The 1995 classic crime drama Heat is currently streaming on Netflix. Starring acting legends Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, this explosive heist film combines a gripping plot, outstanding performances, and breathtaking action sequences to create an unforgettable cinematic masterpiece.
Heat is on Netflix and is arguably Robert De Niro’s best film.
The plot of Heat revolves around the enthralling conflict between two characters. On one side, we have Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro), a meticulous and ruthless career criminal living by the code of leaving nothing behind that he can’t walk away from in 30 seconds. On the other side is Lieutenant Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino), a dedicated and relentless LAPD detective. McCauley’s crew, consisting of Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer), Michael Cheritto (Tom Sizemore), and others, pulls off a daring $1.6 million heist, setting in motion a series of events that lead to a gripping showdown between the two.
As Hanna and his team investigate the heist, they become embroiled in a cat-and-mouse game with McCauley’s crew. The film not only explores the high-stakes world of crime and law enforcement but also delves into the personal lives of these two complex characters, revealing their isolation and dedication to their professions. While Al Pacino and Robert De Niro share only a limited amount of screen time, Heat remains an engrossing crime drama that keeps the audience on the edge of their seat through the entire 170-minute run.
Upon its release, Heat became an instant showcase of director Michael Mann’s understanding of the crime genre. The film was met with critical acclaim, with Mann’s direction and screenplay, the intense action sequences, impeccable sound mixing, and the powerhouse performances of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro widely praised. Audiences particularly enjoyed the film’s nuanced portrayal of the psychological dynamics between criminals and law enforcement.
Al Pacino and Robert De Niro share only three scenes in Heat, but the diner confrontation is one of the best in Hollywood history.
Famed film critic Roger Ebert commended Mann’s script for its psychological insight, stating that it allowed the characters to express their thoughts and emotions eloquently. Meanwhile, critics lauded Al Pacino and Robert De Niro’s ability to translate Mann’s words from the script to the screen.
Heat was not only a critical darling but also a commercial success. The film grossed $187 million worldwide, far surpassing its $60 million budget. With so many people flocking to the theaters to see Robert De Niro in action, the high ticket sales at the box office solidified Heat’s status as a classic in the crime drama genre.
In addition to Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, Heat boasts an ensemble cast that includes some of the most celebrated actors of their generation. Val Kilmer delivers a standout performance as Chris Shiherlis, McCauley’s loyal right-hand man. Meanwhile, Jon Voight plays Nate, a character based on the real-life criminal Edward Bunker.
Tom Sizemore joins Robert De Niro et al. as Michael Cheritto, an enforcer in McCauley’s crew. Diane Venora also supports the cast as Justine Hanna, the conflicted wife of Al Pacino’s character. Other actors that joined the cast include Amy Brenneman, Ashley Judd, Mykelti Williamson, Wes Studi, Ted Levine, and Dennis Haysbert.
Long after it first bowed in theaters, Heat remains influential in the world of cinema. The realistic depiction of heists, intense shootouts, and complex characters in this Robert De Niro film has inspired numerous filmmakers and writers. The film’s impact can be seen in works like Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, where the portrayal of Gotham City drew inspiration from Heat. Additionally, the film influenced the iconic Grand Theft Auto video game series, particularly in missions that mirror the intense bank robbery and police shootout scenes.
Heat 2 is moving forward with Adam Driver, and there’s no word yet on whether Robert De Niro will be involved in the film.
In 2016, Mann unveiled his plans for a prequel novel, marking the launch of his company, Michael Mann Books. The project gained momentum in 2017 when Reed Farrel Coleman joined as a co-author, and it was announced that the novel would be both a prequel and sequel to the film. In July 2022, a movie adaptation of the novel, titled Heat 2, was greenlit with Adam Driver set to play a young McCauley, though there is no word on whether Robert De Niro will also play a part in the sequel film.
While there is no current release date for Heat 2, and the soonest fans could expect to see the sequel is sometime in 2025, the original Heat is available for easy streaming on Netflix. With Al Pacino and Robert De Niro at the helm, if you’re in the mood for a film that explores the complex world of crime and law enforcement while delving into the personal lives of its compelling characters, Heat is the perfect movie to add to your watch list.