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Milk (2008)

Sean Penn , Emile Hirsch , Gus Van Sant  |  R |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (321 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, James Franco, Alison Pill, Diego Luna
  • Directors: Gus Van Sant
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: March 10, 2009
  • Run Time: 129 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (321 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001QUF3SW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,122 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Milk" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

When a famous person, like the nation's first openly gay male city supervisor, inspires an acclaimed book (The Mayor of Castro Street) and Oscar-winning documentary (The Times of Harvey Milk), a biopic can seem superfluous at best. Taking over from Oliver Stone and Bryan Singer, Gus Van Sant, whose previous picture was the more experimental Paranoid Park, directs with such grace, he renders the concern moot. Unlike Randy Shilts' biography, which begins at the beginning, Dustin Lance Black's script starts in 1972, just as Milk (Sean Penn, in a finely-wrought performance) and his boyfriend, Scott (James Franco, equally good), move from New York to San Francisco. Milk opens a camera shop on the Castro that becomes a safe haven for victims of discrimination, convincing him to enter politics. With each race he runs, Harvey's relationship with Scott unravels further. Finally, he wins, and the real battle begins as Milk takes on Proposition 6, which denies equal rights to homosexuals. He does what he can to rally politicians, like George Moscone (Victor Garber) and Dan White (Josh Brolin). While the mayor is willing, the conservative board member has reservations, and after Milk fails to back one of White’s pet projects, the die is cast, leading to the murder of two beloved figures. If Van Sant’s film captures Harvey in all his complexities (he was, for instance, a very funny man), Milk also serves as an enticement to grass-roots activism, showing how one regular guy elevated everyone around him, notably Cleve Jones (Emile Hirsch), the ex-street hustler who created the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial. Released in the wake of Proposition 8, California’s anti-gay marriage amendment, Milk is inspirational in the best way: one person can and did make a difference, but the struggle is far from over. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Get to Know the Cast From Milk

Sean Penn (Harvey Milk)

Josh Brolin (Dan White)

James Franco (Scott Smith)

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Product Description

His life changed history. His courage changed lives. Academy Award winner Sean Penn stars in this stirring celebration of Harvey Milk, a true man of the people. Based on the inspiring true story of the first openly gay man elected to major public office, this compelling film follows Milk’s powerful journey to inspire hope for equal rights during one of the least tolerant times in our nation’s history. With a stunning all-star cast, including Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsh, Diego Luna and James Franco, it’s the emotionally charged story that was proclaimed the Winner of The New York Film Critics Circle Best Picture Award!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
116 of 136 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gay Struggle Personified February 10, 2009
Gus Van Sant has always been an excellent if somewhat eclectic director. Although I have enjoyed his previous efforts, I was somewhat apprehensive when I heard he was undertaking a film biography of Harvey Milk. A gay figure of this importance, I thought, should be handled by someone a little more mainstream. Like many gay people, I am weary of gay-themed films that reach no one beyond a gay audience, and the message I would want to emerge from a film about Harvey Milk should be heard by everyone.

As if reading my mind, Mr. Van Sant has fashioned a film that is accessible to all, while approaching his subject with sharp focus and a singleness of purpose that is at once definitive and topical. A stunning achievement, MILK manages to make its point without ever being preachy or trite, while remaining as true to the facts as any film bio could ever hope to be.

The film opens with snippets of gay history that many young gay people, let alone a straight audience, may be shocked to discover. During the opening credits, a barrage of vintage film clips remind us that a scant 50 years ago, gay men, lesbians and transsexuals were subjected to violence, harassment, physical abuse, arrest and humiliation by the very people that most citizens look to for protection; i.e. the police and judicial authorities. The newsreel images of gay bar raids that open MILK project a surreal yet somehow eerily familiar atmosphere that seems to alternate between the bizarre and the barbaric. Many people today are not aware that, in the 1940's and 1950's, right here in the USA, gay people were arrested for simply patronizing a gay bar (newspaper headline: "Den of Perverts Busted"). Many of those arrested had their names and employers published in the morning paper (!
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61 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story that will teach tolerance December 10, 2008
The movie portrays a brave man.The movie "Milk" showed that any man who stands by his principles, will always leave a lesson to be learned.

The advances that the Gay communities of California have made in the past 30 years started with the Harvey Milk story.I have been a San Francisco Police officer for 24 years.I am proud to have known a few very brave S.F.P.D. officers who happen to have been gay.

In this state,the advances made for gay people for their civil rights and equal rights,begin with the Milk story.

I was in the movie and I played a real police officer at a homicide scene.The murder of Robert Hillsbough. The hates crimes committed against gays in this city back in the 1970's were over the top.
I was honored to have, done my simple scene with Sean Penn.

I was honored to have been a member of that cast.Check out the cast on the web [...]

I know the damages that Dan White caused our city,and my Department.
It was a very sad day.

I can say this much about that tragic man.Besides being a former cop, and fireman a little talked about fact about Dan White. He was also a Viet Nam veteran.He served in the same unit that I was in in Viet Nam, the 173rd airborne. He served one year in the central highlands. We came home suffering along with 1000'S of other combat vets, suffering from P.T.S.D. He committed suicide after his release from prison. He was buried with full honors in the Veteran cemetery in San Bruno Calif.

It was not called that at the time of his trail. The fact that a man who was an Irish Catholic, a former Police officer, and a Viet Nam vet who could not, and did not seek help.The movie kind of showed that Milk made every effort to befriend Dan White.
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81 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent November 30, 2008
Allow me to agree with at least one other reviewer that everyone should see this, especially those who think being gay is so far out of the mainstream that, as my father in law once said, "The Lord allowed AIDS to happen."

Harvey Milk. A man of whom I know little. I lived on the other side of the world when he died, in a city in which it was not unusual to run into eunuchs. I'd heard of him since, in reference to gayness, but never associated any importance to him. Then I saw that Sean Penn was playing Milk, so I told my spouse that we need to see it.

Milk, it seemed, lived a pretty conventional lifestyle, working for an insurance company in New York. According to the script, anyway, in 1970 he met a flame and they headed to the west coast. Despite local resistance, they set up shop in the Castro district of San Francisco (after "The Haight" had become riddled with crime, homelessness and the like). Milk then decided it was time to get politically active.

In this portion of the film, I thought for a while that I was going to suffer from motion sickness. The camera seemed to move quite rapidly, and cut from the scene they were shooting to a historical scene, and back. But I adjusted. And Milk lost the first election, then the second, then the third. That, believe it or not, didn't take too much time for the film to get across, except that Milk's lover, Scott (played by James Franco) left after he said he couldn't take another one. That's when the action started (!)

I'm not gay, and have never been terribly sympathetic to many of the gay causes. At least I never payed much attention to 'em. Yeah, I heard outrageous statements like I quoted above, but I just disregarded them.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Far Better Than I Had Expected
Every now and then Sean Penn does something that not only interests me, but surprises me. Milk was one of this movies. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Happy Camper
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful Movie
I watched Milk as background for a college English assignment. I am glad I did. I found the movie insightful and helpful to me in understanding the Gay Rights Movement and how... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Janie
5.0 out of 5 stars How Harvey Milk Recruited Me
I needed to write a research paper about a film based on a real person. After I watched this movie, I knew my choice was Harvey Milk. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Ashley
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent film
This is a very good movie even if you aren't particularly interested in the subject. If you like good movies, watch this one.
Published 6 days ago by Scotty
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
Love this movie. Sean Penn does a fantastic job. Great representation of the civil rights movement for the LGBT community.
Published 14 days ago by Candace
5.0 out of 5 stars Milk Movie
I remember this situation, it was my Junior year in High school..And of course 2 people were shot and killed. The movie was done well, pretty much factfully done. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Todd H Poole
5.0 out of 5 stars Must have for my library
Not a big Sean Penn fan but I was very impressed. A must have for any gay movie buffs library.
Published 19 days ago by JDinAtlanta
5.0 out of 5 stars American Classic, Seminal Penn Performance
Classic film, amazing and poignant story. If you watch the Mayor of Castro Street Penn isn't quite so sad-eyed but otherwise he nails Milk. Read more
Published 28 days ago by torridjoe
5.0 out of 5 stars TAC Review
I initially bought this video for James Franco, and it did not disaapoint. Sean Penn was fantastic - portrayed Mr. Milk superbly. Good buy!
Published 1 month ago by TAC
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic!
True story about a man who was a very motivated politition and so brave. And happened to be queer. His story told so wel here and in good ol American fashion he was so good,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by jordyn skye
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Topic From this Discussion
Rank your favourite Oscar nominated best pictures
1. Milk
2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
3. Slumdog Millionaire
4. Frost/Nixon
5. The Reader

Milk was the one film I felt deserved all the praise. Button I also liked and Slumdog was definintly good. Frost/Nixon was okay but The Reader was very mediocre. There were a tons of other films... Read more
Mar 12, 2009 by Melanie Edwards |  See all 6 posts
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