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

Director:

Milos Forman

Writers:

Peter Shaffer (original stage play), Peter Shaffer (original screenplay)
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1,133 ( 33)
Top Rated Movies #82 | Won 8 Oscars. Another 33 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
F. Murray Abraham ... Antonio Salieri
Tom Hulce ... Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Elizabeth Berridge ... Constanze Mozart
Roy Dotrice ... Leopold Mozart
Simon Callow ... Emanuel Schikaneder
Christine Ebersole ... Katerina Cavalieri
Jeffrey Jones ... Emperor Joseph II
Charles Kay ... Count Orsini-Rosenberg
Kenneth McMillan ... Michael Schlumberg (2002 Director's Cut)
Kenny Baker ... Parody Commendatore
Lisbeth Bartlett Lisbeth Bartlett ... Papagena (as Lisabeth Bartlett)
Barbara Bryne Barbara Bryne ... Frau Weber
Martin Cavina Martin Cavina ... Young Salieri (as Martin Cavani)
Roderick Cook Roderick Cook ... Count Von Strack
Milan Demjanenko Milan Demjanenko ... Karl Mozart
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA | France | Czechoslovakia

Language:

English | Italian | Latin | German

Release Date:

19 September 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Amadeus: The Director's Cut See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$505,276, 23 September 1984, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$51,973,029
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby Digital (director's cut)| Dolby (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39:1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Milos Forman and Peter Shaffer spent four months adapting the very stylized play into a workable script. They added characters such as the priest, maid, archbishop, and mother-in-law; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's character was enlarged beyond Antonio Salieri's perceptions; and Salieri's monologues were reworked visually. See more »

Goofs

When the confessor is waiting to enter Salieri's door from the hallway of the asylum, there is a woman sitting with her back to him (and the camera) talking to a patient. She is wearing a red business suit jacket with obvious, 80's style, shoulder pads. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Antonio Salieri: Mozart! Mozart, forgive your assassin! I confess, I killed you...
See more »

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. See more »

Connections

References Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Don Giovanni, K527: Act II, Commendatore Scene
(uncredited)
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
True Gem for Movie and Music Fans
30 January 2007 | by miknnikSee 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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