As impactive and realistic as this movie was, for one who witnessed all this from a mere block+ away, I can attest to the fact that the reality of the situation was far worse. I happened to be passing by with a friend while visiting NYC in June of 1969 when all hell broke loose. At first, I wasn't sure what was happening and my friend grabbed me by the arm and insisted we get far away lest the melee expand further out in our direction. The police were absolutely brutal; and with their swinging clubs could have given the Nazi Gestapo a run for its money. The only thing missing were German Shepherd dogs. The newly gay "army" responded with equal force. It wasn't until the next day that the newspapers revealed some of what happened. Basically, the gays in that area had had enough and weren't going to put up with being brutalized any more by individuals who should have been protecting them and were on the dole to boot. There's no telling how many might have fully guessed the full significance of STONEWALL (named after the local bar in that area) but it turned out to be a seminal moment in the history of American gay rights (brilliantly summed up and presented by Jonathan Rhys Meyers - who played the character of Trevor - after the film was over in a DVD extra interview). Directed by Roland Emmerich - who admitted to being gay in his commentary - this film did NOT come off as a documentary but rather a tragic human interest story where a needlessly suppressed segment of our population finally said "enough is enough!". It had a "you are there" look and feeling with a
superb cast ranging from Jeremy Irvine (Waterhorse, etc.) who seemed to be playing the composite part of an "every(gay)man". (As a British actor, he excelled at effecting a mid-Western American accent and persona from Indiana.) His role is central and critical to the
entire story. There was also a laudatory performance by Jonny Beauchamp (Penny Dreadful, etc.) as a sometime drag queen and boy out for hire who becomes Irvine's best friend and "tutor", initiating him into the confined gay world of pre-Stonewall days. There is also Jonathan Rhys Meyers (another British actor known for playing Henry VIII in The Tudors) who convincingly plays the head of the regional Mattachine Society and thought that the road to the advancement of Gay Rights was through peaceful means. Ron Perlman
(Hell Boy, etc.) as a scurrilous club owner and sometime "pimp" who later on does a 180 degree turn is also exceedingly well played. The entire supporting cast must be given individual and collective kudos as well. This is not a film for the squeamish with its sex,
language, duplicity, vulgarity, and brutality. But it is what it was and should be carefully scrutinized for what America was like (and still is in too many sectors) a mere 45+ years ago. It is like a group "coming out" story that ultimately obliterated the closet, the house
which contained it, and allowed the sunlight to illuminate the cave of oppressive darkness that had imprisoned and crushed so many.