Heat (1995) Poster



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In an interview with Al Pacino on the DVD Special Edition, Pacino revealed that for the scene in the restaurant between Hanna and McCauley, Robert De Niro felt that the scene should not be rehearsed so that the unfamiliarity between the two characters would seem more genuine. Michael Mann agreed, and shot the scene with no practice rehearsals.
In June of 2002, the scene involving the shootout after the bank robbery was shown to United States Marine recruits at MCRD San Diego as an example of the proper way to retreat while under fire.
In the director commentary, Michael Mann noted that Al Pacino ad-libbed the line "Because she's got a... GREAT ASS!" and Hank Azaria's look of exasperated shock was totally genuine.
The first film to ever feature both Robert De Niro and Al Pacino acting together, which created much hype prior to release. They both starred in The Godfather: Part II (1974) but never shared the screen together as split chronology prevented this. When this movie was finally released, even its advertising material promoted the film as a De Niro/Pacino "showdown."
The meeting between Robert De Niro and Al Pacino over coffee was shot at Kate Mantilini on Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills. The L.A. mainstay is a noted top spot for a stylish late supper. The restaurant now has "heat" spelled in neon above the door and a large poster of the actors in the now famous scene. Diners may request the very table featured in the scene, table #71, which wait staff are familiar with as "The Table", and are happy to seat De Niro Pacino fans at their famous meeting place.
Waingro tells the bartender he spent time at Folsom State Prison and then at the "Shu" (secure housing unit) at Pelican Bay. Pelican Bay State Prison is where California houses the most dangerous of its most dangerous prisoners, and the Shu is where the worst of all of them go.
Much of the film is based off a real-life confrontation between Chicago cop Chuck Adamson and the real Neil McCauley. Adamson was a retired police officer whom director Michael Mann had been working with off and on since the film Thief (1981) starring James Caan (and based upon the career of famed Chicago burglar Frank Hohimer whom Adamson had arrested). They had later worked together on two shows produced by Mann: Miami Vice (1984) and Crime Story (1986). According to Chuck Adamson (and confirmed by Michael Mann) in the Heat-Special Edition DVD Documentary "Crime Stories", McCauley was a professional robber whom he had frequently crossed paths with. Events such as the scene between Vincent Hanna and Neil McCauley in the coffee shop where they basically tell each other that the last time they meet will be their last, and the warehouse sting where McCauley got tipped off that the cops were around due to an officer making a noise really happened. In real life, Neil McCauley was killed during a robbery of a grocery store (similar to the bank heist shootout) by Adamson's team who were tipped off to the robbery.
Al Pacino and Robert De Niro were Michael Mann's first choices for Hanna and McCauley.
Filmed in 65 locations around Los Angeles, without a single soundstage.
In an early draft of the script, Vincent Hanna had a cocaine habit, which, according to Al Pacino, explains his bombastic outbursts.
Amy Brenneman disliked the script and didn't want to be in the movie, saying it was too filled with blood with no morality. Michael Mann told her that with that mind-set she would be perfect for the role of Eady.
The cast was given weapons and tactics training by former British Special Air Service Sergeant Andy McNab. He has a cameo as one of the cops who breaks into Henry Rollins's flat.
Michael Mann visited inmates in Folsom prison to gain some insight into prison life to aid his depiction of Neil. Mann later commented that Neil's collars were always perfectly starched, as they would have been in prison.
The two main characters used to be in the Marine Corps. Det Hanna is talked about during the briefing for McCauley's final robbery. McCauley is clearly seen with an Eagle, Globe, and Anchor tat on his arm, when getting up from bed with Eady.
The character of Nate, played by Jon Voight, is based on real-life former career criminal Edward Bunker.
Kevin Gage's Waingro character is based on a real Chicago criminal named Waingro who ratted out some influential Chicago criminals. According to Michael Mann, Waingro went missing; his body was found in northern Mexico, where it had been nailed to the wall of a shed.
Ted Levine was originally offered the part of Waingro but turned it down because he felt that he was being typecast. He asked to play the part of Bosko instead.
Bosco, at the party, tells a story of a grade school friend of his name Raoul. Michael Mann said that the story was completely ad-libbed by Ted Levine and that he had no idea how Levine came up with it.
Michael Mann made the movie as tribute to a detective friend of his in Chicago who obsessively tracked and killed a thief (named Neil McCauley) he had once met under non-violent circumstances.
The scene where Vincent catches his wife cheating, removes the television set and later throws it from his car was lifted from a similar scene with Dennis Farina in Crime Story (1986), also produced by Michael Mann.
Jon Voight initially turned down the part of Nate, telling Michael Mann that there were several actors who could perform the part better. Mann told Voight that he wanted him for the role since he'd always wanted to work with him.
Dennis Farina, a former Chicago police officer, was a consultant on the film since the story was based on a Chicago police officer and criminal. Farina had previously played a Chicago cop in Michael Mann's television series Crime Story (1986).
For the restaurant sequence where McCauley and Hanna finally meet, Michael Mann ran two cameras simultaneously in order to generate a greater level of fluidity between both rivals. Since there were no rehearsals for the scene, this approach afforded both men a more generous margin for improvisational experimentation.
Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) only smiles four times in the entire movie: once, when he sees Donald Breedan (Dennis Haysbert) in the diners' kitchen while working as a short order cook, once when he first meets Eady in the restaurant, at dinner with his "crew" and their respective ladies, and finally (briefly) as he is driving in the car with Eady on their way to the airport.
The scene involving the shootout after the bank robbery was particularly tricky to film since they were only allowed to film on the weekends.
In the director's commentary, Michael Mann said that Neil's trademark gray suits were designed to help him blend into a crowd and not draw attention to himself.
Although this is the second film on which Al Pacino and Robert De Niro have shared top billing, in The Godfather: Part II (1974), they didn't have a single scene together. In this movie, they only have two scenes together, for a total of less than 10 minutes.
In Japanese TV interview in 1995, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino got asked "which role-play, Police or Robber, did you do when a boyhood?" De Niro replied, "Police", Pacino did "Police doing robbery".
The manager of the Kate Mantilini restaurant in Beverly Hills said in the Heat special edition that even though the restaurant doesn't technically take reservations, people often call to try to reserve the table that Robert De Niro and Al Pacino sat at in the movie.
The scene of McCauley standing against a window and watching the ocean was inspired by the painting "Pacific" by Alex Colville.
Keanu Reeves was originally signed to play Chris Shiherlis, and Carsten Norgaard was also one of the director's options, but they both lost the part when Val Kilmer was able squeeze it into his schedule while making Batman Forever (1995).
When Michael Mann filmed the restaurant scene at Kate Mantilini in Beverly Hills, he used the restaurant's actual employees as extras. Upon the last day of filming, he awarded them all with a SAG card. Today you can still sit in the table where Robert De Niro and Al Pacino sat, and the two are both regulars at the popular restaurant.
Kris Kristofferson, in what would have been an obvious nod to Thief (1981) and Willie Nelson's character in that movie, was suggested for the role of 'Nate', played by Jon Voight.
Many viewers claim that Robert De Niro and Al Pacino never (or hardly ever) actually share screen time during the film, despite the hype surrounding the films release as showcasing their first screen appearance. In most Pan and Scan versions of the film, and TV broadcasts, it does appear that during the "diner scene" the two never actually share the screen, but viewing the film in correct letterbox format, as the director Michael Mann intended, clearly shows the two actors sitting at the table, though only in wide shots.
Mykelti Williamson, in the Special DVD Edition of the movie, said in an interview that director Michael Mann arranged for cast members to meet with real life LAPD Detectives and professional criminals at an exclusive restaurant (the name of which Williamson refused to disclose) where LAPD detectives and criminals socialized. Cast members playing the detectives had dinner with the LAPD detectives and their wives one night, while the cast members playing the thieves had dinner with the real life criminals and their wives on a separate night. Williamson said that Mann arranged these events so the actors would have a better idea of how real detectives and criminals socialized and interacted with each other.
In a promotional interview for The Keep (1983), director Michael Mann stated that he wanted to see "Heat" brought to the screen (it was already written) but had no interest in directing it.
Val Kilmer filmed some of his sequences concurrently with Batman Forever (1995).
Both Neil McCauley and Alan Marciano wear only double breasted suits in the film.
Keanu Reeves turned down a part in this mega-budget movie to tread the boards in Winnipeg playing Hamlet for the minimum theatrical wage.
The word 'fuck' is used 52 times, mostly by Al Pacino.
Michael Madsen was originally casted as Michael Cheritto, but was ultimately replaced (for unknown reasons) by Tom Sizemore.
Don Johnson was briefly considered for the part of Michael Cheritto. He was also discussed as a possible back-up for both Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, if one of them turned down their parts.
Diane Venora was bemused that she got the part of Al Pacino's wife seeing as the screenplay described her character as a "languorous redhead with thighs for days".
The drive-in sequence was shot at the Centinela Drive-in in Inglewood, which had been closed since 1993. The theater was demolished in 1998, and the site is now occupied by an apartment complex.
The actors who took part in the robbery sequence had to undergo power weapons training.
Xander Berkeley plays Ralph, a minor character. He also played Waingro in L.A. Takedown (1989), of which this film is a remake.
Vincent's sidearm is a Colt Officer's Model in .45 caliber with ivory grips - a likely reference to his service in the Marine Corps. Neil carries an HK USP chambered in .45 ACP early on in the movie, and then switches to a SIG Sauer P220 in the same caliber later on.
Hank Azaria was also working on The Birdcage (1996) while he filmed his scene in this film. The scene was filmed on his 30th birthday. It was Al Pacino's 54th birthday as well.
When actor Kevin Gage was imprisoned for 2 years in 2003, he was universally addressed by fellow inmates and prison guards as 'Waingro', his character from this movie.
Composer Elliot Goldenthal wrote a piece of score to play over the final scene. Michael Mann replaced it with Moby's "God Moving Over the Face of the Water", so Goldenthal re-used the piece as the end titles for Michael Collins (1996) the following year, replacing the electric guitar with a fiddle to give it a more Irish sound. The original cue, called "Hand In Hand," can be heard at Goldenthal's website.
The rifle used by Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer) in the deserted drive-in movie shoot-out is a Heckler & Koch 91 in 7.62mm (.308 Winchester).
Lt. Hanna is shown "checking chamber" on his handgun in at least one scene. This is a trademark of the character Nick Stone in a series of novels by Andy McNab, who was technical weapons training adviser on Heat (1995). Although not an uncommon thing to do with a handgun, it is rarely given such visual prominence in films. Also, the crew's tactics in the bank robbery shootout are notably similar to the "response to enemy fire" tactics featured in the book and film of McNab's Bravo Two Zero (1999).
One of the only scenes in the movie in which Neil Mccauley (Robert De Niro) smiles is when he sees Donald Breedan (Dennis Haysbert) in the diners' kitchen while working as a short order cook. He also smiles when Nate (Jon Voight) tells him in the car that Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) thinks he's "sharp." He might also be smiling as he watches Hanna's antics as he photographs them in the container yard, and again as he walks towards the car to Eady after wasting Waingro (Kevin Gage). He also smiles briefly toward the end of his conversation with Vincent in the diner.
Xander Berkeley, who has a small role ("Ralph") in this film, previously played Waingro in L.A. Takedown (1989), based on the same events.
In a deleted scene, Nate tells Neil that he and Chris will be set up with new lives in Ireland.
In the fire fight scene after the bank robbery, Chris crouches at the rear of a car in order to change a magazine. The registration plate of this car reads '2LUP382' 'LUP' in British Army terminology is 'Lying Up Position'. 2LUP would reflect that this was the second Lying Up Position for Chris - his first being behind a green car.
A video game adaptation was reported to be in development around 2009 but never came to fruition.
Nick Nolte and Jeff Bridges were discussed as a possible alternative for the two leading roles.
A Marine Corps plaque appears briefly in Vincent's office in the Major Crimes Unit, although the traditional crossed swords are removed.
When Nate tells Neil about his new "out", he describes it as an airplane bearing the registration number N1011S. According to the FAA registry database, the registration was taken in 2000, five years after the movie was released, and is now a 1964 Cessna 310, a two-engine light propeller-driven airplane.
The rifle used by Lt. Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) in the bank hold-up shoot-out is a Fabrique Nationale FNC in 5.56mm (.223 Remington).
Jean-Claude Van Damme was briefly considered for the role of Michael Cheritto.
Trejo's name was originally Towner.
The armoured car robbery in earlier scripts is a bit different. Its street location is much different, and the escape is a lot tighter as the crew actually rams several police cars while they're escaping after shooting the three guards.
In the UK, the film was given a '15' rating for both its cinema and video release and passed uncut in both instances. It was re-released in 2000 with a new 'Underground Epics' video cover, bearing an '18' certificate. However, this was not a different version of the film - the content was the same as the '15' version. The '18' certificate was a mistake, and the video cover was withdrawn.
Heat features two actors who each played serial killers in movies based on Thomas Harris novels. The Michael Mann directed Manhunter (1986), based on Harris' novel Red Dragon, featured Tom Noonan as the serial killer Francis "The Tooth Fairy" Dolarhyde. The Jonathan Demme directed Silence of the Lambs (1991), based on the Harris novel of the same name, featured Ted Levine as the serial killer Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb.


Tom Elfmont:  The concierge at the airport hotel is played by a former L.A.P.D. detective who served as one of the film's technical advisers.

Director Trademark 

Michael Mann:  [time is luck]  The catchphrase 'Time is Luck' is used by McCauley when talking to Eady about their relationship and having time for them. (It is also used in Manhunter (1986) when Molly talks to her husband, Will Graham, and Miami Vice (2006), when Isabella is talking to Sonny about their relationship.)
Michael Mann:  [military training]  Neil's crew shows evidence of military training when attempting their heists.


Michael Mann:  disowned the TV version aired by NBC. Mann offered to restore seventeen of the cut minutes, NBC decided to instead cut 40 minutes of the film out in order to fit a 3-hour TV time-slot - Mann said, "You can call it a Michael Smithee or an Alan Mann movie."


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The current residents of the apartment where Danny Trejo's death scene were filmed got curious after seeing the film and pulled up the carpet in the room Trejo was shot. To their surprise, they saw that residue of the theatrical blood still remained.
McCauley's 30 second rule in action: When McCauley comes out of the hotel to drive off with Eady, it takes 42 seconds from the time he first sees Lt. Hanna to when he turns and runs. It takes McCauley 12 seconds to assess the situation (sees Lt. Hanna to when he starts to back away from Eady) and then 30 seconds to actually leave Eady behind.
Body count: 21
In the trailer, McCauley tells the shade tree doctor "I'm double the worst trouble you've ever seen." A deleted scene explains this: the doctor had approached Neil and wanted $30,000 instead of the usual $15,000, saying Neil and Chris were wanted criminals and a high risk factor. Neil then explains to the doctor that if Chris died from his injuries, he would hunt down the doctor and kill him.
Moby's two contributions to the soundtrack were originally meant to be reversed, his cover of Joy Division's "New Dawn Fades" was supposed to play over the closing credits and "God Moving Over the Face of the Waters" while Hanna pursues McCauley on the freeway. However, director Michael Mann felt "God Moving" was such a cathartic piece of music, it was more suited to strike up during McCauley's death scene, ending the movie.
An ending discussed featured Neil and Vincent shooting and killing each other instead of Vincent shooting Neil. Mann didn't like the idea and therefore was not shot.
The shooting at the drive-in movie theatre differs in one way between the movie and script drafts: in the drafts, Neil's reflexes cause him to spot the assassin creeping up to the shotgun side window and react accordingly in the nick of time. In this version, Shiherlis is not stationed on the roof of the projection building, but is instead stationed with Cheritto by the exit gate to shoot the driver. The assassin would also beg Neil to kill him afterwards.
The only thief to not get away from the bank heist is carrying a different model rifle than the others, an Israeli Galil. In the armored car robbery he is carrying a Belgian FN FAL, both weapons chambered in 7.62 NATO (.308) thus far more powerful than his comrades' guns.
Earlier drafts do have Nate getting caught by Hanna and facing accessory charges for the armoured car robbery and the bank robbery.
Bosko is the detective that is killed during the bank robbery shoot-out. Originally, this would have gone to Schwartz, who is shot in the shoulder by Cheritto.

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