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Photo Credit:  PBS
  • Premiered: 
    October 2, 2011
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: PBS
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
    15th Ken Burns multi-part documentary (22nd film overall), preceded by The Tenth Inning 
  • Subject Matter: Historical
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Plot Synopsis

In three two-hour episodes, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick highlight America's prohibition movement -- from its infancy in the mid-1800s to its demise in the early 1930s. They go beyond the oft-told tales of gangsters, rumrunners, flappers and speakeasies to experience the rise, rule and fall of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The three episodes are: "A Nation of Drunkards," documenting the mid-1800s, when alcohol abuse was wreaking havoc on American families, and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and the Anti-Saloon League formed to push for Prohibition; "A Nation of Scofflaws," starting in 1920 when Prohibition goes into effect, millions of law-abiding Americans become lawbreakers overnight, and the law claimed many victims even though the Drys hoped Prohibition would make the country a safer place; and "A Nation of Hypocrites," highlighting gangsters who made profits and caused havoc, causing many Americans in the late 1920s to believe that Prohibition had failed and resulting in the movement being repealed after the 1932 election of FDR. PROHIBITION features music by Wynton Marsalis and the voice talents of Tom Hanks, Jeremy Irons, Paul Giamatti, Oliver Platt, John Lithgow, Samuel L. Jackson, Patricia Clarkson, Adam Arkin, Sam Waterston, Josh Lucas and others.


Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Florentine Films
  • Produced by WETA