Roots (1977)
8.4/10
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Part I 

TV-14 | | Biography, Drama, History | Episode aired 1977
In Gambia, West Africa, Kunta Kinte, son of Omoro and Binta, distinguishes himself in manhood training rituals. But he does not enjoy his new status long: slave traders sweeping the ... See full summary »

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(adaptation), (written for television by) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Capt. Thomas Davies
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Kadi Touray
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Slater
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Yaisa
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Kintango
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Omoro
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Brima Cesay (as Harry Rhodes)
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Gardner
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Fanta (as Ren Woods)
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...
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Kailuba
Rebecca Bess ...
Girl on Ship
Henry Butts ...
Sitafa
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Storyline

In Gambia, West Africa, Kunta Kinte, son of Omoro and Binta, distinguishes himself in manhood training rituals. But he does not enjoy his new status long: slave traders sweeping the countryside seize him. Chained with other captives, Kunta begins an agonized odyssey to the New World. Written by Anonymous

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Details

Release Date:

1977 (USA)  »

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Runtime:

| (8 episodes)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene where Kunta Kinte chases off a cheetah in order to save a lamb with his slingshot parodies the story of how David killed a lion and a bear with his slingshot in 1 Samuel 17:36-37. See more »

Goofs

At birth, Kunta's Grandmother (his Mother's midwife) has metal dental work visible on her lower front teeth, which was not available in The Gambia in 1750. See more »

Quotes

Wrestler: Kunta Kinte, the panther has courage. So does the warthog. Which kind of courage should a man have?
Kunta Kinte: The best kind.
Wrestler: If it is for certain that you are not yet a man - and that is for certain - then it is more certain that you are not a philosopher. "The best kind" is not an answer, Kunta Kinte.
Kunta Kinte: Well... a warthog's courage, then.
Wrestler: Why?
Kunta Kinte: Well, a warthog never retreats, he never gives up.
Wrestler: And all the hunters admire that warthog's courage.
Kunta Kinte: That's right.
Wrestler: They all say what a brave animal that warthog is.
Kunta Kinte:
[...]
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User Reviews

 
LeVar Burton debuts as Kunta Kinte
15 January 2017 | by (Youngstown,Ohio) – See all my reviews

ROOTS wasn't the first of what became known as the miniseries, following RICH MAN, POOR MAN, but remains the most famous, the subject matter of who we are and where we come from touching a nerve with audiences of all races. It turned out to be a wise choice to schedule the episodes throughout the week, ratings increasing as word of mouth kept raising the stakes. The opening chapter begins in West Africa's Gambia region for the 1750 birth of Kunta Kinte (LeVar Burton), son of Omoro (Thalmus Rasulala) and Binta (Cicely Tyson), growing into manhood with youthful impatience but greater courage than his warrior brethren. Manhood training with the Kintango (Moses Gunn) and the Wrestler (Ji-Tu Cumbuka) serves as more than an apprenticeship, as Kunta also endures his first encounter with white men and their thunder sticks. Returning a man ready to start anew with his own hut, Kunta leaves the village to perform a good deed for his little brother, in search of a log to make him a drum, unaware of the slavers lurking in wait. As fast and cunning as he is there proves to be no escape, captured along with the imposing Wrestler, and chained aboard the Lord Ligonier captained by Thomas Davies (Edward Asner). The topless nudity (done without sensationalism) and frank language, in particular Ralph Waite's course first mate, certainly opened quite a few eyes in the days when the networks normally didn't approve of such details. The African scenes were filmed in Georgia, with first time actor LeVar Burton making the strongest impression in his most famous role. Nominated for an Emmy for their performances were Burton, Cicely Tyson, Moses Gunn, and Ralph Waite, the lone winner Edward Asner.


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