Director: David Greene, John Erman, Gilbert Moses, Marvin J. Chumsky
Key Cast: LeVar Burton, Louis Gossett Jr., Ben Vereen, Cicely Tyson, Edward Asner, O.J. Simpson, Madge Sinclair, John Amos, Leslie Uggams
Rating: Not Rated
Genre(s): Drama, History
"Roots" was an epic television event when it first aired in 1977.
"Roots" was a television mini-series that aired for eight consecutive nights in 1977. Based on Alex Haley’s
bestselling novel, “Roots: The Saga of an American Family,” "Roots" captivated American audiences and became
an epic television event.
"Roots" tells the genealogical story of Alex Haley’s own family, starting with his ancestor, Kunte Kinte (La Var Burton)
who was captured in Africa and brought to America as a slave. Kunte Kinte refused to accept his slave status
and tried many times to escape.
He eventually has a daughter named Kizzy (Leslie Uggams) and Kunta Kinte tells her the story of his life so that
she will not forget her roots. Kizzy tells her son, Chicken George (Ben Vereen), about the family roots and the
tradition continues for several generations.
Seen by 130 million viewers during its initial U.S. telecast and the winner of numerous awards, "Roots" is a landmark series that touched a nation.
"Roots" is considered the definitive drama about the history of slavery in America and one family's
triumph over it.
• "Roots" had unprecedented television viewership when it aired. It is estimated that 85% of all American households
saw at least one episode of Roots. On average, 80 million homes watched it every night. The last episode had the
highest viewership with an estimated 100 million people watching it, which represented 71% of American households
at that time.
• Before "Roots", television mini-series were usually aired one day a week over a number of weeks. But because
television executives didn’t think that Roots would draw a large audience, they decided to air it on consecutive
nights in order to “get it over with.” To their surprise, Roots was a phenomenal hit.
• "Roots" is based on Alex Haley’s novel, “Roots: The Saga of an American Family.” Alex Haley spent twelve
years researching his family history in order to write this book. He received a Pulitzer Prize and
National Book Award.
• Alex Haley also authored two other books that were made into films. They are Malcolm X and Alex Haley's Queen which are also Black Classic Movies Top 100 films.
• "Roots" won nine 1978 Emmy Awards: Outstanding Limited Series, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Series
(Louis Gossett Jr.), Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Series (Ed Asner), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a
Series (Olivia Cole), Outstanding Directing, Outstanding Writing, Outstanding Achievement in Film Editing,
Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition, and Outstanding Film Editing
• "Roots" was also nominated for 28 additional 1978 Emmy Awards which included acting awards for John Amos, LeVar Burton,
Ben Vereen, Madge Sinclair, Leslie Uggams, Moses Gunn, Robert Reed, Ralph Waite, Cicely Tyson and
• "Roots" won a 1978 Golden Globe Award for Best TV-Series – Drama. Leslie Uggams was also nominated for
a Best Actress Golden Globe Award for her performance in "Roots."
"Roots" Movie DVD
Buy the Roots Television Mini-Series DVD "Roots" was an unprecedented television miniseries
that took the nation by storm. It is a compelling
drama about the history of African-Americans in
the United States that is based on Alex Haley's
blockbuster novel "Roots."
"Roots" DVD Extras!
This Roots DVD has great bonus features.
• Documentary, “Crossing Over: How Roots Captivated an Entire Nation” (2007)
• Documentary, “Remembering Roots: Roots One Year Later” (2002)
• Cast and crew commentaries
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for purchase details.
"Roots: The Complete Collection" DVD Set
"Roots" is also available as part of the "Roots: The Complete Collection" DVD Set
• The original television miniseries "Roots"
• The sequel television miniseris "Roots: The Complete Collection"
• A Christmas special "Roots - The Gift"
• Many special features including interviews with Alex Haley and cast members