German drama exploring the nature of fascism. Rainer Wegner (Jurgen Vogel) is a high school teacher who is less than enthusiastic when he finds himself relegated to teaching the concept of autocracy as part of the school's project week. His students, similarly uninspired, approach the project with complacency and apathy - until Rainer hits on the novel idea of devising an unorthodox experiment within the class. To show what life would be like under fascism, Rainer begins to introduce various disciplines for his pupils to follow. However, the experiment quickly grows out of control and develops into an exclusive cult - 'the wave' - with its own uniform and salute. Even the self-professed anarchist Rainer starts to become intoxicated with his new status as cult leader. The film is based on the novel by Todd Strasser, which in turn was inspired by true events that took place in Palo Alto, California.