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Before Stonewall: The Making of a Gay and Lesbian Community
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The award winning film Before Stonewall pries open the closet door, setting free the dramatic story of the sometimes horrifying public and private existences experienced by gay and lesbian Americans since the 1920s. Revealing and often humorous, this widely acclaimed film relives the emotionally-charged sparking of today's gay rights movement, from the events that led to the fevered 1969 riots to many other milestones in the brave fight for acceptance.
Experience the fascinating and unforgettable, decade-by-decade history of homosexuality in America through eye-opening historical footage and amazing interviews with those who lived through an often brutal closeted history.
Funny, sad, courageous and touching! --Seattle Times
Shocking, revealing, humorous and thoroughly compassionate! --San Francisco Examiner
Top Customer Reviews
The cornerstone of this remarkable film is the handful of interviews conducted with some elderly activists from the years before the Stonewall riots began on June 27, 1969. With humor, dignity, and matter-of-fact courage, these men and women tell personal stories about their experiences in the armed forces, in the halls of government, in society, and in their home lives during the years in which America at large experienced the roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, the Second World War, the beginning of the Baby Boom era, and the radical Sixties. Their recollections are not only fascinating and brilliantly told; they are of critical importance in understanding the true heritage and history of today's American gay community. The DVD edition offers some fascinating extra material, including some expanded interviews, and footage of poet Allen Ginsberg reading two of his early compositions. Very highly recommended in terms of both quality and content.
The movie attempts to collapse about forty years of gay history into a documentary of about ninety minutes. With a plethora of interviews, people telling their own stories, it's amazing what it does cover. While the depth of the history may be somewhat lacking, the real impact of the document is an understanding of the roots of where the gay movement came from.
It seems as we enter times of trial and tribulation, it's important to understand our roots. It's those roots, based in the stories that are in this movie, that ground us and help instill a sense a pride in where we've come from, and where we'll be going. With that pride comes strength, strength of will, strength of character. The people who so bravely walked before us, in the 1920's where wearing a red tie with matching hanky was the most obvious sign, to those impressive drag queens who finally decided that enough was enough, are our sources of self-empowerment.
Watch the documentary, buy it, and be ready.
This movie does move quickly, but it really takes you from the days of hiding and shame to the revolution of Stonewall and beyond, to end on a note of triumph. It has been a while since I have been to a march, but every time I watch this movie, I am so moved, and proud of those who came before me. I am honored to be the recipient of the rewards of their struggle. I am inspired to live my best life as an openly gay man.
If you have ever felt second best, if you have ever ducked into the closet to make someone else more comfortable, if you have ever been ashamed of who you are as a gay person; this movie is for you.
I personally believe this movie should be required viewing for every gay person.
Well, maybe. The trouble with people who live in New York and Los Angeles and other major urban areas is that they usually discount everybody else, and the stories presented by BEFORE STONEWALL are very much those of gays and lesbians living in major urban areas and struggling against the odds to reach some sort of happy ending. (The only arrest footage in the film shows the drag queens waving happily for the camera.) The film doesn't have much to say about the really bad things that happened, the murders and the deaths, the forced shocked treatments, those who lived in terror in small town hells from one end of the country to another.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Personal interviews, stories, photos and archival footage telling a story of American, LGBT life before the historic Stonewall Riots. Just watch it.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
a white washed, homonationalist, doctored telling of american queer history.Published 6 months ago by eduardo
Excellent documentary, nice to see considering there is so little of our history documented like this.Published 7 months ago by Connie Jewell
A fascinating if somewhat limited history. I would have liked a bit more depth, though a pursuit of depth often leads to inaccuracy. All in all, a pleasant experience.Published 17 months ago by L. Davis Palmer
Lets white wash queer history. Dress it up in straight clothes and show that we queers are just like everyone else. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Amazon Customer