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 After the election of FDR in 1932, Prohibition is repealed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

  • Wayne Wheeler: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Wayne Wheeler

    S1 - 5m 2s

    Wayne Wheeler, the gen. counsel for the Anti-Saloon League was the most powerful man in Washington, D.C.

  • Rum Row: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Rum Row

    S1 - 3m 46s

    Rum Row started at the tip of Maine and continued down to the coast of Florida. Boats would wait three miles off the coastline then bring in illegal alcohol at night.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • America, A Multi-Ethnic Nation: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    America, A Multi-Ethnic Nation

    S1 - 9m 14s

    At the beginning of the 20th century most of the population shifted from rural to urban through immigration.

  • George Remus The Primrose Path: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    George Remus The Primrose Path

    S1 - 8m 41s

    George Remus, King of the Bootleggers, is caught by the government, then put on trial for murdering his wife.

  • Official Trailer 3: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Official Trailer 3

    S1 - 32s

    Watch Prohibition, where lofty goals trumped common sense, and average citizens became lawbreakers.

  • Al Capone Murder to Massacre: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Al Capone Murder to Massacre

    S1 - 7m 31s

    Feb. 14, 1929: George Moran's gang is gunned down in cold blood and Capone is thought to have ordered the hit.

  • The Time is Now: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Time is Now

    S1 - 13m 20s

    With the passage of the 16th Amendment, the Goverment no longer needed taxes from Alcohol. By 1914 a prohibition amendment seemed within reach.

  • The Immigrant Invasion: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Immigrant Invasion

    S1 - 1m 53s

    Tensions emerged between native born Americans and the newly arrived immigrants.

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