Roots: Miniseries - Rotten Tomatoes

Roots: Miniseries (1977)



Critic Consensus: Roots may shave off the nuances of Alex Haley's landmark book for the sake of slicker storytelling, but excellent performances and the intrinsic power of this generational tale make for revelatory television.


Roots: Miniseries Photos

Tv Season Info

The landmark dramatization of Alex Haley's classic saga followed his ancestors from Africa into slavery and then to their freedom in the post-Civil War South. Americans watched in record numbers as the epic aired on eight consecutive nights and went on to receive an unprecedented 37 Emmy nominations (winning for nine, including Outstanding Limited Series). Haley wrote in TV Guide: ` `Roots' speaks of the American human drama, in which ancestrally we all came from somewhere across the ocean.'


LeVar Burton
as Kunta Kinte
John Amos
as Kunta Kinte (as an adult)
Edward Asner
as Capt. Davies
Ralph Waite
as First Mate Slater
Maya Angelou
as Nyo Boto
O.J. Simpson
as Kadi Touray
Ji-Tu Cumbuka
as The Wrestler
Moses Gunn
as Kintago
Hari Rhodes
as Brima Cesay
Lorne Greene
as John Reynolds
Lynda Day George
as Mrs. Reynolds
Ben Vereen
as Chicken George
Lloyd Bridges
as Evan Brent
Doug McClure
as Jemmy Brent
Richard Roundtree
as Sam Bennett
Olivia Cole
as Mathilda
Brad Davis
as Ol' George Johnson
Ren Woods
as Fanta
Robert Reed
as Dr. William Reynolds
Macdonald Carey
as Squire James
Ian McShane
as Sir Eric Russell
Burl Ives
as Justin
Beverly Todd
as Fanta (later)
Paul Shenar
as Carrington
Sandy Duncan
as Missy Anne
Carolyn Jones
as Mrs. Moore
Lillian Randolph
as Sister Sara
View All

Critic Reviews for Roots: Miniseries

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (19)

The only discretion that should be exercised on Roots is to make sure everyone in your family plans to stay home every evening to watch it. It is the most important, most engrossing show of the television season.

May 4, 2021 | Full Review…

Breathless -- that's the word to sum up the impact Roots had on me and, if it doesn't have that same impact on the rest of Sydney's population, then Channel 10 might as well dig a hole and bury itself.

May 5, 2021 | Full Review…

Seldom has quality been so richly rewarded. Roots deserved every viewer it got.

May 4, 2021 | Full Review…

While I was watching Roots, the thought crossed my mind many times that it was a shame Haley's book couldn't have been put into the hands of a truly gifted writer-director... But it's pointless to speculate what might have been. What was wasn't' bad.

May 4, 2021 | Full Review…

Television's Roots has its faults, but it begins Sunday as a worthy and compelling dramatization of Haley's fascinating story.

May 4, 2021 | Full Review…

Distressingly unworthy of its subject... Judged strictly as filmmaking, the TV version of Roots was not as good as its source. The adapters relied too often on the most obvious and expedient dramatic treatment.

May 4, 2021 | Full Review…

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