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

Harvey Milk , Harvey Fierstein , Robert Epstein  |  NR |  Blu-ray
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)

List Price: $39.95
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Product Details

  • Actors: Harvey Milk, Harvey Fierstein, Anne Kronenberg, Tory Hartmann, Tom Ammiano
  • Directors: Robert Epstein
  • Format: 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: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004GFGUDG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,426 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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
77 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His life, his legacy; our hope June 12, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I was one of the millions who probably heard of Harvey Milk at some point in my life, but never connected any dots to his life. Then one summer day, while housesitting, I found an old VHS tape of this documentary called "The Times of Harvey Milk". Not having anything better to do, I popped it in the VCR and sat back to watch. Two hours later, my life, perspectives, and outlooks were dramatically transformed by meeting Supervisor Harvey Milk. So it is with great excitement that this monumental film which pays tribute to a monumental time finally comes to DVD, and warrants my attention for my 200th review.
"The Times of Harvey Milk" is a transformative documentary both in style and information, created by visionary filmmakers Rob Epstein and Richard Schmiechen. The film not only covers the life of Milk, but the times which surrounded him that allows for a broader, more in-depth story. From the opening moments of the film, we learn of Harvey's untimely death, so as not to aggrandize it. Through personal interviews, newsreel coverage, and personal film shot at certain events, everything is brought to a real, intense focus. You feel as if you are watching the events unfold as San Franscians must have done in the late 1970's.
The shining stars of the film are the personal interviews given by people who knew Harvey best. Tom Ammiano, friend of Harvey, gives the film a sense of outrage of the assassinations. Jim Elliot gives a heartwarming straight man, unionist perspective to show us Harvey's universality. Henry Der allows us to see Harvey's political side. Jannine Yeoman's covering of the Milk campaign and post -assassination trial gives a sense of immediacy and urgency to the story, and a more professional viewpoint.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unknown to me, till now... January 20, 2005
Format:DVD
As I browsed my local library DVD collection I stumbled upon this film and was curious, because I had never heard of Harvey Milk or the tragic story surrounding his political career.

For those of you who do not know, Harvey Milk was the first openly gay elected official in the US (he was a Supervisor for San Francisco.) His time in office had many highlights; however, a fellow Supervisor assassinated him after Milk served only 11-months in office.

Yes, this is a documentary, and although the story is built with tragedy in mind one must remember the good that Milk built upon. His policies helped more then just the gay community, and it is disheartening to see that his story is not more prominently featured.

This was a nice DVD in general, and as documentaries go it is fairly good quality. This is a intriguing and well-done film that all should see, and may it make you a little more aware like it did me.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We will NEVER forget Harvey Milk!!! May 26, 2004
Format:DVD
On DVD at last!!!!!!! Saw this movie on PBS years ago, and I cried and cried. Harvey Milk SHOULD have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize even AFTER his death because black/white/(gay)/straight/WHATEVER, Harvey was a man of the PEOPLE - caring, compassionate, genuine. Who knows, if he hadn't been murdered, MAYBE we'd be voting for President Milk this November.
Buy this DVD, remember Harvey, and give thanks that there were (and still ARE!) wonderful people like him who fought for the rights of EVERYONE in our (gay) community.
BLESS you Harvey, you have become a LEGEND!!!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential historical documentary June 17, 2006
Format:DVD
Robert Epstein and Richard Schmiechen have crafted an eloquent and touching documentary that brings to life a historically important political figure in our nation's history: Harvey Milk, the first openly gay public elected official in San Francisco. Milk, together with San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, were assassinated in November 1978.

The film does not concentrate on a biographical portrait of Milk, but instead focuses on the eleven months he served as San Francisco supervisor. It brings life to history, albeit recent history, a quality that is lacking in so many historical documentaries. What makes this possible, in many ways, is the ample news footage that was available to trace the events that comprised those eleven months, and the personal commentary provided by witnesses and participants of the events documented. The additional footage and audio commentary that comprises this 2-DVD set sheds more light on the Harvey Milk legacy. Milk was a politician by nature, much in the same way as John Kennedy was, but without the money. It shows how much a charasmatic figure can accomplish when the mission seems clear. Milk's humor, candor, and intelligence shines through.

I first saw this film in the late 1980s on public television, and saw it a few times since. Watching it today, what shocked me the most is that Dan White, who served a little more than five years for the slayings, received no psychiatric treatment while incarcerated. White's defense attorney stated quite clearly in news footage that White was a suicide risk the day the verdict was announced. White killed himself less than two years after his release.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful doc
Recommended for anyone who would like to know more about this episode in the history of SF and Gay Rights. Read more
Published 1 month ago by nolajms
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch it!
This is 5 star plus! It gives first hand accounts of Harvey Milk and those friends and fellow activists closest to him.
Published 1 month ago by Sam
5.0 out of 5 stars great documentary
I was into my own world at the time of the late 70's and didn't realize what a key figure Harvey was in the gay movement. This film helped to enlighten me. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Joseph Borkson
5.0 out of 5 stars Folks need to watch this
I used this in a university seminar class and got the most profound response of the semester. You can find some great discussion guides online.
Published 4 months ago by Thomas J. Neuville
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly The Greatest Documentary I've Ever Watched
What is there to say about this documentary other than that it is amazing and wonderful. I recognized some of the pictures shown from the book titled Milk: A Pictorial History of... Read more
Published 6 months ago by A Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Very well done
A great documentary about a very important person in our country's history. Not to be missed this should be shown in all schools.
Published 8 months ago by A. Gass
5.0 out of 5 stars I Loved Harvey Milk!
Harvey Milk was a national treasure. I wish that he were here today.

I know that he would have been in the forefront of the AIDS crisis and the equality of... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Denise
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable for anyone who also watches "Milk"
The two films, this one and "Milk," are a matched set. It's great to see how faithful the "regular" movie is, and the documentary, and its discussion of Harvey,... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Politics & Social Action, Civil Rights, Community Evolvement,...
Was a Great documentary but with a sad end. It shows the importance of evolvement and political action to bring about change. Read more
Published 12 months ago by P. Robert Rader
5.0 out of 5 stars A surprising treat, on many levels
A very special film about a very special man. I knew nothing about Harvey Milk before seeing this film except that he was a gay politician in San Francisco who was killed (shot)... Read more
Published 14 months ago by W. Gulyas
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