Amadeus

Amadeus

4.5 51
Director: Milos Forman

Cast: F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge

     
 

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For this film adaptation of Peter Shaffer's Broadway hit, director Milos Forman returned to the city of Prague that he'd left behind during the Czech political crises of 1968, bringing along his usual cinematographer and fellow Czech expatriate, Miroslav Ondricek.See more details below

Overview

For this film adaptation of Peter Shaffer's Broadway hit, director Milos Forman returned to the city of Prague that he'd left behind during the Czech political crises of 1968, bringing along his usual cinematographer and fellow Czech expatriate, Miroslav Ondricek. Amadeus is an expansion of a Viennese "urban legend" concerning the death of 18th-century musical genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. From the vantage point of an insane asylum, aging royal composer Salieri (F. Murray Abraham) recalls the events of three decades earlier, when the young Mozart (Tom Hulce) first gained favor in the court of Austrian emperor Joseph II (Jeffrey Jones). Salieri was incensed that God would bless so vulgar and obnoxious a young snipe as Mozart with divine genius. Why was Salieri--so disciplined, so devoted to his art, and so willing to toady to his superiors--not touched by God? Unable to match Mozart's talent, Salieri uses his influence in court to sabotage the young upstart's career. Disguising himself as a mysterious benefactor, Salieri commissions the backbreaking "Requiem," which eventually costs Mozart his health, wealth, and life. Among the film's many pearls of dialogue, the best line goes to the Emperor, who rejects a Mozart composition on the grounds that it has "too many notes." Amadeus won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actor for F. Murray Abraham. In 2002, the film received a theatrical re-release as "Amadeus: The Director's Cut," a version that includes 22 minutes of additional footage.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
The most searing exploration of artistic jealousy ever put on screen, this magnificent adaptation of Peter Shaffer's award-winning play dramatizes the tempestuous relationship between Viennese court composer Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham in his Oscar-winning characterization) and brilliant upstart Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce). The starchily formal Salieri, an adroit court politician but a mediocre composer bitterly resents the irrepressible young Mozart -- not only because he's a vulgar hedonist and a buffoon but because he's a musical genius with whom the older musician is incapable of competing. The idea that God could bestow such a gift upon so inferior a being drives Salieri literally to madness. Hulce's Mozart has a primal drive and flair for showmanship -- an 18th century rock star -- and together, he and Abraham generate fireworks that more than justify the critical acclaim that helped the picture snag eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture. A visually sumptuous production shot in Prague and expensively mounted with meticulous attention to period detail, Amadeus is a real treat for the eyes, and, of course, the music is celestial. Best of all, though, is the way director Milos Forman (Ragtime) turns Shaffer's literate, incisive script into a film bursting with raucous energy. Classical music was never less stodgy.
All Movie Guide
Amadeus is a rarity: a dramatic film made by people who understand music as much as filmmaking. A celebration of music and genius, the film exults over Mozart's seemingly divine creations even as it refuses to canonize the man behind them. Instead, the decision to tell the story from Salieri's point-of-view provides a justly critical portrait of Mozart, and in so doing so it provides a commentary on genius that mines trenchant insight from resolute objectivity. That Mozart's music is beyond reproach is never called into doubt; likewise, that the man himself could be utterly reproachful is also beyond question. Paradox is at the film's core, both in the presentation of Mozart and his music, and in the character of Salieri, who managed to be both Mozart's greatest fan and most punishing detractor. In making this sort of paradox its central theme, Amadeus is one of the most illuminating pictures of genius ever committed to celluloid. Part of its brilliance lies in its principal performances: in Tom Hulce's Mozart, we see a man equally un-self-conscious about his genius and his vulgarity, and in F. Murray Abraham's Oscar-winning Salieri, we see the tragedy that results from the inability of talent to live up to desire. These performances are lavishly complemented by the music in question, a forceful character in its own right. Part of Forman's great achievement as the film's director was bringing this music to millions who had never set foot inside of an opera house or a theater, with a passion and immediacy that could appeal to a much wider audience than just classical music enthusiasts.

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Product Details

Release Date:
02/10/2009
UPC:
0883929036882
Original Release:
1984
Rating:
PG
Source:
Warner Home Video
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
3:00:00
Sales rank:
44,038

Special Features

Commentary by director Milos Forman and writer Peter Shaffer; The Making of Amadeus documentary; Theatrical trailer; Bonus Disc: Special CD Compilation featuring more glorius Mozart music

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
F. Murray Abraham Antonio Salieri
Tom Hulce Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Elizabeth Berridge Constance Mozart
Simon Callow Emanuel Schikaneder
Roy Dotrice Leopold Mozart
Christine Ebersole Katerina Cavalieri
Jeffrey Jones Emperor Joseph II
Charles Kay Count Orsini-Rosenberg
Kenny Baker Parody Comendatore
Lisbeth Bartlett Papagena
Barbara Byrne Frau Weber
John Strauss Conductor
Martin Cavani Young Salieri
Roderick Cook Count Von Strack
Patrick Hines Kappelmeister Bonno
Nicholas Kepros Archbishop Colloredo
Philip Lenkowsky Salieri's Servant
Herman Meckler Priest
Jonathan Moore Baron Van Swieten
Cynthia Nixon Lorl
Brian Pettifer Hospital Attendant
Vincent Schiavelli Salieri's Valet
Douglas Seale Count Arco
Miroslav Sekera Young Mozart
Karl-Heinz Teuber Wig Salesman
Gil Amelio Actor
Kenneth McMillan Actor
Dana Vávrová Actor
Neville Marriner Conductor

Technical Credits
Milos Forman Director
Patrizia Von Brandenstein Production Designer
Karel Cerny Art Director,Set Decoration/Design
Michael Chandler Editor
Francesco Chianese Art Director,Set Decoration/Design
Nena Danevic Editor
Dick Smith Makeup
Michael Hausman Asst. Director,Executive Producer
Paul LeBlanc Makeup
Neville Marriner Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Chris Newman Sound Mixer,Sound/Sound Designer
Bertil Ohlsson Executive Producer
Miroslav Ondrícek Cinematographer
Theodor Pistek Costumes/Costume Designer
Peter Shaffer Original Story,Screenwriter
John Strauss Musical Direction/Supervision
Twyla Tharp Choreography
Saul Zaentz Producer

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