Based on Alex Haley's best-selling novel
about his African ancestors, Roots
follows several generations in the lives of a slave family. The saga begins with Kunta Kinte (played by LeVar Burton), a West African youth captured by slave traders and shipped to America in the 1700s. This young man is torn from his homeland and in torment and anguish brought to the slave markets of the new world. The film traces his life and those of his family, depicted up until the Civil War where Kunte Kinte's grandson gains emancipation. It captures generations of love, tears, pain, strife, sacrifice and happiness, reminding us of the resilience and resource of the human spirit even under crippling injustice. Roots
garnered widespread popularity in the 1970s and made its mark in TV ratings, with on average 130 million viewers--almost half the country at the time--watching all or part of the series. This DVD collection is a celebration of 30 years since its original release.
Also available: Roots: The Complete Collection\ i>, which contains this box set of the original series, plus Roots: The Next Generation\ i> and, for the first time on DVD, Roots: The Gift, which focuses on the lives of two slaves from the original series. Note: The discs are double sided and only have one episode per side expect for disc 3 which has two episodes on side A and documentary on side B and the 4th disc has the 2007 documentary.
Based on Alex Haley's bestseller
, the 1977 TV mini-series Roots
told the harrowing story of one man's ancestors, commencing with African warrior Kunta Kinte, captured, transported to America, stripped of his dignity, his rights, and even his name. He tries but fails to escape before accepting he can never return to Africa. He marries and bears a daughter, Kizzy, who is callously sold, then raped by her new "master". However, her son, Chicken George, a resourceful dab hand with gamecocks, lives long enough to see his own children attain a liberty of sorts following the Civil War.
Roots is told in the same, accessible televisual language as The Waltons or Bonanza, yet it is never bland or evasive. It leaves no doubt as to the torment and abuse suffered by blacks, and although the series' conclusion is fictionally satisfying, for many of the black characters their only hope lies in generations yet unborn.
It is sturdy enough drama but its greatest, most revolutionary effects were social. It persuaded American audiences to regard their history from a black perspective, and to see how--against odds far more desperate than those the pilgrims faced--Africans laid claim to their status as free African-Americans. Roots was massively popular, triggering a craze for genealogy and paving the way for series like 1979's Holocaust, which similarly raised the public's awareness of the slaughter of the Jews under Hitler. Most importantly, Roots changed forever the way black people were depicted on American TV.
On the DVD: Roots is presented in 1:33:1 format and is visually extremely well-preserved. Extra features include a "Roots Family Tree", a copious, informative audio commentary featuring members of cast and crew, and a documentary, "Remembering Roots". Although this consists only of interviews, these convey the extraordinary emotional grip this project had on those who took part in it.--David Stubbs
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.