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Playoff (2011)

Playoff tells the story of legendary Israeli basketball coach Ralph Klein. He became a national hero, when he made Maccabi Tel Aviv into European Champions in the late Seventies, one of ... See full summary »


Eran Riklis
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Danny Huston ... Max Stoller
Amira Casar ... Deniz
Mark Waschke ... Axel
Max Riemelt ... Thomas
Hanns Zischler ... Franz
Selen Savas Selen Savas ... Sema
Smadi Wolfman ... Ronit (as Smadar Wolfman)
Andreas Eufinger Andreas Eufinger ... Ulrich
Mathias von Heydebrand Mathias von Heydebrand ... Dieter
Irm Hermann ... Bertha
Yehuda Almagor Yehuda Almagor ... Shimi
Volker Metzker Volker Metzker ... Reporter Taxi
Verena Wüstkamp Verena Wüstkamp ... Reporter - VIP Room
Oliver Klös Oliver Klös ... Cameraman
Steffen Müller Steffen Müller ... Reporter VIP


Playoff tells the story of legendary Israeli basketball coach Ralph Klein. He became a national hero, when he made Maccabi Tel Aviv into European Champions in the late Seventies, one of Israel's first great international sporting successes. But Max became a national traitor equally fast, when he then accepted the against-all-odds job of turning the totally hopeless West-German basketball team - of all people! - into European winners. Max always maintains that Germany - where he was born before the war - means nothing to him, and that training their national team is just another job on his path to NBA glory. But things aren't as simple as he refuses to speak German to the young players. The only person he seems to be able to relate to is a Turkish immigrant woman Deniz, and her cheeky teenage daughter Sema. Max just about falls in love with Deniz - and does succeed in reinventing the Germans as European champions. When he discovers what happened to his own family in the 1940s - it is ... Written by Egoli Tossell Film

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Sport




Germany | France | Israel


English | German | Turkish | Hebrew

Release Date:

24 November 2011 (Israel) See more »

Filming Locations:

Wiesbaden, Hessen, Germany

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Ein bisschen Frieden
Lyrics and Music by Ralph Siegel and Bernd Meinunger
Performed by Nicole Hohloch (as Nicole)
See more »

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User Reviews

A guide through international relations during the postwar era
11 March 2012 | by alex_jalilSee all my reviews

Playoff is not a movie about basketball; it's a movie about Israeli politics. The whole movie is an allegory, using basketball to deliver a political pro-Israel message. When watching the movie you shouldn't regard the characters as being different personalities instead you should see them as different nationalities and non-state actors. Max Stoller for an example is Israel. In -84 Israel needed support from West Germany in the cold war, that's why Stoller is back in Germany trying to convince them to cooperate. This is a touchy subject for Germans who fought for the Nazis or had relations with them. This role is played by Thomas whose father fought on the eastern front. Thomas still carries the beliefs of Nazi Germany and is therefore reluctant to collaborate with Israel (Max Stoller, the coach). In a game Thomas deliberately misses his chances to score, only to demonstrate his power over the Israel-West Germany cooperation. Later in the game he makes a turnabout and shows his agreeability. Deniz, the Turkish immigrant, plays the role of the new secular Turkey. In the beginning she is not sure if she can split up with the conservative Muslim Turkey and the Arabic nations who supports Palestine, this role is played by her neighbors (metaphoric first class). Max Stoller persuades her to break up with the conservatives and the Islamic countries which is symbolized in the car scene where she throws away her vile (islamic symbol) and join the western alliance. In the same scene, her rebellious daughter Sema(portrays the Turkish anti-Israel and secular youth) wakes up to a collaboration between Israel and Turkey. She now understands that an Israel-Turkey collaboration is okay and it is much better now, this is shown in happy daughter-mother scenes like the one when the play in the ocean. In the scene when Deniz(Turkey) offers him an intimate relationship, Max(Israel) declines and now Deniz understands that he(Israel) just use her to gain more allies in the neighborhood. Playoff deals with the conspiracy theory that Jews cooperated with Germans to acquire the land of Israel. This is shown when Thomas tells Stoller that "he's just another excuse" and that holocaust survivors exist so the world wouldn't forget. And Stoller denies it and responds that criminals like Thomas father must get punished. When West Germany (Thomas) and Israel (Stoller) at the end cooperate they defeat Italy (basketball team from Italy) and this shows how West Germany changes from being Nazis to Israel friendly and therefore they breaks up with their history and Italy. Italy is known for their fascism but in -84 they are ruled by a communist party and the movies message is that when Israel and West Germany collaborate they will fight and win against communism. Even though I don't agree with Eran Riklis(director)and despise how he portrays all Muslims as radicals, which is by the way understandable regarding his Israeli background, I enjoyed the movie because it made me reflect and analyze international relationships during the postwar era. It is in fact a very slanted movie but a movie that brings up political and historical issues to the table is mostly very good films.

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