Watch Ken Burns: Prohibition
- 1 Season
The Television Mini-series Prohibition, narrates the history of prohibition in the U.S. The series lays out in full the societal influences that caused the escalation of the Temperance movement, and the eventual passing of the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. It was filmed in the popular style pioneered by Ken Burns, with photographs depicting the events of the film with narration and voice acting along with haunting musical scores. In the three episodes, totaling five and a half hours, Prohibition covers the influences of the Temperance movement such as alcoholism, immigration, and woman's suffrage. After the passage of the amendment, problems begin due to ineffective enforcement of the new law and the unforeseen repercussions that made criminals out of a large percentage of the population. The final episode explains the eventual decline of popular favor due to the problems created by the law. As the Great Depression looms, the priorities of the country shift. Ken Burns and Lynn Novick directed the series with Peter Coyote narrating throughout. It features the voices of nearly twenty actors and celebrities, including Tom Hanks, Samuel L. Jackson, and John Lithgow. A large group of historians and advisers also contribute, including Daniel Okrent, who wrote Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, the inspiration for the series. Prohibition was written by Geoffry C. Ward, who earned the series a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Writing of Nonfiction Programming as well as a Writer's Guild award for Documentary Other Than Current Events. The Series was also nominated for two Primetime Emmys in Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming and Sound Editing for Nonfiction Programming. Prohibition was produced by Florentine Films, PBS, and WETA. It was distributed by PBS Distribution, PBS International, Polyband in Germany, PBS and YLE in Finland. It was funded by the Arthur Vining Davis foundations, The Bank of America, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The National Endowment for the Humanities, The Park Foundation, and Viewers of PBS.