PROHIBITION tells the story of the rise, rule, and fall of the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the entire era it encompassed. Prohibition was intended to protect all Americans from the devastating effects of alcohol abuse. But, paradoxically, the enshrining of a faith-driven moral code in the Constitution caused millions of Americans to rethink their definition of morality.

PBS Previews | Prohibition

22m 35s

A 30 minute preview of Prohibition and a Q&A with Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.


  • A Nation of Hypocrites: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    A Nation of Hypocrites

    S1 E3 - 1h 46m

    Gangsters make huge profits and wreak havoc in cities across the country. By the late 1920s, many Americans believe that Prohibition has failed. After the election of FDR in 1932, Prohibition is repealed

  • A Nation of Scofflaws: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    A Nation of Scofflaws

    S1 E2 - 1h 51m

    In 1920, Prohibition goes into effect and millions of law-abiding Americans become lawbreakers overnight. Drys had hoped Prohibition would make the country a safer place, but the law has many victims

  • A Nation of Drunkards: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    A Nation of Drunkards

    S1 E1 - 1h 36m

    The story of Prohibition's rise and fall is a compelling saga that goes far beyond the oft-told tales of gangsters, flappers, and speakeasies, to reveal a complicated and divided nation in the throes of momentous transformation.

Extras + Features

  • The Roots of Prohibition: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Roots of Prohibition

    S1 - 6m 4s

    A review of alcohol's influence in America. Beer and Wine are overtaken by hard liquors.

  • Satan's Seat (NYC): asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Satan's Seat (NYC)

    S1 - 1m 50s

    New York was the city with the most illegal speakeasies, and the toughest city to crack down on drinking.

  • Two Americas: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Two Americas

    S1 - 7m 57s

    The 1924 Democratic Convention between William McAdoo and Al Smith pitted rural vs. urban america and would set the stage for 1928.

  • Adolphus Busch: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Adolphus Busch

    S1 - 3m 57s

    Adolphus Busch was the leader of the Brewers Association. He threw himself in front of the Prohibition movement and held it off for as long as they could.

  • Whispering Wires: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Whispering Wires

    S1 - 9m 35s

    Roy Olmstead is caught in a wiretap and sentenced to four years hard labor. His convicition is upheld by the Supreme Court, but Olmstead receives a pardon in 1935.

  • Official Trailer 1: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Official Trailer 1

    S1 - 32s

    Discover the true story of America's "Great Experiment" - the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlawing alcohol - in Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's PROHIBITION.

  • The Goons: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Goons

    S1 - 7m 45s

    The rise of organized crime was a drawback of Prohibition that the drys had not seen coming.

  • Extended Look |  The Jazz Age: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Extended Look | The Jazz Age

    S1 - 3m 6s

    Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Wynton Marsalis discuss what it takes to put together the score for Prohibition, and how the music takes on a life of it's own.

  • Frances Willard & Mary Hanchett Hunt: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Frances Willard & Mary Hanchett Hunt

    S1 - 7m 27s

    Frances Willard started the Women's Christian Temparance Union Mary Hanchett Hunt was in charge of the Dept. of Scientific Instruction in the public schools.

  • Clip: Episode 1 | Intro: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Clip: Episode 1 | Intro

    S1 - 4m 56s

    During the 1800's with the rise of whiskey and other hard liquors, alcoholism was a big problem.

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