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Heat (1995)

tomatometer

86

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 76
Fresh: 65 | Rotten: 11

Though Al Pacino and Robert De Niro share but a handful of screen minutes together, Heat is an engrossing crime drama that draws compelling performances from its stars -- and confirms Michael Mann's mastery of the genre.

80

Average Rating: 7.3/10
Critic Reviews: 25
Fresh: 20 | Rotten: 5

Though Al Pacino and Robert De Niro share but a handful of screen minutes together, Heat is an engrossing crime drama that draws compelling performances from its stars -- and confirms Michael Mann's mastery of the genre.

audience

94

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 217,782

My Rating

Movie Info

A successful career criminal considers getting out of the business after one last score, while an obsessive cop desperately tries to put him behind bars in this intelligent thriller written and directed by Michael Mann. Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) is a thief who specializes in big, risky jobs, such as banks and armored cars. He's very good at what he does; he's bright, methodical, and has honed his skills as a thief at the expense of his personal life, vowing never to get involved in a

R,

Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure

Jul 27, 1999

Warner Bros.

Watch It Now

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All Critics (76) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (65) | Rotten (11) | DVD (39)

When Pacino's loud, bruised cop and De Niro's canny crook stare at each other, you can read something spent and weary in their eyes and voices. The heat is hell. So are their jobs -- but somebody's got to do them.

April 29, 2014 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The taciturn De Niro and the braying Pacino share a flawless scene over a cup of coffee, but the real honors go to Val Kilmer and Ashley Judd as a warring, loving couple.

April 29, 2014 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

So why doesn't Heat, with its elaborately staged, tautly edited robberies, its killer cast, edgy score and elegant cinematography, offer more satisfaction? It's the script, stupid.

April 29, 2014 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Just when it seemed that the only hope for crime movies lay in the postmodernist artifice of films like Pulp Fiction, Mann reinvests the genre with brooding, modernist conviction. This one sticks to your gut.

April 29, 2014 Full Review Source: Newsweek
Newsweek
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's nothing really new in this lengthy 1995 thriller by writer-director Michael Mann about cops and robbers in Los Angeles, but it has craft, pacing, and an overall sense of proportion, three pretty rare classic virtues nowadays.

April 29, 2014 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An odd though often entertaining blend of The Asphalt Jungle and Oprah, a traditional cops-and-robbers story weirdly fitted out with long, earnest discussions of interpersonal relationships.

April 29, 2014 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A movie with two powerhouse performances and enough bad dialogue (it runs two hours, 45 minutes) to clog a Pentium processor.

April 29, 2014 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Philadelphia Daily News

Though punctuated by bursts of virtuoso action, including a running battle in downtown LA that ranks as one of the best action scenes ever filmed, it is the unusual emphasis on character that impresses most.

April 29, 2014 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

This is glandular, not intellectual, movie-making but it's at the highest end of technical expressiveness.

April 29, 2014 Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun

The performances are persuasive but the plot rattles on much too long.

April 29, 2014 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

Though it's a tad too schematic, Heat, written and directed by Michael Mann, provides a venue for white-hot acting by De Niro and Pacino.

April 29, 2014 Full Review Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

With a stellar cast including Val Kilmer and Jon Voight, Heat has it all including a great soundtrack full of tone-setting, ambient, and symphonic arrangements.

April 29, 2014 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

If, overall, Mann stretches a bit, the numerous successes are nevertheless worth watching.

April 29, 2014 Full Review Source: Spokesman-Review (Washington)
Spokesman-Review (Washington)

Heat isn't only his peerless lesson in how to make clusters of concrete and glass look beautiful, it's also an eloquent study of loyalty, commitment and good guy/ bad guy duality.

April 29, 2014 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

The conversation in Heat is one of the most perfectly executed and eloquently intertextual moments in the history of American Cinema.

January 2, 2013 Full Review Source: 2UE That Movie Show
2UE That Movie Show

A stealth epic, framing an urban jungle and making its own kind of contemporary history by pairing acting giants Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino in what has arguably become the preminent cops-and-robbers movie. [Blu-ray]

February 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews | Comments (9)
Groucho Reviews

Quite rightly, this confirmed Mann as one of Hollywood's smartest, most stylish and emotionally articulate directors.

November 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4 | Comments (4)
Film4

I have always wondered if Pacino and De Niro flipped a coin before the movie began shooting to see which of them would play which part?

October 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Audience Reviews for Heat

An obsessive robbery homicide detective is locked in a battle of wits with an ingenious crew of professional criminals looking to score a multi-million dollar bank heist under his very nose. When you see a cast list like this one you know you're in for something special, but Heat is not just special; it's an absolute masterclass. It's a fairly common formula in this day and age, showing cop and criminal as two sides of the same coin, but the way Mann effortlessly flits between both sets of superbly realised characters has never been bettered and paved the way for the modern cop drama including everything from Infernal Affairs to The Dark Knight. The performances are all, of course, top notch and every aspect of the film that surrounds them is faultlessly engineered to create a near perfect heist movie. The bank shoot out that turns the streets of L.A. into a war zone is astonishing in itself and candidate for best action sequence ever filmed. The soundtrack has maybe dated a little in places and some of the domestic drama a little heavy handed compared to the levels of sophistication shown in telling the life stories of these men born of violence, but it is all interwoven into something that exceeds the sum of its parts. A modern classic.
November 26, 2013
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

This is basically Michael Mann's magnum opus.

It's a more fleshed out and richer version of his TV production L.A. Takedown concerning two groups of people and their leaders: one being super slick professional thieves, and the other being highly determined and driven police officers. It takes the standard good versus evil story, ramps it up to the max, and throws in tons and tons of character development, atmosphere, and some of the most well done, realistic, and accurate gun play in motion picture history. This is all very rich, complex, and very compelling. It's a film both for those who like to think, and those who love a solid crime drama.

It also has the great selling point of being the first film to feature De Niro Pacino sharing screentime together. Granted, this selling point is dated, but compared to Righteous Kill (which has them on screen together longer), this one really gets it right and doesn't overdo the joy of seeing them face off.

The cast are firing on all cylinders here, making their characters, good or bad, interesting, sympathetic, and worth watching. Honestly, I'm really torn between which group I'd rather root for more, which I think is a great sign of brilliant work. Nothing is totally black and white, and each side has their pros and cons. Mann has encyclopedic knowledge of crime, criminals, cops, and police procedure, and it shows. There's a high level of attention to detail, and it really makes one appreciate the time and care that went into all this.

But of course, at nearly three hours, and with a fairly leisurely pace, this could prove to be too slow and boring for some. Honestly, I'm really not bothered by it, Sure, my patience sometimes begins to waver during the third act, but I have seen this several times, so maybe it's just a personal issue, and a bit of burn out.

Mann's trademark mood and atmosphere building tools are pitch perfect here, with some of the best and most expressive lighting and camera placement ever seen in a crime drama, or other type of film for that matter. And of course, one of the other main selling points: the superb action scenes. Granted, the movie isn't wall to wall action, but that's not the point. In fact, a lot of the film is made up of lengthy, quiet scenes with tons of yakking, and even more scenes with no talking, just letting the mood wash over the viewer and draw them into this hypnotic world. However, when this film delivers the action goods, it really delivers them, with the gunfights being intense, wild, loud, and jarring...like they're supposed to be.

Just see this film already. There's only so many ways I can think of to call this brilliant before it becomes redundant.
October 2, 2013
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

An intense and very complex character study with Pacino and De Niro delivering two explosive performances as men so alike but on opposite sides of the same battle. Still, the film has too many characters and scenes that make it feel much longer than it should be.
August 27, 2013
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

In what is arguably one of the finest heist movies in history, "Heat" pits two acting heavy-weights in Robert De Niro and Al Pacino against one another. One is a professional thief, so well seasoned that he has avoided the law for as long as he can probably remember. The other is a troubled homicide detective whose third marriage is fizzling out due to his over-riding commitment to his job. Each character ultimately finds he has more in common with his adversary than with his peers. Both are flawed, tired and run-down middle-aged men who, in the immortal words of Roger Murtaugh (see: "Lethal Weapon") are "getting too old for this ...."

"Heat" is hardly your average cops and robbers tale. It's long, it's sweeping and is steeped in character moments and conversations. While much of the hype about the film has always revolved around its finale - the bank robbery - it's the small moments that make the film. Take for instance a scene in the middle of the film where Pacino, too tired and beat down to do anything else, tracks down his suspect (De Niro) and invites him for a cup of coffee where the two talk shop and in spite of mutual respect for one another, both vow not to back down. This moment serves to build the tension that is the big pay-off in the film. You get to know and feel for these very real and very flawed characters, so that when the heat is on, so to speak, you don't know who to cheer for anymore.

Undeniably, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino are the stars of the film and are a large part of its greatness, but it is also Michael Mann's ("Collateral," "Manhunter") unique eye and story-telling sense that defines the film as well. Despite his insuppressible style, the film still retains a gritty, realistic air that is best evidenced in a shootout that takes place in the Los Angeles streets. Without a doubt, this is the director's masterpiece and definitely one of the best of its kind. It's a true epic that is filed to the brim with intense acting (nobody's forgotten about you either, Val) and complicated characters as intricate as the job they are trying to do. For all intents and purposes, "Heat" lives up to its name. 5 stars 5-24-13
May 23, 2013
bbcfloridabound
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

    1. Vincent Hanna: I say what I mean and I do what I say.
    – Submitted by oliver a (13 months ago)
    1. Neil McCauley: Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.
    – Submitted by oliver a (13 months ago)
    1. Neil McCauley: I told you I never going back.
    2. Vincent Hanna: Because she has a great ass and you got your head all the up it.
    3. Neil McCauley: There is a flip side to that coin. What if you do got me boxed in and I gotta put you down? Cause no matter what, you will not get in my way. We've been face to face, yeah. But I will not hesitate. Not for a second.
    4. Neil McCauley: A guy told me one time, "Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner."
    – Submitted by David B (18 months ago)
    1. Neil McCauley: I am never going back.
    2. Vincent Hanna: Then don't take down scores.
    3. Neil McCauley: I do what I do best: I take scores. You do what you do best: Try to stop guys like me.
    – Submitted by The Vinh H (19 months ago)
    1. Vincent Hanna: Something about a woman's ass...
    – Submitted by Jesse K (24 months ago)
    1. Neil McCauley: What am I doing? I'm talking to a blank telephone, cause there is a dead man on the other end of this fucking line...
    – Submitted by Chris C (2 years ago)
View all quotes (19)

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