The Best Episodes of Roots

Last Updated: Nov 13, 2018

The epic tale of celebrated Pulitzer-prize winning author Alex Haley's ancestors as portrayed in the acclaimed nine-and-a-half-hour mini-series Roots, was first told in his 1976 bestseller Roots: The Saga of an American Family. The docu-drama covers a period of history that begins in mid-1700s Gambia, West Africa and concludes during post-Civil War United States, over 100 years later. This 1977 miniseries eventually won 9 Emmy awards, a Golden Globe award, and a Peabody award, and still stands as the most watched miniseries in U.S. history.

Part VI

#1 - Part VI

Season 1 - Episode 6

Chicken George is sent to England as payment for his owner's gambling debt.

star 8.58
26 votes
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Part II

#2 - Part II

Season 1 - Episode 2

Despite a violent rebellion, the slave ship Lord Ligonier completes its voyage and Kunta Kinte endures the indiginity of an Annapolis slave auction. Fiddler, the slave in charge of Kunta's training, becomes his only friend, a friendship that's tested when Kunta plans his escape.

star 8.26
83 votes
Writers: Ernest Kinoy, William Blinn
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Part V

#3 - Part V

Season 1 - Episode 5

The teenage Kizzy, well-versed in Mandinka history, falls in love with young Noah, who's determined to escape.

star 8.11
38 votes
Directors: Gilbert Moses
Writers: James Lee, William Blinn, M. Charles Cohen
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Part III

#4 - Part III

Season 1 - Episode 3

In 1776, a nation fights for freedom - but not for all. Still driven by his memories as a Mandinka "fighting man," Kunta (now renamed Toby) escapes once more.

star 8.00
64 votes
Writers: James Lee, William Blinn
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Part I

#5 - Part I

Season 1 - Episode 1

In Gambia, West Africa, Kunta Kinte, son of Omoro and Binta, distinguishes himself in manhood training rituals. But he does not enjoy his new status long: slave traders sweeping the countryside seize him. Chained with other captives, Kunta begins an agonized odyssey to the New World.

star 7.97
116 votes
Directors: David Greene
Writers: William Blinn, Ernest Kinoy
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Part VIII

#6 - Part VIII

Season 1 - Episode 8

The Civil War is over but night riders terrorize ex-slaves. By marking his clients' horseshoes, Tom identifies the raiders but endangers his own life. Chicken George, who fought for the Union, rejoins his family. He leads them to a new home in Tennessee.

star 7.90
9 votes
Writers: M. Charles Cohen
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Part VII

#7 - Part VII

Season 1 - Episode 7

Chicken George returns to North Carolina to find his sons have married and started families - and to learn about a state law that says his status as a free man is forfeited if he stays more than 60 days. Meanwhile, the nation erupts in Civil War.

star 7.88
8 votes
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Part IV

#8 - Part IV

Season 1 - Episode 4

After Genelva's nighttime dalliance with Junta deflects suspicion so she can flee with her lover, Kunta forms a romantic attachment to the worldly-wise Bell, whom he marries.

star 7.64
59 votes
Writers: James Lee, M. Charles Cohen
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