The Wave (1981 film)

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The Wave
Based onAccount by Ron Jones
Screenplay byJohnny Dawkins
Directed byAlexander Grasshoff
StarringBruce Davison (Ben Ross)
Country of originUSA
Original language(s)English
Executive producer(s)Virginia L. Carter
Producer(s)Fern Field
Bruce Hendricks (associate producer)
CinematographyHanania Baer
Editor(s)Mario Di Mambro
Running time44 mins.
Production company(s)T.A.T. Communications Company
DistributorSony Pictures Television (current)
Original networkABC
Original release
  • October 4, 1981 (1981-10-04) (location)

The Wave is a made-for-TV movie directed by Alex Grasshoff, based on The Third Wave experiment put on by teacher Ron Jones in order to explain to his students how the German populace could accept the actions of the Nazi regime during the Second World War.[1] Though later featured as an episode of the ABC Afterschool Special series, this show debuted October 4, 1981, almost two years before being featured in the series.

It starred Bruce Davison as the teacher Ben Ross, a character based on Jones.

A novelization of the film The Wave, was released in the same year. Ron Jones' writings and Johnny Dawkins' screenplay were also basis of the 2008 German film Die Welle.


The Wave won a 1982 Emmy for Outstanding Children's Program, and a 1981 Peabody Award. It also won a 1981 Young Artist Award for Best Television Special - Family Enjoyment.

Writer Johnny Dawkins was nominated for a 1982 Humanitas Prize in the 60 minute category, and a 1983 Writers Guild of America Award for Best Children's Show.


  1. ^ "Cubberley Catamount, April 21, 1967". Ellwood P. Cubberley High School. 1967-04-21. Retrieved 2015-05-14.

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