The Goalkeeper's Fear of the Penalty

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The Goalkeeper's Fear of the Penalty
Directed byWim Wenders
Produced by
Written by
Based onThe Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick
by Peter Handke
Music byJürgen Knieper
CinematographyRobby Müller
Edited byPeter Przygodda
Distributed byBauer International (U.S.)
Release date
  • 19 February 1972 (1972-02-19)
Running time
101 minutes
  • West Germany
  • Austria
BudgetDM 620,000 (estimated)

The Goalkeeper's Fear of the Penalty (German: Die Angst des Tormanns beim Elfmeter) is a 1972 German-language drama film directed by Wim Wenders. It is also known as The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick. It was adapted from the novel with the same title by Peter Handke.[1]


A goalkeeper is sent off during a game for dissent. He spends the night with a cinema cashier, whom he afterwards kills. Although a type of detective film, it is more slow moving and contemplative than other films of the genre. It explores the monotony of the murderer's existence and, like many of Wenders' films, the overwhelming cultural influence of America in post-war West Germany.

Origin of the title[edit]

Late in the movie, the goalkeeper and a traveling salesman attend a football game, and witness a penalty kick. The goalkeeper describes what it is like to face a penalty: should he dive to one side, and if he does will the kicker aim for the other? It is a psychological confrontation in which each tries to outfox the other. In parallel with this, the goalkeeper, rather than go on the run, has returned to his home town and is living in plain sight. He doesn't know if the police are looking for him in particular, and the police are not necessarily looking for someone who isn't trying to hide.


  1. ^ "Peter Handke". (in German). Deutsches Filminstitut. Retrieved 19 April 2012.

Further reading[edit]

  • Tibbetts, John C., and James M. Welsh, eds. The Encyclopedia of Novels Into Film (2nd ed. 2005) pp 153–155.

External links[edit]