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 After the election of FDR in 1932, Prohibition is repealed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

  • Official Trailer 2: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Official Trailer 2

    S1 - 1m 2s

    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.

  • 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.

  • Scofflaw: asset-mezzanine-16x9


    S1 - 32s

    In 1924 the Boston Herald held a contest for a word that captured the nations hypocracy over Prohibition

  • George Remus The Circle: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    George Remus The Circle

    S1 - 7m 58s

    George Remus, a successful criminal attorney in Chicago became the king of the bootleggers with his operation.

  • The Good Bootlegger: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Good Bootlegger

    S1 - 6m 9s

    Roy Olmstead, a Seattle police officer turned to bootlegging and was known to provide the best product on the west coast. He used bribery instead of violence, and was known as 'The Good Bootlegger.'

  • 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.

  • Neal Dow: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Neal Dow

    S1 - 2m 49s

    Wealthy Mayor of Portland, ME. In 1851 he demanded the state legislature ban the sale of alcohol.

  • 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.

  • A Genuine American: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    A Genuine American

    S1 - 12m 39s

    The 1928 Presidental election between Hoover and Al Smith was one of the dirtiest in history.

  • 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.

  • Absolute Shall: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Absolute Shall

    S1 - 6m 25s

    The problem of drink would have to be overcome through legislation rather than voluntary abstinence.

  • 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.

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