Ken Burns: Prohibition

Watch Ken Burns: Prohibition

  • 2011
  • 1 Season
  • 8.2  (3,439)

Ken Burns: Prohibition is a three-part documentary series that originally aired on PBS in 2011. The show tells the story of the Prohibition era in the United States, a time period from 1920 to 1933 when the production, sale, and consumption of alcohol was illegal. The show features a star-studded cast of actors and historians, including Adam Arkin, Philip Bosco, Patricia Clarkson, Peter Coyote, Blythe Danner, Paul Giamatti, Tom Hanks, Jeremy Irons, Samuel L. Jackson, John Lithgow, Josh Lucas, Amy Madigan, Oliver Platt, Campbell Scott, Frances Sternhagen, and Sam Waterston.

The first episode of Ken Burns: Prohibition explores the origins of the temperance movement, which began in the 19th century as a way to combat the perceived social ills associated with alcohol consumption. The movement gained momentum in the early 20th century and led to the passage of the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution, which banned the sale, production, and transportation of alcohol. The episode also delves into the rise of organized crime during Prohibition and the ways in which bootleggers and speakeasy owners capitalized on the demand for alcohol.

The second episode of Ken Burns: Prohibition focuses on the social and cultural impact of Prohibition. Although it was intended to improve public health and morality, the ban on alcohol had unintended consequences. It led to increased corruption, the growth of the black market, and a rise in violent crime. The episode examines the efforts of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, which played a major role in advocating for Prohibition, as well as the cultural backlash against the ban. Many Americans continued to drink despite the law, and a new culture of illicit drinking emerged.

The third and final episode of Ken Burns: Prohibition explores the end of Prohibition and its legacy. The episode details the efforts of the Anti-Saloon League to repeal the 18th Amendment and the many political and social factors that contributed to its eventual repeal in 1933. The episode also examines the lasting effects of Prohibition, including its impact on organized crime, the development of the modern cocktail, and the role of alcohol in American culture.

Overall, Ken Burns: Prohibition is a well-researched and engaging documentary series that sheds light on a fascinating and often overlooked period of American history. The show features expert commentary from historians and academics, as well as first-hand accounts from individuals who lived through Prohibition. The star-studded cast brings the era to life with their voiceover work, and the series is filled with archival footage and photographs that help to transport viewers back to the 1920s and 1930s. Whether you're a history buff or just looking for a compelling documentary to watch, Ken Burns: Prohibition is definitely worth checking out.

Ken Burns: Prohibition is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (3 episodes). The series first aired on October 2, 2011.

Ken Burns: Prohibition
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A Nation of Hypocrites
3. A Nation of Hypocrites
October 4, 2011
Support for Prohibition continues to decrease in the mid-1920s; the law has actually provided gangsters a way to make huge profits. Following the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, Congress repeals the 18th Amendment and Americans are free to purchase alcohol legally for the first time in 13 years.
A Nation of Scofflaws
2. A Nation of Scofflaws
October 3, 2011
In the 1920s, Prohibition went into effect forbidding the making, transporting, or selling of intoxicating liquor. As holes are found in the laws, millions discover ways to get around them. Alcoholism continues to increase as women now drink in the speakeasies.
A Nation of Drunkards
1. A Nation of Drunkards
October 2, 2011
Since the early years of the American Republic, alcohol has been embedded in the fabric of American culture. This is the story of the Eighteenth Amendment.
Where to Watch Ken Burns: Prohibition
Ken Burns: Prohibition is available for streaming on the PBS website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Ken Burns: Prohibition on demand at Amazon Prime, Amazon, Google Play and Apple TV.
  • Premiere Date
    October 2, 2011
  • IMDB Rating
    8.2  (3,439)