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The Wave (1981)

An experiment in an American High School where students learn how easy it is to be seduced by the same social forces which led to the horrors of Nazi Germany. Based on a true story.

Director:

Alexander Grasshoff (as Alex Grasshoff)

Writers:

Johnny Dawkins (teleplay by), Ron Jones (based on a short story by)
Reviews
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bruce Davison ... Ben Ross
Lori Lethin ... Lauree
John Putch ... David
Johnny Doran Johnny Doran ... Robert
Pasha Gray Pasha Gray ... Amy
Wesley Pfenning Wesley Pfenning ... Christy Ross (as Wesley Ann Pfenning)
Marc Copage ... Eric
Robert DeLapp Robert DeLapp
Matthew Dunn Matthew Dunn
Frank Lloyd Frank Lloyd
Danny Marmolejo Danny Marmolejo
Michael Pasternak ... Peter
Teri Ralston Teri Ralston ... Mrs. Saunders
Jamie Rose ... Andrea
Larry Keith Larry Keith ... Mr. Saunders
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Storyline

To explain to his students the atmosphere in the 1930's Nazi Germany, history teacher Burt Ross initiates a daring experiment. He declares himself leader of a new movement, called 'The Wave'. Inspired, he proclaims ideas about Power, Discipline and Superiority. His students are strikingly willing to follow him. Soon the entire school is under the spell of 'The Wave'. Anyone who refuses to be a part of the Movement, faces threats or worse. Ross himself gets carried away by his own experiment. Or has it turned into something more than an experiment? A climax is unavoidable, resulting in a hard lesson for both Ross and his students... Written by Diederik B.A. Rep

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 October 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Wave See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally produced as an ABC Afterschool Special, the network chose to instead debut this film in prime time as part of its 'ABC Theater for Young Americans' series. See more »

Quotes

Christy Ross: [Ross and his wife are arguing over The Wave's impact on other teachers' classes, including Christy's] Just turn it off!
Ben Ross: Not yet! If I stopped now, they'd be left hanging. They'd be confused.
Christy Ross: Well, let them be confused!
Ben Ross: NO! I have to push them until they get the point. I'm teaching these kids the most important lesson of their lives!
See more »

Connections

Edited into ABC Afterschool Specials: The Wave (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

 
totalitarianism arrives when no one expects it
18 May 2011 | by lee_eisenbergSee all my reviews

"The Wave" is based on Ron Jones's experiment in a high school class that he taught. He had been teaching his students about the Third Reich, and the students refused to believe that the people of Germany couldn't have known what the Nazis were doing. So, he started a club called The Wave that called for discipline among the students, and punishment for anyone who stepped out of line. Sure enough, everyone went along with it.

Bruce Davison plays a fictionalized version of Jones, tricking the students into following a totalitarian entity. The point is that people will go along with the evilest acts without realizing that anything bad is happening. And you can't stop the descent into malevolence until it's too late. A lesson for everyone everywhere.


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