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Amadeus (1984)

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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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Popularity
929 ( 289)
Top Rated Movies #81 | 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:

Everything you've heard is true. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

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

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 »

Quotes

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

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 »

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.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The Work and the Story (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Lacrimosa, Requiem Mass in D, K626
(uncredited)
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed by The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
Conducted by Neville Marriner
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A triumph of genius
9 September 2000 | by tombewSee all my reviews

"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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