The Wave (1981 film)

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The Wave
Genre Short
Based on a short story
by Ron Jones[1]
Screenplay by Johnny Dawkins
Directed by Austin Chambers
Starring Bruce Davison (Ben Ross)
Country of origin USA
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s) Virginia L. Carter
Producer(s) Fern Field
Bruce Hendricks (associate producer)
Cinematography Hanania Baer
Editor(s) Mario Di Mambro
Running time 44 mins.
Production company(s) T.A.T. Communications Company
Distributor Sony Pictures Television (current)
Original network ABC
Original release
  • October 4, 1981 (1981-10-04) (location)

The Wave is a short made-for-TV movie directed by Alex Grasshoff, based on The Third Wave experiment, which was a social test created by high school history teacher Ron Jones to explain how the German populace could accept the actions of the Nazi regime during the Second World War.[2] Though more prominently featured as an episode of the ABC Afterschool Special series, this show debuted October 4, 1981, almost two years before being featured in the Afterschool Special 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. ^ actual film credits: "based on a short story by Ron Jones"
  2. ^ "Cubberley Catamount, April 21, 1967". Ellwood P. Cubberley High School. 1967-04-21. Retrieved 2015-05-14. 

External links[edit]