'Race to Freedom: The Underground Railroad'

This 1994 cable production is terrific TV for young viewers unfamiliar with the United States' pre-Civil War racial history. For older audiences familiar with the saga of African Americans escaping to Canada and outwitting the repugnant 1850 Fugitive Slave Act, this film is as suspenseful, if not as lavish, as historical drama gets on TV. Directed tightly by Don McBrearty from a compelling script by various hands, it is the story of several slaves (Janet Bailey and Courtney Vance, both pictured, as two) fleeing a North Carolina plantation (Family Channel Saturday at 8 p.m.).

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