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"Roots" More at IMDbPro »

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0 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Alex Haley's epic novel becomes a series.

Author: MovieCriticMarvelfan from california
14 May 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am surprised this series hasn't been re aired on ABC or anyplace else for a long time. This is a classic series detailing the slavery trade in the US, through almost 200 yrs of history up the Civil War (Roots the Next Generation).

An all stars cast from Levar Burton, to Maya Angelou, Ed Asner, Louis Gosset Jr. as the slave driven fiddler to Sandy Duncan and the late Vic Murrow wow!!! The story well basically details again the disgusting slave trade which was going around in the world but specifically in the USA, yes we face it, we have a long history to both be proud and be ashamed of.

The story stars with our hero of sorts Kunta Kinte, Levar Burton being kidnapped from his home in Africa and being shipped out to be another slave. Ed Asner is remarkable as the religious captain of a slave ship whose conscious eats him alive for committing such an evil sin.

Even Kunta gets a slave name and tries to revolt fighting such politically incorrect blacks like Fiddler only to realize the situation is hopeless and to top it he learns a love of his is raped by a piece of white trash named Tom Moore. Eventually after Kunta's story comes the next generation of Roots taking place around the Civil War, blacks are free in the North but the same old story continues in the south ,although now blacks are now beginning to fight back.

The DVD's are great, Levar Burton provides visual commentary on the episodes. Louis Gosset Jr., and David L Wolper the creative executive who brought Roots to life all reminiscent about the special significance of the series.

Really this should be shown in every classroom since this like "Salt of the Earth" is essential viewing, a perfect 10 out 10.

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0 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Really Informative *Kinda long summary*

Author: Sandy from Alabama
26 April 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

*SPOILERS* This summary is a bit long, it doesn't mean that I'm all extra into it, it's only long because they're are six different movies in this series and I just feel compelled to comment on each one. When I saw it for the first time in class, it really interested me; mainly because I was so shocked and appalled at the white captain's stereotypes on Africans and his use of the b-word to describe the women. I only got to see it up to the second part in class; which sucked so I took in upon myself to order it. Anyways, this story is about Alex Haley's so-called "relative" Kunta Kinte, his capture, and how he survives in bondage in America. No offense, but some of the accents on some of the people were so ludicrous sounding. I mean, everyone can tell they're CLEARLY from New York or something, not the Old South. I guess they didn't care though. But still why don't they try picking people with less strong accents. It's pathetic. Let us go through the different chapters briefly together.

Chapter I: Well, this basically talks about Kunta's life and Africa, it was there to basically discount the myth that African "ni##ers" were savages. I liked how they showed the respectable ceremonies and how Kunta was trained to be a man and whatnot. It also showed the true savages, the slave ship captains. Especially the slater guy. He was such a scumbag. He was also tried justyfying his racist @$$ statements by ending the sentences like,It's for their own good"--"They're SUITED to be slaves" --"It's good for the crew to bang the wenches." Yuck! Kunta and his friend Fanta and whole lot of other Africans also get captured.

Chapter II: I believe in the beginng they're still in the ship; then it gets to the part where the Africans revolt i almost worked. Too bad they didn't do an "Amistad" and sail the ship back to Africa. Lol. I liked this part because it showed how they revolted. Kunta gets sold to another ignorant, racist caucasoid who also stereotypes by saying idiotic things like, "How can anyone see these people as any better than black monkeys?!" Ugh. Oh yeah this is also the part where Kunta gets whipped into submission by that *CREEPY* Ames character. Boy, was he scary. He was determined to make Kunta submit to him since he was an uppity ni^^er from africa who wouldn't know his role and shut his mouth. That scene didn't really phase me like it did others; that's ironic since I find the dude to be the most creepiest yet the most creepiest scene didn't get to me like it did others. Anyways, he gets whipped and it ends there.

Chapter III: Couldn't really get into this one to tell you the truth. Though it did show how slaves had their body parts cut off if they ran away; and how the pride of Africa was still in some of them; I didn't like it as much as I liked the first, second, fourth, and sixth chapters.

Chapter IV: I liked this one out of all of them; because it shows the impact of slavery on teens like me ;-) . I really felt sorry for the Kizzy character and the Noah character, I wanted to slap the Missy Anne chick, she was the real "wench" here, lol. I don't want to spoil it so I won't go in depth about it. Also like I said I felt sorry for Noah cause he was basically a young version of toby/kunta, uppity proud and a-wantin' ta be free! But that stupid a$$ ogre looking overseer Ordell kept hanging on his nu#*sack until he had no breathing room left. Kizzy, Toby/Kunta's kid, also get violated by that ever-smiling new "massa" Moore. We don't SEE the rape, thank goodness; we do see him grabbing her from behind and her straining to get away, then it cuts to the next scene where she's bruised. The chicken george guy she gives birth to didn't really interest me.

Chapter V: I didn't like this tape; it bored me. Sorry! It's basically about how Chicken George goes to England to pay back his debt for his master. Yawn. And who wants to see a bunch of fighting cocks? I did like the latter part though.

Chapter VI: I liked this chapter. It talks about a guy named Tom and he's being harassed by white soldiers. What I didn't think was real though, was that George Johnson boy. I mean sure there were sympathetic whites back then, but it just went too far sometimes. Like *spoilers ahead* at the end they bow down and do that African like ritual, he's with them and he's into it like it's nothing and he does it naturally; um, he's not the least bit uncomortable doing some "heathen" hasn't he heard the sterotypes about how inferior Africa and everything about it is; and he's doing that. Plus he's singing along with the blacks on the death of Abraham Lincoln like he's one of them or something. And what's up with him all reluncantly uttering thet word "ni&$#er" like he knows it's all un PC and he's just being righteous about it. Puh-lease; people didn't see it as a bad word back then, so shut up george!!! But it was a good ending, and when Alex Haley talks during the end, it's even grander!!! I hope you like it cuz it's a outstanding history lesson ! **** stars!

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0 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Starts off powerful, goes into decline

Author: GuitarMan from NY
13 May 2000

I think that different directors were assigned to different movies in the series... which could be the reason why movie began to grow weak after Kunta Kinte leaves the storyline. I thought the beginning was rather powerful... displaying the savagery of the white man's actions... entering the peaceful villages in Africa and pulling everybody out in shackles onto their ships' dark and musty cargo holds, and slowly, try to bring the main character into submission once he arrives in America. The rest is...Watchable... but has much less to offer than the first 3. Oh well... how much can you expect from a TV movie.

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1 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

one of the greatest series ever screened.

Author: raylb50 from United Kingdom
4 April 2008

One of the greatest & most successful series ever screened. I was in my 20's when it came out &, as in the US, over here in England it was a massive hit. Not only was it great entertainment but a wonderful history lesson too. A powerful epic charting the lives of generations of the Kunta Kinta family, above all it is so thought provoking. I am sure this, as much as any other factor, delved deep into the American psyche & helped white Americans (& white British) appreciate the awful times these slaves went thru & enhanced everyone's understanding of the black American cause, to be treated as an equal. The direction was brilliant,the actors superb & the script so intelligently written & with so many interesting characters that sprang to life on screen. Generally speaking, American actors are the best in the world & they have proved it time & again. Give them a good script they'll make the characters believable.

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1 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Who could give this a vote of 1?

Author: voook-1 from United States
8 October 2005

Probably my ex-wifes relatives in Alabama. My ex-mother-in-law once said "Where you spose them black people get all their money?" It's so ignorant that it's humorous.

Anyway, this is stellar. The realism is amazing. If you can make it through episode one, during the journey across the Atlantic, you'll survive the almost as unbarable scenes to come.

Slavery was perhaps the worst scar in American history, although of course we have many. Learning about the gravity of these mistakes will ultimately improve humanity and speed our evolution.

This is a film that offers you something. This is one of only a handful of films that offers to make you a more enlightened and understanding human being. "The Deer Hunter" is the same way, watch it next.

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1 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Not just another teaching tool...

Author: malikachika14
13 April 2002

I first saw some of Roots when i was in 7th grade and i thought that it was pretty interesting. When i got in eighth grade my teacher began showing Roots (which we never got to finish) and i got really into it... a lot of the series made me really mad to see that people thought they had the right to treat other people as animals, other parts were so sad that i would have broken down and cried if i hadn't been in class... and some parts made me laugh.... the whole thing just really got me to thinking and i will probably never forget Roots and all it taught me...


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5 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Thoughts on ROOTS, 35 years later

Author: curmed52 from United States
22 December 2012

I saw ROOTS when it was first broadcast in 1977 and found it interesting but simplistic - noble blacks, evil whites. Given that my family was avoiding pogroms in Eastern Europe during the 100 years covered by this story, I did not come away with the intended guilt trip.

I saw it again this weekend on BET and had a different view of it behind older eyes. First, I want to know why BET advertises chocolate cereal to a largely black viewership? Black children eat badly enough without chocolate in the morning. I now know that this story was not real but rather plagiarized from a fictional book. It is one of many accounts of black history published or broadcast over the past 35 years that are exaggerations or out and out lies aimed at making blacks feel good about themselves, and I wonder why the mostly white writers of these fictions have the need to distort history for this one people.

But the story is interesting if the now usual good blacks/bad whites scenarios. Actually, there were probably more good slave owners than slaves. Indeed, like most of us, white slave owners back then had families and businesses to worry about and little time and inclination to beat slaves. And the slaves were good, bad and everything in between, not the saints that ROOTS portrayed.

White guilt is now long over, so one can watch ROOTS as one would CSI or any other fictional TV show.

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6 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

A series that takes a great look into slavery.

Author: Brian Blueskye ( from Mentor, OH
21 September 1999

Alex Haley really did a great job experimenting his family tree, I'm amazed he was able to do that much research, and just make a great mini-series out of it. The one thing this series does is just shock you, it teaches you how cruel slavery was, and how much you really didn't know that they were supposed to teach you in school.

One thing I love about this series is how touching it all really is. The marriages of the slaves, the jobs of the slaves, and the story about Chicken George is just very cool. I know to some this series is just very depicting, and to some whites, they feel it's making them responsible for slavery. But what the series is teaching you, is that we should all learn about our mistakes in history, and accept what we are, and try to change for the better without finger pointing.

This series shocked alot of people, and sparked alot of controversy, but it's worth seeing, for any race, for any generation, in any country. Alex Haley, I take my hat off to you.

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1 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Alex Haley's Masterpiece

Author: Thomas from United States
24 October 2006

I was only 12 years old when I first saw Alex Haley's 'Roots' in 1977. It was perhaps the most profound history lesson I've ever had.

'Roots' was the first television program that dealt with the issue of American slavery. Roots vividly portrays the ruthless manner in which Africans (such as teenaged Kunta Kinte) were kidnapped, shackled, and brought to the new world, and completely stripped of their homes, names, families, culture, language, religion, identity, and freedom.

The first thing that caught my attention was the selection of beloved television stars to portray the ruthless slave owners and victimized slaves, such as Robert Reed (of 'The Brady Bunch'), John Amos (of 'Good Times'), Lorne Green (of 'Bonanza'), Caroline Jones (of 'The Addams Family'), Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs (of 'Welcome Back, Kotter'), Ed Asner (of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'), Ralph Waite (of 'The Waltons'), and Chuck Connors (of 'The Rifleman'). This was a very clever move that resulted in viewers (particularly those of 1977) immediately relating to the characters in this emotional drama.

The miniseries begins in the late 18th century on the West coast of Africa. Teenager Kunta Kinte is ruthlessly kidnapped and sold into slavery in colonial Virginia to plantation owner John Reynolds. The brutal treatment of Kunta Kinte and his descendants is difficult to watch.

There are some scenes in 'Roots' which display the black and white characters sharing lighthearted moments, and virtual friendships. Unfortunately, reality soon strikes and reminds the viewer that slavery was very much a part of the equation in antebellum America.

In my opinion, Bell (outstanding portrayal by Madge Sinclair) and Kizzy (exceptional performance by Leslie Uggams) have the best scenes and the most compelling lines in this miniseries. However, the entire cast of 'Roots' provide an impeccable view of the harsh life that black people endured under slavery.

I highly recommend Alex Haley's 'Roots' as a history lesson everyone should experience. This is television at it's finest; 'Roots' is a timeless television classic that viewers will appreciate for generations to come.

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3 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

A Truly Influential Work

Author: Brian Washington ( from Los Angeles, California
16 April 2003

Roots was one of the first projects to really show the truly talented African-American actors that were virtually ignored for years playing roles that were non-stereotypical. It also sparked my own quest into my roots. This is truly a landmark program and one that should be show to all generations.

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