Director's Influence on Amadeus

During the course of his life, Milos Forman has lived under two repressive regimes: Nazism and Stalinism. Under Nazism, Forman lost his father and mother; and, due to Stalinism, he had to abandon his wife and his two children. Given these facts, it is not surprising that a variety of Forman's films revolve around characters combatting systems of repression. Forman presented this theme in his works, even when it was not safe for him to do so.

Forman utilizes this theme in Amadeus. Mozart fights many repressive systems in the film. He rebels against Prince-Archbishop Colloredo of Salzburg. He defies Leopold, his domineering father, by marrying Constanze and staying in Vienna. He also fights the censorship that he encounters in Emperor Joseph II's court: he bases an opera on a play that the emperor bans from court.

Despite his best efforts, however, Mozart eventually meets his end at the hands of the repressive forces. Leopold dies, and he is more domineering in death than when he was alive. The guilt and grief that Mozart feels towards his deceased father causes Mozart to self-destruct. In the aftermath of Leopold's death, Mozart drinks too much and overworks himself. Salieri eventually succeeds in censoring Mozart. He makes sure that Mozart's operas receive very few performances, and he also makes sure that no one hires Mozart to tutor their daughters.

Forman's partnership with Peter Schaeffer, the man who wrote the play from which the film is adapted, was a very successful one. They spent months together transforming the play's dialogue to make it appropriate for the film. The fact that the film ended up being filmed in Prague pleased both men. Schaeffer admired the fact that Prague was a city untouched by time. For Forman, filming in the city most likely felt like paying homage to his roots: he grew up in Czechoslovakia and had gone to film school in Prague.