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4.4 out of 5 stars
Amadeus [DVD] [1984]
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81 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on 20 February 2009
This film is definitely one of my favourites films. The fact it won 8 oscars underlines just how amazing the film is - the story,the acting, the editing and the music are extraordinary.

However I gave this 3 stars (and not 6!) simply because the video quality struck me as very lucklustre very quickly. I currently own the directors's cut DVD and to me the difference in quality throughout the film was only marginal. The majority of the transfer definitely showed a deeper range of colour and less signs of video compression. However it just isn't enough to warrant a release on blu ray. Indeed some scenes looked pretty much the same as my DVD, particularly the opening scene. And I'm in the group of people trying to persuade others how good blu ray is.

I mean if you look at how they have restored the Bond films from the 60s, this "upgrade" might well be seen as a rip off. I remember some of the scenes in Dr. No looked spectacular - as if they had been filmed yesterday with bitrates often above 30Mbps in visually rich scenes. Amadeus is certainly not short of visually rich scenes with all the costumes, palaces, salons and stages but nothing was made of it. The VC-1 transfer seemed to hover at around 15Mbps for the majority of the film sometimes climbing to the twenties (and rarely to 30) and sometimes dropping to 6Mbps.

So... if you own the film already on DVD, make sure you really love this film enough to buy it on blu ray. It is better quality - but with the smallest justifiable margin.

If you have not seen the film, buy it already - this film IS brilliant and this is still the best quailty in which you can view it.

EDIT: Some useful comments have been made below regarding the use of excessive Digital Noise Reduction. Plus the Audio Quality does deserve a mention - it is brilliant and is a better upgrade than that of the video quality.
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98 of 104 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon 19 October 2002
"Amadeus", was a great success on stage prior to becoming a film that garnered 8 Academy Awards, together with dozens of other international honors. This director's cut version of the film not only adds 20 minutes to bring this exceptional film to 3 hours, it also has created a spectacular new digital transfer, and most interestingly a new film.
Many special editions and director's cut offerings are little more than the addition of scenes that were dumped prior to the film's original release, and rarely have any fundamental impact on the story that is told. Fully one third of all the chapters in this film have new footage, and the changes have a very real impact on the film. Most of the new exposition is about Salieri and it makes him a much darker character, this Salieri is much more than a jealous admirer of Mozart. This man makes demands of persons and actively intervenes much more in the professional destruction of Mozart in Vienna.
One of the film's mysteries for me was why Mozart's wife held such hatred for Salieri at the close of the film. This question is answered, and it again makes for a major change in how you will view Constanze. And of course more insight is given to Mozart as well. If you are a devotee of the original film you may have trouble warming to this version, you may even be well advised to avoid it. For once you see this film you will never be able to watch the shorter version and confine your thoughts to what they were prior to seeing the additional 20 minutes of film.
There is a second disc that includes extended interviews with Milos Forman, Peter Shaffer, and many of the main characters. An interesting aspect that is shared is that this entire film was shot behind the Iron Curtain of the USSR when it was still the nemesis of The United States. The difficulties in filming in Prague were countless, and even fascinating, as the director, Milos Forman was returning to his homeland as a self-described traitor who had previously left.
I have always felt, "Amadeus", is one of the finest films ever produced, and at first I did not care for some of the additional expository material. Now that I have seen it and thought about it a bit, this version really is the complete film, and even if I were to watch the original, I believe I would enjoy it as much, or possibly even more.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Its not surprising that this film achieved so many oscars a few years back. Its wonderful. I welcome this new version however, because it does tighten up some "loose ends" which although may not have been noticeable in the original version, does enlighten the viewer on Constanze' attitude to Salieri at the end of the film. Not historically accurate, films like this seldom are, Mozart is portrayed as a musical genius which indeed he was; and a buffoon, which is highly unlikely. Moreover, the final sequence of Salieri completing Mozert's Requiem did not happen, it was in fact completed by Mozart's pupil Franz Sussmeyer who simply reprised the first movement. Still, its an amazing achievement in the history of the cinema and should be seen by all those who enjoy Mozart's music even though from time to time the music sounds as though "it has too many notes!" The extras are very interesting and reveal some of the problems of filming behind the Iron Curtain which of course still existed during the filming in 1985. Picture quality and sound, especially if you have a Home Cinema setup are first class. This can be bought for a brilliant price too. Dont miss it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 8 May 2012
I was worried when I first sat down to watch 'Amadeus' that it could just be a stuffy, over pretentious film about classical music and the life and music of arguably one of the greatest musical mind's in history Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Thankfully I was proved very wrong. 'Amadeus' is a well told if dubious story focusing on the professional rivalry between composers Salieri (F Murray Abraham) and Mozart (Tom Hulce).

The film uses Music as a character within the story to drive the emotions being felt and you can't help but be swept away by these wonderful compositions.

'Amadeus' quite simply is an excellent film with a talented cast and was obviously made with a lot of love for the subject and story and I highly recommend it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 31 July 2009
A morality play about how genius is God-given and all wanting and yearning in the world won't bring it to your own door.

Mozart may have been the biggest musical genius in the history of the world, but paradoxically he remained enigmatic, strange and quite possibly very common and vulgar. Not the "class act" that many would presume.

Given that so little is known about him (as is the case of most 18th Century figures outside of kings and queens) that virtually everything should be filed under fiction and hearsay - bar the music.

This film is not really about Mozart (read the synopsis) and is presented to me as non lover of classical music (although I love music), but is nevertheless is so well made and is so entertaining I was totally won over. The directors cut explains more - but makes the backside ache too much for one sitting, it should really have been represented as a three part mini-series (like the Godfather) rather than as an elongated film.

The blu-ray works in many key scenes (ballroom and street) - in others the image looks almost like upscaled DVD. The sound is wonderful (even through TV speakers) and the extras are entertaining if not absolutely essential.

This film is art - so if you think the whole world is Kill Bill and Die Hard stay well clear.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 July 2012
(Some of this review is posted below in response to criticisms of the story itself.)

There are plenty of valid criticisms of this director's cut and the DVD issue. I find that the director's cut diminishes the film with the inclusion of scenes that do nothing to advance the plot or the flow of the story.

As for the story itself, for those of you whinging: "It's not historically accurate": it is NOT meant to be a biography of Mozart. It is an adaptation of an old play by Peter Schaffer, which in turn was an adaptation of Pushkin's novel "Mozart and Salieri," which itself was made into an opera by Rimsky-Korsakov. That Mozart was a legendary and enigmatic figure in the Age of Enlightenment meant that stories were told and written, and suppositions were made about his life, his activities and his death. It is true that a mysterious figure in black commissioned the Requiem, and hounded Mozart and his wife for it, but no one knows who this might have been. Legends make great stories, and we go to the movies to see them played out in film. This is entertainment, and it is enjoyable. If I want history, I look in books, not films (and, for those of you who are purists, do not even look to documentaries to find accurate history, for you will not find it there)!

What really makes Amadeus shine as a film are the wonderful period costumes, sets, attention to detail and atmosphere. Some of the acting is weak, particularly from Constanze, but the rest of the actors are well-cast and together make it a most enjoyable film, without the need for a director's cut. For those intimate with Mozart's biography, the little touches, such as the play with Schikanaeder and the bells during the Magic Flute will recall Mozart's account of this, he having done it on purpose to annoy his friend, and deriving great pleasure from the prank, and the avuncular Baron von Swieten, the crassness of Salzburg society, and Mozart's love for the beautiful red coat with gold buttons he wore to the performance for the emperor of his piano concerto 21.

The opera sets used in this film also deserve special mention. They are sensitively done for the period of the film, showing the extravagance of the court opera and the fantasy of the comic opera, as well as including in the background period instruments performing, such as the scene in Salzburg, and folk music as it was, performed at private parties and between acts at the comic opera. The set for the Magic Flute became so popular after this film was premiered that pieces of it were incorporated into productions around the world, including by James Levine at the MET in NYC. I found that the director's cut did nothing to improve on these scenes, or on the presentation of period sets and costuming and atmosphere, and much prefer the theatrical cut, and willingly give that one a five star.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2011
"Amadeus" is a movie about the discussion of Mozart's life as told from a colleague's point of view. Tom Hulce convincingly plays an energetic Mozart, who is very much focused on his craft. Fahrid Murray Abraham cleverly plays fellow classical musician Salieri. Salieri holds Mozart in high regard. The movie displays the why of this admiration, as seen through the many good musical performances in the movie. Salieri longs for the same talent, and the beginning of the movie provides a very compelling preface as to the origins of this respect. The movie "Amadeus" is told in such a way that it would be easy to understand things from Salieri's point of view. I was watching the movie,and thinking "How could he?" (in reference to Salieri). On the other hand, I found myself admiring Mozart's musical compositions that were performed in the movie. I also felt empathy for the circumstances leading to Salieri's wish to enjoy the same popularity as Mozart. It is understandable that others may watch "Amadeus" and see the relationship between Salieri and Mozart through a different perspective. As for me, I am glad to have watched "Amadeus" because this movie illustrates some of the dynamics that catapulted Mozart to great fame. In addition, many of the people that played a pivotal part of Mozart's life were told in a superb manner from the vantage point of Salieri (as played by Abraham). "Amadeus" is a high-quality movie to watch for music lovers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 February 2012
Amadeus is a tale of jealousy and betrayal, set around the relationship between Salieri and Mozart in late 18th century Vienna. Some parts of the film are particularly moving, especially the pathos of old Salieri's fading reputation, as he puts it "gradually going extinct", whilst Mozart's fame and influence is established, despite him being dead.

Of course stay away from this film if you care only about historical accuracy. No evidence suggests there was a particular rivalry between Salieri and Mozart. However, this doesn't really matter considering this is historical fiction. The idea Mozart wrote down music fully formed in his head, without any added alterations is a romantic myth, in real life this impossible. However, I feel this enhances the presentation of Mozart's character, it makes him all the more divine and untouchable. Other parts of the story are rooted in historical evidence. Judging by Mozart's letters, he indeed had an unsophisticated sense of humour, as well as a lack of respect for the aristocracy. Mozart was also desperately in need of money in the final years of his life, and this is well portrayed in the film.

The film loses a star for me because of the overly long opera scenes; these could perhaps be cut down a little to make the film shorter. Overall though, an engaging and interesting watch, right up to Mozart's haunting laugh at the end. Recommended for those who love and admire Mozart's music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 March 2012
This is one of those films that, although it is filled with historical innaccuracy, and downright lies, is still a fabulous film. I suppose it's that the innaccuracies are many, but small, throughout the film, unlike a film like Immortal Beloved, where there was one massive travesty of the truth at the end, which, in the latter case, just could not be forgiven.

The acting in Amadeus is superb (once you get used to the howling American accents, even from Simon Callow ... "A REQUIEM mass?") and being filmed in the Czechoslovakia in 1983, where time had stood still, with mostly natural light it is a cinematic masterpiece. F Murray Abraham's acting deservedly won him an Oscar and his 'old' make-up by Dick Smith was excellent.

The Blu-ray transfer was a joy to behold, although some of the additional scenes in the "Director's Cut" should have been left out, for example where Elizabeth Berridge (playing Constanze Mozart) gets her kit off. This was just not needed and detracted from the piece, although Milos Forman would probably say that it was needed in order to explain the extreme animosity from Constanze towards Salieri at the end of the film.

In summary, this is my favourite film of all time, and although it has many historical falsehoods, especially to a classical music scholar and enthusiast such as myself, it is nevertheless the best musical biography ever made.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 December 2011
I first bought the VHS version when I got into Hifi VHS, back in 1989. Bought it when I got into DVD back in 2001, and bought it last week when I took the plunge and invested in Blu-ray and a fine Samsung D8000 panel. Become something of a family tradition now this film, and yes have found the telecine quality over all three formats to be not ideal but think this is going to be the best we'll get until someone injects a little money into possibly restoring a print and a undertaking a modern telecine. Overall improved but this film really deserves a modern transfer and hey ho in the years to come might eventually get what this great film deserves.
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