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Amadeus (1984)

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The incredible story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, told by his peer and secret rival Antonio Salieri - now confined to an insane asylum.



(original stage play), (original screenplay)
940 ( 120)
Top Rated Movies #82 | Won 8 Oscars. Another 33 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Schlumberg (2002 Director's Cut)
Parody Commendatore
Lisbeth Bartlett ...
Papagena (as Lisabeth Bartlett)
Barbara Bryne ...
Martin Cavina ...
Young Salieri (as Martin Cavani)
Roderick Cook ...
Milan Demjanenko ...
Karl Mozart


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 Khaled Salem

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The man... The music... The madness... The murder... The motion picture... See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:


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Release Date:

19 September 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amadeus: The Director's Cut  »


Box Office


$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$505,276, 23 September 1984, Limited Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (director's cut)| (35 mm prints)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The sets and costumes from the film were also used in Vergeßt Mozart (1985). See more »


Schikaneder has Mozart play the party theme in the style of Johann Sebastian Bach, which the Viennese party crowd clearly recognizes. Although Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was fond of Bach's work which he knew through his friendship with the composer's son, Bach's name and music would have been wholly unknown in the Vienna of the 1780s. Bach's music fell out of favor with performers, shortly after his death in 1750, and was revived only when Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy promoted and popularized his work around 1830. See more »


[first lines]
Antonio Salieri: Mozart! Mozart, forgive your assassin! I confess, I killed you...
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Crazy Credits

"Amadeus" was originally a National Theater Production in London, then produced in America by The Shubert Organization, Elizabeth I. McCann/Nelle Nugent and Roger Berlind. See more »


Mass in C Minor, K. 427: Kyrie
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

True Gem for Movie and Music Fans
30 January 2007 | by See all my reviews

I'd like to point out a few facts before I review the movie. First of all, Mozart died at home surrounded by his family, pupil and a priest. Secondly, the plot of Amadeus is not exactly original. Rimsky-Korsakov wrote a short opera called "Mozart and Salieri" with the bare bones of the story and the identical characterization of the two composers, and he used Pushkin's drama for the libretto. So, the rumor that Salieri killed Mozart has been around for almost a couple of centuries though we all know there isn't an iota of veracity in it.

That being said, Peter Shaffer's movie adaptation of his own play is still an astounding achievement. Have you ever seen a movie based on your favorite book and come out of the movie theater rather disappointed though the film version faithfully followed the storyline of the book? Amadeus is definitely not one of those movies. Shaffer clearly understands the difference between stage and film; the story is more elaborate in the movie, and some of the lengthy lines are replaced with more subtle images and close-ups.

I'm often surprised to find that people don't get that Amadeus is the story of the fictionalized character, Antonio Salieri, not the real one, who adored Mozart's music but hated everything else about him. In other words, the movie viewers are seeing Mozart through Salieri's eyes. Needless to say, his view is rather slanted. If you have read Shaffer's original play, you probably remember he describes Mozart's laugh 'grating.' In the film, this annoying laugh becomes more symbolic. Though Salieri speaks in front of a Catholic priest, he is actually having a one-sided discourse with God. At one point, he declares, "One day, I will laugh at you. Before I leave this earth, I will laugh at you." But as he is wheeled out of his room by an aide at the asylum, what we hear is that screeching laugh of Mozart--or is it? It becomes obvious as we watch that this movie is called Amadeus because that's what Salieri wished to be--God's beloved.

The movie might give some viewers who don't know much about Mozart a wrong impression that he was a cad, and it gives incorrect information on some of his music (e.g.; the count in The Marriage of Figaro sings "Contessa perdono" AFTER he learns that the woman dressed in the maid's clothes is his own wife. There's no mistaken identity here. Read the title of the song--Countess, forgive me!), but these are minor offenses. Though I am a die-hard Mozart fan, I can laugh at tongue-in-cheek references to Amadeus in other movies. My favorite? In Guarding Tess, a secret service agent tells his partner, "He (Mozart)'s a jerk. One day, a guy shows up with a mask, and he drops dead."

What's not to like about Amadeus? The tale Peter Shaffer tells is gripping, the actors are first- rate, and, of course, there's music. The selection of Mozart's music in the movie is excellent; you can truly enjoy the beauty of his music no matter how much or how little you know about it. In case you are wondering, a little tune Mozart plays on his back and hands crossed as a penalty at a party is Viva Bacchus from The Abduction from the Seraglio, a duet for Pedrillo and Osmin. Pedrillo, while singing this song, is trying to get Osmin, the harem guard, drunk to help his master rescue his true love. No wonder Schikaneder calls it 'our song.' And the improvised version of Salieri's welcome march is actually a famous song, Non piu andrai farfallone amoroso, from The Marriage of Figaro.

As I said, I'm a huge Mozart fan, so my rating may be somewhat biased, but what the heck, I gladly give ten stars to Amadeus. I watched it close to a hundred times over the years, and it still gives me a great pleasure every time I see (and hear) it.

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