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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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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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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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VINE VOICEon 10 March 2003
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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on 29 August 2015
Maybe the hd transfer could have been even better, but this is very good and helps you appreciate the visual wuality of such a wonderful film. Amadeus is like Mozart: Mills Forman managed to make a film that anyone can enjoy and still make an artistically wonderful film, full of energy, ideas, a great sense of cinema, where all aspects are top quality and it make you think about genis, passion, complexity of music, even death, without getting a heavy feeling
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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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on 24 February 2006
The original cut of Amadeus I have seen many many times so I watched this cut with trepidation and excitement at what those extra minutes might hold. For the majority the additions are not essential (hence the cut) but returned they do give an extra fullness to parts of the plot, particularly to Mozart's slow downfall which is only touched on in the original version. We see Salieri's devious manipulations of the Emperor and Viennese society work against Mozart who is unable to earn enough money to finance his extravagant lifestyle and is soon desperate enough to beg for loans. His pride prevents him from taking some work, such as in the very funny musical dogs scene but he returns there as a last resort only to be turned away. There is extra material about the relationship between Mozart, Madame Caballeri and Salieri but this does not offer any greater insight. But perhaps the most important addition is that which explains the animosity between Constanze and Salieri. In the original cut this is not explained and you are left wondering why she is so adamant he leave Mozart's side. But in the Director's Cut this is made abundantly clear... Constanze, desperate to help her husband agrees to sleep with Salieri, but when she is at her most vulnerable he humiliates her and turns her away leaving her to return home full of shame and sorrow. These scenes offer a greater insight into Constanze's character and what she is prepared to do for money, not to mention her genuine love for her husband but also re-inforces Salieri's own struggle between his sexual desires, his desire to harm Mozart and his promise to God. It is painful and powerful and truly enhances the arc of the story. I feel very attached the original cut, which is still the more familiar - however I am pleased to have made this addition to my collection and especially pleased with all the extras included which give a real insight into the casting and preparation of the film, not to mention the fact that Prague at the time was still behind the Iron Curtain. I really think this is an essential and captivating film - and everyone I have recommended this film to has become a fellow worshipper. I assure you, if you buy watch this film you will not regret it.
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on 11 July 2003
A totally different film from the original.
Look out for the scene between Constance and Salieri when Mozart's wife is compromised. This relationship is central to the film's end.
The documentary on the bonus disc is probably the best of its kind. When Milos Foreman recalls visiting the Opera House, where the World Premiere of "Don Giovanni" took place, I cried. Peter Shaffer is obviously passionate about Mozart.
This CD is an essential part of World Cinema. Go out and buy it. Do it, don't even think about it.
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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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on 21 March 2009
I think this is a good transfer, although I agree with 'hellodavey' and 'K Oppegaard' - the film is not quite what it should be in places (although I think this is due to fairly subtle DNR, not the bitrate, which I think is ample for such a film).

I suppose if you don't know the film and expect a visual feast of background detail throughout, you may be disappointed, since the camera sometimes has a shallow field of focus, with only the very foreground completely in focus. However, this is primarily because the focus is on the player who is currently conversing (or narrating), which is quite appropriate for a film derived from a play. Amadeus is, after all, justly praised for it's great interplay and dialogue.

All that aside, I think it's important to emphasize that overall this is a quite a good transfer, and an improvement, and although DNR is always unwelcome, I don't think it's too obvious here.

Of equal importance, the 'third main character' which is the music, is also improved.

As a general point, I would say even a small improvement is worth having for a film you like, but in this case the improvement is noticeable. Give it a rent and see for yourself!
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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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