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"Roots"
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"Roots" (1977) More at IMDbPro »TV mini-series 1977-

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Roots: :  -- A dramatization of author Alex Haley's family line from ancestor Kunta Kinte's enslavement to his descendents' liberation.
Roots: :  -- A dramatization of author Alex Haley's family line from ancestor Kunta Kinte's enslavement to his descendents' liberation.

Overview

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Contact:
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Seasons:
1
Release Date:
23 January 1977 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
The Saga of an American Family.
Plot:
A dramatization of author Alex Haley's family line from ancestor Kunta Kinte's enslavement to his descendants' liberation. Full summary »
Awards:
Won Golden Globe. Another 16 wins & 35 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
The Best TV Miniseries Ever Offered by a Major Commercial Network Before Cable See more (63 total) »

Cast

 (Series Cast Summary - 63 of 67)

Todd Bridges ... Bud Harvey (8 episodes, 1977)

Robert Reed ... Dr. William Reynolds (5 episodes, 1977)

John Amos ... 'Toby' / ... (5 episodes, 1977)

Madge Sinclair ... Bell Reynolds (5 episodes, 1977)

Louis Gossett Jr. ... Fiddler (5 episodes, 1977)

Vic Morrow ... Ames (5 episodes, 1977)

Brad Davis ... Ol' George Johnson / ... (4 episodes, 1977)

LeVar Burton ... Kunta Kinte / ... (4 episodes, 1977)

Lynda Day George ... Mrs. Reynolds (4 episodes, 1977)

Olivia Cole ... Mathilda / ... (4 episodes, 1977)

Ben Vereen ... 'Chicken' George Moore / ... (4 episodes, 1977)

Carolyn Jones ... Mrs. Moore (4 episodes, 1977)

Leslie Uggams ... Kizzy Reynolds / ... (4 episodes, 1977)

Chuck Connors ... Tom Moore (4 episodes, 1977)

Sandy Duncan ... Missy Anne Reynolds (4 episodes, 1977)

Edward Asner ... Capt. Thomas Davies (3 episodes, 1977)

Ji-Tu Cumbuka ... Wrestler (3 episodes, 1977)

Ralph Waite ... Slater (3 episodes, 1977)

Lorne Greene ... John Reynolds (3 episodes, 1977)

Thayer David ... Harlan (3 episodes, 1977)

Lloyd Bridges ... Evan Brent (2 episodes, 1977)

Georg Stanford Brown ... Tom Harvey (2 episodes, 1977)

Maya Angelou ... Nyo Boto / ... (2 episodes, 1977)

Moses Gunn ... Kintango (2 episodes, 1977)

Thalmus Rasulala ... Omoro (2 episodes, 1977)
Hilly Hicks ... Lewis Harvey (2 episodes, 1977)
Hari Rhodes ... Brima Cesay (2 episodes, 1977)
William Watson ... Gardner (2 episodes, 1977)

Lynne Moody ... Irene Harvey (2 episodes, 1977)

Renn Woods ... Fanta (2 episodes, 1977)

Richard McKenzie ... Sam Harvey (2 episodes, 1977)
Sally Kemp ... Lila Harvey (2 episodes, 1977)

Paul Shenar ... John Carrington (2 episodes, 1977)

Gary Collins ... Grill (2 episodes, 1977)

Austin Stoker ... Virgil Harvey (2 episodes, 1977)

Lane Binkley ... Martha Johnson (2 episodes, 1977)
Lee de Broux ... Trumbull (2 episodes, 1977)

Beverly Todd ... Fanta / ... (2 episodes, 1977)
Tanya Boyd ... Genelva (2 episodes, 1977)

Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs ... Noah (2 episodes, 1977)

Raymond St. Jacques ... The Drummer (2 episodes, 1977)
Pat Corley ... Referee (2 episodes, 1977)

Scatman Crothers ... Mingo (2 episodes, 1977)
Stan Haze ... Field Singer / ... (2 episodes, 1977)

John Dennis Johnston ... Man at Cockfight (2 episodes, 1977)

John Schuck ... Ordell (2 episodes, 1977)

George Hamilton ... Stephen Bennett (2 episodes, 1977)

Roxie Roker ... Melissa (2 episodes, 1977)

Richard Roundtree ... Sam Bennett (2 episodes, 1977)
Elma V. Jackson ... Mama Ada (2 episodes, 1977)
Lillian Randolph ... Sister Sara (2 episodes, 1977)

Davis Roberts ... Leonard (2 episodes, 1977)

Doug McClure ... Jemmy Brent / ... (2 episodes, 1977)

Cicely Tyson ... Binta (2 episodes, 1977)

Tina Andrews ... Aurelia (2 episodes, 1977)

Ernest Thomas ... Kailuba (2 episodes, 1977)
Ann Weldon ... Mary (2 episodes, 1977)
Rebecca Bess ... Girl on Ship (2 episodes, 1977)
Fred Covington ... Auctioneer (2 episodes, 1977)
Joe Dorsey ... Calvert (2 episodes, 1977)

Brion James ... Slaver (2 episodes, 1977)
Rachel Longaker ... Caroline (2 episodes, 1977)

Tracey Gold ... Young Missy Reynolds (2 episodes, 1977)
(more)

Series Directed by
Marvin J. Chomsky (2 episodes, 1977)
 
Series Writing credits
Alex Haley (8 episodes, 1977)
James Lee (5 episodes, 1977)
William Blinn (3 episodes, 1977)
Ernest Kinoy (2 episodes, 1977)

Series Produced by
Donald A. Ramsey .... associate producer (2 episodes, 1977)
 
Series Original Music by
Gerald Fried (1 episode, 1977)
Quincy Jones (1 episode, 1977)
 
Series Cinematography by
Stevan Larner (1 episode, 1977)
Joseph M. Wilcots (1 episode, 1977)
 
Series Film Editing by
James T. Heckert (1 episode, 1977)
Peter Kirby (1 episode, 1977)
Neil Travis (1 episode, 1977)
 
Series Casting by
Lynn Stalmaster (2 episodes, 1977)
 
Series Production Design by
Jan Scott (1 episode, 1977)
 
Series Art Direction by
Joseph R. Jennings (1 episode, 1977)
Jan Scott (1 episode, 1977)
 
Series Set Decoration by
Charles C. Bennett (1 episode, 1977)
Solomon Brewer (1 episode, 1977)
 
Series Costume Design by
Jack Martell (2 episodes, 1977)
 
Series Makeup Department
Lola 'Skip' McNalley .... hair stylist (2 episodes, 1977)

Gene Witham .... makeup artist (unknown episodes)
 
Series Production Management
Conrad Holzgang .... executive in charge of production (2 episodes, 1977)
George Taylor .... post-production supervisor (2 episodes, 1977)
Phillips Wylly Sr. .... manager production operations (2 episodes, 1977)
 
Series Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Mack Bing .... assistant director (1 episode, 1977)
Michael Kusley .... assistant director (1 episode, 1977)
Bill Lukather .... assistant director (1 episode, 1977)
 
Series Art Department
Terry Ballard .... property master (2 episodes, 1977)
 
Series Sound Department
Arnold Braun .... sound mixer (1 episode, 1977)
Willie D. Burton .... sound recordist (1 episode, 1977)
Larry Carow .... sound editor (1 episode, 1977)
Gene Corso .... sound effects editor (1 episode, 1977)
George Fredrick .... sound editor (1 episode, 1977)
Robert L. Harman .... sound mixer (1 episode, 1977)
Robert J. Litt .... sound mixer (1 episode, 1977)
Hoppy Mehterian .... sound mixer (1 episode, 1977)
Lorane Mitchell .... sound effects editor (1 episode, 1977)
Colin C. Mouat .... sound editor (1 episode, 1977)
Lawrence E. Neiman .... sound editor (1 episode, 1977)
Eddie Nelson .... sound mixer (1 episode, 1977)
Leonard Peterson .... sound mixer (1 episode, 1977)
David Pettijohn .... sound editor (1 episode, 1977)
George Porter .... sound mixer (1 episode, 1977)
Bruce Richardson .... sound editor (1 episode, 1977)
Bill Varney .... sound mixer (1 episode, 1977)
Donald L. Warner Jr. .... sound editor (1 episode, 1977)
 
Series Special Effects by
John Frazier .... special effects supervisor (8 episodes, 1977)
 
Series Stunts
Craig R. Baxley .... stunts (8 episodes, 1977)
 
Series Camera and Electrical Department
Víctor Pérez .... lighting technician (8 episodes, 1977)
Joseph W. Calloway .... key first assistant camera / second assistant camera (7 episodes, 1977)
Lee Heckler .... gaffer (2 episodes, 1977)
 
Series Costume and Wardrobe Department
Ed Fincher .... costumer: men (2 episodes, 1977)
Donna Roberts .... costumer: women (2 episodes, 1977)
 
Series Editorial Department
Fred Kaplan .... assistant editor (1 episode, 1977)
Mary Nelson-Duerrstein .... negative cutter (1 episode, 1977)
Darrell Upshaw .... assistant editor (1 episode, 1977)
 
Series Music Department
Tommy Morgan .... musician: harmonica (8 episodes, 1977)
Richard Nash .... musician: trombone (8 episodes, 1977)
Tommy Tedesco .... musician: guitar (8 episodes, 1977)

Dan Wallin .... score mixer (unknown episodes)
 
Series Transportation Department
Donald P. Desmond .... transportation co-captain (8 episodes, 1977)
Thomas A. Gordon .... driver (8 episodes, 1977)
 
Series Other crew
Marie McKellar .... production assistant (2 episodes, 1977)
Jody Richardson .... production assistant (2 episodes, 1977)
Ron Von Schimmelmann .... production administrator (2 episodes, 1977)
Wendy Winter .... assistant to the producer (2 episodes, 1977)
 
Series Thanks
Randy Miller .... special thanks (1 episode, 1977)
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
570 min (8 episodes)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Georg Stanford Brown and Lynne Moody are the only actors to reprise their roles in "Roots: The Next Generations" (1979).See more »
Goofs:
Crew or equipment visible: When Kunta Kinte throws a stone at the leopard, its leash rustles in the leaves after the leopard runs off.See more »
Quotes:
Kintango:Who can tell me if there was a tribal war, and the men of Mandinka had the enemy surrounded on three sides, what should be the next thing done?
Boy:The men of the Mandinka will enclose the circle and surround the enemy.
Kintango:No, the goal of war is not to kill. The goal of war is to win. By surrounding the enemy, you would force him only to fight more desperately. If you surround him on three sides and leave him an escape route, he will leave your land and there will less blood spilled on both sides. For a warrior of the Mandinka, courage is not enough.
[...]
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Love at First Bite (1979)See more »
Soundtrack:
OluwaSee more »

FAQ

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27 out of 40 people found the following review useful.
The Best TV Miniseries Ever Offered by a Major Commercial Network Before Cable, 16 July 2007
Author: classicalsteve from Oakland, CA

Two of the most important American television programs are "The Civil War" by Ken Burns (1989), and the epic narrative miniseries "Roots" (1977) based on the book "Roots: The Saga of an American Family" by Alex Haley. Despite the controversy surrounding the book, and the facts of Haley's ancestry (for example, the slave Toby aka "Kunte Kinte", may never have fathered Kizzy and therefore may not be a direct ancestor of Haley) the series is an important and ground-breaking work in its stunning portrayal of slave life in America from the late 18th century to the mid-19th century.

For decades, the United States has been largely in denial of its treatment of African-Americans both as slaves and later in post-Civil War periods. The south of the 19th century had fabricated the reality of slave conditions and down-played the brutality inflicted on both slaves and anti-slave sympathizers. Racial hatred and brutality continued into the 20th century, largely fueled by white traditions that have (and continue to) concoct misrepresentations of historical reality to younger generations. By the middle of the 20th century, nearly 100 years after the end of the American Civil War, President Johnson signed Civil Rights legislation into law with the White Southern community kicking and screaming all the way. If legislation couldn't change people's hearts and minds, what could?

Americans love movies, story-telling/narrative film depictions of reality. There had never before been a nationally distributed film production that honestly told the story of the African-American slave experience. Fourteen years after Johnson's legislation, "Roots" was broadcast on national television by the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). I regard those network executives that green-lighted the broadcast in great esteem for their willingness to take a chance on this most-important series. I doubt whether US commercial television will ever produce and broadcast such a high-caliber and controversial program again in the near future. And to give credit to the American viewing public, "Roots" was a huge success.

From beginning to end, "Roots" is an absolute triumph of film production, the best-ever miniseries offered by a corporate network prior to the rise of cable television. The acting and the script are top-notch. Almost every notable African-American acting talent of the time was solicited to join the cast, from LeVar Burton and John Amos (Kunte Kinte, Toby) to Lou Gosset Jr (Fiddler) to Ben Vareen (Chicken George) to James Earl Jones (Alex Haley). Even OJ Simpson makes an appearance. A lot of notable white talent appears as well, such as Ed Asner and Sandy Duncan.

Slavery is a tragedy and "Roots" is a tragic story. "Roots" has its light moments, its inspiring moments, although it is its heartbreaking moments that stay with you: The moment the young African Kunte Kinte is shackled, sold as chattel and forced to board the slave ship bound for America. The whipping of the young Kunte Kinte to "break" him into slavery. The selling of Kizzy, Toby's daughter, to another slave master because of her involvement with a scheme to help a runaway. These are the moments that make Roots' larger point. Another aspect that makes Roots effective in its rhetoric is that it never seeps into sentimentality to makes its point. The story relies on an honest narrative and the audience is left to draw their on conclusions. Is it brutal? Yes. Unjust? Definitely. And that is what it was. (If you don't believe "Roots", sell yourself into slavery and see how you like it.)

Two aspects occur to me about what this story means beyond just the plain inhumanity of the institution of slavery. One aspect is that the benefit of slavery is terribly minute when compared to the staggering price paid by the slaves themselves and everyone else. Simultaneously, non-slaves were pressed into service to maintain slavery as an institution. Such titanic sadness, misery, hopelessness brutality, and inhumanity is forced upon people (both slave and non-slave) in return for a more comfortable life for a minuscule segment of the population. And yet the amount of work, effort, and money to maintain the inhumane infrastructure seems more burdensome than if these people were free. The average white southerner could not afford to own slaves, and many worked for slave owners as overseers, slave-catchers, auctioneers, and other positions designed to maintain the institution. In short, misery for thousands with a little comfort for a few.

The other tragedy is the denial of positive contribution to society. Those who were slaves were denied giving their love, their knowledge, their inspiration, and their culture to society. All this beauty sacrificed so a few white aristocrats can laze around on sofas in front of fireplaces in giant mansions. Someone once said that if we don't help foster the gifts in other people, we run the risk of never seeing how our world could be made better. Slavery is a tragedy for the people enacting it as well, although the suffering aspect is less apparent.

"Roots" is a story that needs to be told and retold. Shown and re-shown. I would encourage any teacher trying to convey the reality of slavery in America to consider showing at least a segment or two of "Roots". There is no question that the film is mesmerizing. It saddens me that there are still those in America that want to hang onto southern myths that propagate that slavery wasn't that bad. These are some of the same people that are convinced the holocaust is a fabrication. It is better to forgive than the forget. We have to embrace our roots.

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