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The Times of Harvey Milk (The Criterion Collection)

4.9 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews

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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.

Special Features

Director-approved digital transfer, from the meticulous UCLA Film and Television Archive restoration

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

Product Details

  • Actors: Harvey Milk, Harvey Fierstein, Anne Kronenberg, Tory Hartmann, Tom Ammiano
  • Directors: Robert Epstein
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Special Edition, Surround Sound
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • DVD Release Date: March 29, 2011
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,546 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Times of Harvey Milk (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James Hiller VINE VOICE on 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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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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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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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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