Forget about your preconceived notions regarding ABC's Afterschool Special series, as many of those films have slipped through the cracks of time over the last two decades, but thankfully a few of the most important ones have been kept alive, such is the case with the film you are about to see here. The Wave was aimed at the grade school/high school set back in 1981 and was based on the book of the same name that shocked the nation, years earlier. It covers a bizarre social experiment conducted by a Palo Alto high school teacher back in 1967 that still rings eerily true and revoltingly relevant in today's hostile environment regarding xenophobia and baseless paranoia. It brings to light a startlingly profound effect on the perception of how mass psychological coercion can seamlessly infect a controlled population, and in essence, change the course of history. This type of mental manipulation and fear-mongering of outsiders still exists today, and this is the exact type of behavior that has publicly elected some of the most vile leaders of the last century of human "civilization."
The film starts out simply enough in the classroom, where the teacher, Mr. Ross is explaining the climate surrounding the Nazi party's rise to power in pre-WWII Germany, to which most of the consensus of the classroom reacts in unison to the tune of "how could they let that happen?" Mr. Ross explains the basic human need for inclusion, societal acceptance, and the subtle yet massively effective tactic of "mob mentality" to effective engage his students into a "social system" that stimulates interest and inclusion, and eventually coercion into a mindset that streamlines itself with the line of propaganda he's created to show his point. This program's effectiveness in lifting up and rewarding the participants grows over the course of the project and remarkably reflects the sublime mental transformations that can take place under the guise of complacency. The inclusion factor cannot be underestimated here, as this societal sect of the experiment produces significant changes in acceptance and establishes confidence in the poor souls who sadly cannot see the sick path that lays before them in obstruction of the brainwashing effects they're being subjected to.
In essence, the teacher implements a social structure into the lives of these "open minded" students which acts to quash any semblance of human compassion in swift exchange of relative "self-reliance" and unity, which eerily reflect how the Nazis were able to fleece the German population into public acceptance of their abhorrent policies resulting in millions of deaths during the Holocaust. With the recent climate of aggressive non-acceptance of the Syrian refugees fleeing their homeland under dire conditions, it's poignant and very relevant to take another (or your first) look at this compelling film which has been shown to social studies classes for years, now, more than ever. It's too important to sit buried in history lessons, so now with the power of YouTube and the inter-connectivity of the Internet in general, it's an incredibly timely historic piece of obscure film you really need to see and SHARE.
For more in-depth information, here's a documentary on the film and it's later remake for German audiences that's well worth a watch: