Antonio Salieri believes that Mozart's music is divine. He wishes he was himself as good a musician as Mozart so that he can praise the Lord through composing. But he can't understand why God favored Mozart, such a vulgar creature, to be his instrument. Salieri's envy has made him an enemy of God whose greatness was evident in Mozart. He is set to take revenge. Written by
F. Murray Abraham originally sought for the small role of Rosenberg. During one audition session, Milos Forman asked him to read for the part of the old Salieri. His reading was so good that Forman has already had in mind of him playing the lead role but deliberately stopped short of saying "you got the part" because Forman knew that casting him for that would clash with his work on Scarface (1983), so he deliberately waited until he nearly completed all his scenes. A few days later, Forman asked Abraham to do the same reading for a few more audition sessions, but his refusal to do so eventually convinced Forman to cast him because he felt Abraham "could be a great actor if there are no breaks in between." See more »
Josef II's title was Holy Roman Emperor, not Emperor of Austria as Antonio Salieri states. The empire of Austria was proclaimed in 1804, but the Habsburgs were often called Austrian Emperor before this year. See more »
Mozart! Mozart, forgive your assassin! I confess, I killed you...
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"Amadeus", while historically inaccurate in numerous ways, is a brilliant film. Its central character is not a man but an attribute of man at his most remarkable: genius. Mozart's genius was at the highest level, on par with Shakespeare, Michelangelo and Balanchine. Forman knew this when he undertook translating Peter Shaffer's play. Although most of the acting is on a very high plane, the actors themselves are not top tier, not should they be. A famous, easily recognizable actor would have detracted from the central thesis that genius is greater than the one on whom it has been entrusted. Mozart was, of course, deeper than the character shown in the movie, but no personal life could equal the extent and depth of the musical genius that flowed from this little man. The letters he sent to his father show a remarkable sensitivity and depth of understanding. However, they are not paradigms of literary greatness. The immense contribution of W. A. Mozart lay in some of the most sublime music ever written. Fortunately, the film gave us snippets of some of the real gems in the Mozart canon: the great C Minor Mass, the Requiem and "Don Giovanni". Forman realized that no human being will ever be great enough or have the background to pen such masterpieces without intervention from elsewhere. This is certainly true of Shakespeare as well. So what we have here, ultimately, is a celebration of genius, that great gift to mankind that nearly always proves to be too much for the person who is chosen to manifest it to the rest of us. Many thanks to Milos Forman for the wisdom to keep out of the way and allow genius to shine through. In that sense, "Amadeus" is an exercise in humility. Few films come across as blessings for those who experience them. "Amadeus" is one such film.
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