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Before Stonewall: The Making of a Gay and Lesbian Community

Filmmakers - Executive Producer: John Scagliotti; Director: Greta Schiller; Co-Director: Robert Rosenberg
Run Time - 87 minutes
Language - English
Format - Digital
Year - 1984
Genre - Documentary

Educational Interests- American Studies, Civil Rights, Cultural Studies, History (U.S.), LGBTQ Studies, Media Studies, New Releases, Political Science, Sex and Sexuality.

Institutional DVD Price: $295

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Newly restored for the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots!

In 1969 the police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City's Greenwich Village, leading to three nights of rioting by the city's gay community. With this outpouring of courage and unity the gay liberation movement had begun.

Before Stonewall pries open the closet door, setting free the dramatic story of the sometimes horrifying public and private existences experienced by LGBT Americans since the early 1900's. Revealing and often humorous, this widely acclaimed film relives the emotionally-charged sparking of today's gay rights movement, from the events that led to the fevered 1969 riots to many other milestones in the brave fight for acceptance. Experience the fascinating and unforgettable, decade-by-decade history of homosexuality in America through eye-opening historical footage and amazing interviews with those who lived through an often brutal closeted history.

Narrated by iconic author Rita Mae Brown. Groundbreaking interviews with Ann Bannon, Martin Duberman, Allen Ginsberg, Barbara Gittings, Harry Hay, Mabel Hampton, Dr. Evelyn Hooker, Frank Kameny, Audre Lorde, Richard Bruce Nugent, Jose Sarria and many more.

"Entertaining and enlightening." - Los Angeles Times

"Funny, sad, courageous and touching." - Seattle Times

"Intelligent and moving. Adroitly mixes old newsreel and film footage, interviews and even home movies." - The New York Times

"You owe it to yourself to see it" - Judith Crist, WOR-TV

"While not necessarily on the order of finding Atlantis or the original cut of Magnificent Ambersons, the task filmmakers Greta Schiller, Robert Rosenberg, and John Scagliotti undertook in creating Before Stonewall was still pretty daunting: to play social archaeologists, uncovering the hidden, repressed, and oftentimes denied history of gay America in the days before the famous Stonewall riots, and once and for all break the gag order polite society had placed on the third sex. Released in 1985, it helped put a halt on the notion that homosexuality was a product of societal moral decay, a tactical assertion gay rights opponents would sometimes try to insinuate based on a supposed lack of overwhelming historical evidence to the contrary. Obviously, these people weren't looking, as the groundbreaking Before Stonewall offers a kaleidoscopic array of photographs, films, and songs that offer testimony to the presence of a thriving gay subculture. What's perhaps most intriguing about watching Before Stonewall now, some 35 years after Stonewall itself, is that it ends on a moment of uplift: a documentary that can tell the sometimes bitter truth and still conclude with an unambiguously heartening flourish." - Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine

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