8.3/10
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65 user 12 critic

Roots 

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1:26 | Trailer

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A dramatization of author Alex Haley's family line from ancestor Kunta Kinte's enslavement to his descendants' liberation.
Reviews
Popularity
1,449 ( 118)

Episodes

Seasons


Years



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

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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
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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 »
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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 »

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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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When the miniseries debuted on ABC, it was presented as a factual history of Alex Haley's family. Historians and genealogists have found critical errors in his research work. Most of the story is either unsupported or contradicted by the available evidence. See more »

Goofs

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. See more »

Quotes

Omoro, Kunta's father: [holding his infant son up to starry sky] Kunta Kinte, behold the only thing greater than yourself!
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 Creation Seminar: Questions and Answers: Part 4 (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Oluwa
by Quincy Jones
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
120 years worth crammed in to over 9 hours! Amazing!
18 September 2004 | by fibreopticSee all my reviews

There is nothing quite like Roots and i don't think anything will be done like it again. I first saw this about 5 years ago and since then i've seen it all 3 more times. It is a phenomenal achievement!

*SPOILERS*

Roots starts off around 1750 when an African baby is born called Kunta Kinte and follows his life. He gets enslaved by slavers when he's 15 and is taken to a white supremest America where he is sold at a slave market to a Virginian tobacco business man. From there we follow Kunta all the way through to old age and beyond and after he dies we follow his daughter and when she dies as an old lady we follow her son and so on. Basically the main characters die off and then the newish minor characters become main characters as well as there are new characters which are brought in from time to time. All the while though the black people are slaves and treated as 3rd class citizens. We see how they struggle with their hard life and how some of them are happy to be slaves as they've never known anything else and how some dream of freedom. Over the years and generations we see good white people, indifferent white people and very bad white people. It passes quickly through the war of independence but focuses longer on the civil war mainly because this is the beginning of the end of black slavery in America which leads to the KKK part of Roots.

After watching Roots it really does feel like you have watched 120 years of a families generations. From the beginning where Kunta is born all the way to the end where a very old Chicken George leads his family to a new free life. It is quite mind boggling.

I could write a huge review about this mighty saga but i ain't got the time and i doubt anyone would read it anyway. As a white guy i am ashamed at how white people treated black people so badly even though to a lesser extent that still goes on in the world today.

The story is amazing, the acting is award winning and i have no quips with Roots at all apart from one thing. Everyone ages through this except the amazing ageless Mr Moore. Over a span of around 50 years he doesn't age a day. When he is first introduced he looks about 50 and 50 years later he still looks like 50. I think he must be a Highlander or something! LOL

Of course, Roots was made possible by the writer Alex Haley who was a descendant of Kunta Kinte which is explained at the very end. I recommend Roots very highly. It's for people who enjoy history and an engrossing story. You will also get attached to the characters and feel a sense of loss when one of them die. I've only covered the very basics and left a ton of stuff out in this review. Just like Schindler's List you have to watch this because it is an important piece of film making based on a true story. One word....Brilliant! 10/10


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