YMMV: The Wave
- Crowning Moment of Awesome: The Reveal of the program's true nature. In every adaption. Even the German one, despite it being the lead-up to a Downer Ending.
- Hilarious in Hindsight / Retroactive Recognition: The teacher in the 1981 film is played by Senator Kelly.
- Ho Yay: Robert volunteering to be Mr. Ross's bodyguard.
- Nightmare Fuel: Just think about it... it could have happened to you if you wouldn't have read this. On the other hand, it still could...
- Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Fascism can arise anywhere, even in places that think they're immune to it. Never say "it can't happen here," because it can, and if you don't remain vigilant, it will.
- The Man Is Sticking It to the Man: The film is now very popular with teachers to make their classes more interesting. This creates the unfortunate situation where one authority tells you to not listen to another authority. On the other hand, the moral of this film is not so much not to listen to authority as not to take the fact this authority is right for granted.
- The Woobie: Robert is rejected by all his peers, and the Wave is the only place where he can find acceptance and a sense of purpose. He doesn't take it well when he finds out that the whole thing was a Hitler Youth experiment, implying to him that the only thing he's good for is to become a fascist thug. (His Real Life counterpart got better, though.)