uprising. Like the Black Power and hippie movements, the gays were sick of being harassed and were willing to fight back (literally) to get basic human rights.

Overall, this is an inspiring and well made documentary. And for any sane person, it is hard for anyone to justify violence and abuse--no matter what your opinions are. In that sense, this film is for everyone. Well worth seeing.

60s psychiatric response to homosexuality

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