DVD - 1997 | Widescreen version
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Adapted from Shaffer's play, the film presents the life of Antonio Salieri, a mediocre 18th century Viennese composer obsessed with and jealous of the musical genius of the age: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Publisher: [United States] : Warner Home Video, [1997]
Edition: Widescreen version
Branch Call Number: DVD A DRAMA
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (160 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in
Alternative Title: Amadeus (Motion picture)
ISBN: 9781419886768


From Library Staff

The music, the story, the costumes, the drama! Director Milos Forman's masterpiece adaptation of Peter Shaffer's play (Shaffer also wrote the screenplay) is lavish, bawdy, visceral, and highly entertaining to watch.

By far my favorite Forman movie, this Mozart biopic, which won both Best Picture and a second Best Director Oscar for Forman, is a stellar piece of cinema. It's dark when it needs to be, funny when needed, and is filled with glorious music.

From the critics

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Apr 11, 2019

A well made movie about the life of Mozart in Austria; how he lived, composed, wrote and died. Good cast. 1700's period piece that was well done.

Jul 28, 2018

I am really sorry that some patrons didn't fully enjoy this wonderful movie because of defect, but this movie doesn't deserve to be "punished" with low rating because of the quality of the disc. The right move here and any similar situation would be to tell VPL staff to remove movie from circulating and reorder a new one. This title deserves to be in VPL collection for many generations to see.

Jul 27, 2018

The movie is fantastic. I wanted to revisit the movie again, but when I received the movie, it was missing crucial scenes in the beginning, so while the movie deserves 5 stars, this mess of a DVD doesn't deserve to have been made. I recommending finding a way to watch this in another place.
If I just missed something and these scenes actually happened, please comment on this telling me how to see these scenes.

Apr 12, 2018

A classic, a movie you'll never forget, I recommend to anyone. God, Mozart, and a real-life opera plot! However much you hate the villain, you may end up hating Mozart more (his poor wife!) or at least his unmusical cackle, which I heard first time in theatre when this movie was released. If you have a good sound system, this is your movie - Neville Marriner conducts.

Mar 10, 2018

FIVE Glittering Stars!

This movie is all about the second-rate composer Salieri, his unrequited love of (and dedication to) God--a love and devotion answered by God's silence and neglect, which sparks his hatred of God--and his intention to murder God's favorite, Mozart ("the Creature")--who has unaccountably received all the gifts that God should have given to His faithful and sacrificing servant, Salieri.

It's really not about Mozart at all, except that Amadeus embodies the miraculous beauty that emanates, spontaneously, unsolicited, and unaccountably, from God.

It's also a movie about The Enlightenment and its effect on the upwardly-mobile, the in-the-know, and the wanna-know--and Milosz Forman creates fine, sly, perfect little scenes that are a delight to watch. Many of those vignettes feature the earnest but rather slow and 'dotty' Emperor Joseph II, played to absolute perfection by Jeffrey Jones--so well that I just can't visualize any other actor in that role--and as Emperor he is surrounded by a court retinue of the wise, the pretentious, the second-rate, and the jealous (and among these actors, each seems perfectly cast and 'right' for his role).

Don't waste time worrying about whether this story is historically accurate or not (it's not); enjoy it as a wonderful peak into the18th century mind: Rooted in beliefs that are being uprooted, celestial music that springs from an idiot savant, with a cast of characters who are creeping tentatively toward a rationality that they don't understand and will probably complicate their lives.

All things said, Amadeus is, in the Emperor's favorite phrase, something.....Quite.....New!

Oct 11, 2017

worth the price of admission for the sets and costumes alone, which equal in opulence those of the quintessential director aristocrat, Luchino Visconti, dripping in money, art and exquisite artefacts, see his "Death in Venice", for instance - but then there's the acting here, the directing, the music, of course, and the cinematography, in cinemascope and splendid, absolutely breathtaking, colour, licence is taken with significant elements of Mozart's biography, but as a fable, this movie is just about the best one could want having to do with the glories and tribulations of being a transcendent poet

May 17, 2017

I don't know if Mozart was reslly like this or if ANY part is true but it seemed pointless.

Feb 01, 2017

Although its a long movie, it never lags or gets boring. The voices of (almost) all of the actors is very American (usually an accent is put on). The main character, Salieri, is caricatured into a diabolically jealous mediocrity, and Mozart a total goof. It is nonthelss enjoyable.

Mar 03, 2016

The classic mad genius story--with lots of good music. Sort of a psychodrama, questionable accuracy, and it's hard to fell much for any of the characters. But great soundtrack :-)

JCLAngelicaR Feb 01, 2016

A breath-taking fantasia on themes in Mozart’s life with the music as its leading character. Milos Forman, being originally from Czechoslovakia, knew that the perfect setting for a movie about Mozart was in Prague. Why? Cold-War-time Prague was a time capsule full of extensive 18th century architecture, non-altered by the Communist government. In fact, one of the theaters in Prague where the movie was shot was the Tyl Theater , where Mozart conducted the premiere of “Don Giovanni” in 1787. In addition to the brilliantly authentic setting, the movie showcases recreated 18th century ballet, not to mention that Mozart’s music in the movie is played in its original form. The task of finding actors for the movie was not taken lightly by Forman either. When searching for candidates for leading parts, Milos did not want actors who were well-known. If viewers easily recognize an actor it may affect their perception of the character played by the actor. Just one fact: 1400 people were auditioned for the movie.

Although Mozart died at the age of 35, his career as a composer covered an astonishing 30 years. According to Sir Neville Marriner who conducted the music played in the movie, “when Mozart was 8 or 9, he was writing music as good as [Joseph] Haydn at 40, and Haydn was the other great composer of his time.” Mozart was music genius. He was retrieving music from his head in its completed version. The originals of his musical scores looked clean and correction-free. He had a straight connection with the divinity. Isn’t it kind of easy to assume that a human of that scale would present himself in a special, genius-revealing way? Before he met Mozart, Antonio Salieri expected to see just that. What did he see? A socially awkward brute and eccentric cracking crude jokes. But that is exactly what makes sense – a genius can’t be poised and practical, he is too busy communicating with God. In my opinion, Tom Hulce did a brilliant job conveying this as a foundation of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s personality in the movie.

Before you indulge in Forman’s timeless masterpiece, you might want to watch “The Making of Amadeus“ documentary (2002) on YouTube. It will help you appreciate the movie even more. On January 27, 2016, Mozart would've turned 260 years old.

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Add a Quote
Mar 28, 2011

[first lines]
Salieri: Mozart! Mozart, forgive your assassin! I confess, I killed you...

Mar 28, 2011

Emanuel Schikaneder: Look, I asked you if we could start rehearsals next week and you said yes.
Mozart: Well, we can.
Emanuel Schikaneder: So let me see it. Where is it?
Mozart: Here. It's all right here in my noodle. The rest is just scribbling. Scribbling and bibbling, bibbling and scribbling.


Add Age Suitability
Mar 28, 2011

bdls206 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


Add a Summary
Mar 28, 2011

The incredible story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, told in flashback mode by Antonio Salieri - now confined to an insane asylum.


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