When Miloš Forman decided how to make the movie Amadeus (1984), which later won 8 Oscars, he insisted that the film be shot in the Czech Republic. And that was difficult, because Miloš Forman was a persona non grata in his homeland during the socialist era. In the end, however, it succeeded because for the communist leadership of the state outweighed the vision of money over the ideology. Miloš Forman himself later said of the movie: “That was the only reason they allowed the movie to be shot in Prague.”
It was filmed mainly at the Estates Theater, but also at the Prague Archbishopric or the Wallenstein Palace. And also at the castles in Veltrusy or Kroměříž. Only four location were constructed: the madhouse, Mozart’s apartment, the staircase and part of the theater.
Miloš Forman also wanted to film at Prague Castle, the residence of President Gustáv Husák, but the Communists responded: “Americans at Prague Castle? Then forget it immediately.”
Of course, the filming took place under the supervision of agents of the state secret police. The photographer of the movie was then 18-year-old Petr Našic, today one of the most respected Czech photographers (one of the photographs shows Petr Našic in later years with Miloš Forman).
The Diversion Bistro in Malá Strana now has an exhibition of his photos from the shooting of Amadeus. The middle one in the trio of photos shows an extras of Amadeus being guarded by a uniformed member of the police. The gentleman standing behind him in a suit with tie is the secret police agent who was guarding them all.
And the golden chairs in the photos? Although the filming was not at Prague Castle, Miloš Forman was filming directly opposite Castle, in the Archbishop’s Palace. And he wished some of the chairs were golden. So they painted them and they left it at that…
(Photos from the exhibition: website of the Municipal District of Prague 1)