Amadeus (1984)

R   |    |  Biography, Drama, History


Amadeus (1984) Poster

The life, success and troubles of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, as told by Antonio Salieri, the contemporaneous composer who was insanely jealous of Mozart's talent and claimed to have murdered him.


8.3/10
374,403

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Cast & Crew

Top Billed Cast



Director:

Milos Forman

Writers:

Peter Shaffer (original stage play), Peter Shaffer (original screenplay)

Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


1 April 2002 | DRIAINCLARK
Ravishing in sound and vision
The unseen star of this film is the Academy of St Martin's in the Field, London. Buy the soundtrack and you will be rewarded with some of the most stunning music you can hear. Mozart's music excells with brilliant treatment and dies with a bad performance. And that, after all, is what the film is about. Without his music, Mozart would be lost in time, a fate that the narrator of the story, the composer Salieri, saw as his own. Ironically, while Salieri has indeed been completely overshadowed by Mozart, his music still survives and has its followers.

But beyond the music this is an outstanding film. Set in the prettiest and most flamboyant century of the last millennium, it is visually stunning and the writer's portrayal of jealousy is perceptive. The casting of the Austrian King and courtiers, (indeed all the actors in this film) that Mozart needed to impress capture the gentility and courtesy of the time, and also subtly shows their growing indignation and impatience at Mozart's personality and behaviour; the presentation of Mozart as punk musician is probably the only failing in the film. As a theatrical device to show that genius can come in disastrous packages it succeeds well, but anyone with any historic sense of social ettiquette or manners will know that Mozart's sill y behaviour would be well wide of the truth, as might, perhaps, be the concept of Salieri as murderer-in-chief. Only in the final scenes is Mozart's brilliance as a composer truly explored in what amounts to a deconstruction of his final composition - his moving, uncompleted and poignant Requiem mass.

Another unintended star in this film are the candle lit sets and theatres of the 18th Century; their operas and drama ooze a magic that is lacking in the present world and which modern producers might well try to reintroduce; so lovely are these buildings with their flickering lights and theatrical techniques that one is left desperate to to seek out these rare theatres to experience them.

This film leaves one breathless from its visual beauty, its magnificent score and the choreography, indeed, of the two together. Mozart's life had the air of tragedy, and his undoubted genius speaks to us now and forever. This film is a monument to the skills of the writer, maker, performers and, of course, Mozart's music. If you have not yet done so, see it.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Fourth-billed actor Simon Callow's first appearance is 81 minutes into the film.


Quotes

Antonio Salieri: Mozart! Mozart, forgive your assassin! I confess, I killed you...


Goofs

At the beginning of the film, Salieri plays for the priest on what looks like a harpsichord, yet the sound produced is of a piano. This is not a goof. The instrument is in fact a pianoforte, which is also played by both the Emperor and Mozart at their first meeting. The pianoforte bridged the gap between the harpsichord of the 18th century and the grand piano of the late 19th century.


Crazy Credits

The producer, screenplay writer and director thank the following for their boundless assistance in our effort to present the physical authenticity and aura you have seen and felt in "Amadeus": -The National Theatre of Czechoslovakia and Prague's Tyl Theatre management for allowing us to film in the Tyl sequences from the operas: "Abduction from the Seraglio," "The Marriage of Figaro," and "Don Giovanni." It was actually in this magnificently preserved theatre that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart conducted the premiere performance of "Don Giovanni" on October 29, 1787. -His Eminence Cardinal Frantisek Tomasek for his kindness in permitting us to use his beautiful residence headquarters in Prague as the Emperor's palace. -The Barrandov Studios and CS Filmexport for their help in filming "Amadeus" in Prague and in castles and palaces throughout Czechoslovakia.


Alternate Versions

The director's cut (2002) adds the following scenes (twenty minutes in total):

  • When Salieri talks of his initial success in Vienna, a section has been added where Salieri describes how he believed God had accepted his vow, and how he honored it, working hard and often for free, while staying chaste.
  • When Salieri describes his first impression of Mozart's music to the priest, a shot has been added, where Salieri expresses his denial, saying that the music couldn't be anything but an "accident".
  • After the performance of "Die Entführung aus dem Serail", the scene has been extended after Caterina Cavalieri storms off of the stage, with Wolfgang getting a bucket of water and throwing over Frau Weber. After that a scene has been added where Salieri and Mozart visits Cavalieri in her lodge. Caterina throws some surly remarks about Constanze before she too comes and asks that she and Mozart go home. Mozart walks out on Caterina, and the scene goes to Salieri saying that he knew Mozart "had had her".
  • When Salieri asks "What was God up to?", the monologue has been extended, with Salieri speculating that it might be a test by God.
  • After Salieri admits to have started to hate Mozart, a shot has been inserted of Salieri praying, asking that Mozart be sent to Salzburg. This is immediately followed by the shot of the archbishop telling Leopold that he won't take Mozart back.
  • After Mozart refuses to submit his work for the royal appointment, a scene has been added showing Wolfgang and Constanze arguing. This establishes that the couple is in need of money.
  • When Constanze goes to visit Salieri in secret, the scene has been extended, starting with Salieri teaching a student.
  • The biggest addition comes after Constanze asks if Salieri will help them; instead of just walking out on her, he says says that she must come to his place, alone in the evening, strongly implying they must have sex for him to recommend Mozart's on the committee.
  • The scene switches to Salieri praying at his clavichord as Constanze arrives. She begins to undress, with Salieri looking shocked. When she is half-nude, Salieri calls in his valet and tells him to escort Constanze out. Humiliated and furious she throws a candelabra after him. Wolfgang finds Constanze crying in bed at home. This explains why Constanze is so eager to throw Salieri out of her home at the end of the movie.
  • Another large section is added where Salieri implies to the emperor that Mozart has been molesting young female students. This results in someone else getting the royal appointment. Mozart comes to see Salieri, receiving the news. Mozart asks Salieri for a loan, again establishing that he needs money. Salieri recommends Mozart give lessons to a Herr Schlumberg's daughter. The lesson however turns out a major frustration for Mozart, with Herr Schlumberg's dogs howling and causing a ruckus.
  • A scene has been added where Salieri and Baron Van Swieten discuss Mozart's financial difficulties. This is followed by a shot of a drunken Mozart again visiting Herr Schlumberg, asking if he may give lessons and - when denied - asks for a loan. That request is denied as well.


Soundtracks

Axur, Re d'Ormus: Finale
(1788) (uncredited)
Music by
Antonio Salieri
Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte
Performed by The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields (as Academy of St Martin In The Fields)
Conducted by Neville Marriner

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Biography | Drama | History | Music

Details

Release Date:

19 September 1984

Language

English, Italian, Latin, German


Country of Origin

USA, France, Czechoslovakia, Italy

Filming Locations

Tyl Theatre, Plzen, Czech Republic

Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$505,276 23 September 1984

Gross USA:

$51,973,029

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$52,066,791

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