27 user 41 critic

When We Rise 

TV-14 | | Drama | TV Mini-Series (2017)
2:16 | Trailer
A chronicled re-telling of the gay rights movement in the United States, beginning with the Stonewall riots in 1969.
3,683 ( 26)




2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »





Series cast summary:
Rachel Griffiths ...  Diane Jones 4 episodes, 2017
Austin P. McKenzie ...  Young Cleve Jones 4 episodes, 2017
Mary-Louise Parker ...  Roma Guy 4 episodes, 2017
Emily Skeggs ...  Young Roma Guy 4 episodes, 2017
Jonathan Majors ...  Young Ken Jones 4 episodes, 2017
Guy Pearce ...  Cleve Jones 4 episodes, 2017
Fiona Dourif ...  Young Diane Jones 4 episodes, 2017
Michael Kenneth Williams ...  Ken Jones 4 episodes, 2017
Sam Jaeger ...  Richard 3 episodes, 2017
Ivory Aquino ...  Cecilia Chung 3 episodes, 2017
Douglas Smith ...  Young Man 3 episodes, 2017
David Hyde Pierce ...  Dr. Jones 3 episodes, 2017
Alex Reznik ...  Mitchell Katz 3 episodes, 2017
Whoopi Goldberg ...  Pat Norman 2 episodes, 2017
T.R. Knight ...  Chad Griffin 2 episodes, 2017
Rosie O'Donnell ...  Del Martin 2 episodes, 2017
Carrie Preston ...  Sally Gearhart 2 episodes, 2017
Dylan Walsh ...  Dr. Marcus Conant 2 episodes, 2017
Maddie Corman ...  Phyllis Lyon 2 episodes, 2017
Todd Weeks ...  Tom Ammiano 2 episodes, 2017
Rafael de la Fuente ...  Ricardo Canto 2 episodes, 2017
Adam DiMarco ...  Marvin Feldman 2 episodes, 2017
Nick Eversman ...  Scott Rempel 2 episodes, 2017
Caitlin Gerard ...  Jean 2 episodes, 2017
Justin Sams ...  Sylvester 2 episodes, 2017
Jayne Taini ...  Eloise 2 episodes, 2017
Kerry Sandomirsky ...  Cleve's Mom 2 episodes, 2017
Sam Spear ...  Shoshanna 2 episodes, 2017
Seth Fisher ...  Senior Advisor 2 episodes, 2017
Charles Socarides ...  Richard Socarides 2 episodes, 2017
Julian Works ...  Tomi 2 episodes, 2017
Terry Lewis ...  Old Army Vet 2 episodes, 2017
Molly Shaiken ...  Lesbian 2 episodes, 2017
Elizabeth Melchor Elizabeth Melchor ...  Rally Attendee / ... 2 episodes, 2017
Phillip Joseph Steward ...  Tim 2 episodes, 2017


A dramatization of the real life San Francisco centered fight for LGBT rights from 1972 to 2015 is presented, the LGBT community which arguably has had the most numerous organized campaigns against them of any minority group to suppress those rights in the United States during that time period. It focuses on the advocacy and other supportive work of four individuals, Cleve Jones, Roma Guy, Diane Jones and Ken Jones, whose experiences focus on different aspects of the issue. Cleve's story focuses primarily on the political and legislative fight for gay and ultimately LGBT rights. Roma's story focuses primarily on her fight for women's rights, especially safe places for women, within that where she as a lesbian fits, ultimately a fight for universal health care in San Francisco, and her personal relationships particularly with Diane. Beyond that relationship with Roma, Diane's story focuses on her work as a nurse in caring for AIDS patients, and her want as a lesbian to have a child. ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Maybe we're here for something bigger than ourselves. See more »





Did You Know?


In episode two the movie Fame was mentioned and how a gay character in the movie was played by a straight actor. Michael DeLorenzo who plays Jose Sarria was a principal dancer in Fame. Paul McCrane also played a gay character in Fame. See more »


Featured in When We Rise: The People Behind the Story (2017) See more »

User Reviews

An Earnest Effort with Mixed Results
4 March 2017 | by dglinkSee all my reviews

Lofty goals and high ambitions are not guarantors of success. Neither are Oscar-winning screen writers, Oscar-nominated directors, nor seasoned performers. The overly ambitious TV miniseries, "We Shall Rise," comes across as an historical pastiche culled from such superior material as "Milk," "And the Band Played On," "Longtime Companion," and "The Normal Heart." Dustin Lance Black's California-centric teleplay uses broad strokes to cover the gay rights movement from the Stonewall riots to AIDS to marriage equality through the eyes of three players in the struggle: Cleve Jones, Roma Guy, and Ken Jones. However, even a five-part series cannot do justice to more then four decades of history, especially when the ABC telecast interrupts every two to five minutes with commercials; even more annoying, the commercials look like the program and the program looks like the commercials. Without any transitions, viewers need a few seconds to determine if they are still watching the program or if another ad has sneaked in. The four directors, which include Gus Van Sant, maintain a good pace and utilize newsreel footage, some with unconvincing inserts of the actors, interspersed with the drama to illustrate events. Although challenging to judge with all the interruptions, more favorable reviews may emerge after "We Shall Rise" appears on DVD.

Perhaps most disrupting was the decision to change the cast members mid-program. Austin P. McKenzie, Emily Skeggs, and Jonathan Majors play Cleve, Roma, and Ken during the first few episodes. Then, Guy Pearce, Mary Louise-Parker, and Michael Kenneth Williams take over in the same roles as slightly older versions of the characters. The change is jarring; the younger actors bear little to no resemblance to their slightly more mature counterparts, and none attempts to match their characters mannerisms or personalities. The younger actors come off better, perhaps because they create the characters and suffer no comparisons to earlier incarnations as do Pearce, Parker, and Williams. However, the directors and cast should have studied "Moonlight," a film that seamlessly used three different actors to portray the same character at various stages of his life. Frankly, "We Shall Rise" had little reason to use different actors; the age disparity is not that great, and subtle make-up and acting could have convincingly bridged the age gap. Viewers now ponder why Cleve became more affected as he aged, while Ken became less good natured, not to mention the drastic physical changes.

Unfortunately, ABC's brave decision to devote a week's prime-time programming to a lesson in gay rights history was not well served, and the weak ratings will likely dampen enthusiasm for further efforts. The disjointed telecast impacts the drama, and some good performances from a large talented cast suffer. A generous sprinkling of cameos from Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O'Donnell, Dylan Walsh, David Hyde Pierce, Rob Reiner, and others testifies to the broad support and enthusiasm for the project. However, the intended audience for the project is uncertain. The LGBT community, their friends, and their families already know and have lived this history, while those opposed to equal rights will not tune in. With the choir stalls filled, are there any open minds to fill the pews?

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Release Date:

27 February 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

When We Rise See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (entire miniseries)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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