The Wave

ABC is presenting this rerun of a surprisingly powerful 1981 TV movie as an ”Afterschool Specials Classic” — a new way to excuse repeats. Still, there’s now a new generation of young people to benefit from this well-done parable about freedom and free speech.

The hour starts out corny and the gets, like, heavy. A teacher (Bruce Davison) tells his California high school class that a Nazi youth movement could rise anywhere, anytime. The kids scoff.

Davison proves his point by acting like a totalitarian teacher, barking orders and instilling ”strength and discipline.” The students eat it up, turning into their own little Nazi youth movement, until Davison brings them to their senses.

The dramatization is a little heavy-handed, but the process is all too believable. Skepticism and independent thought are something television promotes too rarely; The Wave does it well. B+

The Wave
  • Book