7.6/10
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The Wave (2008)

Die Welle (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Thriller | 27 May 2011 (USA)
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.

Director:

Dennis Gansel

Writers:

Ron Jones (short story and original protocols) (as William Ron Jones), Johnny Dawkins (screenplay "The Wave") | 3 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
4,262 ( 288)

On Disc

at Amazon

9 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jürgen Vogel ... Rainer Wenger
Frederick Lau ... Tim Stoltefuss
Max Riemelt ... Marco
Jennifer Ulrich ... Karo
Christiane Paul ... Anke Wenger
Jacob Matschenz Jacob Matschenz ... Dennis
Cristina do Rego ... Lisa
Elyas M'Barek ... Sinan
Maximilian Vollmar Maximilian Vollmar ... Bomber
Max Mauff ... Kevin (as Maximilian Mauff)
Ferdinand Schmidt-Modrow Ferdinand Schmidt-Modrow ... Ferdi
Tim Oliver Schultz ... Jens
Amelie Kiefer Amelie Kiefer ... Mona
Fabian Preger Fabian Preger ... Kaschi
Odine Johne ... Maja
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Storyline

High school teacher, Rainer Wenger, 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 | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Based on a true story. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Constantin Film [Germany]

Country:

Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

27 May 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Wave See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

€5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,151,023 (Germany), 16 March 2008, Limited Release
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based on the novel "The Wave" by Todd Strasser (under the pen name Morton Rhue), a fictionalized account of the "Third Wave" teaching experiment by Ron Jones that took place in a Cubberley High School history class in Palo Alto, California in April 1967. See more »

Goofs

The way the word "Autokratie" is written on the black board changes between shots. See more »

Quotes

Rainer Wenger: Mr. Wieland!
Dieter Wieland: Mr. Wenger.
Rainer Wenger: About the project week...
Dieter Wieland: Yes, and?
Rainer Wenger: Can we switch? I got autocracy.
Dieter Wieland: Alea iacta est. The die has been cast.
Rainer Wenger: You know I wanted anarchy.
Dieter Wieland: A little bit to much. The project week is about teachin the students the benefits of democracy. The making of Molotov Cocktails is a subject for chemistry. Have a nice day.
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Crazy Credits

Opening and closing credits appear as graffiti. See more »

Connections

References Quatsch Comedy Club (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Arrested
Music by Heiko Maile
Lyrics by Heiko Maile and Trevor Jackson
Performed by Ronda Ray featuring Trevor Jackson
Produced by Heiko Maile
©Constantin Music Verlag / Rat Pack
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Fascism is still possible and alive
29 September 2008 | by pei_yin_linSee all my reviews

Die Welle details how a project on autocracy gradually leads to disastrous results. Initially without enthusiasm to teach the topic, Rainer Wegner conducts an unorthodox experiment to demonstrate to his students (equally lukewarm to start with) what life would be like under fascism. Neatly structured by days, the experiment begins with simple disciplines and grows to become an exclusive cult named "the wave" with its own uniform and salute.

Similar to his 2004 film "Before the Fall" which concerns the Nazi's seduction of youth, Dennis Gansel probes the individual psychologies that bring about uncontrollable collective movement, and how personal life is transformed by it. It offers a balanced view on an organisation like "The Wave" by enquiring whether it is a crystallisation of the students' class-free utopia (at the cost of losing individuality) or a community for those in need of belonging and empowerment.

What is frightening is that many (though not all) of them voluntarily follow the conformity through reasoning. Ironically, the mob mentality engulfing the students is what they condemn formerly; even the "anarchist" Rainer finds himself intoxicated with his increasingly idolised status.

An engaging and powerful film with a sense of humour, suspension (terror arises when the light goes off during Karo's anti-Wave poster distribution), twist (Rainer's concluding speech), believable characterisation and excellent acting (Jürgen Vogel, Max Riemelt, and Frederick Lau). Inspired by a true event in California , this intelligent film merits attention particularly because of its non-preaching and humanistic treatment of a heavy subject.


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