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Angel Heart
Directed by Alan Parker
Produced by Elliott Kastner
Alan Marshall
Written by Novel:
William Hjortsberg
Alan Parker
Starring Mickey Rourke
Robert De Niro
Lisa Bonet
Charlotte Rampling
Music by Trevor Jones
Cinematography Michael Seresin
Editing by Gerry Hambling
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release date(s) March 6, 1987
Running time 113 minutes
Language English
Budget $17,000,000 (estimated)

Angel Heart is a 1987 mystery-thriller film written and directed by Alan Parker, and starring Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro and Lisa Bonet. The film is adapted from the novel Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg, and is generally faithful to the novel with the exceptions being the introduction of a child of Epiphany Proudfoot conceived at a voodoo ceremony by "a devil", and that the novel never leaves New York City, whereas much of the action of the film occurs in New Orleans.

A highly atmospheric film, Angel Heart combines elements of film noir, hard-boiled detective stories and horror.



The movie opens in January 1955. Mickey Rourke plays Harry Angel, a seedy private investigator in New York City. Louis Cyphre (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 neurological trauma. Cyphre has discovered that the hospital may have falsified Favorite's records and wants Angel to find out what happened, as Favorite owed a debt to Cyphre.

But there's more to the case than initially appears, as the doctor who treated Johnny at the hospital is soon found dead after Harry questions him. The detective also has some serious reservations about the enigmatic Mr. Cyphre, who is vague about the "debt" that Favorite owes to him. At the same time Angel begins to detect hints of bizarre religious underpinnings to the case. Despite his misgivings, Harry accepts Cyphre's offer of $5,000 to continue with his investigations.

Angel travels to New Orleans as he digs deeper into the case, delving into a world of voodoo and Satanism and growing increasingly worried for his own safety. One informant after another that he speaks to turns up dead. Angel fears becoming a suspect in their murders and he begins experiencing terrifying dreams. One contact, Epiphany Proudfoot (Lisa Bonet), the beautiful 17-year-old daughter of a deceased voodoo priestess and, she eventually admits, Favorite's daughter, becomes his lover. In the film's twist ending, Angel is faced with the fact that he is Johnny Favorite himself, having attempted to escape the selling of his soul to the Devil by taking the place and identity of the original Harry Angel, a soldier returning from the war whom Favorite had abducted, ritually killed, and cannibalized. Angel's conviction that he is simply being framed for the bloody murders is shown to be wrong. Acting under the influence of Cyphre, who is ultimately revealed to be the Devil himself (his name, Louis Cyphre, is a play on the name Lucifer), he has committed and suppressed the memory of each of the murders, the last being that of Epiphany, murdered with a pistol shot in her vagina. With Johnny finally remembering the truth, and since he will be executed for the murders, Cyphre can at last claim what is his: Favorite's immortal soul. Over the end credits, there is a lengthy sequence of a silhouetted Angel descending in an ancient iron Otis elevator cage, apparently on his way to Hell.


Angel Heart gained attention and controversy even before its release. Bonet was previously known for her role on the family-oriented sitcom The Cosby Show, and several seconds of her extended, graphic and blood-drenched sex scene with Rourke had to be trimmed in order to secure the film an 'R' rating on initial release.

Some blamed the controversy for Bonet's departure from The Cosby Show, even though she starred in another Cosby-produced program, A Different World which premiered in 1987.

Rotten Tomatoes counted 21 reviews with 76 percent of them being "fresh" or favorable; Average Rating: 7.2/10.[1] Angel Heart broke even at the box office with its budget of $17 million.[2] After being released on home video it became something of a cult film, appreciated for its unsettling tone, bleak cinematography (by Michael Seresin), its sad and eerie score (by Trevor Jones), and its blend of genres.



External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Angel Heart, a 1987 movie, starring Mickey Rourke, Lisa Bonet and Robert De Niro.

Written by William Hjortsberg (novel) and Alan Parker (screenplay). Directed by Alan Parker.
It will scare you to your very soul.


Harry Angel

  • I gotta thing about chickens. [repeated line]
  • You come straight with me, you slime bag, or I swear, I'll save this state an execution!
  • I know who I am!

Louis Cyphre

  • Alas... how terrible is wisdom when it brings no profit to the wise, Johnny?
  • You know what they say about slugs. They always leave slime in their tracks.
  • The flesh is weak, Johnny. Only the soul is immortal. [darkly] And yours belongs to ME [eyes chillingly shine yellow].
  • They say there's just enough religion in the world to make men hate one another, but not enough to make them love.
  • No matter how cleverly you sneak up on a mirror, your reflection always looks you straight in the eye.
  • I have old-fashioned ideas about honour. An eye for an eye... stuff like that.
  • [glowers] If I had cloven hooves and a pointed tail, would you be more convinced?
  • For twelve years you've been living on borrowed time trapped in another man's memories

Pastor John

  • I want you to show right now how much you love God! I want you to show as your tithe! I want you to open up your hearts! And open up your wallets! And open up your purses! And give it up! Praise the Lord! Somebody's been talking about me, talking about I've been riding around in a Cadillac! If you love me, and you wanna give to me, then I should be in a Rolls Royce!
  • Hallelujah! Permit me to be transmittable, Hallelujah! Permit me to be reincarnatable, Hallelujah! Permit me to be reproducible, Hallelujah! For His Kingdom is yours! Today! Right now! Follow me! Follow me! Follow me through His peace! Yes! Oh Hallelujah!

Ethan Krusemark

  • You'd have enjoyed our gumbo.


Louis Cyphre: Are you an atheist?
Harry Angel: Yeah, I'm from Brooklyn.

Harry Angel: How did he die?
Cop: Technically? Asphyxiation by his own genitalia.
Harry Angel: And not so technically?
Cop: Somebody cut his dick off, stuffed it in his mouth and choked him to death.

Harry Angel: Have you ever watched the Mickey mouse club?
Cop: No.
Harry Angel: Well you know what today is? It's Wednesday, anything can happen day.

Harry Angel: "Louis Cyphre"... "Lucifer". Even your NAME is a dime store joke.
Louis Cyphre: "Mephistopheles" is SUCH a mouthful in Manhattan, Johnny.

Harry Angel: What's your name?
Epiphany Proudfoot: Epiphany Proudfoot.
Harry Angel: Your mother left you a very beautiful name, Epiphany.
Epiphany Proudfoot: Not much else.

Cop: You're going to burn for this, Angel.
Harry Angel:[last lines] I know. In hell. [Sees his grandson's eyes glowing]


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