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Sally Hemings: An American Scandal (2000)

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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3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Thomas Mann Randolph (as Zeljko Ivanek)
Jessica Townsend ...
Henry Jackson (as Larry Gilliard Jr.)
Peter Bradbury ...
Chris Stafford ...


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?


Several progeny (children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren) of the Hemings/Jefferson relationship did in fact have Thomas Jefferson's trademark red hair, and after leaving Monticello lived openly as white, and married white spouses, and personally identified as white, not black or colored. The progeny of the Hemings/Jefferson relationship were, in fact, 7/8 Caucasian European. Several were considered exceptionally handsome or beautiful. 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

Some great performances
13 March 2000 | by (Oregon, USA) – See all my reviews

This movie was not immediately something I found great. In fact, as I watched the beginning, I began to find myself laughing at the absurdity of some of the scenes... a reaction not sought after, I am sure. It wasn't awful, and it did have some good parts, but it was something out of a Harlequin romance novel, it seemed. But, as time rolled on, the movie began to unveil its value as a serious, thought-provoking, and often moving portrayal of a time when the human condition outshined the laws of the day. In the end, what made this movie work -- and it worked quite well once it got past the poorly written first scenes -- were the performances of Sam Neill, and Carmen Ejogo. It was not a surprise that Sam Neill made bad lines sound so good -- he's an extremely talented actor -- but it was a surprise to see Carmen Ejogo, a virtual unknown, act so beautifully and eloquently. She is going to be an actress to watch. Not only is she gorgeous to look at, she's talented, as well. Both actors were brilliant in their roles, and that alone makes the movie worth watching. They should be proud of the work they did.

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