Universal acclaim - based on 39 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 278 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: In 1977, Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, becoming the first openly gay man to be voted into major public office in America. His victory was not just a victory for gay rights; he forged coalitions across the political spectrum. From senior citizens to union workers, Harvey Milk changed the very nature of what it means to be a fighter for human rights and became, before his untimely death in 1978, a hero for all Americans. (Focus Features) Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Three decades ago, Milk and his ilk were able to enlist President Jimmy Carter and future President Ronald Reagan in the gay fight against Prop. 6. But this fall, Barack Obama was all but mute on Prop. 8. Some community organizers, like the President-elect, are more cautious than others. It's a shame Harvey Milk wasn't around to recruit him.
  2. Reviewed by: Perry Seibert
    Harvey Milk embodied the concept that "all politics is personal," and by presenting the famed Mayor of Castro Street's personal and public lives with such clarity and empathy, Van Sant has made something very rare in Hollywood -- a genuinely powerful political film that works equally well as a story of personal triumph.
  3. 100
    It's a total triumph, brimming with humor, heart, sexual heat, political provocation and a crying need to stir things up, just like Harvey did. If there's a better movie around this year, with more bristling purpose, I sure as hell haven't seen it.
  4. Whatever you think of gay people (or politicians), you may find the movie compelling viewing.
  5. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    How you feel about Milk may depend on whether you've seen Rob Epstein's great, Oscar-winning 1984 documentary "The Times of Harvey Milk." Van Sant's movie lacks that film's shattering emotional impact. (Rage is not a color in the director's palette.) For those coming to Milk's story for the first time, however, this will be a rousing experience.
  6. 75
    As good as it is depicting his career, Milk doesn't fare quite as well as a portrait of the man himself.
  7. The final result somehow undersells a man whose life and death were watershed moments in the gay rights movement.

See all 39 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 77 out of 102
  2. Negative: 17 out of 102
  1. Nov 17, 2012
    A very important American film, Milk is made great by Penn's extraordinary performance and the ingenuity of the script.
  2. Mar 31, 2011
    This just might be the greatest thing that Gus Van Sant has ever had anythng to do with. Because this is a true masterpiece, But, Mickey Rourke should've won that Best Actor. Don't get me wrong, Sean Penn is extraordinary. Expand
  3. Jan 1, 2012
    I love this movie. Sean Penn is an amazing lead and he was perfect for this role. I think the entire film is a real eye opener on how it really was during that time. I would highly recommend it. Expand
  4. Apr 2, 2012
    A very well made film. The acting and art direction were the best parts of the movie. With a movie dealing with a heavy subject, it was surprisingly funny many times. An emotional but great ending. Expand
  5. Jan 2, 2013
    Overall, It's simply a good movie. Sean Penn is amazing and the rest of the cast is good as well. It has an interesting story that will touch a lot of people's hearts. I enjoyed it. Expand
  6. Nov 28, 2012
    Featuring an unforgettable performance from Sean Penn, excellent directorial work from Gus Van Sant, and a first-rate script by Dustin Lance Black, "Milk" proves itself to be heartwarming, provocative, and unafraid. Expand
  7. Aug 18, 2013
    A pathetic movie that was extremely boring with James Franco that gets on my nerves every time I see him on screen. A good attempt that failed miserably. Expand

See all 102 User Reviews