Theatrical release poster by Peter Sís
Directed by Miloš Forman Produced by Saul Zaentz Screenplay by Peter Shaffer Based on Amadeus by Peter Shaffer Starring F. Murray Abraham
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Cinematography Miroslav Ondříček Editing by Michael Chandler Studio The Saul Zaentz Company Distributed by Orion Pictures (Original)
Warner Bros. (Current)
Release date(s) September 19, 1984 (1984-09-19) Running time 161 minutes Country United States Language English Budget $18,000,000 Box office $51,973,029
Amadeus is a 1984 period drama film directed by Miloš Forman and written by Peter Shaffer. Adapted from Shaffer's stage play Amadeus (1979), the story is based loosely on the lives of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri, two composers who lived in Vienna, Austria, during the latter half of the 18th century.
The film was nominated for 53 awards and received 40, including eight Academy Awards (including Best Picture), four BAFTA Awards, four Golden Globes, and a DGA Award. In 1998, the American Film Institute ranked Amadeus 53rd on its 100 Years... 100 Movies list.
- See the article Amadeus, about the stage play that the film is based on, for some notes on the historical accuracy of the script.
The story begins in 1823 as the elderly Salieri attempts suicide by slitting his throat while loudly begging forgiveness for having killed Mozart in 1791. Placed in a lunatic asylum for the act, Salieri is visited by a young priest who seeks to take his confession. Salieri is sullen and uninterested but eventually warms to the priest and launches into a long "confession" about his relationship with Mozart.
Salieri's tale goes on through the night and into the next day. He reminisces about his youth, particularly about his devotion to God and his love for music and how he pledges to God to remain celibate as a sacrifice if he can somehow devote his life to music. He describes how his father's plans for him were to go into commerce, but suggests that the sudden death of his father, who choked to death during a meal, was "a miracle" that allowed him to pursue a career in music. In his narrative, he is suddenly an adult joining the 18th century cultural elite in Vienna, the "city of musicians." Salieri begins his career as a devout, God-fearing man who believes his success and talent as a composer are God’s rewards for his piety. He is content as the court composer for Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II.
Mozart arrives in Vienna with his patron, Count Hieronymus von Colloredo, the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg. Salieri secretly observes Mozart at the Archbishop's palace, but they are not properly introduced. Salieri sees that offstage, Mozart is irreverent and lewd. He also first recognizes the immense talent displayed in the adult works of Mozart. In 1781, when Mozart meets the Emperor, Salieri presents Mozart with a "March of Welcome," which he toiled to create. After hearing the march only once, Mozart plays it from memory, critiques it, and effortlessly improvises a variation, transforming Salieri's "trifle" into the "Non più andrai" march from his 1786 opera The Marriage of Figaro.
Salieri reels at the notion of God speaking through the childish, petulant Mozart: nevertheless, he regards his music as miraculous. Gradually, Salieri’s faith is shaken. He believes that God, through Mozart's genius, is cruelly laughing at Salieri's own musical mediocrity. Salieri's struggles with God are intercut with scenes showing Mozart's own trials and tribulations with life in Vienna: pride at the initial reception of his music; anger and disbelief over his subsequent treatment by the Italians of the Emperor's court; happiness with his wife Constanze and his son Karl; and grief at the death of his father Leopold. Mozart becomes more desperate as the family's expenses increase and his commissions decrease. When Salieri learns of Mozart's financial straits, he sees his chance to avenge himself, using "God's Beloved" (the literal meaning of "Amadeus") as the instrument.
Salieri hatches a complex plot to gain ultimate victory over Mozart and God. He disguises himself in a mask and costume similar to one he saw Leopold wear at a party, and commissions Mozart to write a requiem mass, giving him a down payment and the promise of an enormous sum upon completion. Mozart begins to write the piece, the Requiem Mass in D minor, unaware of the true identity of his mysterious patron and oblivious of his murderous intentions. Glossing over any details of how he might commit the murder, Salieri dwells on the anticipation of the admiration of his peers and the court, when they applaud the magnificent Requiem, and he claims to be the music's composer. Only Salieri and God would know the truth—that Mozart wrote his own requiem mass, and that God could only watch while Salieri finally receives the fame and renown he deserves.
Mozart's financial situation worsens and the composing demands of the Requiem and The Magic Flute drive him to the point of exhaustion as he alternates work between the two pieces. Constanze leaves him and takes their son with her. His health worsens and he collapses during the premiere performance of The Magic Flute. Salieri takes the stricken Mozart home and convinces him to work on the Requiem. Mozart dictates while Salieri transcribes throughout the night. When Constanze returns in the morning, she tells Salieri to leave. Constanze locks the manuscript away despite Salieri's objections, but as she goes to wake her husband, Mozart is dead. The Requiem is left unfinished, and Salieri is left powerless as Mozart's body is hauled out of Vienna for burial in a pauper's mass grave.
The film ends as Salieri finishes recounting his story to the visibly shaken young priest. Salieri concludes that God killed Mozart rather than allow Salieri to share in even an ounce of his glory, and that he is consigned to be the "patron saint of mediocrity." Salieri absolves the priest of his own mediocrity and blesses his fellow patients as he is taken away in his wheelchair. The last sound heard before the credits roll is Mozart's high-pitched laughter.
- F. Murray Abraham as Antonio Salieri
- Tom Hulce as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
- Elizabeth Berridge as Constanze Mozart
- Roy Dotrice as Leopold Mozart
- Simon Callow as Emanuel Schikaneder
- Richard Frank as Father Vogler
- Christine Ebersole as Caterina Cavalieri
- Jeffrey Jones as Emperor Joseph II
- Charles Kay as Count Orsini-Rosenberg
- Cynthia Nixon as Lorl, Salieri's maid
- Roderick Cook as Count Von Strack
- Jonathan Moore as Baron van Swieten
- Patrick Hines as Kappelmeister Bonno
In his autobiography Beginning, Kenneth Branagh says that he was one of the finalists for the role of Mozart, but was dropped from consideration when Forman decided to make the film with an American cast. Hulce reportedly used John McEnroe's mood swings as a source of inspiration for his portrayal of Mozart's unpredictable genius.
Meg Tilly was cast as Mozart's wife Constanze, but she tore a ligament in her leg the day before shooting started. She was replaced by Elizabeth Berridge. Simon Callow, who played Mozart in the original London stage production of Amadeus, was cast as Emanuel Schikaneder, the librettist of The Magic Flute.
The film was shot on location in Prague, Kroměříž and Vienna. Notably, Forman was able to shoot scenes in the Count Nostitz Theatre in Prague, where Don Giovanni and La Clemenza di Tito debuted two centuries before. Several other scenes were shot at the Barrandov Studios.
In 1985, the film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, including the double nomination for Best Actor with Hulce and Abraham each being nominated for their portrayals of Mozart and Salieri, respectively. The film won eight Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Abraham), Best Director (Forman), Costume Design (Theodor Pištěk), Adapted Screenplay (Shaffer), Art Direction (Patrizia von Brandenstein), Best Makeup, and Best Sound. The film was nominated for but did not win Oscars for Best Cinematography and Best Editing. Amadeus, The English Patient and The Hurt Locker are the only Best Picture winners to never enter the weekend box office top 5 after rankings began being recorded in 1982. Amadeus peaked at #6 during its 8th weekend in theaters. Saul Zaentz produced both Amadeus and The English Patient.
The film was nominated for six Golden Globes (Hulce and Abraham were nominated together) and won four, including awards to Forman, Abraham, Shaffer, and Golden Globe Award for Best Picture — Drama. Jeffrey Jones was nominated for Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Drama. Forman also received the Directors Guild of America Award for his work.
At the end of the Oscar ceremony, Laurence Olivier came on stage to present the Oscar for Best Picture. As Olivier thanked the Academy for inviting him, he was already opening the envelope. Instead of announcing the nominees, he simply read, "The winner for this is ‘Amadeus’." An AMPAS official quickly went onstage to confirm the winner and signaled that all was well, before Olivier then presented the award to producer Saul Zaentz. Olivier (in his 78th year) had been ill for many years, and it was due to suffering from amnesia that he forgot to read the nominees. Zaentz then thanked Olivier, saying it was an honour to receive the award from him, before mentioning the other nominees in his acceptance speech: The Killing Fields, A Passage to India, Places in the Heart and A Soldier's Story. Maurice Jarre won the award for best original music score for his scoring of A Passage to India. In his acceptance speech for the award, Jarre remarked "I was lucky Mozart was not eligible this year".
 Alternate Versions
Amadeus premiered in 1984 as a PG-rated film with a running time of 161 minutes. In 2002, director Milos Forman introduced an R-rated version with nearly 20 minutes of restored footage. This version was dubbed by the studios as a Director's Cut. In the 1995 supplemental material for Pioneer's deluxe LaserDisc, Milos Forman had justified why those scenes were cut in the first place. However, in a subsequent 2002 interview with A.V. Club the director explains why the scenes were eventually restored:
Milos Forman on what prompted him to release the alternate version:
When you finish a film, before the first paying audience sees it, you don't have any idea. You don't know if you made a success or a flop, when it comes to the box office. And in the '80s, with MTV on the scene, we are having a three-hour film about classical music, with long names and wigs and costumes. Don't forget that no major studio wanted to finance the film, for these reasons. So we said, 'Well, we don't want to be pushing the audience's patience too far.' Whatever was not directly connected to the plot, I just cut out. But it was a mutual decision [to limit the running time]. I wanted the best life for the film myself...
Well, once we are re-releasing it on DVD, it doesn't matter if it is two hours and 40 minutes long, or three hours long. So why don't we do the version as it was written in the script?
 Popular culture
The film had an effect on popular music and continues to influence writers and musicians. One well-known example is "Rock Me Amadeus," by Austrian pop artist Falco, which was a hit in 1985. American rock band Fall Out Boy released a bonus track titled "From Now On We Are Enemies," which features lyrics that act as a conversation between Salieri and God. Finnish metal band Children of Bodom uses Salieri's quote, "From now on we are enemies... you and I..." as the introduction to their song "Warheart." The album Beyond Abilities by progressive metal band Warmen uses quotations from the film, and includes a track titled "Salieri Strikes Back." Warmen's later album Accept the Fact also uses a quote from Amadeus, and has a song called "Return of Salieri.". Also, the German Band Megaherz did a cover of Falco's song.
Abraham appears in the 1993 film Last Action Hero. The young boy, Danny, tells Arnold Schwarzenegger not to trust Abraham, because, "He killed Mozart!" Schwarzenegger asks, "In a movie?" Danny responds, "Amadeus! It won eight Oscars!"
Amadeus has been parodied several times, including in episodes of The Simpsons ("Margical History Tour"), Freakazoid, Mr. Show, 30 Rock ("Succession"), How I Met Your Mother ("The Best Burger in New York"), and Family Guy ("It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One").
- The Choruses
- Academy Chorus of St Martin In The Fields, conducted by Laszlo Heltay
- Ambrosian Opera Chorus, conducted by John McCarthy
- The Choristers of Westminster Abbey, conducted by Simon Preston
- Instrumental soloists
- Parody backgrounds
- Caro mio ben by Giuseppe Giordani
- Michele Esposito, soprano
 Original soundtrack album
(all composed by Mozart except as noted)
- Disc One
- Symphony No. 25 in G minor, K 183, 1st movement
- Stabat Mater: Quando Corpus Morietur and Amen (Pergolesi – performed by the Choristers of Westminster Abbey, directed by Simon Preston)
- Early 18th Century Gypsy Music: Bubak and Hungaricus
- Serenade for Winds, K. 361, 3rd movement
- The Abduction from the Seraglio, Turkish Finale
- Symphony No. 29 in A, K 201, 1st movement
- Concerto for Two Pianos, K. 365, 3rd movement
- Mass in C minor, K. 427, Kyrie (Mozart)
- Symphonie Concertante, K. 364, 1st movement
- Disc Two
- Piano Concerto in E flat, K. 482, 3rd movement
- The Marriage of Figaro, Act III, Ecco la Marcia
- The Marriage of Figaro, Act IV, Ah Tutti Contenti
- Don Giovanni, Act II, Commendatore scene
- Zaide aria, Ruhe Sanft
- Requiem, K. 626, Introitus (orchestra introduction)
- Requiem: Dies Irae
- Requiem: Rex Tremendae Majestatis
- Requiem: Confutatis
- Requiem: Lacrimosa
- Piano Concerto in D minor, K. 466, 2nd movement
The original soundtrack to Amadeus reached #56 on Billboard's album charts, making it one of the most popular recordings of classical music ever. All of the tracks were composed by Mozart, save an early Hungarian folk tune and the final movement Quando Corpus Morietur et Amen by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, from his famous Stabat Mater.
The film features some music that is not included on the original soundtrack album release. As stated above, except where specified, all tracks were performed by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, conducted by Sir Neville Marriner, and all were performed specifically for use in the film. According to the film commentary by Forman and Schaffer, Marriner agreed to score the film if Mozart's music was completely unchanged from Mozart's original scores. Marriner did add some notes to Salieri's music that are noticeable in the beginning of the film, as Salieri begins his confession.
Music featured in the film but not included on the soundtrack album (but included in a later extended version):
- The Magic Flute, Queen of the Night aria Der Hölle Rache performed by June Anderson
- The Magic Flute, Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen... (Papageno), and Pa-pa-gena! ... Pa-pa-geno! (Papageno and Papagena) performed by Brian Kay and Gillian Fisher
- Axur, Re d'Ormus, Son queste le speranze... Salieri's opera shown in the beginning of the film
- Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Martern aller Arten... First opera that Mozart conducts in the film
- Le Nozze Di Figaro, Cinque...dieci...venti...trenta... The scene where Figaro (Samuel Ramey) is measuring a space for his wedding bed
- Don Giovanni, La Ci Darem La Mano appears as a parody sung as "Give me a hoof my darling, and I'll give you my heart"
- Piano Concerto in D minor, K. 466 2nd movement
- K.33B Harpsichord piece in F major, played when Mozart is a child at the harpsichord, then on the violin (while blindfolded).
- Piano Concerto No.15 KV.450, B-dur – 3. Allegro, played in the Theatrical version when Mozart is walking through Vienna carrying a bottle of champagne, and in the Director's Cut when Mozart is teaching a girl to play the piano and is interrupted by barking dogs.
- The 'improvisation', "in the manner of Johann Sebastian Bach" is based on the Duetto Vivat Bacchus! from Die Entführung aus dem Serail.
 Awards and nominations
 United States
- Best Actor in a Leading Role (F. Murray Abraham)
- Best Adapted Screenplay (Peter Shaffer)
- Best Art Direction (Karel Černý and Patrizia von Brandenstein)
- Best Costume Design (Theodor Pištěk)
- Best Picture
- Best Director (Miloš Forman)
- Best Makeup (Dick Smith and Paul LeBlanc)
- Best Sound Mixing (Mark Berger, Thomas Scott, Todd Boekelheide and Christopher Newman)
- Won (4)
- Won (4)
- Won (1)
- Best Edited Feature Film (Nena Danevic and Michael Chandler)
- Won (1)
- Best Casting for Feature Film (Mary Goldberg)
- Won (1)
- Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures (Miloš Forman)
- Won (1)
- Best Actor (F. Murray Abraham)
- Won (1)
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains:
- Villain – Antonio Salieri
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes:
- Emperor Joseph II: "There are simply too many notes."
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition)
 United Kingdom
- Won (4)
- Best Actor (F. Murray Abraham)
- Best Costume Design (Theodor Pištěk)
- Best Film (Miloš Forman and Saul Zaentz)
- Best Production Design (Patrizia von Brandstein)
- Best Screenplay — Adapted (Peter Shaffer)
- Won (3)
- Best Director – Foreign Film (Miloš Forman)
- Best Foreign Actor (Tom Hulce)
- Best Foreign Film
- Won (2)
- Best Actor — Foreign Film (Tom Hulce)
- Best Director — Foreign Film (Miloš Forman)
- Won (1)
- Won (1)
- Amanda awards
- Won (1)
- Best Foreign Feature Film
- ^ Branagh, Kenneth (1990). Beginning. New York: Norton. pp. 105–109. ISBN 978-0-393-02862-1. OCLC 20669813.
- ^ a b The Making of Amadeus. DVD. Warner Bros Pictures, 2001. 20 min.
- ^ The English Patient weekend box office results, BoxOfficeMojo.com
- ^ Amadeus weekend box office results, BoxOfficeMojo.com
- ^ The Hurt Locker weekend box office results, BoxOfficeMojo.com
- ^ Olivier, by Terry Coleman, 2005, p 484
- ^ "Academy Awards Acceptance Speeches". Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. 1985-03-25. http://aaspeechesdb.oscars.org/ics-wpd/exec/icswppro.dll?AC=qbe_query&TN=AAtrans&RF=WebReportPermaLink&MF=oscarsmsg.ini&NP=255&BU=http://aaspeechesdb.oscars.org/index.htm&QY=find+acceptorlink+%3d057-17. Retrieved 2011-02-24.
- ^ Sharon Waxman (March 21, 1999). "The Oscar Acceptance Speech: By and Large, It's a Lost Art". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/movies/oscars/speeches.htm.
- ^ A.V. Club Interview with Milos Forman April 24, 2002
- ^ Fox, Margalit (2011-02-17). "John Strauss, Composer of ‘Car 54’ Theme, Dies at 90". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/18/arts/television/18strauss.html. Retrieved 2011-02-24.
- ^ "The 57th Academy Awards (1985) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. http://www.oscars.org/awards/academyawards/legacy/ceremony/57th-winners.html. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
- ^ "NY Times: Amadeus". NY Times. http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/1764/Amadeus/awards. Retrieved 2009-01-01.
 External links
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Amadeus
- Amadeus at the Internet Movie Database
- Amadeus at the TCM Movie Database
- Amadeus at AllRovi
- Amadeus at Rotten Tomatoes
- Amadeus at Box Office Mojo
- Analysis of Amadeus – the play and the film
- Amadeus The script.
Jan 25, 2012
The origin of "From Now On We Are Enemies"(....you and I)