Directed by Milos Forman, starring Tom Hulce, F Murray Abraham, Elizabeth Berridge, Jeffrey Jones, Karl-Heinz Teuber and Simon Callow.
Originally released in 1984, 'Amadeus' won a total of eight Academy Awards and enormous amounts of critical acclaim for director Milos Forman. Bringing the director's cut out 18 years later seems like a redundant gesture. But as it offers many people the opportunity to see this marvellously overdone musical on the big screen for the first time, it can be no bad thing.
Based on the stage musical by Peter Shaffer, 'Amadeus' is a highly fictionalised account of Mozart's (Hulce) career - as told from the perspective of his rival and admirer, the court composer Salieri (Abraham). A mediocre talent himself, Salieri nonetheless is the only person in Vienna to recognise the young Mozart's genius. However he is so deeply offended by the man's childish vulgarity that he secretly and systematically undermines Mozart's career, believing him morally unworthy of his musical gift. Salieri's increasing obsessive jealousy topples into madness as he plots Mozart's death and attempts to steal the younger man's final work.
A dramatic tour-de-force, 'Amadeus' is a truly great celebration of music and genius. The script, adapted by Shaffer, passionately glorifies Mozart's music while never excusing the behaviour of the man. Sumptuous sets and gorgeous cinematography turn Foreman's native Prague into a believably grand and bawdy eighteenth century Vienna.
The 2002 Directors Cut adds more music - no bad thing, a couple of extra scenes which do little but interrupt the original flow of the film, and 20 more minutes to an already bum-numbing 160 minute running time. Like Mozart, 'Amadeus' glories in its vulgarity and, like the man himself, is fortunate enough to have the genius to back it up.