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Roots 

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A dramatization of author Alex Haley's family line from ancestor Kunta Kinte's enslavement to his descendants' liberation.
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Popularity
1,171 ( 195)

Episodes

Seasons


Years



1  
1977  
Top Rated TV #243 | 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 ...  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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(total run time)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One ABC executive explained the blockbuster ratings by saying "One third of America was snowed in, one third of America is black, and one third watches ABC anyway." See more »

Goofs

The merchant ship "Lord Ligonier" flies a White Ensign flag. Merchant ships fly the Red Ensign. The White Ensign is only flown by ships of the Royal Navy. See more »

Quotes

Kintango: Who can tell me if there was a tribal war, and the men of Mandinka had the enemy surrounded on three sides, what should be the next thing done?
Boy: The men of the Mandinka will enclose the circle and surround the enemy.
Kintango: No, the goal of war is not to kill. The goal of war is to win. By surrounding the enemy, you would force him only to fight more desperately. If you surround him on three sides and leave him an escape route, he will leave your land and there will less blood spilled on both sides. For...
[...]
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Alternate Versions

Several scenes were cut for DVD when the eight episodes were combined into six. Among the deletions: A five minute opening sequence of George Hamilton riding through the countryside on a carriage before he reaches the Moore plantation and several scenes featuring slaves working in the fields as Chicken George returns home from England. The dvd also deletes the opening screen credits for these sequences. The DVD does contain a short sequence at the start of Episode 5, featuring Chicken George and Tom Moore before a cockfight, not seen originally. The DVD also features different closing credits than the original broadcast. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Larry Sanders Show: Pilots and Pens Lost (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Oluwa
by Quincy Jones
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User Reviews

 
Nothing but a total fake! - THE CELEBRATED 'ROOTS' OF A LIE
15 April 2007 | by giftgasSee all my reviews

Taken from http://www.martinlutherking.org/roots.html

January 16, 2002 -- ON Friday, NBC will air a special commemorating the 25th anniversary of the landmark miniseries based on Alex Haley's book "Roots." Ironically, the original series aired on ABC - but officials at that network took a pass on broadcasting the tribute.

What's truly amazing, however, is that "Roots" is receiving a reverential tribute at all. For while the miniseries was a remarkable - and important - piece of television, the book on which it was based has now been widely exposed as a historical hoax.

Unfortunately, the general public is largely unaware of how Haley's monumental family autobiography, stretching back to 18th-century Africa, has been discredited.

Indeed, a 1997 BBC documentary expose of Haley's work has been banned by U.S. television networks - especially PBS, which would normally welcome such a program.

Coincidentally, the "Roots" anniversary comes amid the growing scandal over disclosures of historian Stephen Ambrose's multiple incidents of plagiarism. Because as Haley himself was forced to acknowledge, a large section of his book - including the plot, main character and scores of whole passages - was lifted from "The African," a 1967 novel by white author Hal Courlander.

But plagiarism is the least of the problems in "Roots." And they would likely have remained largely unknown, had journalist Philip Nobile not undertaken a remarkable study of Haley's private papers shortly before they were auctioned off.

The result was featured in a devastating 1993 cover piece in the Village Voice. It confirmed - from Haley's own notes - earlier claims that the alleged history of the book was a near-total invention.

"Virtually every genealogical claim in Haley's story was false," Nobile has written. None of Haley's early writing contains any reference to his mythic ancestor, "the African" named Kunta Kinte. Indeed, Haley's later notes give his family name as "Kante," not "Kinte."

And a long-suppressed tape of the famous session in which Haley " found" Kunta Kinte through the recitation of an African "griot" proves that, as BBC producer James Kent noted, "the villagers (were) threatened by members of Haley's party. These turn out to be senior government officials desperate to ensure that things go smoothly."

Haley, added Kent, "specifically asks for a story that will fit his predetermined American narrative."

Historical experts who checked Haley's genealogical research discovered that, as one put it, "Haley got everything wrong in his pre-Civil War lineage and none of his plantation ancestors existed; 182 pages have no basis in fact."

Given this damning evidence, you'd think Haley's halo would long ago have vanished. But - given this week's TV tribute - he remains a literary icon. Publicly, at least.

The judge who presided over Haley's plagiarism case admitted that "I did not want to destroy him" and so allowed him to settle quietly - even though, he acknowledged, Haley had repeatedly perjured himself in court.

The Pulitzer Prize board has refused to reconsider Haley's prize, awarded in 1977 - in what former Columbia President William McGill, then a board member, has acknowledged was an example of "inverse racism" by a bunch of white liberals "embarrassed by our makeup."

Yet the uniqueness of "Roots" is that it was presented as factual history, albeit with fictional embellishments. Haley himself stressed that the details came from his family's oral history and had been corroborated by outside documents.

But Professor Henry Louis Gates of Harvard, a Haley friend, concedes that it's time to "speak candidly," adding that "most of us feel it's highly unlikely that Alex actually found the village from whence his ancestors came.


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