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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.

Director:

Gus Van Sant
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2,819 ( 261)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 61 wins & 141 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sean Penn ... Harvey Milk
Emile Hirsch ... Cleve Jones
Josh Brolin ... Dan White
Diego Luna ... Jack Lira
James Franco ... Scott Smith
Alison Pill ... Anne Kronenberg
Victor Garber ... Mayor Moscone
Denis O'Hare ... John Briggs
Joseph Cross ... Dick Pabich
Stephen Spinella ... Rick Stokes
Lucas Grabeel ... Danny Nicoletta
Brandon Boyce ... Jim Rivaldo
Howard Rosenman ... David Goodstein (as Zvi Howard Rosenman)
Kelvin Yu ... Michael Wong
Jeff Koons ... 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:

Never blend in See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some sexual content and brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 January 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Untitled Harvey Milk Project See more »

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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

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$57,293,371
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Josh Brolin was the only Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee that year that was from a Best Picture nominated film. See more »

Goofs

When Milk and allies dispose of Coors Beer, contemporary Bud Light and Budweiser taps are clearly seen in the bar. See more »

Quotes

Cleve Jones: I went to Spain last month, long story. In Barcelona there was this memorial march for gay people that had died under Franco. Of course, the police tried to break it up, but these queens didn't run, no, they turned around and they started a fucking riot. I saw a bullet, one of those rubber bullets rip through a drag queens scalp, but she kept on fighting; she was screaming, but she kept on fighting. I mean, our lives... There was blood, literally running in the gutter. In a gutter.
Harvey Milk: We could ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: Summer Special 2008/09 (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Takin' My Time
Written by Robert Hackl & Ken Stange
Performed by Victoria Hamilton
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Moving and inspiring
15 November 2008 | by gatraylorSee 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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