One of the best films I've ever seen of any genre is Amadeus, the 1984 adaptation--written by the playwright himself--of Peter Shaffer's stage play of the same name. This film has everything: a great director (Milos Foreman of Hair and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest fame), stellar talent (F. Murray Abraham and Tom Hulce, plus R2-D2), amazing costumes and sets, a compelling story, and also a killer poster:
All right, Amadeus is not entirely historically accurate--Salieri and Mozart really didn't hate each other, in spite of what the film would suggest. But that is SO not the point. It is fun, it is heartbreaking, it is beautiful. And it ultimately became a monster hit, winning eight Academy Awards (out of eleven nominations), including Best Actor in a Leading Role for F. Murray Abraham as Antonio Salieri, who was pitted against his castmate Tom Hulce as Mozart. Numerous other awards were won (including at least seven international awards for Best Foreign Language Film, according to the Internet Movie Database.) In my opinion, all awards received were very soundly earned, especially Abraham's and Shaffer's Oscars.
In fact, the film was so influential in its own time even beyond the realm of film that it inspired (among other things) a wildly ambitious German guy called Falco to write a song called "Rock Me Amadeus," which was a half-rapped, half-sung wonder of 1980s pop production and went on to reach number one in the United States. The video for the song--which, by the way, showcases some totally heinous lip-synching--is pretty standard for the time and features, among other things, Falco as Amadeus and a bar full of bikers cheering him on. You can watch it here.
If you have not seen Amadeus, I suggest that you get yourself to the video store immediately. The director's cut runs almost three hours long, but they are three hours well-spent.
Buy Amadeus on DVD through Family Video for $14.99.
Image via Family Video.