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The Times of Harvey Milk (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (1984)

Harvey Milk , Harvey Fierstein , Robert Epstein  |  NR |  Blu-ray
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Harvey Milk, Harvey Fierstein, Anne Kronenberg, Tory Hartmann, Tom Ammiano
  • Directors: Robert Epstein
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, DTS Surround Sound, Full Screen, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: March 29, 2011
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004GFGUDG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,717 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

Director-approved digital transfer, from the meticulous UCLA Film and Television Archive restoration, with DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition

Audio commentary featuring director Robert Epstein, coeditor Deborah Hoffmann, and photographer Daniel Nicoletta

New interview with documentary filmmaker and UC Berkeley professor Jon Else

New program about The Times of Harvey Milk and Gus Van Sant’s Milk, featuring Epstein, Van Sant, actor James Franco, and Milk friends Cleve Jones, Anne Kronenberg, and Nicoletta

Postscript containing interview clips not used in the film

Rare collection of audio and video recordings of Harvey Milk

Interview excerpts from Epstein’s research tapes

Footage from the film’s Castro Theatre premiere and the 1984 Academy Awards ceremony

Panel discussion on Supervisor Dan White’s controversial trial

Excerpts from the twenty-fifth anniversary commemoration of Milk’s and Mayor George Moscone’s assassinations

Original theatrical trailer

PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic B. Ruby Rich, a tribute by Milk’s nephew Stuart Milk, and a piece on the film’s restoration by the UCLA Film and Television Archive’s Ross Lipman


Editorial Reviews

A true twentieth-century trailblazer, Harvey Milk was an outspoken human rights activist and the first openly gay U.S. politician elected to public office; even after his assassination, in 1978, he continues to inspire disenfranchised people around the world. The Oscar-winning The Times of Harvey Milk, directed by Robert Epstein (The Celluloid Closet, Paragraph 175) and produced by Richard Schmiechen, was, like its subject, groundbreaking. One of the first feature documentaries to address gay life in America, it’s a work of advocacy itself, bringing Milk’s message of hope and equality to a wider audience. This exhilarating trove of archival footage and heartfelt interviews is as much a vivid portrait of a time and place (San Francisco’s historic Castro District in the seventies) as a testament to the legacy of a political visionary.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Before the Sean Penn biopic "Milk" based on the life of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office, there was Robert Epstein's "The Times of Harvey Milk". A documentary that showcases Harvey Milk as he would run for supervisor in San Francisco and became the voice for the gay community but also for minorities, a champion of gay and civil rights and would eventually showcase the day of his assassination and what transpired after his murder.

The documentary details the life of Harvey Milk focusing less on his personal life but more on his emerging rise as a politician but how he changed the lives of many people and through this film, interviewed are those who worked on his campaign, those who worked with him professionally, those who were driven by his work and his passion to help people, those who interviewed him and those who were straight but eventually realized how unique and important he was to the community.

"MILK" gives us a glimpse of the life Harvey Milk had and learning more about his challenges running for political office (unsuccessfully) three times, being on the opposing side of Dianne Feinstein at times and also fighting against proposition 6 (The Briggs Initiative) which was on the ballot on Nov. 1978 in which conservative state legislator John Briggs of Orange County wanted to ban gays and lesbians and anyone who supported gay rights from working in California's public schools.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By L. Boki
Growing up in San Francisco in the 60s and 70s, the city was always an open door for many different types of personalities and causes. As I was graduating high school, it was a serendipitous time because the world seemed to validate who I was and what I stood for. My parents were early civil rights supporters so I was always politically aware. My first memory of an election was President Kennedy's election in 1960 being broadcast on network television. News was very clinical but focused.

Brewing underneath San Francisco's welcoming of the hippie era, the Haight-Ashbury would eventually suffer negative press because of the drug culture overwhelming the political aspects of the burgeoning liberal movement. I grew up in the Richmond District and had only faint knowledge of the Castro area. In 1970, it was still very much a working class catholic-immigrant neighborhood. By 1971-72, it would become the third area of the city that drew favor from the gay community. Polk St. would remain the draw for a lot of transients. Folsom St. would reflect the dark underside of the sexual revolution. Dark in the sense of catering to any and all sorts of fetishes. Castro St. would become representative of the modern day LGBT movement.
Gay men, forever plagued growing up as "sissies" and "effeminate men", the Castro would be the birthplace of the Castro clone, ultra masculine, overly butch but most decidedly gay.

There amongst the burgeoning LGBT scene, arose Harvey Milk. My friends and I were new to college and though we were politically-minded, we also went our college courses in the morning, worked in the afternoon, studied in the early evening and went clubbing until the wee hours of the next morn and then repeat the cycle again as a ritual that kept us fortified.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic Release from Criterion! July 21, 2011
I had seen this wonderful documentary even before watching the brilliant movie Milk, but watching the Criterion release was a brand new experience. The picture quality is shockingly great considering that much of the footage comes from random sources, but the greatest prize is all the special features. Harvey Milk's story is exceedingly inspiring, and for anyone who is casually a fan of his life will no doubt want to devour every bonus available. Fortunately, Criterion delivered, as they always do, and provided us with hours of great stuff.

For those who have not seen this documentary, however, let the bonus content simmer for a while and dive right into the feature presentation. It is a content rich masterpiece that captures the efforts of one of the world's greatest gay civil rights activists. It was also made in an important time, when homophobia was especially epic due to the AIDS crisis and the fact that Milk murderer Dan White had been recently released from prison after only a short sentence. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if this touching documentary lead Mr. White to kill himself. Not that that was its intention. The film is very neutral and is by no means an object of propaganda. It simply celebrates the life of a brave man who fought hard, succeeded, and inspired millions around the world.

If you are gay, you MUST watch this. Not having an in-depth understanding of Harvey Milk's life would be like being black and never having heard of Martin Luther King Jr. He's that important. But straight people owe it to themselves to watch this film as well. Anybody can be inspired by brilliant people, and certainly you don't have to be gay to stand up for gay rights. Harvey Milk was a great man. I only wish more people knew about his life.
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