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Roots [1977] (7 discs)
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Length:573 minutes
(9 hours 33 minutes)
MPAA Rating:UR
Sorting Category:Drama
IMDB Rating:8.6/10
Amazon Rating:4.5/5 stars
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Classifications:
  • Drama
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Synopsis: A dramatization of author Alex Haley's family line from ancestor Kunta Kinte's enslavement to his descendants' liberation.


Reaction: Groundbreaking and influential, though it may get a bit too heavy for the casual viewer.


Personal Rating: 8/10

Select Guest Cast
Alex Haley => Himself (Part XII)
James Earl Jones => Alex Haley (Part XII)
Allen Williams => Robert Calvert (Part III)
Beverly Todd => Fanta (Part III)
Gary Collins => Grill (Part III)
Hank Rolike => John (Part III)
Helen Martin => Aunt Sukey (Part III)
Lee de Broux => Trumbull (Part III)
Lee Kessler => Miss Constable (Part III)
Raymond St. Jacques => The Drummer (Part III)
Tanya Boyd => Genelva (Part III)
Ann Weldon => Mary (Part II)
Betty Cole => Sassy Woman (Part II)
Big Joe Turner => The Singer (Part II)
Bill Gribble => Seaman Grimes (Part II)
Brooks Clift => McAlmon (Part II)
Cindy Henderson => Bess (Part II)
Fred Covington => Auctioneer (Part II)
Joe Dorsey => Calvert (Part II)
Maurice Hunt => The Doctor (Part II)
Paul Shenar => John Carrington (Part II)
Rachel Longaker => Caroline (Part II)
Roosevelt Smith => James (Part II)
Sonny Shroyer => Seaman Thompson (Part II)
Stan Haze => Field Singer (Part II)
Tina Andrews => Aurelia (Part II)
Burl Ives => Sen. Arthur Johnson (Part XI)
Charles Cyphers => Drake (Part XI)
John Quade => Sheriff Biggs (Part XI)
Macon McCalman => Poston (Part XI)
Robert Phalen => Rufus Jackson (Part XI)
Sally Kemp => Lila Harvey (Part XI)
Todd Bridges => Bud (Part XI)
Chris Hendrie => Jimmi Brent, Evan Brent's brother (Part IX)
Ian McShane => Sir Eric Russell (Part IX)
Macdonald Carey => Squire James (Part IX)
Wally Taylor => Reverend (Part IX)
Cicely Tyson => Binta (Part I)
Ernest Thomas => Kailuba (Part I)
Hari Rhodes => Brima Cesay (as Harry Rhodes) (Part I)
Henry Butts => Sitafa (Part I)
Kermit Echols => Vilars (Part I)
Maya Angelou => Yaisa (Part I)
Moses Gunn => Kintango (Part I)
O.J. Simpson => Kadi Touray (Part I)
Renn Woods => Fanta (as Ren Woods) (Part I)
Ronnie Leggett => Kalilu (Part I)
Thalmus Rasulala => Omoro (Part I)
William Watson => Gardner (Part I)
Davis Roberts => Leonard (Part IV)
Elma V. Jackson => Mama Ada (Part IV)
John Schuck => Ordell (Part IV)
Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs => Noah (Part IV)
Lillian Randolph => Sister Sara (Part IV)
Roxie Roker => Melissa (Part IV)
Tracey Gold => Young Missy Reynolds (Part IV)
Doug McClure => Jimmy Brent (Part VI)
Grand L. Bush => Captured runaway slave (Part VII)
Richard Farnsworth => Slave Catcher (Part VII)
Richard McKenzie => Sam Harvey (Part X)
Select Cast and Crew
David Greene => Director
Gilbert Moses => Director
John Erman => Director
Marvin J. Chomsky => Director
Robert Guenette => Director / Writer
James Lee => Writer
M. Charles Cohen => Writer
William Blinn => Writer
Alex Haley => Book
Austin Stoker => Virgil
Ben Vereen => 'Chicken' George Moore
Brad Davis => Ol' George Johnson
Carolyn Jones => Mrs. Moore
Chuck Connors => Tom Moore
Edward Asner => Capt. Thomas Davies
Georg Stanford Brown => Tom Harvey
George Hamilton => Stephen Bennett
Hilly Hicks => Lewis
Ji-Tu Cumbuka => Wrestler
John Amos => 'Toby'
Lane Binkley => Martha Johnson
Leslie Uggams => Kizzy Reynolds
LeVar Burton => Kunta Kinte
Lloyd Bridges => Evan Brent
Lorne Greene => John Reynolds
Louis Gossett Jr. => Fiddler
Lynda Day George => Mrs. Reynolds
Lynne Moody => Irene Harvey
Madge Sinclair => Bell Reynolds
Olivia Cole => Mathilda
Ralph Waite => Slater
Richard Roundtree => Sam Bennett
Robert Reed => Dr. William Reynolds
Sandy Duncan => Missy Anne Reynolds
Scatman Crothers => Mingo
Thayer David => Harlan
Vic Morrow => Ames

Random Trivia For This Title:

  • This was originally to be a four hour presentation airing on two nights, this turned into a twelve hour presentation airing during six nights.
  • Ernest Thomas, who plays Kailuba, screen tested for the role of Kunta Kinte.
  • 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"
  • Georg Stanford Brown (Tom Harvey) and Lynne Moody (Irene Harvey) are the only actors to reprise their roles in Roots: The Next Generations.
  • Originally broadcast on ABC as eight programs. Four 1-hour and four 2-hour episodes apiece, as follows: Episodes 1, 2, 6 and 8 were two hours apiece. Episodes 3, 4, 5 and 7 were one hour apiece. Presented on VHS, DVD, and re-broadcast as six two-hour episodes.
  • The series takes place from 1750 to 1870.
  • LeVar Burton (Kunta Kinte) and Louis Gossett Jr. (Fiddler) would later reprise their roles in Roots: The Gift.
  • The installment which aired in 30 January 1977 in the USA was the most-watched TV show in US history (since surpassed by the [M*A*S*H] finale in 1983 and {Who Shot J.R.?} episode of [Dallas]) in 1980. In the US 36.38 million households or 51.1% watched it giving it a Neilsen share of 71%.
  • The show was programmed by ABC to air on several consecutive nights in prime time. It was considered a revolutionary approach to programming a mini-series, since most minis were aired once or twice a week over several weeks' time. It was revealed years later that the reason the network did this was so that they get the show "out of the way" in a hurry because they felt, nobody would watch the story if it aired over a longer period of time.
  • The author Alex Haley was sued successfully for plagiarizing by novelist [?] Harold Courlander. The works he plagiarized led to the book that served as the basis for the mini-series [Roots]. Haley paid $650,000 in an out of court settlement.
  • In {The Big Bang Theory: The Tenure Turbulence}, the socially inept main character, Sheldon Cooper, gives Mrs. Janine Davis, an African-American woman working as the Human Resources Administration (HRA) at Caltech, a copy of [Roots] as way of an apology the bad first impression he made on her.