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Sally Hemings: An American Scandal (2000)

TV Movie  |  Unrated  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  13 February 2000 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 365 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 1 critic

Epic television miniseries exploring the complicated relationship of Thomas Jefferson and slave Sally Hemings, who conducted a 38 year love affair, spanning an ocean, ultimately producing children, grandchildren, and lots of controversy.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
James Hemings
James Callender
Thomas Mann Randolph (as Zeljko Ivanek)
Klea Scott ...
Critta Hemings
Jessica Townsend ...
Maria 'Polly' Jefferson
Henry Jackson (as Larry Gilliard Jr.)
Harriet Hemings
Peter Bradbury ...
Samuel Carr
Chris Stafford ...
Peter Carr
Lady Maria Cosway


The story of the extraordinary, controversial thirty-eight-year relationship between Thomas Jefferson and his slave mistress, Sally Hemings. The teenage Sally begins her unexpected relationship with widower Thomas Jefferson in Paris where he is serving as the U.S. Ambassador to France. After escorting Jefferson's younger daughter on a trans-Atlantic journey to join him in Paris, Sally is soon exposed to a world quite unlike the one in which she has lived as an illiterate slave in Monticello. While Sally serves as a nanny of sorts, Jefferson provides her with an education, fine clothes and opportunities to experience cultural events. She and her brother, James, who works as Jefferson's chef and was also educated by him, delight in the fact that they are free in France-and are treated with respect. It is under these circumstances that Sally and Jefferson become acquainted with one another and begin an affair that will ultimately lead to scandal. Written by Echo Bridge Home Entertainment

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The true story of the controversial romance between President Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. See more »


Unrated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

13 February 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Monticello  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The character of "Young Tom Hemings" (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), portrayed as the first born child of Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson, was a fictional character. None of the six children, born in the United States (there is some evidence of a child born while in France, who died soon after returning to Virginia), as a result of the relationship between Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson were conclusively named Tom or Thomas, and, the only child even possibly named Tom or Thomas was the sixth born, commonly known as Eston Hemings, not the first born. The first child to survive into adulthood was Beverley Hemings, a boy (possibly named William Beverley Hemings 1798-c. 1873). Beverley was also the first child of the Hemings/Jefferson relationship to leave the plantation, ostensibly "running away" at age 24, to be joined later that year by his sister Harriet, who was openly released by Jefferson, when she was given $50 and put on a northbound stagecoach by plantation overseer Edmund Bacon. The only known contemporary account/claim of a Hemings/Jefferson child to be born before 1795, and to survive into adulthood, was by James Callender (portrayed by Rene Auberjonois), known to bear a grudge against President Jefferson because of not being appointed as U.S. Postmaster of Richmond, as alluded to in this movie, and the name of that child was supposedly Thomas C. Woodson. See more »


[first lines]
Sally Hemings: I was born a slave, but destined to scandal.
See more »

Crazy Credits

ON SCREEN: Sally Hemings tended Thomas Jefferson's grave until her death in 1835. See more »

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User Reviews

It was great!!
18 June 2000 | by (Louisiana) – See all my reviews

I thought the movie was great!! I missed a few parts of it, which I would really like to see, but the parts I did see were really good. I think Sam Neill and Carmen Ejogo did excellent jobs. I think everyone did great on the movie and hopefully I will get to see it again so I can see the parts I missed!!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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