Based on Peter Shaffer’s 1979 stage play of the same name which in turn was inspired by a short play by Aleksandr Pushkin titled Mozart and Salieri, Amadeus tells the true story of a young musical prodigy named Mozart (Tom Hulce) and his encounters with a manipulative rival named Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham). At the end of his life, Salieri, committed to an insane asylum after attempting suicide, decides to confess his sins to a priest...among them the murder of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Told through a series of flashbacks, Salieri describes how excited he was to learn he was going to meet the renowned genius, the intense disappointment he felt when he discovered the boy was a crude and foppish dolt, and the growing bitterness he developed towards God for giving a fool like Mozart such an extraordinary gift. Believing God was somehow mocking his meager talent, Salieri explains how he became obsessed with destroying the legendary composer's career and legacy; an obsession, he says, that led to Mozart's murder.
After premiering in Los Angeles a couple weeks earlier, the film was released on September 19th, 1984 originally rated PG. On March 25th, 1985, Amadeus won 8 Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director (Milos Forman), Best Actor (F. Murray Abraham), Best Adapted Screenplay (Peter Shaffer), Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Makeup. In 2002, an R-rated Director’s Cut was released on DVD restoring nearly 20 minutes of footage that was cut from the film’s initial release.