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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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Seasons:
1
Release Date:
23 January 1977 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
A dramatization of author Alex Haley's family line from ancestor Kunta Kinte's enslavement to his descendants' liberation. Full summary »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won Golden Globe. Another 15 wins & 35 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
The Best TV Miniseries Ever Offered by a Major Commercial Network Before Cable See more (61 total) »

Cast

 (Series Cast Summary - 52 of 56)

Olivia Cole ... Mathilda (5 episodes, 1977)

Ben Vereen ... 'Chicken' George Moore (5 episodes, 1977)

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

John Amos ... 'Toby' / ... (4 episodes, 1977)

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

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

Louis Gossett Jr. ... Fiddler (4 episodes, 1977)

Vic Morrow ... Ames (4 episodes, 1977)

Chuck Connors ... Tom Moore (4 episodes, 1977)
Ji-Tu Cumbuka ... Wrestler (3 episodes, 1977)

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

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

Robert Reed ... Dr. William Reynolds (3 episodes, 1977)

Lynda Day George ... Mrs. Reynolds (3 episodes, 1977)

Madge Sinclair ... Bell Reynolds (3 episodes, 1977)

Scatman Crothers ... Mingo (3 episodes, 1977)

George Hamilton ... Stephen Bennett (3 episodes, 1977)

Richard Roundtree ... Sam Bennett (3 episodes, 1977)

Lloyd Bridges ... Evan Brent (3 episodes, 1977)

Georg Stanford Brown ... Tom Harvey (3 episodes, 1977)

Brad Davis ... Ol' George Johnson (3 episodes, 1977)
Hilly Hicks ... Lewis (3 episodes, 1977)
Lynne Moody ... Irene Harvey (3 episodes, 1977)
Lane Binkley ... Martha Johnson (3 episodes, 1977)

Austin Stoker ... Virgil (3 episodes, 1977)

Sandy Duncan ... Missy Anne Reynolds (3 episodes, 1977)

Tracey Gold ... Young missy reynolds (3 episodes, 1977)

Moses Gunn ... Kintango (2 episodes, 1977)
Thalmus Rasulala ... Omoro (2 episodes, 1977)
Hari Rhodes ... Brima Cesay (2 episodes, 1977)
William Watson ... Gardner (2 episodes, 1977)

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

Lorne Greene ... John Reynolds (2 episodes, 1977)

Thayer David ... Harlan (2 episodes, 1977)

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

Roxie Roker ... Melissa (2 episodes, 1977)
Lillian Randolph ... Sister Sara (2 episodes, 1977)
Davis Roberts ... Leonard (2 episodes, 1977)

Maya Angelou ... Nyo Boto / ... (2 episodes, 1977)
Richard McKenzie ... Sam Harvey (2 episodes, 1977)

John Quade ... Sheriff Biggs (2 episodes, 1977)

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

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

Tina Andrews ... Aurelia (2 episodes, 1977)
Rebecca Bess ... Girl on Ship (2 episodes, 1977)
Henry Butts ... Sitafa (2 episodes, 1977)
Joe Dorsey ... Calvert (2 episodes, 1977)
Kermit Echols ... Vilars (2 episodes, 1977)

Richard Farnsworth ... Slave Catcher (2 episodes, 1977)
Ronnie Leggett ... Kalila (2 episodes, 1977)
Rachel Longaker ... Caroline (2 episodes, 1977)
Ernest Thomas ... Kailuba (2 episodes, 1977)
(more)

Series Directed by
Marvin J. Chomsky (1 episode, 1977)
John Erman (1 episode, 1977)
David Greene (1 episode, 1977)
Gilbert Moses (1 episode, 1977)
 
Series Writing credits
Alex Haley (12 episodes, 1977)
James Lee (7 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 (12 episodes, 1977)
 
Series Stunts
Craig R. Baxley .... stunts (12 episodes, 1977)
 
Series Camera and Electrical Department
Víctor Pérez .... lighting technician (12 episodes, 1977)
Joseph W. Calloway .... key first assistant camera (10 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 (12 episodes, 1977)
Richard Nash .... musician: trombone (12 episodes, 1977)
Tommy Tedesco .... musician: guitar (12 episodes, 1977)

Dan Wallin .... score mixer (unknown episodes)
 
Series Transportation Department
Donald P. Desmond .... transportation co-captain (12 episodes, 1977)
 
Series Other crew
Calvin Spencer .... double: Lloyd Bridges (3 episodes, 1977)
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)
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
60 min (10 episodes)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
In "The Big Bang Theory: The Tenure Turbulence (#6.20)" (2013), the socially inept main character, Sheldon Cooper, gives Mrs. Janine Davis, an African-American woman working as the Human Resources Administration (HRA) at Caltech, a copy of "Roots" as way of an apology the bad first impression he made on her.See more »
Goofs:
Revealing mistakes: In Episode 3, during her romantic barn encounter with Toby, the slave girl Maggie's hands reveal an expensive-looking manicure.See more »
Quotes:
Kunta Kinti:I'm a Mandinka warrior!
Fiddler:[turns to stable horse] Horse! I hear tell that you ain't a horse at all. I hear tell that you think you a mighty crow! I hear tell that you fly from here 'bouts all the way to Annapolis and back again. Now horse... you look mighty like a horse to me. And you sure SMELLS mighty like a horse. So I'm saying to you, that you... is... a horse! What you think you is don't matter a damn bit.
See more »
Soundtrack:
OluwaSee more »

FAQ

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18 out of 23 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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Yaphet Koto - What episode or part does he appear in ? LesterFester
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Why pick a black actor for the part of Chicken George? french-ingenue17
My Favorite Scene - What's Yours ? LesterFester
Kunta chained TwiztidRoman
Food served on the Lord Ligonier chihuahuaboydh-724-612855
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