My Favorite Movies – Amadeus (1984)

21 May

By Tanner Smith

One time, I watched Amadeus with a friend who hadn’t seen it before. He’s such a movie buff that he thought he could guess exactly what was going to happen with Mozart and Salieri in this movie, and I kept having to tell him “no” or even lie and say “yes” just to see how he’d react. This is just one source, but it could show that what “Amadeus” isn’t is “predictable.” What it is is one of my all-time favorite films.

It’s funny, because I’m not that big a fan of classical music. Not that I dislike it (far from it); it’s just that I don’t listen to it that often. (There’s a difference.) But I still adore this movie both as a story about the creative process and a character study about an ingenious but immature artist and a mediocre but hard-working one who’s very envious of the other. Either way you look at it, it’s still an engrossing film (so engrossing that I constantly forget how long it is because it moves at a brisk pace–I can easily watch this 160-minute film in one sitting).

“Amadeus” isn’t entirely historically accurate, but so what? It’s historical fiction that captured the spirit of Mozart, so it can’t be taken that seriously. I learned that Mozart did put more effort into his work than this movie may have given him credit for, and it’s unlikely Salieri really wanted to murder him. But again, so what? It’s Salieri telling the story anyway, thus the film dabbles with the “unreliable narrator” element brilliantly, which makes it one of the more uniquely beautiful and innovative historical-fiction films ever made.

I haven’t seen the director’s cut, but frankly, I don’t want to. The film is perfect as it is and it doesn’t require additional material. I don’t need to see it either. It’s like Mozart would want it–if something is good enough not to be changed, don’t change it.

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