Roots (1977)

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Stars: LeVar Burton, Robert Reed, John Amos

Taglines: The Saga of an American Family.

Genres: Biography | Drama | History | War

Certificate: TV-14

Country: USA

Language: English

Release Date: 23 January 1977 (USA)

Also Known As: Roots

Runtime: 588 min (total run time)

Sound Mix: Mono

Color: Color

A dramatization of author Alex Haley’s family line from ancestor Kunta Kinte’s enslavement to his descendants’ liberation.

Summaries

A saga of African-American life, based on Alex Haley’s family history. Kunta Kinte abducted from his African village, sold into slavery, and taken to America. He makes several escape attempts until he finally caught and maimed. He marries Bell, his plantation’s cook, and they have a daughter, Kizzy, who 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.

Based on Alex Haley’s family history. Kunta Kinte is sold into the slave trade after being abducted from his African village, and is taken to the United States. Kinte and his family observe notable events in American history, such as the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, slave uprisings and emancipation.

Roots is an American television miniseries based on Alex Haley’s 1976 novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family. The series first aired on ABC in January 1977. Rootsreceived 37 Primetime Emmy Award nominations and won nine. It also won a Golden Globe and a Peabody Award. It received unprecedented Nielsen ratings for the finale, which still holds a record as the third-highest-rated episode for any type of television series, and the second-most watched overall series finale in U.S. television history. Roots was produced on a budget of $6.6 million. The series introduced LeVar Burton in the role of Kunta Kinte.

A sequel, Roots: The Next Generations, first aired in 1979, and a second sequel, Roots: The Gift, a Christmas TV movie, starring Burton and Louis Gossett Jr., first aired in 1988. A related film, Alex Haley’s Queen, is based on the life of Queen Jackson Haley, who was Alex Haley’s paternal grandmother.

In 2016, a remake of the original miniseries, with the same name, was commissioned by the History channel and screened by the channel on Memorial Day.

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