Plot: It is the early 19th century. An old man is thrown into an insane asylum after trying to commit suicide. He is Antonio Salieri and in the asylum he is visited by a priest, to whom he confesses that he killed Mozart. He then recounts his time as court composer to Emperor Joseph II of Austria. Mozart appears at the court and is hired by the Emperor to produce an opera. His genius is quite evident. Salieri is a devout Christian man and believes all musical talent and inspiration is given by God. Mozart's personal life and extracurricular activities appall Salieri. He cannot reconcile Mozart's talent and his lifestyle and sets out to drive him from the court. Initially his aim is to undermine him but over time his intentions turn deadlier.
Alternative Plot: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce) is a remarkably talented young Viennese composer who unwittingly finds a fierce rival in the disciplined and determined Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham). Resenting Mozart for both his hedonistic lifestyle and his undeniable talent, the highly religious Salieri is gradually consumed by his jealousy and becomes obsessed with Mozart's downfall, leading to a devious scheme that has dire consequences for both men.