[[quoteright:268:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/amadeus2_828.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:268:Ladies and gentleman, one of the greatest composers of all time]]

''Amadeus'' is a 1979 stage play written by Peter Shaffer, adapted into a film in 1984. It is based off of an 1897 one-act opera by Nikolai Rimsky-Korshakov, ''Mozart and Salieri'', which is in turn based on an 1830 drama of the same name by Creator/AlexanderPushkin. This article deals mainly with the film.

[[BasedOnAGreatBigLie Taking some liberties with historical accounts]], the story is told from the [[SympatheticPOV point of view]] of Antonio Salieri, the court composer for Emperor Joseph II. A devout and serious man, Salieri's faith is shaken when he meets {{Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart}}. Though Mozart proves to be a tremendous boor and an immature ManChild, his godlike musical talents win the affections of the court and the audiences while simultaneously moving and infuriating Salieri with their genius. That the boorish Mozart could create such magnificent, groundbreaking compositions with seemingly little effort, while Salieri had to struggle to get to where he was, drives him to undermine Mozart any way he can. [[DownerEnding Sometimes, he even succeeds]].

A misconception about the story is that it's meant to be taken as fact, but there is also a misconception about this misconception - the story is about the supposed ''secret'' history of Salieri and Mozart; so in RealLife Salieri and Mozart were good friends and Salieri was a respected composer, but in this movie Salieri and Mozart are ''also'' good friends and Salieri ''is still'' a respected composer... as far as everybody else knows, Mozart included. The premise is that the only one who knows the ''real'' truth is Salieri, who is far too wallowed up in self-pity to appreciate his lot in life (which is, on the whole, pretty good) but is also enough of a VillainWithGoodPublicity that by the end he, and only he, really knows the extent of his bastardy (bar the priest he confesses to). In other words, it works on the idea that recorded history is different because it has been ''duped''.

Despite the historical inaccuracy, the film is considered absolutely brillant, and is well worth watching for its own sake.

Ironically, the greatest legacy of ''Amadeus'' was a considerable revival of interest in the life and work of Antonio Salieri.

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!!These works contain examples of:

* AcademyAward: 1984 Best Picture winner. [[Creator/MilosForman Miloš Forman]] also won Best Director, and F. Murray Abraham won Best Actor for his turn as Salieri--competing against Tom Hulce's Mozart.
* ActuallyThatsMyAssistant: When Mozart first meets the Emperor and the rest of the court, he bursts in enthusiastically and bows ... to Baron von Swieten. Von Swieten has to point to the ''actual'' Emperor playing Salieri's 'Welcome March' at the piano, much to Mozart's confusion.
* AdaptationDistillation
* AdaptationalVillainy: Mozart and Salieri liked each other quite a bit in RealLife. It was Count Franz von Walsegg who commissioned the Requiem Mass.
* AllThereInTheManual: It's implied the lone child at the party where Mozart plays musical chairs. The same child that witnesses him playing music as his penalty for losing, is implied to be young LudwigVanBeethoven.
* AlwaysSecondBest
* AmbiguouslyGay: The Wigmaker when Mozart is buying the three wigs.
* AnnoyingLaugh: Mozart. Some have claimed that was actually how Mozart sounded when he laughed, with some contemporary accounts comparing it to "the braying of a jackass" mixed with breaking windows.
* AntagonistInMourning: Salieri, despite having relished the moment for a long time, seems utterly crushed when Mozart dies. In the opening, where he tries to commit suicide, he's even crying out "Forgive me, Mozart!"
* ArtisticLicenseHistory:
** Although the movie takes '''great''' ArtisticLicense with Mozart and Salieri's relationship, it is surprisingly accurate on a number of levels. First, meticulous care was put into accurately portraying the period. Second, Mozart was just as annoying in real life: JosephHaydn once saw him make a hundred enemies at a single party.
** Also, one of the film's greatest inaccuracies is Mozart's composition method, stating that he composed entirely in his head and then wrote the music down in a single draft. Although this is untrue (Mozart's sheet music went through numerous revisions, like any other composer), it is more a case of HistoryMarchesOn, as the single-draft method was perpetrated by historians in the 19th century.
** One minor but curious alteration in the movie is the absence of Salieri's wife. The movie portrays him as celibate but secretly lustful towards his students, adding weight to the Director's Cut scene where he tries to take advantage of Constanze but doesn't entirely follow through.
** The movie takes some artistic license with the music of both Salieri and Mozart, with scenes in the operas altered for the movie.[[note]]For example, in the ''Don Giovanni'' scene, the Commendatore lets go of the don's hand after about a minute, while in the movie it is a few seconds - which is odd, because for that minute Don Giovanni sings about how he won't let go of his hand, and in the movie he is still singing about that even though his hand is free.[[/note]] Some changes are also made to the music itself, including over a minute of music taken out from the middle of the ''Don Giovanni'' scene shown in the movie.
* BasedOnAGreatBigLie: It's widely considered to be an urban legend that Salieri [[spoiler: claimed to have killed Mozart]]; and even if it were true, nobody would have believed him. Compounded by the fact that part of the movie's tagline is, "...Everything You've Heard Is True", though ''that'' is just commenting on the critical praise.
* BedlamHouse: The lunatic asylum that Salieri is confined to.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:At the end of the movie, Salieri rediscovers his own spirituality after realizing at the end of his confession that he wasn't Mozart's killer after all, and that he himself never knew that God was setting him up as something better, be it ever so slightly, than just a great composer doomed to live to see his fame and fortune wither away before his eyes: the patron saint of mediocrities.]]
* BlackCloak: [[spoiler: Salieri disguises himself in one of these to commission the Requiem Mass in D minor from Mozart.]] Papa Mozart wore a similar cloak.
* BlasphemousBoast: Salieri gives one after he decides that God is taunting him through Mozart.
* BunnyEarsLawyer: Mozart all the way.
* CaliforniaDoubling: 18th century Vienna was shot in 1980s Prague - because their roofs don't have lots of satellite dishes that could potentially spoil the shot.
** One notable aversion, also: The Royal Opera was shot in the Tyl Theater in Prague, where ''Don Giovanni'' premiered in 1787.
* TheCasanova: Mozart.
* {{Catchphrase}}: "...There it is." Quite pithy for a Royal Emperor.
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: Mozart, again.
* CelibateHero: Salieri in the movie. Not so much in the play, in which he expresses contempt towards his wife's frigidity and seduces one of Mozart's students.
* CountryMatters: Courtesy of Schikaneder, after finding out Mozart had been writing a requiem. He even says it in the PG-rated theatrical cut, unbelievably (though it's been muffled so it's hard to say whether Schikaneder said the C word or "clown").
-->'''Schikaneder''': ''Look, you little cunt! Do you know how many people I've hired for you?''
* DeaderThanDisco: In-universe, Salieri's music is this. How could he have known that it'd experience a revival many years later–thanks to this very movie, no less?
* DrivenByEnvy: Salieri, Very much so -- as a core driver of the plot.
* DrivenToSuicide: The film opens with Salieri, overcome with guilt, slashing his throat in a failed attempt to kill himself.
* DumbassHasAPoint: While Emperor Joseph has no ear for music, he knows that a dance is nothing without it and his intervention causes ''Marriage of Figaro'' to be premičred.
* EvilCannotComprehendGood: The scene where Salieri dictates for Mozart shows exactly why the former could never measure up to the latter.
* FaithHeelTurn
* FoeRomanceSubtext: Salieri and Mozart...oh, where to start? Notably, Mozart died soon after Constanze came back and took the Requiem away from him. This happened just after she promises to be a better wife, showing that Salieri shared something with him that she didn't: a love for music.
-->'''Salieri''': He was my idol. Mozart, I can't think of a time when I didn't know his name.
* FromACertainPointOfView: "I confess, I killed you!" Well, Salieri didn't really kill Mozart, but [[spoiler:the fact that Mozart was, toward the end of his life, doing two jobs (and overwork was apparently a contributory cause of his death) didn't really help matters, and since one of the jobs was assigned by a disguised Salieri...]]
* GiftedlyBad: Salieri is portrayed this way.
* AGodAmI: Salieri's aspiration to become God's musical messenger in this world. It all goes downhill when he understands that Mozart fits the role much better.
* GreenEyedMonster: Salieri is the living embodiment of this trope.
* HardWorkHardlyWorks: Salieri.
* HeroicRROD: [[spoiler: Mozart, with encouragement from Salieri, ends up working himself to death.]]
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: Salieri. Although he and Mozart were competitors for various professional positions, and Mozart and his father suspected that Salieri and other Italian composers based in Vienna had conspired to hinder his career (leading to the accusations that Salieri had poisoned Mozart, accusations which caused Salieri to have several nervous breakdowns in later life), the two composers actually had a great deal of respect for one another (save for a single dispute arising from an alleged attempt by Salieri to sabotage ''The Marriage of Figaro'', which is the only reason why such allegations of murder were made in the first place–long story, the short of it being that one thing just led to another), and Salieri actively helped to bring about the premieres of several of Mozart's later works. By some accounts, Salieri was also present at Mozart's burial, and helped to arrange concerts celebrating Mozart's work following his death. It is known that in the years following Mozart's death, Salieri was given a chance to set up a production at the opera in Vienna, of anything he wanted. He chose to set up a production of ''Theatre/TheMagicFlute'', rather than one of his own works.
* HowWeGotHere: Via a {{confessional}}.
* IJustWantToBeSpecial: Salieri is tortured every day by reminders that, however good he gets, Mozart will always be better and will always be acclaimed as a genius. Its his frustration and anger at both his shortcomings and his belief that Mozart is undeserving of his talent that drives him to breaking point.
* InferioritySuperiorityComplex: Behind Salieri's InsufferableGenius demeanor, you find a deeply insecure man.
* InsufferableGenius: ''Both'' Mozart and Salieri. Mozart is boorish, rude, infantile, and argumentative against anyone who can't appreciate his work. Salieri is snobbish and pandering, and demonstrates contempt for others. Salieri merely does a better job of hiding his contempt.
* {{Intermission}}: Usually occurs when the movie is shown on premium cable channels (i.e., HBO, and the like).
* InterruptedSuicide
* InTheStyleOf: Mozart playing "Vivat Bacchus" in the style of Salieri, punctuated with flatulence.
* IronicEcho: Early on, Salieri looks up at his crucifix as he composes his welcome march for Mozart and says, "Grazie, Signore." Not ten minutes later in the picture, after Mozart performs a variation that will become "Non piů andrai", Salieri, sulking at his piano and obviously trying not to lose it, grumbles, "Grazie, Signore."
* ItWillNeverCatchOn: The general reaction to Mozart's operas shown in the film, as their subject matter is rather baffling at times. Constanze even thinks ''The Magic Flute'' is ridiculous, and a waste of her husband's time, especially with the promised pay for the Requiem.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Mozart may be a jerk, and seem to make fun of and insult everyone despite their respect for him. However he loves his wife and kid as well as his father, and has made about as many celebrity friends as that other [[Creator/AndyKaufman Jerkass Genius.]] [[spoiler: Lastly he apologizes to Salieri for mocking him before he dies, which actually gives Salieri a MyGodWhatHaveIDone moment.]]
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall: In the stage play, Salieri (and only him) is aware of the audience, alternatively believing them to be his torment or his salvation, and addresses all of his monologues to them.
* LonelyAtTheTop: Mozart despite being a musical prodigy is in debt the entire movie, pushes those closest to him away, and while audience loves his work, no one particularly likes ''Mozart'' enough to hire him as a teacher.
* ManChild: Even without Salieri trying to sabotage him, Mozart had a lot of demons on his own. He was very childish, [[InsufferableGenius outspoken, couldn't take criticism]], spent more money than he earned, and had severe drinking issues.
* MoodWhiplash: The film starts out rather dark and atmospheric without being threatening, lightens with Salieri's servants eating the desserts, then goes very dark with Salieri lying on the floor, his throat slashed.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Salieri [[spoiler:apparently starts to have second thoughts about killing Mozart after the latter apologizes to him, and he]] later apologizes to Mozart, as seen during the opening.
* NostalgicNarrator: The FramingDevice.
* NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent: Everyone in the cast spoke with their natural accents. British audiences found it jarring to hear some of the characters sound American and others sound British.
* {{Opera}}
* TheQueensLatin: Averted. Most characters (including the Emperor) speak with American accents, and only a few characters speak with British accents. One character speaks with a German accent, which contrasts comically with his belief in the superiority of Italian and his incessant attempts at it. It appears that many actors were instructed to use their native accents.
* RageAgainstTheHeavens: "That was not Mozart laughing at me, Father -- that was God. ''That was God!''"
-->'''Salieri''' [throwing a crucifix in his fireplace]: From now on we are enemies, You and I. Because You choose for Your instrument a boastful, lustful, smutty, infantile boy and give me for reward only the ability to recognize the incarnation. Because You are unjust, unfair, unkind, I will block You, I swear it. [[BlasphemousBoast I will hinder and harm Your creature on earth as far as I am able]].
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Both Baron von Swieten and the Emperor's Chaimberlain try to counsel Mozart, to behave himself, to be more deferential to the Emperor, and not to use such risque subject matter, while still wishing for him to succeed.
* RedOniBlueOni: Mozart and Salieri.
* RevengeBeforeReason: Salieri is so driven by his jealousy that he doesn't see that Mozart is suffering his own demons. Until Salieri attends ''Don Giovanni'', and he realizes ''exactly'' what he can do to make Mozart suffer even more...
* RuleOfThree: When the priest comes, Salieri plays a tune of this that the priest doesn't recognize. Then a second. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eine_kleine_Nachtmusik The third one,]] the priest recognizes.
--> '''Priest''': Oh, that's charming! I'm sorry, I didn't know you wrote that!
--> '''Salieri''': ''(smiling)'' I ''didn't.'' ...''That'' was Mozart.
* ScareChord: The broad chords of ''Il Commendatore'' from ''DonGiovanni'' are used three times: First at the very beginning of the film, and then when black-cloaked Leopold Mozart shows up in his son's home, waiting for him...[[SubvertedTrope with loving arms]]. The third time, when the black-masked messenger (Salieri in disquise) appears, it's played straight.
* SceneryPorn
* SickeninglySweethearts: [[AffectionateNickname Wolfy and Stanzi]] can come off as this sometimes.
* SidelongGlanceBiopic
* ASimplePlan: Salieri's plan to trick Mozart into composing a Requiem, then kill Mozart, pass off the Requiem as his own creation, and perform it at Mozart's funeral.
--> '''Salieri''' His funeral! Imagine it, the cathedral, all Vienna sitting there, his coffin, Mozart's little coffin in the middle, and then, in that silence, ''music!'' A divine music bursts out over them all. A great mass of death! Requiem mass for Wolfgang Mozart, composed by his devoted friend, Antonio Salieri! Oh what sublimity, what depth, what passion in the music! Salieri has been touched by God at last. And God is forced to listen! Powerless, powerless to stop it! ''I, for once in the end, laughing at him!''
:: As he himself then admits, the plagiarism is the easy part. His real problem is, in his own words, "How does one kill a man?"
* ShoutOut: The freckled little boy watching Mozart show off his mad piano skills at the masquerade party is a reference to LudwigVanBeethoven. While the two of them attending the same party is fairly unlikely, Mozart did attend a recital in which young Beethoven performed.
* StarvingArtist: Mozart.
* SweetTooth: Salieri has a thing for candy and desserts. The opening scene has his servants trying to wheedle him out of a locked room with pastries. The party where he first sees Mozart shows him sneaking a treat off a banquet table. When he's working, he's seldom seen without a dish of candies close at hand. His favorite breakfast at the asylum is sugar rolls. May also count as GeniusSweetTooth and/or a sex substitute, as Salieri (in the film, anyway) was chaste.
* SympathyForTheHero: As much as Salieri resents Mozart for being [[AlwaysSomeoneBetter better than him,]] he is also one of the very few people able to recognize the true depths of Mozart's brilliance, and is never shy about praising it.
* TechnicianVersusPerformer: Salieri is shown to be quite deliberate about his compositions, carefully testing each note and chord before penning it in, with the occasional bit of prayer to help him through it. Mozart seems to make it up right off the top of his head "as if he were taking dictation", according to Salieri.
* ThrowTheDogABone: Salieri gets one of these when the Emperor yawns during Mozart's ''Theatre/TheMarriageOfFigaro'', causing it to close after nine performances. Salieri's opera, meanwhile, is loved by the Emperor and Salieri receives a royal commendation as a result.
* ToiletHumour: Mozart's sense of humour is rather... lavatorial. (TruthInTelevision: He famously wrote a canon entitled "Leck mich im Arsch", meaning, essentially, "Kiss my ass!")
* TooGoodForThisSinfulEarth: While by no means pure, Salieri admitted at the end that Mozart (or at least, his music) was so sacred that [[spoiler:God himself called him home to {{Out Gambit|ted}} Salieri's plot to kill him and steal the last laugh from right under the Most High's nose.]]
* TranslationConvention: The convention in the film is that English stands in for the German language -- even in the operas, which have translated librettos. Italian, as a foreign language, remains the same both spoken and sung.
* TrueArtIsIncomprehensible: InUniverse, Mozart is seen struggling against everyone who can't comprehend the operas and music he's creating for them. Most of them -- Emperor included -- can't recognize good music even when it points them to the SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic tropes page, while the one person who ''can'' comprehend -- Salieri -- is working behind the scenes to sabotage Mozart's efforts. Parodied when Mozart, in a huff after being told that the Emperor has banned ballet in opera, Mozart just removes the music from the ballet scene in ''The Marriage of Figaro'' and has the dancers just dance to silence. When the Emperor attends a rehearsal, he asks an aide if this is just a new modern development?
* UnknownRival
* UnreliableNarrator
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory:
** In reality, Salieri and Mozart had a great deal of respect for each other, attended each others' operas and Salieri ended up teaching one of Mozart's sons.[[note]]And some guy named [[LudwigVanBeethoven Beethoven]].[[/note]]
** Also, it is true that Mozart did not know who was commissioning the Requiem. The film depicts Salieri commissioning it with the intent of passing the work off as his own. Although Salieri did not actually commission the work, the man who did (Franz von Walsegg) was a known plagiarist who almost certainly had the same intent as Salieri in the film (minus the whole murder thing). In the play, von Walsegg is revealed to have been the man in the mask - Salieri simply takes advantage of an already freaked-out Mozart to further his plan.
* VillainProtagonist
* VisualPun: After being chastised by the Prince-Archbishop for his conduct, Mozart walks out to see a crowd of admirers applauding him and bows to them, in the process figuratively mooning the Archbishop. The furious Prince-Archbishop signals for his guards to close the door on Mozart, thereby booting Mozart's ass out of his quarters.
* WellDoneSonGuy: Mozart is both terrified and awed by his imposing father Leopold. He's hoping for the adoration he wants from his father (who never shows any) but unwilling to submit to his demands to leave Vienna. And when Leopold dies, Mozart pumps out ''Don Giovanni'' to express his rage and grief. And Salieri is the [[ASimplePlan only one who understands it]]...
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