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 After the election of FDR in 1932, Prohibition is repealed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

  • 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.

  • Fiorella LaGuardia: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Fiorella LaGuardia

    S1 - 3m 30s

    Fiorella LaGuardia was a Republican Congressman of New York and critic of the Volstead Act.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Terribly Wonderful: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Terribly Wonderful

    S1 - 9m 11s

    Beer and Whiskey were not the Saloons only attraction to men, it served as a haven of manhood. Most cities had a designated district for saloons.

  • Eliza Jane Thompson: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Eliza Jane Thompson

    S1 - 7m 12s

    Eliza Jane Thompson, the wife of an ohio judge, led a women's protest of saloons by praying in front of them.

  • Mabel Walker Willebrandt: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Mabel Walker Willebrandt

    S1 - 5m 52s

    Mabel Walker Willebrandt was the Asst. Attorney Gen. and in charge of the Prohibition enforcement policy.

  • Retribution: asset-mezzanine-16x9


    S1 - 8m 54s

    The Anti Saloon League successfully combined propaganda, religion and political coercion to make alcohol a wedge issue in elections.

  • Pauline Sabin: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Pauline Sabin

    S1 - 10m 2s

    Pauline Sabin, an heiress disillusioned with the Republican party, began the Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform.

  • The Volstead Act: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Volstead Act

    S1 - 3m 15s

    The Volstead Act was much stricter than most Americans had anticipated, including Wine and Beer in Prohibition.

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