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Amadeus (director's cut)


Year: 1984 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC PG Cert – Parental guidance 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Milos Forman 
Starring: F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge  
An image from Amadeus (director's cut)

Milos Forman’s (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The People vs. Larry Flint) 1984 period drama, set in the Austrian cities of Salzburg and Vienna, is a symphonic retelling of the bitter rivalry between composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri. The film’s factually debatable narrative is offered up by an elderly Salieri, shut up in an asylum, as he receives a visit from a priest. Salieri recounts to us a confession, the underhanded manipulations that drove his genius colleague to death, leaving the viewer to discern his absolute culpability.

A slow starter at the box office, the film went on to achieve resounding critical acclaim, culminating in 11 Academy Award Nominations, with 8 victories, including a holy trinity of Best Picture, Best Director (Both Forman’s second), and Best Actor, with a Best Adapted Screenplay thrown in for good measure.

A soundtrack composed by Mozart (ineligible for the Oscar), and Salieri, sweeps this along, while the perfectly-pitched lead performances of Oscar-Winner F. Murray Abraham (Salieri) and Tom Hulce (Mozart) are crucial to the character-driven plot, delivering a captivating balance of tragedy, giddy genius and jealousy. Meanwhile Mozart’s infectious, serenading laugh, makes brisk, allegro work of the 161-minute runtime.

Mozart’s crass, prodigious exuberance, however, simultaneously arouses in Salieri a subtly murderous insanity, a bizarre mix of bitter adulation and intense envy, conspiring to exhaust the energetic, heaven-sent genius of Mozart. Betrayed by God for his misplaced appropriation of talent Salieri, who can never achieve greatness, merely appreciate it, herein concludes a final requiem, proclaiming himself a martyr of mediocrity, an ironic underscoring of a film defined by operatic majesty.

Eoin Dignan

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Screenings of this film:

2011/2012 Spring Term (35mm)