Amadeus is a rarity: a dramatic film made by people who understand music as much as filmmaking. A celebration of music and genius, the film exults over Mozart's seemingly divine creations even as it refuses to canonize the man behind them. Instead, the decision to tell the story from Salieri's point-of-view provides a justly critical portrait of Mozart, and in so doing so it provides a commentary on genius that mines trenchant insight from resolute objectivity. That Mozart's music is beyond reproach is never called into doubt; likewise, that the man himself could be utterly reproachful is also beyond question. Paradox is at the film's core, both in the presentation of Mozart and his music, and in the character of Salieri, who managed to be both Mozart's greatest fan and most punishing detractor. In making this sort of paradox its central theme, Amadeus is one of the most illuminating pictures of genius ever committed to celluloid. Part of its brilliance lies in its principal performances: in Tom Hulce's Mozart, we see a man equally un-self-conscious about his genius and his vulgarity, and in F. Murray Abraham's Oscar-winning Salieri, we see the tragedy that results from the inability of talent to live up to desire. These performances are lavishly complemented by the music in question, a forceful character in its own right. Part of Forman's great achievement as the film's director was bringing this music to millions who had never set foot inside of an opera house or a theater, with a passion and immediacy that could appeal to a much wider audience than just classical music enthusiasts.