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The Wave (2008)

Die Welle (original title)
A high school teacher's experiment to demonstrate to his students what life is like under a dictatorship spins horribly out of control when he forms a social unit with a life of its own.



(short story and original protocols) (as William Ron Jones), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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8 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rainer Wenger
Tim Stoltefuss
Christiane Paul ...
Anke Wenger
Jacob Matschenz ...
Cristina do Rego ...
Maximilian Vollmar ...
Kevin (as Maximilian Mauff)
Ferdinand Schmidt-Modrow ...
Tim Oliver Schultz ...
Amelie Kiefer ...
Fabian Preger ...
Odine Johne ...


High school teacher, Rainer Wegner, may be popular with the students, but he's also unorthodox. He's forced to teach autocracy for the school's project week. He's less than enthusiastic at first, but the response of the students is surprising to say the least. He forces the students to become more invested in the prospect of self rule, and soon the class project has its own power and eerily starts to resemble Germany's past. Can Wegner and his class realize what's happening before the horrors start repeating themselves? Written by napierslogs

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Based on a true story. See more »


Drama | Thriller


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Release Date:

27 May 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Wave  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


€5,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Ron Jones has stated that he thinks the film is much closer to the actual events of the experiment than the novel by Morton Rhue/Todd Strasser. See more »


Although set somewhere in western Germany, all policemen wear insignia of the state of Berlin. See more »


Tim Stoltefuss: Run for your life, or I'll blow your brains out.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening and closing credits appear as graffiti. See more »


References Hape trifft! (2005) See more »


Was dich so verändert hat
Written by Jan Plewka
Performed by Jan Plewka
Produced by Manfred Faust
©Constantin Music Verlag / Rat Pack
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User Reviews

A Clever, Ironic Account of Fascist Autocracy
25 February 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Die Welle (The Wave) is truly a brilliant tale that lures viewers into its cleverly developed plot just as Herr Wenger lures his unsuspecting students into a sense of fascism. When Wenger, an affable schoolteacher who seems to be rebellious towards traditional instruction, gets selected to teach a class on autocracy, he is upset. However, he soon devises a plan with which to teach the students a valuable lesson on the sheer dangers of fascism and the ease with which one can be lured into it.

His class starts out simple and nonthreatening. The students choose Wenger as their leader and are instructed to wear a uniform and create a name for themselves (the students choose Die Welle "The Wave"). But, this club slowly turns into a sort of fascist regime. The unsuspecting students think they are participating in some sort of fun club, but they are really being shown how easily impressionable people can be attracted by autocracy.

The biting irony of this film is that at the beginning of the autocracy class, Wenger touched on the subject of Hitler's reign, and the students almost instinctively spit out answers about how Germany would never fall into that trap again knowing what they know now. But, the children soon eat their words when they become members of a much less disturbing, yet frighteningly similar clique.

There is a glimmer of this fact when two students who aren't members of "The Wave" pick on a student who is. Two other members come to the rescue of the victim. Though many may view this as a positive aspect of this sort of togetherness, the point is that fascism has developed and can easily become corrupt.

I highly recommend this to any potential viewer who either holds the same views as the students at the beginning of the film or simply wants to be entertained by the ironic theme of the film (so long as you don't mind the subtitles).

114 of 150 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Why was 'the wave' so bad? donquigleone
Closeup of Mr. Wenger's face at the movie's finale Friedrich von Glower
Improbability of the ending Stormhierta
12 december 1979 karl_lanc
Where is this showing in the UK? Hades88
What was the wave about? quendino
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