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The Times of Harvey Milk

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Overview

A documentary portrait of San Francisco's first openly gay politician, city supervisor Harvey Milk, The Times of Harvey Milk might not have been made but for the tragic circumstances of Milk's death. On November 27, 1978, Dan White, a former city supervisor who was desperate to regain his post, entered City Hall with a gun and murdered both San Francisco's mayor, George Moscone, and Milk. At the trial, White's lawyer skillfully turned the jury's attention away from his client's public anti-gay statements to focus...
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Overview

A documentary portrait of San Francisco's first openly gay politician, city supervisor Harvey Milk, The Times of Harvey Milk might not have been made but for the tragic circumstances of Milk's death. On November 27, 1978, Dan White, a former city supervisor who was desperate to regain his post, entered City Hall with a gun and murdered both San Francisco's mayor, George Moscone, and Milk. At the trial, White's lawyer skillfully turned the jury's attention away from his client's public anti-gay statements to focus on White's spotless record and his extremely agitated mental state on the day of the murders. White was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to a relatively brief jail term, sparking a demonstration and riot by gay supporters of the murdered men. The film considers Milk's accomplishments and his exceptional popularity; this is not an objective look at a man, but a celebration of a martyr. Winner of an Academy award for Best Documentary Feature, The Times of Harvey Milk was released while White was serving his sentence; he was paroled in 1984 and committed suicide the next year. Epstein's other major efforts included the documentaries Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt (1989) (about the AIDS epidemic) and The Celluloid Closet (1995), about images of gay men and women in Hollywood films.
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  • Three Reasons: The Times of Harvey Milk
    Three Reasons: The Times of Harvey Milk  

Special Features

Disc one:; Audio commentary featuring director Robert Epstein, coeditor Deborah Hoffmann, and photographer Daniel Nicoletta ; Interview clips not used in the film; Original theatrical trailer; Disc two:; New interview with documentary filmmaker 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 ; Rare collection of audio and video recordings of Milk ; Excerpts from Epstein's research tapes, featuring Milk partner Scott Smith; Footage from the film's Castro Theatre premiere and the 1984 academy awards ; Panel discussion on supervisor Dan White's trial; Excerpts from the twenty-fifth anniversary commemoration of Milk's and Mayor George Moscone's assassinations
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Tom Wiener
It is impossible to separate the accomplishments of San Francisco politician Harvey Milk from the implications of his tragic death, and filmmaker Robert Epstein and his colleagues don't even try. By virtue of his being openly gay, Milk attracted a lot of attention in a city allegedly famous for its tolerance of alternative lifestyles, but Epstein makes it clear that attention wasn't unanimously positive. The film shows how Milk became a transition figure; it wasn't enough that he was the first openly gay politician in the city, but that he had to become a victim of anti-gay sentiment, personified by Dan White, to become a national symbol of intolerance. Epstein shows how Milk's supporters went from an attitude of "Look how far we've come" after he was elected, to "Look how far we have to go" after he was murdered -- and especially after White's virtual acquittal. It's a story of triumph that is also quite melancholy, and Mark Isham's lovely music underscores that sentiment.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/22/2011
  • UPC: 715515068819
  • Original Release: 1983
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Special Edition / Pan & Scan
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:28:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 16,938

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Harvey Fierstein Voice Only
Harvey Milk
Technical Credits
Robert Epstein Director, Editor, Producer
Jeffrey Friedman Animator
Dan Gleich Sound/Sound Designer
Mark Isham Score Composer
Frances Reid Cinematographer
Richard Schmiechen Producer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Criterion Collection: The Times of Harvey Milk - Disc One: The Film
1. Harvey's Political Will [3:06]
2. Mayor of Castro Street [6:30]
3. A New Kind of Politics [3:52]
4. Campaign for Supervisor [6:15]
5. Something New at City Hall [5:27]
6. Advancing the Issues [5:03]
7. San Francisco's Gay Rights Bill [3:09]
8. Proposition 6 [7:01]
9. Road to Victory [8:18]
10. Dan White Resigns [:00]
11. Tragedy at City Hall [4:18]
12. Candlelight March [6:24]
13. The Trial [6:30]
14. "He Got Away With Murder" [7:44]
15. Hope [5:45]
16. Closing Credits [4:29]
1. The Times of Harvey Milk [3:06]
2. Scott Smith [6:30]
3. George Moscone [3:52]
4. "Defining the Elements" [6:15]
5. The Storytellers [5:27]
6. The Crew [5:03]
7. "What It Meant to Be Gay" [3:09]
8. "A Provincial News Story" [7:01]
9. "A Nonfiction Narrative Film" [8:18]
10. Dan White [:00]
11. Repeating the Assassinations [4:18]
12. Mark Isham's Score [6:24]
13. "The Farce of the Trial" [6:30]
14. "A Life-Changing Event" [7:44]
15. The Last Shot [5:45]
16. "Harvey Lives in This Film" [4:29]
Disc #2 -- Criterion Collection: The Times of Harvey Milk - Disc Two: The Suplements
1. Scott Smith [26:54]
2. Bob Ross [8:36]
3. Amber Hollibaugh [14:25]
4. Cleve Jones [14:30]
5. Lillian Sing [5:33]
6. Hank Wils [9:49]
1. Introductions/Jury Selection [7:54]
2. "Gay Panic Defense" [4:12]
3. Diminished Capacity [3:57]
4. Murder [5:59]
5. Dan White's Confession [5:17]
6. "Good People" [2:06]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Criterion Collection: The Times of Harvey Milk - Disc One: The Film
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
      Color Bars
   Commentary
      Commentary: Off
      Commentary: On
      Index
         Color Bars
   Postscript
      Play
   Trailer
Disc #2 -- Criterion Collection: The Times of Harvey Milk - Disc Two: The Suplements
   Jon Else
      Play
   Two Films, One Legacy
      Play
   Harvey Milk Recordings
      Index
         "Out of the Bars and Into the Streets"
         Texas Gay Conference Five
         Harvey Milk Speaks out
         Anti-Proposition 6 Election Night Party
         Harvey Milk's Political Will
   Director's Research Tapes
      Play
      Index
   From the Castro to the Oscars
      Premiere at the Castro Theatre
      A Night at the Oscars
   The Dan White Case
      New Clips
      Panel Discussion
   Harry Britt, Milk's Successor
      Play
   Candlelight Memorial
      Play
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

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(4)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2013

    a waste of time, one star is too many

    a waste of time, one star is too many

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    If You've Seen Gus Van Zant's Film "Milk", Then See This One

    Watching Gus Van Zant's remarkable film "Milk", I was struck by how good Sean Penn was at playing Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man ever elected to a political office in America. Yet, as great as Penn was, the real Harvey Milk was smaller, thinner and had more of an East Coast accent (he was from New York). So, when you watch "The Times Of Harvey Milk", you'll be surprised at how enigmatic, charismatic and knowledable Harvey really was. You'll also be awestruck as to how Dan White really does look like Josh Brolin. In the late 1960's, Harvey Milk, who had known he was gay since he was a teenager, quit his Wall Street job, grew his hair long and went to San Francisco, a city that openly embraced the burgeoning gay culture at the time. He opened a camera store and ran for city office several times---finally winning a position on the Board Of Supervisors in 1977. The Mayor at that time was George Moscone, the son of a San Quentin prison guard, who saw the greatness in the diversity of his city's people. Also winning a position on the board was Dan White, a former boxer and ex-police officer who believed that San Francisco was not becoming a safe place for "decent people" to live in. Robert Epstein's film spends a lot of time looking at what would be Harvey's greatest moment: the defeat of Proposition 6 or The Briggs Initiative, a law which would have made it perfectly legal for schools to fire teachers who they believed were gay. Many felt the law would pass by a wide margin. In the fall of 1978, a time when gay laws were being struck down repeatedly, Proposition 6 failed. A few days later, White, frustrated by the burdens of his job resigned from the Board of Supervisors. He tried to get his job back but Mayor Mascone refused. In November 1978, White assassinated both Mayor George Mascone and Harvey Milk at San Francisco City Hall. Epstein's film won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1984 and it certainly did its part in shattering the stereotypes most of us probably associate with gay culture. What's remarkable about this film is that it starts out being about gays but it ends up being a cry for much-needed changes in our justice system. You also walk away with the feeling that Milk and Moscone truly did their part in making San Francisco a better and more fascinating place. And sad to say, Harvey Milk's dream of true equality still remains unfulfilled.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2011

    Truly inspiring

    Award winning documentary of the life of San Francisco Supervisor, Harvey Milk.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    OUTSTANDING SOCIAL COMMENTARY

    What a masterpiece! Just as relevant today as it was 20+ years ago. Milk's message and conviction can never be underestimated. I have used this video in an undergraduate course I teach, 'The Literature of Social Protest,' and am moved by my students' reactions as much as they are to the film itself.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Exceptional Film

    Although this film is twenty years old, it's not dated and it seems fresh with each additional viewing. Gay or straight, it's impossible not to be moved by this masterpiece. A timely film during a year when the ultraright is trying to turn gay marriage into a presidential litmus test.

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