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Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives (1977)

David Gillon , Sally Gearhart , Peter Adair , Nancy Adair  |  NR |  DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives + American Experience: Stonewall Uprising + We Were Here
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Product Details

  • Actors: David Gillon, Sally Gearhart, Fred Gray, Dennis Chiu
  • Directors: Peter Adair, Nancy Adair, Andrew Brown, Rob Epstein, Lucy Massie Phenix
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Full Screen, Closed-captioned
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Oscilloscope Laboratories/Milliarium Zero
  • DVD Release Date: June 8, 2010
  • Run Time: 132 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003E74KRK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,230 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Review

A stunning documentary...unquestionably a landmark film --Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

A milestone! --Dennis Lim, New York Times

FIVE STARS! ! It could crack the stoniest heart. --Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York

Product Description

A moving montage scrapbook of the lives of twenty-six gay men and lesbian women, representing a wide range of lifestyles, personalities, races, and ages. From the directors of 'Absolutely Positive.'

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GLBT living history December 8, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This is probably the best GLBT documentary ever made. It is poignant, funny, and provocative. While somewhat dated since so much has changed in the past 20+ years, the stories hold up and still speak to the human condition in a touching way. Also, it's probably just as necessary to give people a historical context of how far the community has come, not only since the film was made, but throughout the lives of the participants, including The Pioneer Harry Hay, who just died recently.
Anyone who has ever felt like an outsider or knows any GLBT people should appreciate this film. And any member of the GLBT community should consider this mandatory viewing as an obligation to their own history, and those who came before.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Landmark Film, Finally On DVD April 5, 2010
Format:DVD
I first saw this documentary in the late `70s, when it was shown on the local PBS station in San Francisco where I then lived. (I recall some PBS stations refused to broadcast it at the time).

I had just purchased one of the first vcr's, and I taped it. That tape has lasted me all these years, but its physical quality (color, sound etc) obviously has deteriorated. And so I've often wondered when if ever it would be available on dvd. Well, some thirty years later, its finally "coming out".

Simply put, it must be considered one of the great works in gay history (and herstory), and is required viewing for anyone interested in understanding the on-going struggle for basic human rights and personal dignity. Documentaries (even awful ones) provide a fascinating glimpse at finite periods in time. Fortunately, this is a great one. It's beautifully edited and presented, with interviews of gays and lesbians, ranging in age from 20-ish to 70-ish. I believe one of them is Harry Hay, who was a founder of The Mattachine Society in about 1950. (He is currently the subject of a wonderful Off-Broadway play "The Temperamentals"). Other names will be familiar as well (the participant's are identified by name only in the final credits, at least on the vhs tape version).

This film was made just ten years after Stonewall, and the participants are all admirable for their courage in stepping before the camera at a time when it was not only unfashionable, but possibly dangerous, to reveal personal details of a "life style" still illegal in most jurisdictions. To a person they are incredibly articulate. The film does not tell a chronological story, and has no point of view per se.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What we've come to know and love from Epstein. January 29, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
This documentary is a great one. It carries the same feel as Epstein's other documentaries, COMMON THREADS: STORIES FROM THE QUILT, THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK, and THE CELLULOID CLOSET to name a few.
The film is comprised of many gay, lesbian, and transgendered people basically talking about all aspects of their life. Epstein and his codirectors did a good job presenting a variety of lifestyles: Black, white, mothers and fathers, the very young to the quite old. This truly encompasses much of the GLBT experience, in an entirely unbiased way, with people simply speaking for themselves.
I recommend this to all people, but especially to gays and lesbians.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
"Word Is Out" was the first feature-length documentary about homosexuality made by gay filmmakers and was premiered in 1977. Twenty-six people of very different backgrounds, ages, races, and lifestyles were selected after interviewing 140 people to tell the stories of their lives.

Thank goodness times have improved compared to what these people had to deal with in 1977 or even as far back as the 1940s and 1950s for some. There is still a long way to go, but this film does serve as a marker for how much progress has been made in the meantime. For example, one lesbian couple even though they were excellent parents to their kids from previous marriages had them removed from their home due to the type of environment the kids were being raised in.

There are some amazing interviews that get these people to open up about when/how they discovered they were different from others and how it affected their lives. How it affected those around them and the challenges with finding other like-minded people to communicate with. Many of them felt like they were all alone in the world. Also they talked about what they hoped for in the future in terms of rights for gays and lesbians. One very vocal woman said it had to be about women only fighting for women's rights and not worry about the guys since women have it tougher.

Many of these stories are emotional and talk of the hardships of being sent away to a mental facility and threatened with or had electroshock therapy used upon them to "cure" them. A few stories are on the funny side like a bunch of women dressing like men to join up in the armed forces.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I first saw this film upon its release in the late 1970s. I journeyed from my Appalachian small town to the big city of Washington DC just to see it. This film certainly changed my life... and may have saved it. It gave me the courage to come out and confidence, knowing that I was not alone. Seeing it more than 30 years later fills me with nostalgia and reminds me what a good film it is, regardless of my orientation. You get to know a diverse and interesting group of gay people--all shapes and sizes, genders and ethnicities. The seventies styles will induce smiles among those old enough to remember them, and there's a sense of joy in recognizing how far we've come in the past three decades. There are lots of laughs, too.... especially funny is Pat Bond's stories of passing as straight in the military pre-DADT. But there are moments of tremendous sadness and disgust as some of the people recount the misery they endured... often at the hands of their own families.

The extras provide added dimension--with follow-up interviews with some of the subjects a quarter-century later. It's heartwarming to see these survivors--wrinkled, gray and happy. Those missing remind us of how many men from that generation have been lost to AIDS. It's a DVD that I expect to watch again and again over the years.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This one started it all!
I saw this film in 1980 as an 18 year old, and I must say after watching it again recently, it really has impacted my life as a gay man -- my ideas and expectations of a life to... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Daniel Rosen
5.0 out of 5 stars KNOW YOUR HISTORY
This is a wonderful film with honest and true stories. Every young Gay person would find this film enlightening and fascinating. Read more
Published on April 9, 2012 by Michael
5.0 out of 5 stars Life Experience
The most surprising life stories that anyone can relate to! The most surprising thing is that even the film is from 1977 most of the topics are still highly relevant, 30 years... Read more
Published on November 2, 2010 by Manuel Pires
5.0 out of 5 stars Word Is Out AGAIN!
It was a long time coming. I first saw this film when it debuted in the 70s, then again on scratchy VHS in the eighties, and now finally on pristine digital DVD in the 21st... Read more
Published on May 24, 2010 by Amalgamated Me
5.0 out of 5 stars We are all born naked so anything we wear is drag!
I agree with everyone stating the historic importance of this movie. Tede Matthews, the red haired hurricane in the movie was my roommate and best friend when this film came... Read more
Published on October 6, 2008 by Chris Tanner
5.0 out of 5 stars The Originial Producers are trying to fund a DVD....
Quoted from the Word is Out Website ([...]

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of WORD IS OUT, the Mariposa Film Group has begun production of a DVD. Read more
Published on June 15, 2008 by EastsideJim
5.0 out of 5 stars DVD coming in February or March 2010
UPDATE March 2010: This is an update of my previously posted information. The DVD will be released on 8th June 2010.
Published on September 16, 2007 by smmab
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of the All-Time Best "Gay" Documentaries
I first saw this documentary on PBS in the late 1970's, when it was first broadcast. Its wonderful - both as a bit of pre-AIDS LGBT history, and as a 1970's slice of life. Read more
Published on September 12, 2007 by Robert in NY
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