Roots is a 1977 movie starring LeVar Burton as Kunta Kinte, an African slave brought to America serve in an eigtheenth century plantation. The movie was controversial at the time for its blunt and socially progressive depiction of slavery. It was also historically significant for bringing to prominence several of its stars, including LeVar Burton, Cicely Tyson, and Beverly Todd.
Roots was based on the book of the same name by Arthur Hailey. Hailey's book was far more graphic and original than the film version, which preserved the book's tone while cutting out many of the more squeamish scenes, such as one in which Kinte is attacked with a branding iron.
Roots was followed in 1979 by a documentary, Roots: The Next Generation, also starring Burton.