Roots: The Next Generations (TV Mini-Series 1979) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
11 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
The greatest Television saga ever continues.
lawrence-144 January 2000
Sorry, but i can't accept the user rating for ROOTS: THE NEXT GENERATIONS. 5.6/10!!!!. Is that all!!!. This is a brilliant series in it's own right not to mention being the perfect continuation of Alex Haley's classic saga, 'Roots'.

I suppose the best part of NEXT GENERATIONS is the final part, the one we've all been waiting for. Alex Haley 'finding' Kunta Kinte in the African village of Juffaree where he was born all those years ago. James Earl Jones was an excellent choice to play Alex Haley. If you've seen ROOTS then you must see NEXT GENERATIONS without fail. It's just as good and just as touching.
21 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The Great American Saga Continues
rcj536520 February 2005
ROOTS:THE NEXT GENERATIONS-Produced by Wolper Productions for the ABC Television Network. Producer:Stan Margulies. Based on the novel "Roots" written by Alex Haley. Executive Producer: David L. Wolper,and adapted for television by William Blinn. Shown as a mini-series for ABC-TV that ran from 1979-1981.

First Telecast of the Mini-Series: February 18,1979 Last Telecast of the Mini-Series: July 12,1981 NOTE: During the February 1979 broadcast,it ran each night for seven days,and was repeated as a weekly series from May of 1981 to July,1981.

Two years after Alex Haley's "Roots" made television history,this sequel to one of the most highly watched programs of all time continued the saga,again attracting large audiences in which no one,not even ABC was expecting such a brilliant success. And again it was the talk of the town during the night of the Emmy Awards,winning more Emmys than any other show imaginable in the history of television. The story picks up where the first one left off,where it resumed from last time. The story begins in 1882,by which time Tom Harvey,the great-grandson of Kunta Kinte had established a marginal existence as a blacksmith in Henning,Tennessee. Relations between the races were strained,but the old prejudices and racial hatred of the past survived. Tom Harvey(George Stanford-Brown)forbade his daughter's marriage to a light-skinned negro because he is "too white";and town patriarch Colonel Warner(Henry Fonda)disowned his own son Jim(Richard Thomas)when he dared to marry a black schoolteacher. Before long "literacy tests" were being used to deny blacks their recently won the right to vote,and lynch law had reappeared. This was during the reconstruction period,and this was years after the Civil War and the story continues onward towards the beginning of the 20th Century.

Tom's younger daughter,Cynthia(Bever-Leigh Banfield),married a hard working young man named Will Palmer(Stan Shaw),who,despite the oppression,had risen ownership of the local lumberyard. In time Will would succeed Tom as the leader of the black community,as the terror and violence of the Ku Klux Klan swept the South. Will and Cynthia's daughter,Bertha(Irene Cara),became the first descendant of Kunta Kinte to enter college. There,in 1912,she met an ambitious young Simon Haley (Dorian Harewood),son of a sharecropper,whose education was being sponsored by a philanthropic white man. After serving in a segregated combat unit during World War I,Simon returned to marry Bertha and began teaching agriculture at a black college in Tuskegee,Alabama. This was otherwise known as Tuskegee Institute also known as Tuskegee University. It was from there that the foundations of family lore were discoved by Simon's son Alex(played by Kristoff St. John as a child; Damon Evans as a young man,and James Earl Jones as a adult)who soaked up the family legacy that was told to him from the older generation about the stories and family history about the ancestors of Kunta Kinte.

As the beginning of World War II approached,Alex enlisted in the Coast Guard,where he spent the next 20 years. When he retired in 1960 he turned to writing,interviewing such national figures as Malcolm X,whose autobiography he helped write. Haley also had candid interviews with American Nazi Leader George Lincoln Rockwell,and also was good friends with Dr. Martin Luther King,Jr. But it was a visit to his boyhood home in Henning,Tennesee that reignited his interest in his family's past,all the way back to the "Old African" Kunta Kinte,and started him on a journey to Africa where the origins of his ancestors came from and from there begin his most greatest work of all time.

"Roots:The Next Generation",just like the first one,had a lot of brilliant talents which featured a superb who's who of African-American actors of their day,along with Hollywood heavyweights like Henry Fonda,Olivia DeHavilland,Harry Morgan and Marlon Brando is unusual role as a Aryan Leader of a Nazi Organization,whom Haley interviews. The "Roots" sagas are usually shown during Black History Month,but it is a must to see this special in all its glory to one of the most highly acclaimed specials of all time.
13 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The Best Family Saga Ever
Single-Black-Male7 January 2005
Without a doubt, this family saga eclipses John Galsworthy's 'The Forsythe Saga' as well as 'The Thorn Birds' and 'North and South'. All of them are dwarfed by Alex Haley's work. This offering features the last three generations after the American Civil War leading up to Alex Haley in the 20th century. He is the benchmark for 'Black Writing', family sagas and period dramas. Even the period dramas that Sidney Poitier and Hattie McDaniels appeared pales into insignificance compared with this work. More than that, this piece of entertainment delivers high quality acting, good dialogue, solid characters and engaging story lines. I had to watch this again and again to absorb it because it was so good.
15 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Probably The Greatest Mini-Series Ever
Loydmovie9 March 2005
As great as the original ROOTS was, this sequel was even better. Boasting more top-line established movie greats than the original, such as Marlon Brando (who received an Emmy), Henry Fonda and Olivia De Havilland, it was just better made. Of course the power this continuing saga had was based on the original's greatness, so without the original this could not stand. But the lives of Kunta Kinte's descendants depicted here, from where the original left off around 1870, to the adult Alex Haley (masterfully played by James Earl Jones)working on his incredible genealogical novel, was spellbinding and immensely touching throughout every chapter.

Carrying over from the original, Georg Stanford Brown as Chicken George's son, Tom Harvey, Brown sets the tone for this sequel with his thoughtful performance as a man dealing with freedom for the first time in his life, and how it affected his daughters, one of whom would become the grandmother of Alex Haley. Irene Cara and Dorian Harewood would add to the roster of stellar acting as Alex's parents, and extremely notable too were efforts by Beah Richards, Bernie Casey, Andy Griffith, Howard E. Rollins, Richard Thomas, Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, Damon Evans (as a young adult Alex Haley), and many others. A thoroughly rich and rewarding experience made even more spectacular because of its important subject matter.
6 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A deeply moving account of American history no one likes to talk about
Meggie-313 November 1999
This mini series was televised in 1979, at which time, I was only 15 years old. I remember Roots, the original mini series which told the story of an African who was brought to America and was a slave. Although I had read about slavery in the history book, I never imagined how slavery really imprisoned the actual slaves. It's a part of history that we as Americans don't like to discuss, because of the shame. However, it did happen. It's strange how we show rememberance for the Hollocaust, which didn't even happen here, but we shun the topic of slavery, only briefly touch on it in the history books. Watching the series Roots really tears at my very soul for what 100 million slaves had to bear, how they lost their families, their language, religion, and ultimately themselves is heart wrenching. Roots, The next Generations, was also very deep, with an all star cast, and I was truly touched by the story of Alex Haley'
5 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Kunte Kinte's legacy lives on
bkoganbing6 September 2015
Although Roots is about slavery it is also about family and legacy and as such has a universal message. The superb quality of the first mini- series is carried on in Roots: The Next Generation.

The first series left off at the Reconstruction Era where hopes of legal, economic, and social equality are dashed, most especially during the Populist era of the 1890s. That was when a lot of demagogic politicians especially those in the South linked racism to economic advancement for poor whites. A legacy the South still has to deal with today.

Great Grandson Tom Harvey of Kunte Kinte from Africa and his wife Irene played by Georg Stanford Brown and Lynne Moody carrying on from the first series. Legends of Kunte Kinte renamed Toby here are handed down to the family as he's referred to as 'the old African'. The issues in their different forms are being addressed down to the present generation as author Alex Haley played by James Earl Jones rediscovers and documents the family's African roots.

Marlon Brando won an Emmy and is unforgettable as George Lincoln Rockwell head of the American Nazi Party. You will not forget his performance as the personification of hate and James Earl Jones's extreme uncomfortableness doing an interview. By contrast Jones develops a rough rapport with Malcolm X played by Al Freeman and gets his first acclaim as a writer doing Malcolm's autobiography.

One role I particularly liked was that of John Hancock who is the CPO of the steward's mess in The Coast Guard and mentor to young Alex Haley played by Damon Evans. It's a similar to the non-commissioned officer that Hancock played in A Soldier's Story.

Also in a mentoring role of sorts is Ossie Davis who mentors Alex Haley's father Simon Haley played by Dorian Harewood in the ways of being a Pullman Porter. The issues involving that job and the organization by A. Phillip Randolph of The Brotherhood Of Sleeping Car Porters ares touched on here, but dealt with fully in 10,000 Black Men Named George.

Roots: The Next Generation continues an excellent tradition and will be seen by more generations than the old African Kunte Kinte could have imagined.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great American Television Classic
johnstonjames22 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Alex Haley's 'Roots' and 'The Autobiography of Malcolm X.' are two of the most important and provocative works of non-fiction in twentieth century American literature. Bringing these essential books to film entertainment must have been a daunting task definitely.

As most people know the result was entirely successful.The original mini-series 'Roots' was a phenomenal success and went on to become a television classic.

'Roots:The Next Generations' reputation is less recognized which seems too bad because this is a powerful, well-acted series as well. I especially liked 'Next Generations' because it dealt with the life of the author and with the historical collaboration on Malcolm X.'s biography. This whole thing was a decade before Spike Lee and Denzel Washington made the brilliant and controversial film 'Malcolm X.'. There is also an amazing scene where Haley interviews American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell. Television doesn't get any more topical than this.

The production is lavish and expensive for television. there are moments when the production reveals it's made-for-TV budget limitations, the final scenes in Africa are filmed on a studio backlot, some of the aging make-up is obvious,but effective, and the use of two different actresses to play Haley's grandmother in different stages of old age is not effective. But why quibble? This is great stuff. Informative history put in an entertaining way. Besides, how can you go wrong with Marlon Brando and Irene Cara.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
giving this almost ten,since it is not the 1st roots,but just as good in its own way,but not overall better.but i still love it.
domincanredangel29 September 2007
i am watching this now on cable TV ONE station which over here is channel 173. amazing film/movie and i plan to order it on DVD as i seen the commercial it is FINALLY BEING RELEASED,in October 07 on DVD. i want it and i love it so much but love even MORE THE ORIGINAL ROOTS. just love it so much can watch it as i do almost each and every year soon to own i my mid 30's the whole collection. no wonder why roots won so many awards and multiple additional nominations..

EVERYONE SHOULD WATCH THIS,SHAME ON THE BLACKS LATINOS AND OTHER MINORITIES WHO HASN'T WATCHED,and EVERYONE who believe in STRENGTH, SURVIVING what your thinking,at the time is just too impossible to "survive"and achieve.

GOD BLESS YOU ALEX HALEY for this incredible multi-part saga,encompassing QUEEN with HALLE BERRY talented lovely self and others.

Bless,all of our ancestors,who came before all of us,may you RIP..

Never tired of watching the beautiful talented IRENE CARA,and the handsome beautiful,fine actor,he is of our time under-rated IMO)(in my opinion)Dorian Harewood.Going to watch with an amigo today again.

4 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
poppaleon23 May 2017
If you're an instructor of History or Anthropology, as a visual recording of historical facts; viewing the entire Roots collection (including "Queen") is imperative.

It is also entertaining to see how the lives of people in these movies evolved.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
fantastic Warning: Spoilers
Roots: The Next Generations is a continuation of Roots following the lives of ancestors of Alex Haley and going to Alex Haley and showing him take an interest in the story of Kunta Kinte from stories his grandmother told him. It ends in the 1960s with him finding where Kunte Kinte had come from in Africa. This is a wonderful moving program. It's very interesting seeing the evolution of society as the episodes progress. This is the second best television program after Roots. That ending is amazingly moving. Roots and Roots: The Next Generations are a result of very intelligent people taking very important topics that they care very much about and creating something that is amazingly powerful.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The fight of one against all
Dr_Coulardeau30 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This TV mini-series has become a classic in some twenty or thirty years and it deserves to be, both in its first part and in its second part. Yet the quality of the filming and editing has aged and the film is not served by the fact it was done for television that tends to show too many close-ups and to avoid vast rapid movements and wide landscapes. But it has become a classic by the theme it deals with. The second part takes us to the 1960s and is telling the history of the USA after the Civil War as much at least as the history of this family. So we see the reconstruction period, and then the emergence of the Ku Klux Klan, the imposition of segregation, the First World War, the New Deal and the Second World War, and then the post war period. In this second series that ends with the real author as the main character, Haley himself, I am amazed by the fact that it is more contemplative of the injustice coming up than really fighting against it. The only positive point is education. But if there is some kind of resistance it is always that of one person and not of the community. If in the 1930s, the subsidies voted by Congress to small farmers to help them survive the crisis and get even, blacks included, are systematically, for the blacks at least, hijacked by the land-owners to their own profit and if one black farmer manages to get his check it is the result of the private initiative of one man and the black farmer ends up in prison, wounded and under a prosecution that will keep him in prison for a while and his mules have been repossessed by the landowner and the little farmer has been totally pauperized and expelled from the county if not the state. If after the war there is some improvement the discourse is concentrating on the personal efforts of Alex Haley, his own personal way to some kind of wealth and grace. The closest we get to the struggle of the black community for the end of discrimination and more justice is a couple of scenes with Malcolm X and his assassination. But where is Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and the collective massive fights and battles waged by the blacks, including against the Vietnam War. Even Kennedy is evoked as some kind of epiphenomenon that does not count for much, and his assassination is not even evoked. That has to lead to a real ego trip at the end and Alex Haley going back to Gambia and meeting with the griot of the village of his ancestors and hearing from his mouth the story that had been told from generation to generation in his family and meeting one last descendant who still has the name Kinte like the ancient ancestor Kunta Kinte. And Alex Haley himself adds a verbose conclusion about the importance of knowing one's ancestors. What a pride am I supposed to get from the fact that my ancestors were the serfs of a small nobleman who ended up in the French Academy under King Louis XV and whose name they all took during the revolution? That kind of nostalgia may make us unable to embrace the future today.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne, University Paris 8 Saint Denis, University Paris 12 Créteil, CEGID
0 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed