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PROHIBITION is a documentary film series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick that tells the story of the rise, rule, and fall of the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the entire era it encompassed. From 1920-1933, the U.S. enacted a constitutional amendment (the Eighteenth Amendment) which implemented a nation-wide ban on the sale, manufacture and transportation of alcohol. During this period, referred to as “Prohibition,” millions of Americans reacted by turning away from the moralistic universe it apotheosised. Originally broadcast in October 2011 as a three-part, five-and-a-half-hour series on the U.S. PBS network, it was re-cut into a five-part 250 minute series for broadcast on the Australian SBS network. That re-cut version is described here. For the original three-part release, see series ID 251965 on TheTVDB.com
|S01E01||Nation of Drunkards||29/09/2012||Since the pilgrims loaded the hold of the Mayflower with beer, alcohol has been as American as apple pie. However, as a wave of ideological fervor sweeps the country, many begin to see alcohol as a scourge, an impediment to a Protestant utopia of clean and righteous living. From the church-based temperance campaigns to the xenophobic Anti-Saloon League lobby, Americans argue fiercely about alcohol, eventually outlawing it in the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution.|
|S01E02||A Real Racket||06/10/2012||On January 17, 1920, Prohibition goes into effect. Enacted in part to promote a more orderly, law-abiding America, Prohibition has precisely the opposite effect. Doctors and pharmacists, federal agents and local lawmen, rabbis and funeral directors all figure out ways to make money by getting around the law, from “Satan’s Seat” in New York City to Seattle, Washington, where a former cop becomes the Good Bootlegger.|
|S01E03||Murder and Mayhem||13/10/2012||In the early 1920s, while some Americans attempt to honor the Prohibition law, millions more chafe at its unintended consequences. Savvy gangsters make unprecedented profits in the beer trade, resulting in violent territorial grabs for power in cities like Chicago and Detroit. A polarising cultural difference divides America in two: the mostly “wet,” diverse cities and the “dry” Protestant countryside.|
|S01E04||A Sea of Rum||20/10/2012||In the Jazz Age of the mid-1920s, illegal bars called speakeasies become a symbol of glamorous city nightlife as reporters like Lois Long of The NewYorker chronicle their generation’s glittering debauchery. In Chicago, Al Capone becomes a celebrity, holding press conferences to promote his image while his murderous gang rises in power. To many, Prohibition looks more and more like a terrible mistake.|
|S01E05||A Nation of Hypocrites||27/10/2012||By the close of the 1920s, many blame the law for the rise of criminal syndicates, promiscuity, and a sense that the entire government is corrupted. Once the Great Depression sets in, Americans begin to re-examine their priorities. By December of 1933, Prohibition’s reign finally comes to an end under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and for the first time in thirteen years, Americans can legally buy a drink.|
Peter Coyote (Narrator) Tom Hanks (Voice Over) Jeremy Irons (Voice Over) Kevin Conway (Voice Over) Blythe Danner (Voice Over) Samuel L. Jackson (Voice Over) Amy Madigan (Voice Over) Campell Scott (Voice Over) John Lithgow (Voice Over) Paul Giamatti (Voice Over) Frances Sternhagen (Voice Over) Joanne Tucker (Voice Over) Adam Arkin (Voice Over) Oliver Platt (Voice Over) Phillip Bosco (Voice Over)