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Roots (TV Mini-Series 1977) Poster

(1977 TV Mini-Series)

Goofs

Anachronisms 

The early part of episode 5 centers around the attempted slave revolt caused by Nat Turner. The episode takes place in 1841. Nat Turner's revolt occurred in 1831.
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Right after Kunta Kente is bought by Mr.Reynolds in Episode 2 and Fiddler is about to take Kunta, before the next scene is cutaway, there is a white vehicle passing in front of the gray building in the background, in the back left corner. Automobiles weren't in existence back in the 1700.
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The Akan and Kunte Kinte discussed running north to the safety of the abolitionist movement in the supposed late 1700's (according to the story's timeline). The abolitionist movement did not reach crusading proportions until the early 19th century.
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When the Slave Doctor is examining Kunta Kinte in Annapolis in 1767, he is singing and humming "Pop Goes the Weasel". The music was written around 1799, and the full lyrics were published in America in 1850.
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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.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When Kunta holds baby Kizzy for the first time, we see her in close up. At the left edge of the screen we can see Kunta's mouth. We hear him speaking, but his mouth isn't moving.
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Continuity 

When Chicken George returns from England and he first sees his wife, he slowly takes off his white gloves as they approach each other. When he wraps his arms around her, the gloves are back on.
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Crew or equipment visible 

In the scene where Kunta Kinte throws a stone at the leopard, after the leopard has been frightened/hit and runs off, you can see it's leash rustling in the leaves.
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Errors in geography 

In Episode 3, when Fiddler is playing for the outdoor party, he looks in the direction Toby has fled. In the background is a large California mountain, the kind that doesn't exist in Virginia.
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Much of the topography and flora throughout the series is simply wrong for the areas in which it was set. This is especially true for the Reynolds plantation, located in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, which is shown to be mountainous with a lot of plants native to arid areas (e.g. Southern California). Spotsylvania is neither.
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Factual errors 

When Kunte Kinte (played by John Amos) met the Akan in the woods, they greeted each other with an Arab-Muslim greeting. The origin and highest concentration of Akan people are located in Ghana. Today, Muslims account for the lowest religious minority in Ghana: 16% of the Ghanan population. It is unlikely the average Akan clan member would have been a Muslim during the time of Kunte Kinte.
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The ship "Lord Ligonier" is flying a White Ensign flag even though this is a merchant ship. The White Ensign is only flown by ships of the Royal Navy. Merchant ships fly the Red Ensign.
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Miscellaneous 

Kizzy was supposed to be not only a slave, but one who worked in the fields. Yet she has long, beautifully manicured fingernails.
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In one of the episodes Hank Williams song Take These Chains From My Heart was played but that song wasn't released until 1947.
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Revealing mistakes 

In Episode 3, during her romantic barn encounter with Toby, the slave girl Maggie's hands reveal an expensive-looking manicure.
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When Toby escapes from Mr. Reynolds and wakes to snow, the "snow" looks to be foam, of some sort and drips off onto the blanket. It also sticks to his hands without melting.
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At the beginning of the capture scene in Episode 1 of Roots, Kunta Kinte can be briefly seen wearing shoes or sandals.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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