|“||The flesh is weak, Johnny. Only the soul is immortal. And yours belongs to me.||„|
|~ Cyphre revealing his true nature|
Louis Cyphre is the main antagonist of the 1987 thriller film Angel Heart. He is a mysterious businessman who hires private detective Harry Angel to find a singer who owes him an unspecified "collateral".
He is played by Robert De Niro, who also portrayed Vito Corleone in The Godfather, Part II, Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull, David "Noodles" Aaronson in Once Upon a Time in America, Al Capone in The Untouchables, Jimmy Conway in Goodfellas, Max Cady in Cape Fear, Frankenstein's Monster in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Dwight Hansen in This Boy's Life, Ace in Casino, Neil McCauley in Heat, Gil Renard in The Fan, Louis Gara in Jackie Brown, Fearless Leader in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Don Lino in Shark Tale, David Callaway in Hide and Seek, and Senator John McLaughlin in Machete.
In the film
Cyphre is introduced as a wealthy businessman in 1955 New Orleans who hires private detective Harry Angel to find Jonathon Liebling, aka "Johnny Favorite", a singer who owes him an unspecified "collateral" from his life insurance. Favorite was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for post-traumatic stress disorder and amnesia after World War II, and was never seen again. Cyphre suspects he is dead.
After a key witness in the case is murdered under mysterious circumstances, Angel tells Cyphre he no longer wants the job, but Cyphre changes his mind when he offers his $5,000. During the investigation, Angel learns that Favorite sold his soul to the devil in exchange for stardom, but later tried to get out of the deal. He performed a Satanic ritual on a young soldier and ate his heart in order to assume the other man's identity and hide from Satan. When he was institutionalized after the war, he simply wandered away. He learns all this from a series of informants who are all horrifically murdered after they tell him what they know.
Finally, Angel discovers a set of military dog tags that reveal Favorite's true identity: none other than Angel himself. As Angel recoils in horror and confusion, Cyphre appears and demands what he is owed: Angel's soul. Angel deduces that "Louis Cyphre" is an alias for Lucifer - Cyphre is the devil himself. Cyphre inflicts a fugue state on Angel in which the detective remembers that he committed the murders. As Angel descends into Hell, Cyphre whispers "Harry" and "Johnny", implying that he owns both Johnny Favorite's soul and that of his assumed identity, Harry Angel.