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A man named Salieri is institutionalized in 1823 after trying to kill himself and claiming he killed the muscician Mozart. Salieri confesses his story to a young priest. Salieri reminisces about his life and his wish to devote it to God and music. As an adult, Salieri went to Vienna and began composing music for the Holy Roman Emperor. Salieri later meets the ridiculous and lewd Mozart, recognizing the youth's great talent.

Mozart rubs Salieri the wrong way and continues to insult him, despite Salieri's initial attempts to bond with him. Salieri views Mozart's music as a miracle but is offended that it comes from a man like Mozart. Mozart's behavior shakes Salieri's faith in God and comes to believe his own talents are simply mediocre. As Salieri's spiritual life goes to shambles, Mozart suffers the loss of his father and becomes increasingly more free with his family's money as commissions for his own music become fewer.

Salieri decides to use Mozart's financial problems to get his revenge and kill the miraculous composer. He disguises himself in a costume similar to one Mozart's deceased father once wore and commissions a requiem mass from Mozart. Salieri plans to kill Mozart and claim the wonderful music as his own work, making him the only person alive aware that Mozart wrote his own requiem mass. Mozart grows exhausted from his work and collapses during a performance of the Magic Flute.

Taking him home, Salieri offers to help Mozart with writing the requiem. An ill Mozart dictates while Salieri writes the music until Mozart's wife discovers them and sends Salieri away. She locks up the music manuscript and Mozart dies with the work unfinished. Salieri is left with the belief that God would rather punish him with Mozart's death than let him have his glory. The film ends with Salieri wheeled away, absolving the priest and fellow patience of their mediocrity.

| 1984 | 3 hr | 8.3/10 | 88/100
F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge, Roy Dotrice
Milo Forman
Produced By
Saul Zaentz

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