F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge
Directed by Milos Forman
A jealous composer threatens to harm Mozart’s career while never actually coming out as his rival.
Mozart’s (Hulce) arrival in Vienna stirs some excitement among the emperor and his councilors, but his appearance is not what they expected. The emperor’s music composer, Salieri (Abraham), is struck by Mozart’s compositions, believing that Mozart is a vessel through which God shares music with. When Salieri meets a giggling, vulgar young man, he is repulsed and upset with God.
Despite Salieri’s attempts to ruin Mozart’s career, in the end it is his own compositions that are not well remembered. While Mozart spends most of his days writing opera’s, no one will hire him to give lessons. In the meantime, Mozart creates beautiful music and squanders his living on alcohol and parties. Salieri disguises himself and assigns a funeral march to Mozart, tempting him with money. Consumed with an obsession to finish the requiem, it drains all of his energy and he dies. Salieri lives with the guilt and thinks that he responsible for Mozart’s death.
Amadeus is an interesting take on the last decade of Mozart’s life. For a child prodigy, Mozart grew up to become a greedy and narcissistic man. The movie sees Mozart through Salieri’s eyes, who is jealous that a vulgar man like Mozart could have a connection with God. Every triumph of Mozart’s is like a slap in the face from God to Salieri, and he soon swears off religion.
Though the movie is quite lengthy, Amadeus is worth watching at least once. From the costumes to the setting of the Vienna palace and national theater, as well as Mozart’s compositions, it’s no wonder it won an Academy Award for best movie of the year (1984). It’s not historically accurate but it brings Mozart’s music to life with this wacky and wild representation of him.