How True is Amadeus?

Everyone says it’s bunk, but how much of the classic movie is real and how much is false? How true is Amadeus? Sorry, no featured charity this week. One will be added to next week’s episode.

About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.

69 comments

  1. MidnightScreeningsman2014

    1st me second RockmanX3

  2. This movie has been on my want to see list for a long time now. After watching this I really think I should hunker down tonight and finally give it a try.

  3. EpicJasonX9000

    or, some may get distracted by Edward R. Rooney over here.

  4. Amadeus is one of my top three favorite films of all time. For whatever reason, I find Salieri enormously relatable and sympathetic. He’s consumed with envy and I love it.

    Tom Hulce, F. Murray Abraham, and even Elizabeth Berridge, are amazing.

    I take very little issue with adding fictitious elements to existing history. Cinema is about story-telling.

  5. Heart-Lightning

    Amadeus is suppose to be a dramedy, or dramatic comedy. It’s not meant to be historically accurate. Something like the Abraham Lincoln movie is far more of a documentary based on true events.

  6. This is one of my favorite movies, and I’m so glad that you made a video on this subject! I’ve always thought a lot of what you said, and so now I know it to be true!

  7. I haven’t seen the movie Amadeus, but my mom used to own a copy of the film on VHS since I was in kindergarten.
    I new it from the Twitter posts that your next regular review was gonna be on the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie.

  8. Ooo, a new Douchey McNitpick character. Should we name him? I feel like we should name him…

    How about…Smug McHaughty…

    Well, you do better!

  9. One of my all-time favorite movies. I loved this review, because I kept hearing “It’s not accurate!” But I agree with everything you said in this.

  10. Minus five points for using VIVALDI as your background music when talking about MOZART, Doug!

  11. I get the same crap when I say I liked braveheart

  12. What’s the name of this new character? Will he be recurring? Leonard Maltin only gives this two and a half stars. That monster! Anyway, I had no idea the real Salieri ever confessed that. Of course, a lot of us didn’t even know he was real at all.

  13. 10:28 I keep bumping into these people…ugh

    9:05, hey, the guy MST3K made fun of

    Funnily enough, I’ve only heard bits and pieces about this film; for the longest time Motzart was like Shakespeare, he was just an entity used as punchlines when joking about being really good at something.
    I know of Amadeus from the TV series Midsomer Murders where the muder was based around a production of Amadeus

    I’m a stickler for historical accuracy myself but I don’t complain unless the movie is bad in it’s own right or is activly offensive.
    This looks neither, just not my cup of tea; not to many notes for me

  14. conchshellthegeek7

    Y’know, I think I’d like to see your bibliography here.

  15. MountCDOSgamer

    One big elephant in the room you failed to acknowledge is the fact that the title makes it quite explicit the movie isn’t meant to be completely historically accurate. Is the movie named after Mozart’s christian name? No. Is it named after his surname? No. It’s named after his middle name! If the movie was meant to be a bio-pic about Mozart rather than a fictionalised version of his life, it would have been named after his christian name, his surname, or his full name.

    • True. I think that the name Amadeus is supposed to be used as symbolism as well since, in the movie, Salieri thinks of musical genius as a god-given talent that’s being squandered on Mozart and the name Amadeus means “love of God”.

  16. TragicGuineaPig

    5:22 – Just for that, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot wash your mouth out with soap!

  17. Oh, rock me, Amadeus!

  18. Even That Guy With The Glasses likes Mozart!

    • BTW, I love that guy the critic was talking to. Great character. I feel like you keep putting little bits of TGWTG in your videos with the dark humor and characters with pipes.

  19. So where are the spoilers?

  20. you need to do a new series on “how true” movies, this was awesome

  21. This thrift shop woodchuck has to be some sort of art history teacher composition

  22. I’ve heard of this movie but I didn’t know anything about besides knowing that it’s about Mozart. This was a really interesting video. Oh, and next week is going to be SO funny (if it’s not clipless)!

  23. TheHappySpaceman

    Personally, I’ve always thought that it made sense that Mozart would be an immature workaholic. It is speculated that he had high-functioning autism, which I also have, and those sorts of things are characteristic of people with that condition. Furthermore, judging from what I’ve heard, his dad was so hard on him as a child to compose and play music that he never was able to have a childhood, which also makes sense with the behavior. I can’t speak for any of the other parts, though, since it’s been so long since I’ve seen that mvoie.

    Great review, Doug!

    • I agree and thinking about it made me feel that Michael Jackson and many child stars ended up being screwed up for the same reasons.

      • TheHappySpaceman

        You thought of Michael Jackson, too? I was about to leave that as a comment, but was afraid people would get upset at me for whatever reason.

    • Sorry, but I don’t get why people think Leopold pushed his son so hard. He watched his older sister when she had piano lessons with seven, and began playing piano and violin on his own accord. He also began composing very young, about five years. There is no reason to think that his father pushed him. Leopold even wrote in one of his letters how his six year old son, when he was invited to the empress maria theresia and her family, jumped on her lap and gave her a kiss on the cheek. And afterwards he and his sister played with the royal children. When Mozart slipped and fell onto the floor, the then archduchess Marie-Antonette(yes, the “let them eat cace” lady(which is another historical bullshit I might add)) helped him up and Mozart told her that he was going to marry her when he grew up. Of course we don’t know for sure, but from historical records it sounds like Mozart was enjoying himself when he was young.

      • Well, if you are sheparding your kids all around the country at ages 5 to 10 for the amusement of others and your own prestige, I’d call that pushing

        • If the children liked to perform, why should he have kept them from it. To not give your children the chance to show their talents can be just as cruel if they liked it.

  24. Having studied Music History, a good deal of it is loosely based on facts, but much of it is speculation and Hollywood filler.

  25. There was a thing that could lead to something like in the movie, but nothing happened, so it means that movie 100% accurate. Ok. Nice logic

    • TheHappySpaceman

      I think you misinterpreted Doug’s views. He says that seeing the movie from the perspective of somebody else leaves it open to interpretation. How much was real? How much was just the creation of Salieri? It’s left to us to decide that.

  26. Please Doug, don’t begin strawman arguing here! You’re better than that. You have every right to like the film, but why do you have to ridicule the people who don’t like the historical accuracies, And then you tell them that they are misinformed? Why? Do you really need other people’s approval of this movie so badly. It’s inaccurate. Plain and simple. Yes, the childish humor existed(mostly in mozarts letters). That’s not what people are critizising. The complaint was that the movie reduced Mozart to nothing but his childish and crude humor when we have a lot of evidence that Mozart could also be very deep and philosophical at times. He was a complex and interesting character and the movie boiled him down to a easily digestible archetype(i. e. the rebel and unappricieted genius for his time). Most of his crude humor was shared by his correspondents and his trouble in Vienna were much more likely to come from the critical portrayal of the viennese society and aristocracy in his operas and the sideblows to his former bosses. This is one of the reasons his earlier operas were much more succesful outside of Vienna(another thing the movie completly forgot to mention). So no matter how much of an entertaining movie it is, it is still a bad portrayal of Mozart, no matter how many people defend it. I hate it when people watch something and then desperately try to defend it’s value just because it got “some things” right(and a thousand more important things wrong). Please do some better reaserch on Mozart, not just the part’s that suite your argument.

    • This. I remember Doug getting peeved over Pearl Harbor’s historical inaccuracies that made the Japanese look bad, which is a strange thing to get mad over given they were in the middle of committing a war crime. You could argue it’s titled after the actual place and not its middle name (Wai Momi?) so it’s different, but that’s a nonsensical rule. Michael Bay’s other work, Pain & Gain, isn’t named after the people it’s based on. But that doesn’t stop it from being so criminally slanderous in its depictions, it got sued.

      It’s fine to like a movie, but spreading misinformation can be legitimately harmful. Black people’s affinity for fried chicken came from Birth of a Nation, and that’s NEVER going away now. In Amadeus’s case, the only reason a lot of people know it’s fiction is because of people pointing it out. Depict them as douchey, ill-informed strawmen all you want, but they did keep the world from getting dumber and spreading new bullshit. I still love Amadeus, but it’s better enjoyed knowing where it takes the liberties.

      A lot of people watch these reviews to see if the movie is even worth the time they have. Most of us don’t check wikipedia to make sure they’re accurate. Hell, there’s been at least one retarded, tinfoil hat theory on a creator being an as asshole that came from a review here and got put into wikipedia and other places as fact. A director who’s been criticizing conformity and nationalism for decades is now a child-brainwashing propagandist in some people’s minds. I don’t even need to make up a douchey starwman for those… people infected by misinformed idiocy are terrible enough, looking down on others over fictional flaws.

      • I think it’s even more strange that he bashed Patch Adams for pretty much the same things he adores Amadeus for. There he criticized precisely the misspeading of information and the oversimplification of a complex historical person into an easy to relate to archetype. Yet in this movie he seems totally fine with it.

        • Because the framing was clever and arguably leaves more wiggle room, I guess. Except most people won’t know that unless somebody told them how it compares to reality. Which is exactly what Doug was complaining about.

          Not to mention if that’s an excuse, 300 is equally clever because its narrator would have glorified his king and country. All its distorted history to make the Spartans alpha badass freedom frat bros, the Greeks beta cucks who don’t even lift, and Persians creepy brown monster men is just as immune to criticism. Does the movie lionize asshole behavior at history’s expense? Sounds like 300 was too deep for you, mangina. The movie’s not even named after Leonidas.

          I actually like 300 for its rip-roaring action, but it gets pretty uncomfortable when you think about what else it’s pulling. Especially when the author went on to make Holy Terror. I love Amadeus’s tale of envy and wrestling with mediocrity. But everybody can relate to an underdog surrounded by idiots, and the film dragged real people through the mud to milk that. There’s plenty in these movies to praise (some more than others), but they have flaws that can lead to terrible mindsets and misunderstandings. As sick as we can get of hearing those points raised, I’ll take them over the alternative. Especially when the solution to appreciating Amadeus’s cleverness is more historical trivia, not less.

          • I like most of these movies as well, but for everyone of these, there are other movies that portray the subject matter far better. Like “The 300 Spartans”. And there are also a lot of films about Mozarts life. I have to admit though that I don’t know if they are available in English since I am from Austria and watched them in German. They may not be as visually interesting, but they are a good way to learn more about the historical background once you have seen the flashy “try to please everyone” version. That’s something I usually don’t like about hollywood. They never try to cater to just a particular group, they always try to please everyone. So they try to change historical events and characters to try and make it more relatable to modern audiences. But I think we have enough movies about the underdog surrounded by oppressors. I think audiences can deal with more complex characters as well. Hollywood doesn’t have to regard it’s audience’s intelligence so low.

  27. Fun fact, while Mozart and Salieri competed for the same jobs, and not always in a friendly way, they seemed to have a great deal of personal respect for each-other.

    Also worth noting, the movie also shined a spotlight on Salieri’s work, who might have remained otherwise forgotten by history.

  28. Sakura4anime25

    When I watch a movie that is “based on a true story” or “inspired by true events” or something like that, I always make a point to do a bit of reading into how it differs from what actually happened. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with watching or enjoying a movie that is not very historically accurate, but it’s good to also have an understand of how it differs from the true events.

  29. I Loved this review

    I am a classical singer and am studying Music in germany. You wanna know what my first experiences with Mozart were? “MOZART!” The german Musical. I was always interessted in him, But I never thought he was boring. He was interessting. Nowadays many Historians consider whether or not he may have had turret syndrom becaus ehe kept insulting people. I found him interessting and It was fascinating to see how he went from genius to child in seconds. How he was reveered y some and still missed many chances because of his big mouth. I love this episode, because frankly I hate nothing more than people who say “Oh he was a great composer, He must have been a sophisticated person” Bull. Beethoven was a great composer and he was a narcissistic asshole who got his sister in law nto Jail for Prostitution so he could get Custody of her son to rais him as the heir he never had, driving the boy to a – thanfully failed – suicide.
    Händel hung one of his Soprano singers out of the Window once by her feet because she annoyed him so, not to mention the fact that he decided he would rather compose in England that in Germany, diitched his old Patron Georg Ludwig von Hannover – only to beg on his knees to e taken back when, a few Years later, the same became Georg I of England and Composed the Water music just for him.
    Great Composers were Humans too and if one gets into their storys thei are fascinating and interessting to the core

    • Nobody says that he was sophisticated just because he was a composer. But it’s just as misinformed to say: “Oh, he had a bit of a pottymouth on him, that must mean that he was an infantile clown all time of his life and an unappriciated genius and everyone shunned him because of it. Maybe he was a bit more complex than that. Maybe reality isn’t like some stupid oversimplified hollywood movie.

  30. I almost didn’t see this because you didn’t put “Nostalgia Critic:” or
    “NC:” or even “Doug:” in front of it in the title. Please keep doing that, so it appears that way in my RSS feed.

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