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Milk - Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, James Franco, Gus Van Sant

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Gay Rights Activist. Friend. Lover. Unifier. Politician. Fighter. Icon. Inspiration. Hero. His life changed history, and his courage changed lives.

Tired of hiding from himself, Harvey Milk (Sean Penn) abandons his high-paying Wall Street job to come out of the closet and move to San Francisco's Castro district with his long-term lover, Scott Smith (James Franco). There, his camera shop quickly becomes a social hub of tolerance for many in the colourful Castro community who feel they have no place else to gather, disenfranchised by the era's narrow-mindedness. Seeing power in numbers, Harvey begins to speak for this silent majority - taking on bigoted businesses, unions and politicians. Small victories lead to bigger ones, and Harvey's bravery in the face of daily threats to his life and livelihood inspire others to speak up as well. Privately he thrives on being needed, embroiling himself in a destructive love affair with the young, lost Jack Lira (Diego Luna). But the newly united and emboldened community loudly delivers Milk into public office as the first openly gay elected politician anywhere in the country. His message of freedom and hope creates many enemies along the way, and he finds himself at odds with his eventual assassin Dan White (Josh Brolin). Yet, even in death, Harvey's voice bespeaks the bravery of a generation and ushers in a new era of tolerance and understanding, both in his community and around the world.

Theatrical propaganda posters

Milk theatrical one sheet image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film Harvey Bernard Milk biography San Francisco politician assassin local government gay rights Supervisor Castro

Persons of interest

  • Sean Penn .... Harvey Milk
  • Emile Hirsch .... Cleve Jones
  • James Franco .... Scott Smith
  • Josh Brolin .... Dan White
  • Diego Luna .... Jack Lira
  • Brandon Boyce .... Jim Rivaldo
  • Kelvin Yu .... Michael Wong
  • Lucas Grabeel .... Danny Nicoletta
  • Alison Pill .... Anne Kronenberg
  • Victor Garber .... Mayor George Moscone
  • Denis O'Hare .... State Senator John Briggs
  • Howard Rosenman .... David Goodstein
  • Stephen Spinella .... Rick Stokes
  • Tom Ammiano .... Himself
  • Carol Ruth Silver .... Thelma
  • Peter Jason .... Allan Baird
  • Hope Tuck .... Mary Anne White
  • Steven Wiig .... McConnely
  • Ashlee Temple .... Dianne Feinstein
  • Wendy Tremont King .... Carol Ruth Silver
  • Adam Del Rio .... Jerry Taylor
  • Eric Stoltz .... Tom Ammiano
  • Douglas Smith .... Paul Hogarth
  • Kelvin Han Yee .... Gordon Lau
  • Boyd Holbrook .... Denton Smith
  • Robert Chimento .... Phil Burton
  • Awele Makeba .... Supervisor Ella Hill Hutch
  • Shaun Landry .... Gwenn Craig
  • Cory Montgomery .... Michael Davis
  • Cleve Jones .... Don
  • Cameron Palmer .... Medora Paine
  • Harry Britt .... Michael Gillespie
  • Dustin Lance Black .... Screenwriter
  • Gus Van Sant .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Wow. It's not often that a biopic moves me but Milk is a biopic with a difference. Before it started I knew that this gay dude in San Francisco got shot and died. By the time it ended I was crying at the waste of a life, a flawed, tragic, desperate, ordinary, exhilarating, sad, extraordinary, powerful, challenging, amazing, human life. Biographies, even dramatised ones, are about as moving to me as TV advertising but Harvey Milk's life, as presented by Sean Penn, Dustin Black and Gus Van Sant, is inspiring. One ordinary person can change the world given a bit of chutzpah, a lot of determination and an open mind.

Sean Penn is so light on the loafers that he might as well have helium balloons strapped to his feet but from every image and story about Harvey Milk that I found it appears that he is a great big nancy boy. I'm not one for nancy boys (like most Westerners I like my men to be men) but the fact that he got people to look past the camp exterior and see the human being underneath is a testament to his extraordinary life. Shit, that's a bucket load of keywords. James Franco is the complete opposite, an ordinary bloke who happens to shack up with another bloke. His performance makes Sean Penn's flamboyance even more astounding but somehow they magic themselves together (even though James Franco is a young super-hottie and Sean is, like, old).

Milk is a great look at the gay liberation movement, grass roots politics, San Francisco, and the 70s. It's a great historical document and a great dramatic movie for the thinking person. If you see it, you'll like it.

NB: There are no car chases, shoot-outs, international travel or amazing computer graphics in this movie.

The Harvey Milk biography movie Milk is directed by Gus Van Sant and stars Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, James Franco.

Government security censorship classification

M (Mature themes, coarse language and sexual references)

Surveillance time

128 minutes (2:08 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 29 January 2009
DVD retail: 17 June 2009

Cinema surveillance images

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