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dir. Miloš Forman / USA 1984 / 160’
subtitles: Polish


F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge, Simon Callow, Jeffrey Jones, Roy Dotrice


Oscar 1985 – best film, best director, best decoration, best costume design, best make up, best sound, Golden Globes 1985 – best motion picture, best director in motion picture, best actor in motion picture, best screenplay in motion picture, BAFTA Awards 1986 – best cinematography, best editing, best make up, best sound, César 1985 – best foreign film, Awards of the Japanese Academy 1986 – best foreign film

Film description

When it hit the screens, critics and juries showered Amadeus with praise and awards. Meanwhile musicologists complained that it makes Mozart out to be a wild seed who, by the way, happens to write genius music (while he was extremely hardworking in real life) and also brands the royal composer, Antonio Salieri, the 'king of mediocrity' and unfairly insinuates that he murdered Mozart.

There is little doubt that Miloš Forman’s film has influenced our thinking about Mozart and his era. That’s the power of cinema! However, Amadeus would not be cinematic canon were it limited to sensational anecdotes about the encyclopedic composer. This is a film about the paradoxes of talent, often bestowed upon, it seems, the wholly undeserving. Amadeus is also textbook Forman, with its themes of artistic freedom, and, more broadly, confrontation of the individual with oppressive reality, as represented by power, envy, and misunderstanding.

Despite the drama of Mozart’s fate, Amadeus exudes joy and light that break through the dark tones, themes present in all of Forman’s films and Mozart’s music. The film ends in the composer’s death, but also in a triumph from beyond the grave – you may kill the artist, but not the art.

Bartosz Żurawiecki

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