In an old age the former Viennese court composer Antonio Salieri ( F. Murray Abraham ) is brought to an institution for the mentally ill after an attempted suicide. A priest, who is to be confessed to him, tells the old man his tragic story, which began 32 years ago.
When the young and energetic Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart ( Tom Hulce ) is summoned by the Austrian Emperor, Salieri can not believe what he sees before him: Mozart is almost a child! Nevertheless, the emperor is inspired by Mozart’s compositions and music and Salieri recognizes not only his own mediocrity in the shadow of the young man but also a threat to his position. The lavishly living Mozart, who likes to participate in great festivals and cares little about order, becomes a popular favorite. Operas like The Abduction from the Seraglio or The Marriage of Figaro inspire the nobility and the simple people alike. Salieri meditates retrospectively and works on a perfidious plan.
Background & Information
It is noteworthy that Amadeus was staged completely without artificial lighting. In addition, only four sets had to be produced, including Mozart’s flat. All other film locations were found in Prague, which was used as a stand in for Vienna.
At the Oscars, both actors were nominated in the category for best actor. In the case of Amadeus, F. Murray Abraham won out against the nominated Tom Hulce . But the fact that the two supported each other in their work in front of the camera, has been proven time and again. Hulce, for example, intentionally omitted dialogue lines in a scene to make Abraham’s confusion more believable.
Also musically the actors had to train a lot. F. Murray Abraham, as a preparation for his role, learned to read notes and conduct an orchestra. Tom Hulce, on the other hand, rehearsed on the piano four hours a day, in order to present the (previously recorded) pieces as convincingly as possible. Afterwards, several music professors indicated that not a single key was wrongly played, and that the movements on the piano always matched the music.