The story of the American activist struggle against the influence of alcohol, climaxing in the failed early 20th century nationwide era when it was banned.
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1  
2011  
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Himself - Narrator (3 episodes, 2011)
Pete Hamill ...
 Himself - Writer (3 episodes, 2011)
Catherine Gilbert Murdock ...
 Herself - Historian (3 episodes, 2011)
Michael Lerner ...
 Himself - Historian (3 episodes, 2011)
...
 Himself - Writer (3 episodes, 2011)
Noah Feldman ...
 Himself - Legal Scholar (3 episodes, 2011)
Jack Roche ...
 Himself - Resident of Chicago (3 episodes, 2011)
William Leuchtenburg ...
 Himself - Historian (3 episodes, 2011)
...
 Reader / ... (3 episodes, 2011)
...
 Reader / ... (3 episodes, 2011)
...
 Reader (3 episodes, 2011)
...
 Reader (3 episodes, 2011)
John Paul Stevens ...
 Himself - Resident of Chicago (2 episodes, 2011)
Jonathan Eig ...
 Himself - Writer (2 episodes, 2011)
Margot Loines Wilkie ...
 Herself - Resident of Massachusetts (2 episodes, 2011)
Martin Marty ...
 Himself - Theologian (2 episodes, 2011)
Jack Clarke ...
 Himself - Resident of Chicago (2 episodes, 2011)
Ruth Proskauer Smith ...
 Herself - Resident of New York (2 episodes, 2011)
Edwin T. Hunt Jr. ...
 Himself - Resident of Seattle / ... (2 episodes, 2011)
Joshua Zeitz ...
 Himself - Historian (2 episodes, 2011)
...
 Reader (2 episodes, 2011)
Kevin Conway ...
 Reader (2 episodes, 2011)
...
 Reader (2 episodes, 2011)
...
 Reader (2 episodes, 2011)
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Storyline

Throughout American history, heavy alcohol consumption has been a pervasive part of its national social character. However in the 1800s, a growing Temperance movement arose determined to oppose the destructive habit by any means necessary. This series tells the story of this crusade until it achieved its ultimate goal of passing the 18th Amendment of the US Constitution which imposed prohibition. After that victory, the series covers this social reform's disastrous unintended consequences that encouraged clandestine drinking and organized crime while undermining civil liberties and society's respect for the law in ways that still reverberate today. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

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How did a nation founded on rights ever go so wrong?


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2 October 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Förbudstiden i USA  »

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16:9 HD
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Connections

Featured in CBS 11 News: Episode dated 17 August 2011 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Another Winner From Ken Burns
9 October 2011 | by (Arroyo Grande, California) – See all my reviews

When it comes to making full coverage documentaries, you can't beat the work of Ken Burns. "Prohibition" is another fine illustration of that.

This five and one half hour mini-series, shown in three parts on PBS and available on DVD, never bogs down. That's pretty amazing right there. I would think it difficult to have that kind of running time and not have at least a couple spots where the story gets boring. It never does, and is a tribute to Ken's film making ability.

"Prohibition" describes how we got there, what it did to our country, and why the 18th Amendment, banning booze, became the only Amendment to be repealed. It was doomed to fail from the start, but nobody saw it at the beginning. It almost single-handedly brought about organized crime in America, a problem that has yet to be repealed.

Ken Burns covers it all very well, and his good name in these documentary efforts never fails to bring in the big names for voice-over work. In this case, Tom Hanks, Patricia Clarkson, Adam Arkin, Jeremy Irons, John Lithgow, etc., etc..

(Although it was never mentioned, I couldn't help but think of the parallels to modern day marijuana laws. When you have a product that millions of Americans want and you make it illegal, the money from that product goes to gangs that provide it, and with that, all the violence that goes along with those gangs. You can't legislate morality, as the 18th Amendment surely showed. And pot is much less harmful than alcohol.)

Another great job by Ken Burns.


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