8.4/10
15,179
65 user 12 critic

Roots 

Trailer
1:28 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
A dramatization of author Alex Haley's family line from ancestor Kunta Kinte's enslavement to his descendants' liberation.
Reviews
Popularity
1,621 ( 55)

Episodes

Seasons


Years



1  
1977  
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 16 wins & 35 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The dramatization of Alex Haley's family line from post Civil War America to the writer's search for his roots.

Stars: Debbi Morgan, Dorian Harewood, Paul Koslo
Roots (2016)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An adaptation of Alex Haley's "Roots", chronicling the history of an African man sold to slavery in America, and his descendants.

Stars: Herbert Cavalier Jr., Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Malachi Kirby
Roots: The Gift (TV Movie 1988)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

In December 1775, Kunta Kinte and Fiddler accompany their owner to another plantation at Christmas time and they learn that the son of the owner helps slaves escape, and the two of them try... See full summary »

Director: Kevin Hooks
Stars: Louis Gossett Jr., LeVar Burton, Avery Brooks
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

An examination of the trials and tribulations of the Jordache family, from the period following World War II to the late 1960s.

Stars: Peter Strauss, Nick Nolte, Susan Blakely
Shogun (1980)
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A English navigator becomes both a player and pawn in the complex political games in feudal Japan.

Stars: Richard Chamberlain, Toshirô Mifune, Yôko Shimada
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In the arid 1920s Australian Outback, a Catholic priest and the beautiful granddaughter of a vast sheep station owner stand powerless before God's will, tormented by desire. How far are they willing to go in the name of love?

Stars: Richard Chamberlain, Rachel Ward, Christopher Plummer
Holocaust (1978)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The saga of a Jewish family's struggle to survive the horror of Nazi Germany's systematic marginalization and extermination of their community.

Stars: Joseph Bottoms, Tovah Feldshuh, Rosemary Harris
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Two friends, one northern and one southern, struggle to maintain their friendship as events build towards the American Civil War.

Stars: Kirstie Alley, Georg Stanford Brown, David Carradine
M*A*S*H (1972–1983)
Comedy | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

The staff of an Army hospital in the Korean War find that laughter is the best way to deal with their situation.

Stars: Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swit
Centennial (1978–1979)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

The economic and cultural growth of Colorado spanning two centuries from the mid 1700s to the late 1970s.

Stars: Raymond Burr, Barbara Carrera, Richard Chamberlain
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

This is the sequel to the mini-series, RICH MAN, POOR MAN. It begins with Rudy Jordache apprehending the man who killed his brother, Falconetti. He then also takes in his nephew, Wesley. He... See full summary »

Stars: Peter Strauss, Gregg Henry, James Carroll Jordan
Charlie's Angels (1976–1981)
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A wealthy mystery man named Charlie runs a detective agency via a speakerphone and his personal assistant, John Bosley. His detectives are three beautiful women, who end up in a variety of difficult situations.

Stars: Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith
Edit

Cast

Series cast summary:
Robert Reed ...  Dr. William Reynolds 4 episodes, 1977
John Amos ...  Older Kunta Kinte / ... 3 episodes, 1977
Louis Gossett Jr. ...  Fiddler 3 episodes, 1977
Lynda Day George ...  Mrs. Reynolds 3 episodes, 1977
Olivia Cole ...  Mathilda / ... 3 episodes, 1977
Madge Sinclair ...  Bell Reynolds 3 episodes, 1977
Ben Vereen ...  'Chicken' George Moore / ... 3 episodes, 1977
Lloyd Bridges ...  Evan Brent 2 episodes, 1977
Georg Stanford Brown ...  Tom Harvey 2 episodes, 1977
Chuck Connors ...  Tom Moore 2 episodes, 1977
Lorne Greene ...  John Reynolds 2 episodes, 1977
Sandy Duncan ...  Missy Anne Reynolds 2 episodes, 1977
Ralph Waite ...  Slater 2 episodes, 1977
Brad Davis ...  Old George 2 episodes, 1977
Edward Asner ...  Capt. Thomas Davies 2 episodes, 1977
Ji-Tu Cumbuka ...  Wrestler 2 episodes, 1977
Hilly Hicks ...  Lewis Harvey 2 episodes, 1977
Vic Morrow ...  Ames 2 episodes, 1977
Lynne Moody ...  Irene Harvey 2 episodes, 1977
Lillian Randolph ...  Sister Sara 2 episodes, 1977
Leslie Uggams ...  Kizzy Reynolds Moore / ... 2 episodes, 1977
Tanya Boyd ...  Genelva 2 episodes, 1977
Richard McKenzie ...  Sam Harvey 2 episodes, 1977
Renn Woods ...  Fanta 2 episodes, 1977
Sally Kemp ...  Lila Harvey 2 episodes, 1977
LeVar Burton ...  Kunta Kinte / ... 2 episodes, 1977
Thayer David ...  Harlan 2 episodes, 1977
Austin Stoker ...  Virgil Harvey 2 episodes, 1977
Lane Binkley ...  Martha Johnson 2 episodes, 1977
Stan Haze ...  Field Singer / ... 2 episodes, 1977
Fred D. Scott Fred D. Scott ...  Luther 2 episodes, 1977
Edit

Storyline

A saga of African-American life, based on Alex Haley's family history. Kunta Kinte is abducted from his African village, sold into slavery, and taken to America. He makes several escape attempts until he is finally caught and maimed. He marries Bell, his plantation's cook, and they have a daughter, Kizzy, who is eventually sold away from them. Kizzy has a son by her new master, and the boy grows up to become Chicken George. He's a legendary cock fighter who leads his family into freedom. Throughout the series, the family observes notable events in U.S. history, such as the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, slave uprisings, and emancipation. Written by Eric Sorensen <Eric_Sorensen@fc.mcps.k12.md.us>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Saga of an American Family.


Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 January 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Roots See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$6,600,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(total run time)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The people who played Kizzy, George, and Tom Harvey were born within three years of each other. Leslie Uggams and Georg Stanford Brown were both born in 1943. Ben Vereen was born in 1946. This means that Tom was actually three years older than his father, and Kizzy was three years older than her son. See more »

Goofs

Kizzy, a slave who works in the fields, has long, beautifully manicured fingernails. See more »

Quotes

Kunta Kinti: I'm a Mandinka warrior!
Fiddler: [turns to stable horse] Horse! I hear tell that you ain't a horse at all. I hear tell that you think you a mighty crow! I hear tell that you fly from here 'bouts all the way to Annapolis and back again. Now horse... you look mighty like a horse to me. And you sure SMELLS mighty like a horse. So I'm saying to you, that you... is... a horse! What you think you is don't matter a damn bit.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original version of Roots on ABC featured slightly different opening titles. The Roots Mural was the same, but when the title Roots was shown on-screen it was over a dark blue background. The cover of the novel rises up from a horizontal to a vertical position. The screen says "AN ABC NOVEL FOR TELEVISION ALEX HALEY'S ROOTS THE SAGA OF AN AMERICAN FAMILY." Current VHS, dvd, and re-broadcasts simply have "Roots" on a black background, without the other information. Also, the end credits have been changed considerably. In the original, there were eight sets of end credits (one for each episode.) When the show was re-edited to six episodes, names were combined for different hours and some of the end credit sequences (with a still from that episode) are missing, including one featuring Kizzy and Missy Anne having a picnic. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Oluwa
by Quincy Jones
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
There is something for everyone, thanks to Roots
7 January 2006 | by DeeJsBabeSee all my reviews

I normally don't start out this way, but I feel it matters. I am a Southern White, and I have not seen this movie up until the other night.

I thought this mini-series was one of the top three or four I have ever seen. Throughout the years since this came out, I never really bothered, thinking it would be simply white bashing. It was not. I felt it might be in contradiction with the kind people and relatives I grew up knowing. It was not.

I feel that this mini-series realistically blends black history in with the history we have been fed from the Northern side as well as the Southern side.

Most southerners were not slave owners. They were represented. I think this movie strove to show the kindness in people, as well as the darkness. I look at the South with fondness, but I know that what this movie portrayed was true - in spirit, if not fact.

Sometime after this originally came out there was some controversy over Haley faking some of this. I thought (at the time), A HA! It's bull! Again, remember that I had not watched it. Upon seeing it I realized that though some of this might be fiction, it certainly rang true.

What I didn't like about the movie: Watching Sandy Duncan and Leslie Uggams play teenagers. The acting was okay. Duncan reminded me of that spoiled brat in Little House on the Prairie. My guess is that Duncan was cast so she would look like an adult child and not seem out of place compared to Uggams. It is perhaps that during the seventies Hollywood did not want to take such a chance on a younger African-American to play Kizzy. It was an important role, and our society had not allowed Blacks to come into their own. Hollywood seems to want to force their views on society, yet they are often the last to come into line.

John Amos, whom I really like, seemed to be good and bad for his role. Someone said he sounded like he was in "Good Times" at some points. I don't feel that way. I do feel that his dialect seemed slightly out of place during some moments. He did not detract from the story, though. He carried on Burton's eternal fight for freedom with the same bullheadedness.

Ben Vereen: What can I say? When he started doing Variety Shows in the Seventies, I really admired him. He could play instruments, as well as sing, dance, and act. He does not disappoint here. I was so sad when he lost his role in Silk Stalkings due to an accident. Thankfully he has recovered over time.

Madge Sinclair: What an actress! and beautiful woman, to boot. I didn't know she had leukemia during the days I watched her on Trapper John. There were some episodes where she seemed older than her years, though always beautiful. In Roots she manages to capture and portray an inner beauty and let it shine through her bondage.

Most of the white actors were well cast, Duncan aside. I didn't realize how busy Lloyd Bridges was doing so many mini-series. He makes you hate him here, so he did his job.

Ed Asner had a very poignant remark about no one really being free. It was that he felt he was becoming a slave to his job. Please do not think I am comparing the miseries of forced slavery to a large scheme of celestial bondage, but it was pointed out in this film, that at the end of the war, freedom simply meant going from slavery into some other forced form of servitude. I'm retired, yet I often feel bound to government restrictions and the things I am forced to do routinely to simply maintain my retirement. The African-Americans added to Asner's moment by later saying that when someone died, the smile on his face meant he was finally free.

When Roots came out I remember the cries of many saying, "We now have our history!" Yes, and it was blended well into all of our histories, as I have mentioned. About five years ago, when my daughter married a man of color, he made her watch Roots. She asked me what I thought of him doing that. My response was that she needed to look at all things objectively, and know that most of life is a shade of gray. I also mentioned that had I been the same city, I would have liked to have viewed it with them. Now I can at least share my thoughts and hear my son-in-law's thoughts as well.

My biggest complaint is that the DVD is already out of print. HUH? One of the greatest mini-series ever made and I have to pay scalpers' fees for a used copy? (I borrowed my copy from the library) Please, someone! put this in a continual printing, and PLEASE, do not do what you did with others (cutting whole sections out to save a buck).

This movie (along with North and South) should be required viewing for all people. For the African-Americans, this movie should be made available forever, so that it does not simply fade into folk and family lore the way that Kunta-Kinte did - with only bits and pieces remaining.


34 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 65 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed