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 After the election of FDR in 1932, Prohibition is repealed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

  • Last Call: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Last Call

    S1 - 5m 3s

    With the passage of the 18th Amendment, Prohibition became the law of the land.

  • New York Cordial Stores: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    New York Cordial Stores

    S1 - 1m 54s

    Zeke Alpern's father Lou, owned three 'Cordial Stores' in NYC where he sold illegal alcohol.

  • The Gender Barrier is Broken: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Gender Barrier is Broken

    S1 - 6m 51s

    Prohibition led in a sexual revolution for women. Drinking at speakeasies, mixing more with men, flappers broke from the repression of their suffragette mothers' time.

  • Al Capone Downfall: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Al Capone Downfall

    S1 - 5m 4s

    In 1931, Al Capone is finally caught by the government for failing to file income tax.

  • Ken Burns: The Prohibition Idea: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Ken Burns: The Prohibition Idea

    S1 - 1m 37s

    Ken Burns discusses Episode One of Prohibition, and what the United States was going through during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

  • Drinking More: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Drinking More

    S1 - 1m 50s

    Millions of Americans stopped drinking during Prohibition, but those that did drink, women as well as men, drank more.

  • Kentucky Stills: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Kentucky Stills

    S1 - 3m 45s

    Honest Prohibition agents put their lives on the line when they tried to close down moonshine stills in rural Kentucky.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Federal Funding: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Federal Funding

    S1 - 2m 3s

    Supporting Prohibition fiscally was a problem between the federal government and the state government.

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