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This award-winning six-part historical epic was one of the first examples of the miniseries format and one of the highest-rated television programs in broadcasting history. Based on the best-selling novel by author Alex Haley, Roots chronicles the progress of Haley's own family across many generations, from the kidnapping of an African warrior by American slave


This award-winning six-part historical epic was one of the first examples of the miniseries format and one of the highest-rated television programs in broadcasting history. Based on the best-selling novel by author Alex Haley, Roots chronicles the progress of Haley's own family across many generations, from the kidnapping of an African warrior by American slave traders to eventual post-Civil War freedom. Kunta Kinte (LeVar Burton) is a young tribesman of coastal Africa who has passed the rituals marking his transition into manhood. Searching for wood to build a drum, he is set upon by slavers who sell him in the United States after a nightmarish Atlantic crossing. Defiant, Kunta refuses to consider himself a slave, despite some sage advice from his mentor, the more mature Fiddler (Louis Gossett Jr.). As the years pass, the aging Kunta (John Amos) is hobbled for his repeated escape attempts. Realizing he'll never return to Africa, Kunta settles down, becoming husband to Bell (Madge Sinclair) and father to Kizzy (Leslie Uggams), a girl infused with her father's independent spirit. Sold and then raped by her new master, Kizzy has a son, Chicken George (Ben Vereen), a happy go lucky cockfighting expert who uses his skills to buy his freedom. George paves the way for his children, the great-grandchildren of Kunta Kinte, who finally become free in the aftermath of the Civil War. Roots (1977) was followed by a sequel miniseries, Roots: The Next Generations (1979), and a made-for-television feature, Roots: The Gift (1988), as well as another telefilm based on the family history of the Haley clan, Queen (1993).

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Stuart Gazzo
Based on author Alex Haley's bestselling novel (and his family's lineage), Roots (1977) is a sweeping 12-hour historical drama that opened the floodgates for the golden age of television miniseries. Enslaved African warrior Kunta Kinte (LeVar Burton) refuses to bow to oppression alongside his mentor, Fiddler (Lou Gossett Jr.), and repeatedly attempts to escape. Even in his hobbled old age -- played with dignified perfection by John Amos -- he refuses to accept his slave name, Toby. Kunta's defiant legacy endures in succeeding generations. Eventually, Chicken George (Ben Vereen) uses his skills as a plucky handler of gamecocks to buy freedom for himself and his children, the great-grandchildren of Kunta Kinte. Each of the six two-hour programs in the series is an enthralling journey into the emotional and physical torments of one of the most shameful times in American history. Amid beatings, rapes, and the forced separation of spouses and families, Roots tells the epic story of a family's struggle to maintain a solid identity against all odds. The cast is as impressive as the scope of the story: Maya Angelou, Ed Asner, Lloyd Bridges, Todd Bridges, Scatman Crothers, Lorne Greene, Moses Gunn, Richard Roundtree, O. J. Simpson, Burl Ives, and even Haley himself all make fine turns, among so many others. The series' original broadcast broke ratings records, won five Emmys, and left a legacy of its own: 1979's Roots: The Next Generations; the 1988 TV movie Roots: The Gift; and 1993's Queen, featuring Halle Berry. The Roots 30th anniversary DVD set includes a feature-length audio commentary plus a behind-the-scenes documentary, "Remembering Roots."

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
[Full Frame]
Sales rank:

Special Features

2007 documentary - Crossing OverL How Roots Captivated an Entire Nation; 2002 documentary - Remembering Roots; Roots: One Year Later hosted by Louis Gossett Jr.; Cast/crew commentaries with video option

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ed Asner Actor
Lloyd Bridges Actor
Georg Stanford Brown Actor
LeVar Burton Actor
Chuck Connors Actor
Ossie Davis Actor
Andrew Duncan Actor
Sandy Duncan Actor
Louis Gossett Actor
Lorne Greene Actor
George Hamilton Actor
Burl Ives Actor
Orenthal James Simpson Actor
Cicely Tyson Actor
Leslie Uggams Actor
Ben Vereen Actor
Maya Angelou Actress

Technical Credits
Marvin J. Chomsky Director
David Greene Director
Gilbert Moses Director
Joseph Jennings Production Designer
Gerald Fried Score Composer
Quincy Jones Score Composer
Stevan Larner Cinematographer
Jane Scott Production Designer
Neil Travis Editor

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Roots
1. Introduction
2. Credits
3. A Very Strong Son
4. Kunta Kinte
5. Partnerships
6. Much to Learn
7. The Christian Thing
8. Manhood Training
9. Doing Their Jobs
10. Types of Courage
11. Fanta and Kadi Touray
12. Hunters and Their Catches
13. Bargain On the Beach
14. Celebrating the New Men
15. Binta's Goodbye
16. Nyo Bato's Suggestion
17. Captured
18. A Matter of Philosophy
19. Fellow Captives
20. Outside Her Embrace
21. The Ship's Hold
22. Taken On Deck
23. Exercise
24. Removing the Dead
25. The Captain's Companion
26. One Village
27. End Credits
Disc #2 -- Roots
1. Credits
2. Slater's Tricks
3. Maiden No Longer
4. Revolt
5. Not Interested
6. Business Is Business
7. "We Will Beat Them"
8. Fanta Is Sold
9. Kunta Is Sold
10. A New Name
11. Taking Care of Property
12. Fiddler Talks Tough
13. The Reynolds Farm
14. In Charge
15. Two Visitors
16. "Do Not Forget Me"
17. A Doctor's Perspective
18. No Place to Run
19. Doing His Best
20. Reynolds' Guest
21. Ames' Companion
22. Broken Chain
23. Tasting Snow - and Capture
24. The Sting of Failure
25. "My Name Is Toby"
26. Another Day
27. End Credits
Disc #3 -- Roots
1. Credits
2. Toby Be Good
3. Family Debt
4. Escape Plan
5. Hidden Cargo
6. Search For a Slave
7. "I Never Seen You"
8. Nothing Left
9. She'll Stay
10. Caught and Punished
11. Can't Run No More
12. Fightin' Man
13. Genelva Visits
14. New Job
15. A Horse Is a Horse
16. Liaison In the Woods
17. Foolish Talk
18. Gifts of Love
19. No Longer Apart
20. Wedding Day Blues
21. Sound of the Drum
22. Bell's Secret
23. A Gain and a Loss
24. To the Night Sky
25. Freedom's Call
26. Kizzy's Story
27. End Credits
Disc #4 -- Roots
1. Credits
2. Covenants
3. The Fuss Over Missy Anne
4. Dearest Friends
5. Confidences
6. Cruel Joke
7. Tom Moore
8. The Fate of Slaves
9. Missy Anne's Plan
10. Terror of the Whip
11. Sold
12. What's Deserved
13. The Moore Plantation
14. Chasing Chicken
15. Ladies Men
16. Kizzy and Sam
17. "I Lose Everybody"
18. Standing Up For Kizzy
19. Another Visit
20. Daughter's Promise
21. Trouble After Dark
22. "You Could Have Cared!"
23. Cock of the Walk
24. New Hope
25. End Credits
Disc #5 -- Roots
1. Credits
2. Freedom's Price
3. No Cracker
4. Who Is This Nat Turner?
5. Fine Friendship
6. Cost Estimate
7. The Squire's Proposition
8. Father and Son
9. Striking a Bargain
10. "At Least You Free"
11. Bound For England
12. Never Forget
13. No Recollection
14. Family Reunion
15. The Brents
16. Married to a Free Man
17. Never Give Up
18. The Story Continues
19. Thief in the Night
20. Ol' George
21. Overseer Training
22. Bad News From the Front
23. Sad News at Home
24. Jemmy Reappears
25. To the Death
26. Evan's Promise
27. End Credits
Disc #6 -- Roots
1. Credits; War Over
2. Freedom Celebration
3. Changing Ways
4. Staying Put
5. Pluses and Minuses
6. Not For Nothing
7. Night Riders
8. Where the Shoe Fits
9. New Owner
10. Tom Takes a Stand
11. Scared But Proud
12. Seeing the Sheriff
13. Indebted
14. Officer of the Law
15. Whiplash
16. Not Black and White
17. One Night For Ourselves
18. Military Operation
19. Justin's Sispicious
20. Surprise Visit
21. Surprised Visitors
22. The Other Side of the Lash
23. Moving Out
24. New Home Old Story
25. Free at Last
26. Alex Haley Coda
27. End Credits

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Roots 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Moving, invigorating, real, testimonial, triumphant story of the journey of one mans heritage and how his african ancestors became african americans. Anyone on a quest for knowledge of african american history, this is the movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The best ever story, it was soo good i couldnt believe it! we watched in class n i thought it was just gonna be another boring video but this one captivated me and my friends. My god it was da bomb!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A definite must see for all generations. I am going to share this with my grandchildren as they have never seen it. I was 17 years old when I saw it on TV and it changed my life and how I look at the world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
watched the dvd's some 25 years after seeing the original series on tv, it is still as gripping and true to life in those days,I can't wait for the sequel to be released. martin mc manus scotland u.k.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This series was shocking to me as a child, I have carried IT with me into adulthood. For years I searched everywhere for it and was only able to check it out of the Library on video. Now I own it, and it has the same affect on me now as it did then. It is a groundbreaking achievement in filmmaking. A brutally honest and powerfully uplifting journey through our history's saddest time. May it never happen again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There are simply no words that I can form to express the impact 'Roots' has left me with. I ask you this one simple thing- if you haven't seen it, see it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first heard about Roots from my reading book last year. I read an excerpt out of it, and thought it was VERY,VERY GOOD! There was a picture to go with it, and recognized it as the guy from "Reading Rainbow""LeVar Burton". I asked my mom about it, and she said Roots was made into a TV series in 1977. Then, I started nagging my mom about getting Roots for my birthday. As soon as I got it, Iwatched the first episode. I finished it in FOUR DAYS. It made my Mom and Dad cry in some parts, but this is a TV series everyone should see!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked it because I just thought that could be us someday and I just don't think that should happen again. I liked a special part with a broom. I hated the whipping parts because I think we should nnot judge each other by our race.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I want to know if and when you can dub this DVD film in italian language.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Every American needs to watch this movie. White, Black, Red, Brown! It is a true story about our past. What we must never return to! An African-American heritage story. Unique, Unforgettable, and hauntly enjoyable!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm only 11 and I've enjoyed what I've seen of this extremely great movie (first tape)! ! I cannot wait to see the rest according to the reviews above. Take my advice Drama, and histoy seekers you've got to get this movie. ROOTS is a shocking story of a young african boy, Kunta Kinte, who has proved his maturity and became a MAN. One day persueing a wood for a drum for his baby brother, Kunta is caught by slave sellers/traders. After a nightmare of a very unpleasent ride to America in chains, Kunta Kinte is sold to Mr. Reynolds and is trained by the more mature slave, Fiddler, for six months (until Mr.Reynold's Birthday). Even though Kunta has been trained he stiil refuses to accept his slave name (Toby) and slavery all together.Unfortunatley he is punished.(And that's just the first tape!)
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This series is a must see for anyone, be they black, white or purple! It is a moving drama about the triumph of the human spirit. It may be unsutiable for young children, but would be a benefit to young adults to see. Slavery is often swept aside as happening ''so long ago.'' This movie reminds us that it was real, it was horrible, and humanity still has the capability of treating each other this way unless we look at the truth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very good miniseries and is worth the time and effort to see.There are parts of this that are ''hard to take'',but that's the way it was back then and everyone who worked on this project had the sense to do it right.When Alex Haley would talk on stage everyone would listen,see this series and find out why, and where things happened and who was involved.The era of slaves was an unfortunate part of history,and this series is an amazing example of why it shouldn't have happened.This is a MUST HAVE FOR ALL HISTORY COLLECTORS.