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There is something for everyone, thanks to Roots
Chei Mi Rose7 January 2006
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.
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120 years worth crammed in to over 9 hours! Amazing!
fibreoptic18 September 2004
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!


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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Completing the picture
Steve West29 January 2005
I was born in 1980, and had heard of Roots from reading about LeVar Burton being the only real "name" to join Star Trek: The Next Generation. I came across the boxset at my local library and was able to find out what this "Roots" thing was all about. Having the series on DVD was definitely a boon as (despite being in NTSC) it has a crisp and clear appearance, usually stuff on TV from the 70's or 80's has a characteristic fuzziness.

Despite it's lowish budget, and age, Roots has a certain kinetic energy, it kept me interested from the start. Being able to see a young LeVar Burton was great, and without any visors or contact lenses. The casting was excellent all around and the actors put in 100% effort. My only bone to pick was using two different actors for Kunta Kinte. They were physically very different, John Amos doesn't look, act or sound like LeVar Burton, which disrupts the sense of continuity the rest of the multi-episode characters had.

By the end I found I had become quite involved with the series and enjoyed seeing it unfold, I liked it so much I viewed the whole nine hours again with commentary (well, I had time to kill). It is interesting that Roots carries a sense of history (as in the late 70's) and culture with it, it's not just a TV show, there's a whole air surrounding it. I'm glad I got the opportunity to see it, I gained a clearer understanding of where African-Americans as a people are coming from, and I hope everyone who hasn't seen it yet gets the opportunity to do so.
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The Best TV Miniseries Ever Offered by a Major Commercial Network Before Cable
classicalsteve16 July 2007
Two of the most important American television programs are "The Civil War" by Ken Burns (1989), and the epic narrative miniseries "Roots" (1977) based on the book "Roots: The Saga of an American Family" by Alex Haley. Despite the controversy surrounding the book, and the facts of Haley's ancestry (for example, the slave Toby aka "Kunte Kinte", may never have fathered Kizzy and therefore may not be a direct ancestor of Haley) the series is an important and ground-breaking work in its stunning portrayal of slave life in America from the late 18th century to the mid-19th century.

For decades, the United States has been largely in denial of its treatment of African-Americans both as slaves and later in post-Civil War periods. The south of the 19th century had fabricated the reality of slave conditions and down-played the brutality inflicted on both slaves and anti-slave sympathizers. Racial hatred and brutality continued into the 20th century, largely fueled by white traditions that have (and continue to) concoct misrepresentations of historical reality to younger generations. By the middle of the 20th century, nearly 100 years after the end of the American Civil War, President Johnson signed Civil Rights legislation into law with the White Southern community kicking and screaming all the way. If legislation couldn't change people's hearts and minds, what could?

Americans love movies, story-telling/narrative film depictions of reality. There had never before been a nationally distributed film production that honestly told the story of the African-American slave experience. Fourteen years after Johnson's legislation, "Roots" was broadcast on national television by the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). I regard those network executives that green-lighted the broadcast in great esteem for their willingness to take a chance on this most-important series. I doubt whether US commercial television will ever produce and broadcast such a high-caliber and controversial program again in the near future. And to give credit to the American viewing public, "Roots" was a huge success.

From beginning to end, "Roots" is an absolute triumph of film production, the best-ever miniseries offered by a corporate network prior to the rise of cable television. The acting and the script are top-notch. Almost every notable African-American acting talent of the time was solicited to join the cast, from LeVar Burton and John Amos (Kunte Kinte, Toby) to Lou Gosset Jr (Fiddler) to Ben Vareen (Chicken George) to James Earl Jones (Alex Haley). Even OJ Simpson makes an appearance. A lot of notable white talent appears as well, such as Ed Asner and Sandy Duncan.

Slavery is a tragedy and "Roots" is a tragic story. "Roots" has its light moments, its inspiring moments, although it is its heartbreaking moments that stay with you: The moment the young African Kunte Kinte is shackled, sold as chattel and forced to board the slave ship bound for America. The whipping of the young Kunte Kinte to "break" him into slavery. The selling of Kizzy, Toby's daughter, to another slave master because of her involvement with a scheme to help a runaway. These are the moments that make Roots' larger point. Another aspect that makes Roots effective in its rhetoric is that it never seeps into sentimentality to makes its point. The story relies on an honest narrative and the audience is left to draw their on conclusions. Is it brutal? Yes. Unjust? Definitely. And that is what it was. (If you don't believe "Roots", sell yourself into slavery and see how you like it.)

Two aspects occur to me about what this story means beyond just the plain inhumanity of the institution of slavery. One aspect is that the benefit of slavery is terribly minute when compared to the staggering price paid by the slaves themselves and everyone else. Simultaneously, non-slaves were pressed into service to maintain slavery as an institution. Such titanic sadness, misery, hopelessness brutality, and inhumanity is forced upon people (both slave and non-slave) in return for a more comfortable life for a minuscule segment of the population. And yet the amount of work, effort, and money to maintain the inhumane infrastructure seems more burdensome than if these people were free. The average white southerner could not afford to own slaves, and many worked for slave owners as overseers, slave-catchers, auctioneers, and other positions designed to maintain the institution. In short, misery for thousands with a little comfort for a few.

The other tragedy is the denial of positive contribution to society. Those who were slaves were denied giving their love, their knowledge, their inspiration, and their culture to society. All this beauty sacrificed so a few white aristocrats can laze around on sofas in front of fireplaces in giant mansions. Someone once said that if we don't help foster the gifts in other people, we run the risk of never seeing how our world could be made better. Slavery is a tragedy for the people enacting it as well, although the suffering aspect is less apparent.

"Roots" is a story that needs to be told and retold. Shown and re-shown. I would encourage any teacher trying to convey the reality of slavery in America to consider showing at least a segment or two of "Roots". There is no question that the film is mesmerizing. It saddens me that there are still those in America that want to hang onto southern myths that propagate that slavery wasn't that bad. These are some of the same people that are convinced the holocaust is a fabrication. It is better to forgive than the forget. We have to embrace our roots.
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I understand it now that I'm older
sbrnnxn5 September 2003
In 1977 I was 10 years old, and all I remember is the majority of the city where I live was watching Roots each day for a week. I recently bought the video and watched it with my now 10 year old son, who is Black and I show him the importance of getting an education because our ancestors weren't allowed such luxuries. At his age everything is rosy just like it was when I was 10, but hopefully he can reflect back on this movie to motivate him in the future.

Great cast of characters-even though I didn't realize that O.J. Simpson was in it! John Amos was the best and the funniest especially when he kept losing his character's African accent and sounding more like "James" on Good Times! Overall the movie is very touching and will have you experiencing mixed emotions if you're of the Black race, and have compassion if you're of other races that haven't experienced such things. I highly recommend this film and a book called the Miseducation of the Negro as Black family heirlooms-or for anyone who wants to be enlightened concerning a portion of Black history.
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cubiegirl25 January 2002
I recently viewed all of this Mini series on the Hallmark Channel, and let me say, it was amazing! I was born 3 years after Roots was on television and never had the chance to see it growing up. I knew that Hallmark was showing it, so I made plans to see all 6 parts this week. It made me angry, it made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me happy, it made me open my eyes. The range of emotions ran the table this week. Now I know why it got all the acclaim that it rightly deserves.
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Nothing but a total fake! - THE CELEBRATED 'ROOTS' OF A LIE
giftgas15 April 2007
Taken from

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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Remember this is a work of fiction
Royalcourtier26 December 2009
Too many people still believe that Roots is the true story of Alex Haley's ancestors. It is their story, all right, but almost entirely a work of fiction.

Mr Haley's claims to have spent 20 years under-covering his family history were quickly found to be false. The book (even Haley admitted it was a novel, and "largely" fiction) is a work of the imagination, not history. And not even his own imagination. It was freely plagiarized - whole pages intact -from the work of Harold Courlander - who incidentally wasn't an African-American.

Roots is compelling TV, but like Frankenstein or The Shawshank Redemption, it is a work of fiction, and a mistake to read too much into it.
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Alex Haley's tale is a FRAUD, please understand that it is entirely fictional
thepigeonfarm23 September 2006
I would have no problem with this movie and book if it word told as a fictional story. what disgusts me is that Alex Haley wrote this as an "Accurate tale of his family history" or his "roots." the problem is that in his "true account" Haley plagiarized from a FICTIONAL author. This author was a Caucasian who enjoyed traveling, and in his travels found a deep love for folklore. In particular he discovered an interest in African folklore, and spent several years going to villages and collecting very intriguing tales from different people in different African tribes. A very noble endeavor in the realm of fiction. But Haley's plagiarism is much worse than a petty crime, it shows the falsity of his book. I'm not talking sentences, I'm talking entire paragraphs, entire childhood accounts. If you want to watch this as fiction go ahead, but please do not watch this as a history lesson, because it's simply not.
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Historically Inaccurate depiction of slavery
Casey Reeves13 May 2014
Let me start off by saying I don't hate this series. In fact, it is actually quite good. The problem is Roots has become somewhat of a black culture idealization of what slavery was like, and it is not even historically accurate.

In the 18th century, the West African slave trade was a seasoned machine, and other than the Portuguese, "white men" rarely set foot on the continent for more than a few weeks, as they lacked the immunities to fight off many of the diseases that were prevalent in the region. As such, the slave trade was really conducted at the auction block, after the slaves were captured. "White men" didn't often go and capture their slaves themselves, they bought them from tribesman and other more prominent African slave traders. The concept of owning slaves has existed well before the invention of the boat, so until the invention of the boat and then the pressures from the Catholic church and other churches to stop enslaving its own people, slavery was a way of life that rarely migrated beyond the immediate reaches of that particular countries borders.

It is only in recent centuries that slavery crossed oceans, a time when everybody was purchasing slaves. Half the population of Ireland was wiped out, lots of poor European countries were wiped out, the Philippines even up until the early 1900's, West Africa, East Africa, China, Russia, etc. There is obviously an agenda with Roots as the writer has personal feelings of animosity however I feel the historical inaccuracy for the beginning of this mini-series seriously hurts the amount of respect I can give to the show as a whole.

Like I said its good if you are looking at it as a fictional show and nothing more, but if you ever use Roots to combat someone who actually knows history, you will lose every time.

Roots trivializes the slave trade for the black community and creates a slanted view at the atrocities that existed far before a black man was ever enslaved.
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A well told story, but after looking further into it, I can't praise it TOO much
Electrified_Voltage14 September 2007
Back in 1999, not too long before I became a teenager, I got to see this 1977 mini-series on TV. I didn't catch the very beginning, but started watching at one point during the first episode, and then watched the rest of the episodes from start to finish as they aired weekly. I had no clue what "Roots" was about when I started watching, so I was in for some surprises, and it was one unforgettable experience! I've finally watched the hit mini-series again after eight years (all of it this time), but by this time, I had learned that it appears it's not what I thought it was for many years!

This mini-series is an adaptation of the book of the same name, written by Alex Haley, which is supposed to be about his family history. It starts with Kunta Kinte, who is born in an African village in 1750. Sadly, as a teenager, he is kidnapped by slave traders and taken across the Atlantic Ocean to America, where he is sold into slavery and given the name Toby. From there, the story focuses on the life of Kunta as a slave on a plantation in Virginia, and then his descendants in the next several generations that follow.

Haley has received a lot of praise for tracing back his ancestry so far and writing about it, but there seems to be a lot of evidence indicating that he didn't really do it, and his story is a fraud. Obviously, he would have had to make SOME things up for the story, but apparently, he plagiarized a lot of it from a book called "The African", written by an author named Harold Courlander, which he was sued for. It has also been revealed that the story is mostly fictional. Many have pointed these things out already, and I'm just trying to put them into my own words. I'm not going to say anything else about it, but you could easily find a lot more information elsewhere.

The reason why I have given this adaptation of "Roots" a 6/10 is that despite what I've mentioned above, it's still an interesting story, with some very moving scenes! Some parts may not have been scripted as well as they could have been, but overall, it's a VERY memorable mini-series. For that, I give it an above average rating, but would give it a higher one if it weren't for the negative things I've learned about it. The fact that it was presented as a family history when it really isn't, and is still advertised as such today (like I saw on the back of the DVD set) just isn't right. It's common for films based on true stories to be very inaccurate, but "Roots" isn't even really based on a true story! So, it's not a bad mini-series, but don't watch it thinking it's what it says it is (like I once did).
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Roots is not a true story
NiceGuyJTK6 February 2010
Roots was a good movie but was stolen from another book. To top it off, it was stolen from a fictional book. I cant believe most people don't know of this. I guess we can thank the media.

"Haley, Alex (1977) , Pulitzer Prize winning author of Roots. Plagiarism. He settled a lawsuit for $650,000, admitting that large passages of Roots were copied from the book The African by Harold Courlander. " title=Plagiarism#Alex_Haley_-_Roots_.281977.29

America's love affair with Roots, the most revered miniseries of all "time, allowed Haley to emerge unscathed when writer Harold Courlander sued him for plagiarism of his novel The African. (Haley paid him $650,000 in 1978.) Will Nobile's smoking gun revive the historians' case against Haley's integrity? The Pulitzer Prize committee currently is considering Nobile's brief to rescind Haley's 1977 prize. The controversy may also cast a shadow on the book version of Queen, due from Morrow this May." -Tim Appelo
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Mini-Series Mania: Roots
Joseph P. Ulibas4 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Roots (1977) is still the best mini-series. This highly watched drama set the bar for all of the epic television dramas. The series follows the life of Kunta Kinte and his descendants from the coasts of West Africa to the plantation fields of the American south. This show pulls no punches when dealing with the sad truths about how many slaves were shipped from their homelands and (if they survived the horrific overseas trip) forced to work in the fields. Even though Kunta was a slave, he never lost hope about one day his ancestors would once again have the freedom he once had. He also vowed that his ancestors would never forget their roots, old ways and customs.

Kunta always tried to head for freedom whenever the chance came. Even when the slave catchers cut off a piece of his foot, that never deterred him from running. But his marriage and child kept him from running when he had the opportunity. He named his only daughter Kizzy (Mandinka for staying put). Years later, Kizzy is sold to Tom Moore who uses his slaves not only for workers but for "comfort women: as well. She has a mixed child named Chicken George who like his grandfather also dreams about freedom and does whatever he can to make sure that he's a free man.

Awesome show and it still holds up well, The one thing I really got a hoot out of was seeing some of the well known liberal actors in Hollywood play some of the most despicable characters you'll ever want to see (Ralph Waite, Lloyd Bridges, Vic Morrow). The story and acting is top notched and it's definitely a heart string puller.

Highest recommendation possible.
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Grossly overrated
Spook-412 February 2000
The story of Alex Haley's ancestors is a powerful one, and he turned it into a very fine (if partly plagiarized) book. The 1977 miniseries, on the other hand, is an example of television's "dumbing down" process. It's relentlessly obvious, cheesy and cliched. The writing is dishonest when not just inept. Scene after scene is played to the rafters. African-Americans in particular deserved better.

You want specifics? Chicken George (Ben Vereen) was born after his mother was raped by his master. In the book he's aware from childhood that their master is also his father, which is exactly what you'd expect. Here, however, we're asked to believe that this is a Big Secret he doesn't know because his mother didn't tell him. (Does he think it was a virgin birth?) That's so she can finally tell him when he's grown up with children of his own, and give the episode a cheap emotional climax. This is a familiar TV cliche.

The conclusion is particularly laughable. Formula requires "empowerment," so they have an unbelievable scene where the ex-slaves tie the Evil Klansman to a tree before leaving town. First they point a gun at him, then his henchmen come out and get the drop on them, then other blacks get the drop on the henchmen. (This happened on GET SMART once, but the laughs were intentional there.)

True, there are fine performances by actors like Louis Gossett and Vereen, but the white cast is mostly at sea. (As the slave ship's Ineffectual Christian Liberal Conscience, the normally able Edward Asner gives one of the 10 worst performances in TV history.) As for production values, ABC spent more on ROOTS than on any past TV movie, but you'd never know it: it looks very cheap.

In sum, the miniseries ROOTS (like the miniseries HOLOCAUST) was "politically correct" before we knew the term.
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Just another mini-series.
gavin912216 August 2005
This series about slaves coming to America is not particularly good, or well made. The only reason African-Americans like it is so they can hang on to a 150 year old memory to guilt European-Americans into submission. The only reason European-Americans like it is for fear of being branded a "racist" because they don't enjoy a mini-series that is not good in the first place. If I make a mini-series about my ancestors coming to America in the boiler room of a passenger ship no one would even care, some would probably even call me racist because there were no blacks on the ship . This does not even compare to modern masterpieces such as "Band of Brothers" which do not cling to distant memories that divide America and cause much hurt. Stop the real racists and don't see this movie.
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Among the Finest Mini-series
benfield-larry0913 April 2013
One of the best mini-series to grace the small screen. Told through span of several generations of writer Authur Haley's ancestors. The depiction of the slave era is at times hard to watch but should be seen by all. The stellar cast brings both young (at that time) talent and many veteran stars of both the big and small screen. Both Levar Burton, and John Amos bring to life the story of Mandinka tribesman Kunta Kinte who is taken into chains from his African homeland to Colonial America and sold into slavery.

This series does not hold back either the depiction of native African life nor the language and violence of slave life in America. If you have a younger audience you might want to talk some about the content but nothing is presented in the series that is not done to the highest standard and quality.
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leighabc12328 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This movie had a terrific plot with almost every great actor and actress from the 1970s in it. It was Levar Burton's acting debut. It even had Robert Reed AKA Mike Brady as a slave owner and OJ Simpson. It had a younger Madge Sinclair and many other great actresses such as Cicily Tyson playing the motherly type role that she plays in every movie and Maya Angelou. Louis Gossett, Jr. made this movie. But I don't believe Alex Haley successfully traced his roots that many generations and know half of the things that went on in his family. The names are probably the only true thing in this movie. None of the experiences are real. This is realistic fiction. It took a lot of creativity to create this movie. This movie was way ahead of its time. But just by looking at this movie, you can tell that the plot is made up and not really the experiences that Alex Haley's ancestors experienced. This movie is entertaining, but do not take it seriously at all! I never give a movie on 5 stars, but I am going to make an exception for this one.
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Glad My Mom Made Me Watch It
Erich Young (erichyoung)3 September 2001
I grew up in the whitest small town in the upper midwest. I had one fellow minority high grad (out of 800) who was chinese but was adopted and named "Anne Palmquist" - that's how white it was. So I grew up without any minority contact.

My mother made me watch Roots back then so I could visualize what I read about...and it had a positive impact on my little world. Of course it was merely a lesson in my parents greater plan, I'm glad it existed and was aired.

I'd like to see it again as an adult.
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Hard to Stomach.. But great film
harperdk20 May 2002
Wow... It is hard to believe that people would actually treat other humans in this manner. I find it hard to watch the film.. I found myself turning it off... reflecting and then returning to the film. I hope this is a wake-up call to all people to understand that prejudice needs to stop. At all costs! What a price that has been paid for freedom!
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A series that takes a great look into slavery.
Brian Blueskye21 September 1999
Alex Haley really did a great job experimenting his family tree, I'm amazed he was able to do that much research, and just make a great mini-series out of it. The one thing this series does is just shock you, it teaches you how cruel slavery was, and how much you really didn't know that they were supposed to teach you in school.

One thing I love about this series is how touching it all really is. The marriages of the slaves, the jobs of the slaves, and the story about Chicken George is just very cool. I know to some this series is just very depicting, and to some whites, they feel it's making them responsible for slavery. But what the series is teaching you, is that we should all learn about our mistakes in history, and accept what we are, and try to change for the better without finger pointing.

This series shocked alot of people, and sparked alot of controversy, but it's worth seeing, for any race, for any generation, in any country. Alex Haley, I take my hat off to you.
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the greatest mini series ever!!!!!!
Emmanuel Gómez B.27 August 1999
I was just a kid when I first saw this mini series and it taught me people used to enslave each other no many time ago. It taught me you never have to give up, it taught me many things, that had shaped my life on many ways. I'll never forget it...
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Mrj7218821 January 2002
I first became interested in Roots when I heard about it on the Disney Channel movie "The Color of Friendship" in 2001. The next time it resurfaced was in Jan. 2002, when Hallmark was going to reair it. Rather than wait (and waste tape) for every night, I bought it on DVD. It is amazing how the crew acheived the dream of Alex Haley's ancestors horrid past, from slave capture to auction, to escape to crippling, to being sold and death. The one thing that shocked me the most was how the KKK was involved in that family's life. When there were funny moments, I laughed and when there were sad moments, I wept. To sum it up: Roots is a masterful miniseries that no family should be without.
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Not even close to being as good as the book
matt-reed3 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I enjoyed the book so much I read it twice. It captivated, it entertained, it made me cry, it made me proud, it was a fantastic book.

So when I saw the video in my local video store I eagerly snatched it from the shelf and ran home to watch the people I had come to feel I knew so well.

Boy was I disappointed! Perhaps if I had not read the book I would have felt different, but this mini-series was just so watered down. "Master Waller" is not even present, new characters are invented (who is Fanta?), The ship captain was turned into a sympathetic person. The violent things that happened to Kunta are greatly diminished.

To be honest, I have so far only watched the first two episodes, but I am so disappointed that I may not even finish the series. I am wondering if his foot is ever even cut in half?

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See it as soon as possible
lawrence-1415 December 1999
This is an appeal to everyone on the planet. If you have never seen ROOTS, then see it as soon as possible. The greatest TV mini series of all time, the way how Alex Haley's roots are told, from the start at the birth of Kunta Kinte in the African village of Juffare, is an experience that cannot be missed. ROOTS is an immortal masterpiece that has certainly appealed and inspired most of those that have seen it. So, if your local video store don't have a copy, just buy it!. It is more than worth the money, i promise you.
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