A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous facade, there is revealed a person of intelligence and sensitivity.
Antonio Salieri believes that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's music is divine and miraculous. He wishes he was himself as good a musician as Mozart so that he can praise the Lord through composing. He began his career as a devout man who believes his success and talent as a composer are God's rewards for his piety. He's also content as the respected, financially well-off, court composer of Austrian Emperor Joseph II. But he's shocked to learn that Mozart is such a vulgar creature, and can't understand why God favored Mozart to be his instrument. Salieri's envy has made him an enemy of God whose greatness was evident in Mozart. He is ready to take revenge against God and Mozart for his own musical mediocrity. Written by
The play, on which the film is based, was first performed on November 2, 1979 at the National Theatre in London. See more »
Severals scenes show the use of stage smoke, which looks like it was created with dry ice. While dry ice was not achieved until the 1800s, stage smoke through other means is recorded to have been used for instance on the Globe Theater as early as in the 16th century. We might assume that the production crew used dry ice to portray the smoke to not foul up the sets with noxious smells from "genuine" 18th century stage smoke. See more »
Mozart! Mozart, forgive your assassin! I confess, I killed you...
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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. See more »
In 1984, Saul Zaentz, Peter Shaffer and Milos Forman collaborated in bringing a truly remarkable life to the silver screen. The story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, through the eyes of rival composer, Antonio Salieri. The film is complete with an insightful script (courtesy of Mr. Shaffer), magnificent acting, wondrous sets and costume designs, incredible choreography (thanks to Twyla Tharp), and, above all, the glorious music of Mozart himself.
The movie of Salieri's life, through which Mozart played an integral part, is told in flashback mode, beginning in around the year 1822. An old and perhaps emotionally disturbed Antonio Salieri attempts suicide, and in doing so, apologizes for killing Mozart some 31 years earlier. He survives and is admitted to an insane asylum, where he tells a young priest his tale of jealousy and mediocrity.
The priest is fascinated and alternately troubled by the lengthy and emotional story. Salieri tells of growing up in Italy with a father who did not care for music; and how he rejoiced for the chance to go to Vienna after his father's untimely death. He tells of how he first had met the young Mozart, and how immature and dirty minded Mozart was. He also tells of how "The Creature" had an intimate relationship with the girl that Salieri had cared for. Most importantly, however, he confided in the priest that he had learned to hate God for giving him a deep love of music, only to deny him the talent to create truly memorable music. He thought God had given him Mozart to mock him. Salieri's heart filled with such rage, such hatred and such jealousy, that he had vowed to himself to make God an enemy and to kill the young Mozart.
As the movie moves along, carrying with it a deep sadness of the human condition, it also celebrates life by giving the audience joyous music, wonderful atmosphere and a general appreciation of humanity for not only eighteenth century Europe, but in any age where music speaks for our emotions.
The movie won eight Academy Awards in March of 1985. The only reason it did not win nine was that Tom Hulce was nominated for best actor instead of best supporting actor. He actually was in a supporting role, and in a strange twist of irony, F. Murray Abraham won the best actor statuette; citing probably the only time when Salieri beat out Mozart in anything.
The movie itself was shot in Prague where Milos Forman said "(It) is a gem because it's possible to pivot the camera a full three hundred and sixty degrees and never encounter a modern vision." Very few new sets had to be built, as the scenes and buildings they found were quite often apropos to their needs.
Amadeus works well on virtually every cinematic plane that exists. It is a masterpiece that must be viewed multiple times to receive what the film has to offer. The emotions of humanity, through the eyes of the troubled Salieri, indeed speak for all of mediocrity. He is their champion and their king.
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