Milk (film)

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German title Milk
Original title Milk
Milk Title 2011.jpg
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 2008
length approx. 128 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
JMK 10
Director Gus Van Sant
script Dustin Lance Black
production Bruce Cohen ,
Dan Jinks ,
Michael London
music Danny Elfman
camera Harris Savides
cut Elliot Graham
Sean Penn filming Milk, 2008

Milk is an American biopic from the year 2008 . Directed by Gus Van Sant and written by D. Lance Black . The film received numerous awards, including two Academy Awards (for screenplay and leading actor ; eight nominations) and the title valuable in Germany .

The plot is based on the biography of Harvey Milk (played by Sean Penn ), a US gay and lesbian civil rights activist and the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California .


The action takes place from 1970 to 1978. The civil rights activist Harvey Milk, who lives in New York, moves with his friend Scott Smith to San Francisco , in the Castro district, which is inhabited by numerous homosexuals . He stands up for the rights of homosexuals and makes the decision to become a politician. He becomes a mentor for the younger activist Cleve Jones. His candidacies - including for the state parliament - fail.

Milk is running for city council; Anne Kronenberg leads his election campaign. During this time he begins a relationship with the Mexican Jack Lira.

Milk is elected and fights against dismissals due to homosexual orientation. He protests against a planned referendum to prohibit gay teachers from practicing their profession. A dispute ensues with Councilor Dan White, in the course of which he shoots Milk and Mayor George Moscone . While the motives for the real act could never be fully clarified, the film suggests that repressed homosexuality may have played a role in Dan White.


Kirk Honeycutt wrote in The Hollywood Reporter on November 2, 2008 that the "terrific film biography" was aimed at an "intercultural audience" . It is the first “big film” that addresses civil rights from the perspective of the gay movement. The "excellently executed" film shows people and the zeitgeist without forgetting the details. Penn is one of those actors who have completely mastered their art. He uses voice, body movements, lines of dialogue and "something undefined" in his psyche to slip into another person. Brolin seems "surprisingly personable" .

Emanuel Levy wrote on that the film was very good, but not great. Some parts are emotionally effective, but they do not make a satisfactory portrait of the protagonist. Sean Penn should get another Oscar nomination for his best performance since Mystic River .

Todd McCarthy wrote in Variety magazine on November 2, 2008 that the film "skillfully" and "lovingly watched" part of the life of Harvey Milk. He is especially noteworthy because of the "surprising and completely winning" portrayal of Sean Penn. McCarthy also praised the "unsurpassed expressiveness" play by Josh Brolin.

Franz Ther wrote in the OÖN on February 20, 2009 that Gus van Sant had limited his cinematic handwriting mainly to camera and editing, whereby archive material was also used. Harvey Milk's tape recordings, which were made a year before his death, are the central theme of the action. For Sean Penn this is a parade role, in which he impressively uses his range of expressions, from childlike impartiality to political strategic shrewdness.

Christina Krisch wrote in the Kronen-Zeitung on February 19, 2009 that the director embeds this disturbing chronicle of an announced death in a moving, almost documentary-like journey through time, which focuses on a social order that has fallen apart.


The film was shot in San Francisco and Atherton . Production costs were estimated at $ 15 million. The world premiere took place on October 28, 2008 in San Francisco. The film was shown in selected cinemas in the USA from November 26, 2008, and Milk premiered in Germany on February 19, 2009. Harvey Milk's biography of Randy Shilts was published under the title Harvey Milk - A Life for the Community by Bruno Gmünder Verlag .


Winner Lance Black at the 81st Academy Awards 2009
Cleve Jones at the 81st Academy Awards, 2009

Academy Award (Oscar) 2009

  • Best Actor: Sean Penn - Won
  • Best Screenplay: Lance Black - Won
  • Best Picture: Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen (producers) - nominated
  • Best director: Gus Van Sant - nominated
  • Best Supporting Actor: Josh Brolin (Dan White - Milks Killer) - nominated
  • Best Score : Danny Elfman - nominated
  • Best costumes: Danny Glicker - nominated
  • Best Editing: Elliot Graham - nominated

Golden Globes 2009

  • Best Actor: Sean Penn - nominated

Satellite Award 2008

  • Best drama - nominated
  • Best Actor: Sean Penn - nominated
  • Best Supporting Actor: James Franco - nominated
  • Best Score : Danny Elfman - nominated
  • Best Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black - nominated
  • Best director: Gus van Sant - nominated

Further honors


Well-known contemporary New York artist Jeff Koons makes a small appearance as a California local politician in this film.


The German dubbing was done in 2009 on behalf of Constantin Film for the dubbing company FFS in Berlin. The dialogue direction and the writing of the dubbed books was done by Christoph Cierpka .

role actor Voice actor
Harvey Milk Sean Penn Tobias Master
Cleve Jones Emile Hirsch Dirk Stollberg
Dan White Josh Brolin Marcus Off
Scott Smith James Franco Markus Pfeiffer
Jack Lira Diego Luna Tobias Müller
Anne Kronenberg Alison Pill Manja Doering
Danny Nicoletta Lucas Grabeel Dirk Petrick
Mayor George Moscone Victor Garber Frank-Otto Schenk
Dick Pabich Joseph Cross Oliver Field

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Age rating for Milk . Youth Media Commission .
  2. Kirk Honeycutt's film review ( Memento December 8, 2008 in the Internet Archive ), accessed November 12, 2008
  3. ^ Film review by Emanuel Levy , accessed November 12, 2008
  4. Film review by Todd McCarthy ( Memento of the original from November 6, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , accessed November 12, 2008 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. OÖN from February 20, 2009 A gay man with power spreads fear and hope
  6. Kronen-Zeitung of February 19, 2009
  7. ^ Filming locations for Milk , accessed November 12, 2008
  8. Box office / business for Milk , accessed November 12, 2008
  9. Release dates for Milk , accessed November 12, 2008
  10. ( Memento of the original from January 25, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  11. Milk. Retrieved September 17, 2017 .
  12. Milk nominated for eight Oscars In: Queer.
  13. ^ Alternative Film Guide - Satellite Awards 2008
  14. German synchronous card index ( Memento of the original from April 28, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , accessed August 25, 2009 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  15. , accessed on August 25, 2009
  16. ^ Cineclub , accessed August 25, 2009