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Reviews & Ratings for
"Roots" More at IMDbPro »

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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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2 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Not even close to being as good as the book

Author: matt-reed from Chicago, United States
3 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I enjoyed the book so much I read it twice. It captivated, it entertained, it made me cry, it made me proud, it was a fantastic book.

So when I saw the video in my local video store I eagerly snatched it from the shelf and ran home to watch the people I had come to feel I knew so well.

Boy was I disappointed! Perhaps if I had not read the book I would have felt different, but this mini-series was just so watered down. "Master Waller" is not even present, new characters are invented (who is Fanta?), The ship captain was turned into a sympathetic person. The violent things that happened to Kunta are greatly diminished.

To be honest, I have so far only watched the first two episodes, but I am so disappointed that I may not even finish the series. I am wondering if his foot is ever even cut in half?


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4 out of 13 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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6 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

the greatest mini series ever!!!!!!

Author: Emmanuel Gómez B. ( from Santiago, Dominican Republic
27 August 1999

I was just a kid when I first saw this mini series and it taught me people used to enslave each other no many time ago. It taught me you never have to give up, it taught me many things, that had shaped my life on many ways. I'll never forget it...

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0 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A must see

Author: sgodwin-1 from United States
31 October 2005

I feel that Roots is a mini series that only begins to give Americans a look into the depth of slavery. The relationships, the laws, the people, the social distinctions, the injustices that are unique to the South are all glimpsed in this mini series. I feel every person should see this to have a better understanding of all Americans history. The cast is excellent, the acting is superb. Because this film is history, it has held up well over almost 30 years since it was originally televised. Racism is still rampant, and not just in the South. By being informed it helps each of us to have compassion and to inventory our beliefs and question our teachings.

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