Angel Heart

From Academic Kids

Angel Heart, a 1987 movie, stars Mickey Rourke, Lisa Bonet and Robert De Niro. Alan Parker wrote and directed the film, adapted from the novel Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg.

Generally faithful to the novel, the film is more somber.

An atmospheric film, Angel Heart combines elements of film noir and horror.

Plot Overview

Rourke plays Harry Angel, a private investigator in 1950s New York City. Louis Cyphere (De Niro) hires Angel to locate Johnny Favorite, a popular big band crooner who was severely injured in World War II and hospitalized with profound brain damage. Cyphere discovers that the hospital falsified Favorite's records, and wants Angel to find out what happened, as Favorite owed a debt to Cyphere.

Rourke's effective performance anchors the film. DeNiro offers a memorable performance in an atypical role, as a refined but palpably sinister character reportedly based on Martin Scorsese's mannerisms. Charlotte Rampling and blues singer Brownie McGhee are memorable in their rather small roles.


Angel Heart gained attention and controversey even before its release. Bonet was previously known for her role on the family-oriented The Cosby Show, and her extended, graphic love scene with Rourke required being trimmed of several seconds to secure the film an 'R' rating on initial release.

Rumors blamed the controversey for Bonet's departure from the Cosby Show, though a few years later she starred in another Cosby-produced programme, A Different World.

Angel Heart received mixed reviews, and wasn't especially successful financially, just about breaking even. [1] (

After the release on home video, however, Angel Heart became something of a cult film, known for its spooky tone, excellent cinematography (by Michael Seresin) and unusual (but effective) blend of genres.

Louis Cyphere is an anagram for "Lucifer". The true objective of Louis Cyphere is strongly depicted by the "egg"-scene, in which DeNiro eats with great zeal an egg, representing (according to Louis Cyphere) the soul in many cultures.

Angel delves into a world of voodoo and satanism and grows increasingly worried for his own safety and sanity. As Harry Angel discovers more and more the truth, Harry Angel experiences flashbacks of satanic rituals and a string of murders. He meets Epiphany Proudfoot (Bonet), daughter of a voodoo practitioner who knew Favorite. Notable is the film's disturbing twist ending.

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