7.5/10
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Milk (2008)

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2:26 | Trailer
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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Popularity
4,091 ( 534)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 65 wins & 143 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:

His life changed history. His courage changed lives. 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Thousands of people agreed to take part in the film as extras for free. 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

Harvey Milk: [Scott Smith is heading down the stairs and Harvey tries to make eye contact] Hey, hey...
[Scott stops and looks at him]
Harvey Milk: I'm Harvey.
Scott Smith: Okay, Harvey...
[smiles a little awkwardly]
Harvey Milk: Today's my birthday.
[Scott laughs]
Harvey Milk: No, it actually is my birthday. At midnight.
Scott Smith: [still smiling, a little skeptical] Really.
Harvey Milk: And, believe it or not, I don't have any plans.
[...]
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Connections

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

Soundtracks

Kalinka (Little Snowfall)
Performed by Wiener Sängerknaben (as Vienna Choir Boys)
Courtesy of Koch International
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User Reviews

'All Men Are Created Equal. No Matter How Hard You Try, You Can Never Erase Those Words'.
11 March 2009 | by ChrysanthepopSee all my reviews

The last Gus Van Sant movie I saw was 'Elephant', a film that did not work for me. Thankfully he is back with 'Milk' which pretty much gives a detailed account of the rise of Harvey Milk and his martyrdom. Van Sant uses live footage between scenes which reminds one of how much harsher the world once was to people who were 'different'. The writing is stupendous and the dialogues are especially effective. The portrayal of the characters are very human. There is no hero or villain. There are just humans with flaws, humans fighting for what they believe in. Van Sant sets a tense and chaotic tone right from the beginning. The 70s atmosphere is well created through makeup and costumes. The use of brownish tinted light may arise nostalgia. It is two remarkable performances that make 'Milk' stand out: Sean Penn's very accurate and nuanced portrayal of Harvey Milk and Josh Brolin's layered portrayal of a complex Dan White. I doubt 'Milk' would have been effective enough if it weren't for such strong acting. The director deserves mention for his brilliant work. Movies like 'Milk' are relevant today because they serve as a reminder of how difficult life once was and how people fought against it and lives were sacrificed in order to create a better society for those living in today's world.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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

Gross USA:

$31,841,299

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$54,589,558
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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