A saga of African-American life, based on Alex Haley's family history. Kunta Kinte is abducted from his African village, sold into slavery, and taken to America. He makes several escape attempts until he is finally caught and maimed. He marries Bell, his plantation's cook, and they have a daughter, Kizzy, who is eventually sold away from them. Kizzy has a son by her new master, and the boy grows up to become Chicken George, a legendary cock fighter who leads his family into freedom. Throughout the series, the family observes notable events in U.S. history, such as the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, slave uprisings, and emancipation. Written by
Eric Sorensen <Eric_Sorensen@fc.mcps.k12.md.us>
One ABC executive explained the blockbuster ratings by saying "One third of America was snowed in, one third of America is black and one third watches ABC anyway" See more »
In Episode 1, a crewman on the ship transporting Kunta Kinte to America in 1767 plays a concertina. The instrument was invented in 1829, and was first marketed with the familiar hexagonal body in 1843. See more »
A well told story, but after looking further into it, I can't praise it TOO much
Back in 1999, not too long before I became a teenager, I got to see this 1977 mini-series on TV. I didn't catch the very beginning, but started watching at one point during the first episode, and then watched the rest of the episodes from start to finish as they aired weekly. I had no clue what "Roots" was about when I started watching, so I was in for some surprises, and it was one unforgettable experience! I've finally watched the hit mini-series again after eight years (all of it this time), but by this time, I had learned that it appears it's not what I thought it was for many years!
This mini-series is an adaptation of the book of the same name, written by Alex Haley, which is supposed to be about his family history. It starts with Kunta Kinte, who is born in an African village in 1750. Sadly, as a teenager, he is kidnapped by slave traders and taken across the Atlantic Ocean to America, where he is sold into slavery and given the name Toby. From there, the story focuses on the life of Kunta as a slave on a plantation in Virginia, and then his descendants in the next several generations that follow.
Haley has received a lot of praise for tracing back his ancestry so far and writing about it, but there seems to be a lot of evidence indicating that he didn't really do it, and his story is a fraud. Obviously, he would have had to make SOME things up for the story, but apparently, he plagiarized a lot of it from a book called "The African", written by an author named Harold Courlander, which he was sued for. It has also been revealed that the story is mostly fictional. Many have pointed these things out already, and I'm just trying to put them into my own words. I'm not going to say anything else about it, but you could easily find a lot more information elsewhere.
The reason why I have given this adaptation of "Roots" a 6/10 is that despite what I've mentioned above, it's still an interesting story, with some very moving scenes! Some parts may not have been scripted as well as they could have been, but overall, it's a VERY memorable mini-series. For that, I give it an above average rating, but would give it a higher one if it weren't for the negative things I've learned about it. The fact that it was presented as a family history when it really isn't, and is still advertised as such today (like I saw on the back of the DVD set) just isn't right. It's common for films based on true stories to be very inaccurate, but "Roots" isn't even really based on a true story! So, it's not a bad mini-series, but don't watch it thinking it's what it says it is (like I once did).
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