Angel Heart (1987). Film Review

Angel Heart (1987). Film Review

Angel Heart (1987)
Angel Heart (1987)

Alan Parker directs Mickey Rourke and Robert De Niro in Angel Heart, an 80”s horror movie… very demonic.

By the way, this genre is called elevated horror (which I would define as horror movies that aren’t a disaster).

It’s based on a novel by William Hjortsberg.

Religion in between

Angel’s Heart is one of those films that we remember despite the passage of time. A classic film that in its day was a revolution (at least as far as I remember). One of those movies that they wouldn’t let us rent because they made us… lose faith.

With lots of classic film noir touches. We really love Alan Parker (Mississippi Burning).

Plot: A touch of Philip Marlow… but with a special client.

Harry Angel is hired by a mysterious egg-eating character played by Robert De Niro to find someone (which we have to bite our tongues on this one). His investigation will lead him into the swampy realms of heroin, black magic, voodoo and… a few other things.

El Corazón del Ángel (1987)
Angel Heart (1987)

The Movie

This is one of those films from the eighties that, without being a marvel in its day (nowadays it would have been a winner at the Oscars), will be remembered because it features Robert De Niro (not much) playing that mysterious character that we can’t mention at the risk of spoiling the ending (if anyone hasn’t seen it by now).

What we like. Mickey Rourke: he’s both dirty and handsome, a man from another era in the eighties playing a guy in the fifties. He was never a bad actor (whatever anyone said, and he recently had a great performance that earned him an Oscar nomination), although he was an actor marked by clichés and a movie (9 1/2 Weeks) that put him in the role of sex-symbol from which he couldn’t escape.

What we still like: Robert De Niro. If you get this role… well, you almost accept it because you can overact as much as you want (just ask Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate):

What else do we like? Well, many things like the setting and New York and New Orleans, how they capture the rhythm through the music, how Alan Parker directs this thriller that in its day thrilled us and that today, although somewhat aged, still has its seductive touch in many aspects.

It is inevitable to talk about those wonderful films of the eighties that were not created from the (sometimes twisted) marketing system, and this is a great example: it provoked, it called the actors to act (now it is rare) and the team to say to each other “we are here to do something like art”. The films, in a way, had that transcendence that in today’s times has (to some extent) taken away the immediacy).

Angel Heart, thus, is a very classic work in which references and influences of all kinds flow, from literary to pictorial and of course cinematographic. A work full of nuances and contradictions, not perfect (of course), but a film that wants to say “here I am”, a bit like Robert de Niro in one of those roles he likes to play so much.

And as always, it seems incredible that we forget: it has an excellent script.

Doesn’t a good story help to make a good movie? It used to be quite obvious.

Angel Heart (1987)
Angel Heart (1987)

Our Opinion

A daring film in its time. Which, for sure, you will love to see again. I enjoyed it again.

The Cast

Mickey Rourke

Mickey Rourke
Mickey Rourke at the Dom Perignon Rose Vintage 1996 Champagne New Image Launch Party. Private Residence, Beverly Hills, CA. 06-02-06. Depostiphotos

Mickey Rourke is an American actor known for the films 9 1/2 Weeks (1986), Angel Heart (1987) and The Wrestler (2008).

Philip Andre Michael Rourke Jr. was born on September 16, 1952 in Schenectady, New York, United States.

Mickey Rourke is an American actor, screenwriter and former boxer who began his career in the 80’s with Diner (1982) and Rumble Fish (1983). Adrian Lyne chose him, along with Kim Basinger to star in 9 1/2 Weeks, the movie that made him famous. Then came Angel Heart, with Robert De Niro. And an excellent movie The Barfly.He played the role as Charles Bukowski.

With The Wrestler, he earned an Oscar nomination.

Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro is an American actor known Academy Award winner for Ragging Bull (1980) and The Godfather II. He also starred in Cape Fear, Angel Heart (1987), Taxi Driver (1976), Goodfellas (1990) and many others.

Robert Anthony De Niro was born on August 17, 1943 in Greenwich Village Manhattan, New York (United States).

Other Reviews

Smashing-looking production design by Brian Morris and beautiful, moody camera work (…) [Mr. Parker] is a very able technician who needs a good screenplay, which is what’s missing here. In its bits and pieces, ‘Angel Heart’ looks a lot better than it does when endured.

Vincent Canby: The New York Times

Angel Heart Official Movie Trailer

Cast & Crew

Angel Heart (1987)
Angel Heart (1987)

Movie title: Angel Heart

Movie description: Harry Angel is hired by a mysterious egg-eating character played by Robert De Niro to find someone (which we have to bite our tongues on this one). His investigation will lead him into the swampy realms of heroin, black magic, voodoo, and... a few other things.

Date published: June 23, 2022

Country: United States

Duration: 113 mins

Author: Martin Cid

Director(s): Alan Parker

Actor(s): Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro, Charlotte Rampling, Lisa Bonet, Brownie McGhee, Stocker Fontelieu, Michael Higgins, Eliott Keener

Genre: Horror, Thriller


A daring film in its time that, for sure, we will love to see again. I enjoy it every time I watch it.


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