1984 - USA - 158 min. - Feature, Color
Director Milos Forman
Genre/Type Comedy Drama, Musical Drama, Period Film, Biography [feature]
Set In 18th century
Cinematic Process Panavision
Sound by Dolby
Produced by Orion / Saul Zaentz Co.
Movie Review for LaserDisc LD:
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 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actor for F. Murray Abraham. --- Hal Erickson
Amadeus is a rarity: a dramatic film made by people who understood 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 acheivement as the film's director was bringing this music to millions who had never set foot inside of an opera house or theatre, with a passion and immediacy that could appeal to a much wider audience than just classical music enthusiasts. --- Rebecca Flint
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
Brian Pettifer - Hospital Attendant
Vincent Schiavelli - Salieri's Valet
Cynthia Nixon - Lorl
John Strauss - Conductor
Douglas Seale - Count Arco
Miroslav Sekera - Young Mozart
Karl-Heinz Teuber - Wig Salesman
Roderick Cook - Count Von Strack
Patrick Hines - Kappelmeister Bonno
Martin Cavani - Young Salieri
Jonathan Moore - Baron Van Swieten
Herman Meckler - Priest
Nicholas Kepros - Archbishop Colloredo
Philip Lenkowsky - Salieri's Servant
Milos Forman - Director
Michael Hausman - Producer / First Assistant Director / Executive Producer
Bertil Ohlsson - Producer / Executive Producer
Saul Zaentz - Producer
Peter Shaffer - Screenwriter / Play Author / Screen Story
Miroslav Ondrícek - Cinematographer
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Featured Music
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi - Featured Music
Michael Chandler - Editor
Nena Danevic - Editor
Patrizia Von Brandenstein - Production Designer
Karel Cerny - Art Director / Set Designer
Francesco Chianese - Art Director / Set Designer
John Strauss - Musical Direction/Supervision
Theodor Pistek - Costume Designer
Twyla Tharp - Choreography
Paul LeBlanc - Makeup
Dick Smith - Makeup
Chris Newman - Sound/Sound Designer / Sound Mixer
Neville Marriner - Conductor / Composer (Music Score) / Musical Direction/Supervision
Jan Schmidt - Second Unit Director
Best Actor (nom) Tom Hulce 1984 Academy
Best Actor (win) F. Murray Abraham 1984 Academy
Best Adapted Screenplay (win) Peter Shaffer 1984 Academy
Best Art Direction (win) Karel Cerny 1984 Academy
Best Art Direction (win) Patrizia Von Brandenstein 1984 Academy
Best Cinematography (nom) Miroslav Ondrícek 1984 Academy
Best Costume Design (win) Theodor Pistek 1984 Academy
Best Director (win) Forman, Milo 1984 Academy
Best Editing (nom) Nena Danevic 1984 Academy
Best Editing (nom) Michael Chandler 1984 Academy
Best Makeup (win) Dick Smith 1984 Academy
Best Makeup (win) Paul LeBlanc 1984 Academy
Best Picture (win) 1984 Academy
Best Sound (win) Chris Newman 1984 Academy
Best Sound (win) Tom Scott 1984 Academy
Best Sound (win) Mark Berger 1984 Academy
Best Sound (win) Todd Boekelheide 1984 Academy
Best Director Milos Forman 1984 Directors Guild of America
Best Foreign Film (win) Milos Forman 1984 French Academy of Cinema
Best Actor (win) F. Murray Abraham 1984 L.A. Film Critics Association
Best Director (win) Milos Forman 1984 L.A. Film Critics Association
Best Picture (win) 1984 L.A. Film Critics Association
Best Screenplay (win) Peter Shaffer 1984 L.A. Film Critics Association
Best Adapted Screenplay (nom) Peter Shaffer 1985 British Academy Awards
Best Cinematography (nom) Miroslav Ondrícek 1985 British Academy Awards
Best Costumes (nom) Theodor Pistek 1985 British Academy Awards
Best Film (nom) 1985 British Academy Awards
Best Production Design (nom) Patrizia Von Brandenstein 1985 British Academy Awards
Editing Award (nom) 1985 British Academy Awards
Makeup Award (nom) Dick Smith 1985 British Academy Awards
Sound Award (nom) Dick Smith 1985 British Academy Awards
Best Actor (Drama) (win) F. Murray Abraham 1985 Golden Globe
Best Actor (in Drama) (win) 1985 Golden Globe
Best Director (win) 1985 Golden Globe
Best Director (win) Milos Forman 1985 Golden Globe
Best Film (Drama) (win) 1985 Golden Globe
Best Film (in Drama) (win) 1985 Golden Globe
Best Screenplay (win) Peter Shaffer 1985 Golden Globe
Editing Award (nom) Michael Chandler 1986 British Academy Awards
100 Greatest American Movies (win) 1998 American Film Institute
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