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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 61 wins & 140 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Rick Stokes
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David Goodstein (as Zvi Howard Rosenman)
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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:

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:

Language:

Release Date:

30 January 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Untitled Harvey Milk Project  »

Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£336,027 (UK) (25 January 2009)

Gross:

$31,841,299 (USA) (16 April 2009)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Josh Brolin was welcomed by the gay community, and praised for portraying "The most hated man in San Francisco's history". See more »

Goofs

When Harvey Milk, Jack Lira, and a group of people stroll down Polk Street in the San Francisco Civic Center, the Civic Center Courthouse building is in the left background. In 1978, the San Francisco Superior Court was on the fourth floor of City Hall. The Civic Center Courthouse, designed by Hood Miller Associates and Ross Drulis Architects, was built in late 1997. See more »

Quotes

Harvey Milk: [answering the phone] Scotty?
Paul: I'm sorry, sir. I read about you in the paper.
Harvey Milk: I'm sorry, I can't talk right now.
Paul: Sir, I think I'm gonna kill myself.
Harvey Milk: No, you don't want to do that. Where are you calling from?
Paul: Minnesota.
Harvey Milk: You saw my picture in the paper in Minnesota? How did I look?
Paul: My folks are gonna take me to this place tomorrow. A hospital. To fix me.
Harvey Milk: There's nothing wrong with you - listen to me: You just get on a bus, to the nearest big city, to Los Angeles or New York or San Fransisco, it ...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in The Office: Blackmail: Oscar (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Kalinka (Little Snowfall)
Performed by Wiener Sängerknaben (as Vienna Choir Boys)
Courtesy of Koch International
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Frequently Asked Questions

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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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