Celebrating B Movies, Cult Films, and Indie Classics.

Amadeus (1984)

by  |  August 11th, 2011  |  Drama, Musical

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 -1791).  When he was still alive Mozart was considered to be a child prodigy… Today I think it is pretty safe to say that Mozart is one of the most famous Musician/Composers in history!

I mean very few musicians or composers for that matter have been able to maintain the level of popularity with any crowds in this day and age like he has… Now I am by no means an expert when it comes to classical music, but from what I know of, besides Mozart, the only other ones that have really been able to pull this feat off rather nicely that I know of would be Beethoven or Bach…

Now sadly it is true that I can honestly say that I really am not very knowledgeable in classical music in general the one composer that I can say that I generally have some knowledge of is Mozart. The reason being is that growing up, one of the musician’s that my Dad was (and may still be a fan of) is Mozart, so much so that since a young age I have rather enjoyed his work as well (as a matter of fact one of my favorite compositions that Mozart did is his ‘Requiem Mass in D Minor.)

With that said, one of the pieces all though fictionalized that I found to be rather fascinating and have at this point seen in just about every form of movie out there is the movie, Amadeus (1984):

Written by: Peter Shaffer (Equus) and Directed by: Milos Forman (Valmont).  Starring: Thomas Hulce (Animal House), F. Murray Abraham (Scarface), Elizabeth Berridge (Silence Of The Heart), Patrick Hines (Bloodrage) and Charles Kay (The Life And Death Of King John).

This movie which is based on the play that was also written by Peter Shaffer tells the story of Antonio Salieri (Abraham), whom as a younger man had been one of the most popular composer/musicians in Europe in the 1700s, but how in his old age, the guilt that he felt for the damage that he did to some one who should have been his compatriot and friend has driven him insane…

Salieri after he is driven mad by guit from what he did to Mozart!

What I mean by this is that the movie starts off with a couple of Salieri’s assistants finding Salieri in his bed chambers having slit his own neck…  Now after the failed suicide attempt, Salieri is taken to the local insane asylum with his neck wound attended to…

Now the next day of course is when a Priest is brought in so that Salieri can confess to his part in the down fall of Mozart!

And Salieri begins to relate the tale of Mozart’s life in comparison to his own with such examples of how Mozart and his father were traveling to various kingdom’s and played for royalty all over the world. While Salieri was denied the opportunity to even learn to play by his own father… That was until his father died that is…

With that said after that Salieri eventually moved to Vienna and became Emperor Joseph II’s court composer, as well as one of the most famous composers in Europe at that time…

Now during this time Mozart (Hulce), who was under contract by the Archbishop of Salzburg, is now a young music prodigy who never the less is very spoiled and almost could be considered a Hyperactive child.

Amadeus (Hulce) wooing his soon to be wife Constanze (Berridge)

At one point the Archbishop has arranged for a party in which Mozart is supposed to be able to show case his talent.  But while the musicians have been ordered to play with out Mozart (due to Mozart being late for his own show,) Mozart is actually chasing the daughter of his landlady by the name of Constanze Berridge (with whom he will eventually marry.)

Now watching all of this from the sidelines is Salieri who later on will be in the conversation with Emperor Joseph when Emperor Joseph decides to commission Mozart to come to Vienna to create an opera…

Now with Mozart in Vienna and getting a whole lot of attention from the Royal Court. Salieri and Mozart will head down a path together that will ultimately find Salieri both befriending and hating to the point of actually plotting Mozart’s down fall!

Salieri who is helping Mozart finish his last opera piece.

With that said, what I liked about this movie, and what I found makes this a truly incredible forgotten classic is a couple of things:

1. I really do think that this movie (despite being fictional) really did right by the memory of Mozart, by not just show casing his music but by show casing who the man was, and the people that he ultimately ended up associating with!

2. Another element that I liked was the cast… This actually happens to be the first movie that I ever saw with F. Murray Abraham, Thomas Hulce, or Jeffrey Jones, and so I gotta say that it was a fond walk down memory lane for me!

3. The next thing that I gotta say that I really liked about this movie is the story! From everything I know about this movie, it seems like Amadeus had a lot elements of Mozart and his, life, and sadly I don’t know how much is based in ficition and how much was based in reality, but I gotta say, ‘Hot Damn, if the story in this movie was not only powerful but gripping as well!’

4. I thought that you guys might find it interesting that actor Simon Callow (who played Emmanuel Schikaneder in the movie) had actually played Mozart in the original 1979 play!

5. Also I found this interesting, but the sets for the opera scenes were actually re-productions taken directly from sketches made during Mozart’s time!

6. This was also actor Patrick Hines last film!

With that said folks, if your looking for a fun, yet gripping movie, that will both excite and could bring you to tears, then I recommend this one.  If you like classical music then I think that you might actually end up liking this one!


Nathan Strack


Nathan Strack is a Writer/Director/Filmmaker & Owner/Founder of: Hell In Space, Strack Web Design Service & Strack Store.

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