Heat (1995 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michael Mann|
|Written by||Michael Mann|
|Music by||Elliot Goldenthal|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Box office||$187.4 million|
Heat is a 1995 American crime film written, produced and directed by Michael Mann, and starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Val Kilmer. The film was released in the United States on December 15, 1995. De Niro plays Neil McCauley, a professional thief, while Pacino plays Lt. Vincent Hanna, a veteran LAPD robbery-homicide detective tracking down McCauley's crew. The central conflict is based on the experiences of former Chicago police officer Chuck Adamson and his pursuit in the 1960s of a criminal named McCauley, after whom De Niro's character is named.
Heat was a commercial success, grossing $67 million in the United States and $187 million worldwide (about $291 million in 2016) against a $60 million budget. It was well received by critics. The film-critic aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports 86% positive reviews, calling the film "an engrossing crime drama that draws compelling performances from its stars – and confirms Michael Mann's mastery of the genre."
Career criminal Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) and his crew, Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer), Michael Cheritto (Tom Sizemore) and Trejo (Danny Trejo), hire new recruit Waingro (Kevin Gage) and commit an armored car heist, stealing $1.6 million in bearer bonds belonging to money launderer Roger Van Zant (William Fichtner). However, Waingro impulsively kills one of the guards, forcing the robbers to kill the remaining two so as to leave no witnesses. An infuriated McCauley tries to kill Waingro afterwards, but he escapes. Afterwards McCauley's fence, Nate (Jon Voight), suggests they try to sell the bonds back to Van Zant, who agrees but secretly instructs his men to kill McCauley at the meeting. With backup from his crew, McCauley thwarts the ambush and vows revenge.
Lieutenant Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) of the LAPD leads the investigation of the heist and learns that McCauley's crew plans to rob a precious metals depository. Hanna and his unit—Sergeant Drucker (Mykelti Williamson) and Detectives Sammy Casals (Wes Studi), Mike Bosko (Ted Levine), and Danny Schwartz (Jerry Trimble)—stake out the depository, but when an officer inadvertently makes a noise, McCauley is alerted and calls off the robbery, forcing Hanna to let the crew go. Despite becoming aware of the police surveillance, McCauley and his crew take on a final heist, a brazen bank holdup worth $12 million, to secure their financial futures. Hanna's unit investigates the murder of a prostitute by Waingro, putting them on his trail. Waingro later approaches Van Zant in search of work and revenge against McCauley.
Hanna learns that his wife Justine (Diane Venora) is having an affair and moves into a hotel, while McCauley finds a relationship with Eady (Amy Brenneman), a woman he meets in a cafe. Hanna deliberately intercepts McCauley and invites him to coffee. Meeting face to face, each concedes to the other the problems of his personal life. Hanna describes his concern for his depressed stepdaughter Lauren (Natalie Portman) and the failure of his third marriage due to his obsession with work, and McCauley confesses that life as a criminal forbids attachment and requires mobility, making his relationship with his girlfriend tenuous. Both men admit their commitment to their work and that they will not hesitate to kill the other if the circumstances demand it.
After the meeting, Hanna discovers that McCauley and his crew have evaded their surveillance, but Trejo is compromised. In need of a new getaway driver, McCauley recruits Donald Breedan (Dennis Haysbert), an ex-convict working a dead-end job at a diner. Hanna's unit is alerted to the robbery by a confidential informant and surprises McCauley's crew as they exit the bank. Cheritto, Breedan, and several police officers, including Detective Bosko, are killed in the ensuing shootout. McCauley narrowly escapes with an injured Shiherlis, and leaves him with a doctor to treat his wounds. He tracks down Trejo, whom he finds beaten to a bloody pulp with his wife murdered. Trejo reveals that Waingro was the informant, with Van Zant assisting him. McCauley finishes off Trejo at his own request, then kills Van Zant at his home. He makes plans to flee to New Zealand with Eady, with whom he has reconciled after she became aware of his criminal activities. The police surveil Waingro in a hotel near Los Angeles International Airport, and Hanna attempts to bait McCauley into coming out of hiding by releasing Waingro's whereabouts through his contacts.
Chris Shiherlis' estranged wife Charlene (Ashley Judd) is lured by her lover Alan Marciano (Hank Azaria) to a police safe house, where Drucker threatens to charge Charlene as an accomplice and send her son into foster care if she does not betray her husband to the police. Charlene initially agrees, but, when Chris shows up in disguise, she surreptitiously warns him, and he slips through the dragnet. Hanna finds Lauren unconscious in his hotel room from a suicide attempt and rushes her to the hospital. As he and Justine wait in the lobby, they commiserate but admit their marriage will never work. McCauley and Eady are en route to the airport when Nate calls with Waingro's location. McCauley has a change of heart, risking his assured freedom to exact his revenge. He infiltrates the hotel, creates a distraction by pulling a fire alarm, and kills Waingro. Moments away from escape, he is forced to abandon Eady when Hanna approaches through the crowd. Hanna chases McCauley into a field outside the LAX freight terminal and mortally wounds him then holds his hand as he dies.
- Robert De Niro as Neil McCauley
- Al Pacino as Lt. Vincent Hanna
- Val Kilmer as Chris Shiherlis
- Diane Venora as Justine Hanna
- Jon Voight as Nate
- Tom Sizemore as Michael Cheritto
- Mykelti Williamson as Drucker
- Ashley Judd as Charlene Shiherlis
- Amy Brenneman as Eady
- Wes Studi as Detective Sammy Casals
- William Fichtner as Roger Van Zant
- Ted Levine as Detective Mike Bosko
- Dennis Haysbert as Donald Breedan
- Hank Azaria as Alan Marciano
- Natalie Portman as Lauren Gustafson
- Tom Noonan as Kelso
- Jerry Trimble as Danny Schwartz
- Danny Trejo as Trejo
- Henry Rollins as Hugh Benny
- Kevin Gage as Waingro
- Ricky Harris as Albert Torena
- Tone Lōc as Richard Torena
- Jeremy Piven as Dr. Bob
- Xander Berkeley as Ralph
De Niro was the first cast member to get the film script, showing it to Pacino who also wanted to be a part of the film. De Niro believed Heat was a "very good story, had a particular feel to it, a reality and authenticity." Xander Berkeley had played Waingro in L.A. Takedown, an earlier rendition of Mann's script for Heat. He was cast in a minor role in Heat.
In order to prepare the actors for the roles of McCauley's crew, Mann took Kilmer, Sizemore and De Niro to Folsom State Prison to interview actual career criminals. While researching her role, Ashley Judd met several former prostitutes who became housewives.
Heat is based on the true story of a real Neil McCauley, a calculating criminal and ex-Alcatraz inmate who was tracked down by Det. Chuck Adamson in 1964. Neil McCauley was raised in Wisconsin where his father worked as steam fitter to provide his family with a middle-class life. The normalcy of Neil's youth faded following the adoption of another child and his father's death in 1928. At 14, he quit school to find work to support his mother and five siblings. The McCauleys soon relocated to Chicago. In Chicago, McCauley began his criminal career after his mother began drinking heavily. By the time he was 20, he had already done three stints in county jail for larceny.
In 1961, McCauley was transferred from Alcatraz to McNeil, as mentioned in the film, and he was released in 1962. Upon his release, he immediately began planning new heists. With ex-cons Michael Parille and William Pinkerton they used bolt cutters and drills to burglarize a manufacturing company of diamond drill bits, a scene which is closely recreated in the film. Detective Chuck Adamson, upon whom Al Pacino's character is largely based, began keeping tabs on McCauley’s crew around this time, knowing that he had become active again. The two even met for coffee once, just as portrayed in the film. Their dialogue in the script was almost exactly word for word the conversation that McCauley and Adamson had. The next time the two would meet, guns would be drawn, just as the movie portrays.
On March 25, 1964, McCauley and members of his regular crew followed an armored car that delivered money to a Chicago grocery store. Once the drop was made, three of the robbers entered the store. They threatened the clerks and stole money bags worth $10,000 before they sped off amid a hail of police gunfire.
McCauley's crew was unaware that Adamson and eight other detectives had blocked off all potential exits, and when the getaway car turned down an alley and the bandits saw the blockade, they realized they were trapped. All four suspects exited the vehicle and began firing. Two of his crew, men named Breaden and Parille, were slain in an alley while a third man, Polesti (on whom Chris Shiherlis is very loosely based), shot his way out and escaped. McCauley was shot to death on the lawn of a nearby home. He was 50 years old and the prime suspect in several burglaries. Polesti was caught days later and sent to prison. As of 2011 Polesti was still alive.
Detective Adamson went on to a successful career as a television and film producer, and died in 2008 at age 71. Michael Mann's 2009 film Public Enemies stated in its end credits "In memory of Chuck Adamson". As an additional inspiration for Hanna, in an 1995 interview Mann cited an unnamed man working internationally against drug cartels. Additionally, the character of Nate, played by Jon Voight, is closely based on real-life former career criminal and fence turned writer Edward Bunker, who served as a consultant to Mann on the film.
In 1979, Mann wrote a 180-page draft of Heat. He re-wrote it after making Thief in 1981 hoping to find a director to make it and mentioning it publicly in a promotional interview for his 1983 film The Keep. In the late 1980s, he offered the film to his friend, film director Walter Hill, who turned him down. Following the success of Miami Vice and Crime Story, Mann was to produce a new crime television show for NBC. He turned the script that would become Heat into a 90-minute pilot for a television series featuring the Los Angeles Police Department Robbery–Homicide division, featuring Scott Plank in the role of Hanna and Alex McArthur playing the character of Neil McCauley, renamed to Patrick McLaren. The pilot was shot in only nineteen days, atypical for Mann. The script was abridged down to almost a third of its original length, omitting many subplots that made it into Heat. The network was unhappy with Plank as the lead actor, and asked Mann to recast Hanna's role. Mann declined and the show was cancelled and the pilot aired on August 27, 1989 as a television film entitled L.A. Takedown, which was later released on VHS and DVD in Europe.
|This section requires expansion. (September 2014)|
In April 1994, Mann was reported to have abandoned his earlier plan to shoot a biopic of James Dean in favor of directing Heat, producing it with Art Linson. The film was marketed as the first on-screen appearance of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino together in the same scene – both actors starred in The Godfather: Part II, but owing to the nature of their roles, they were never seen in the same scene. Pacino and De Niro were Mann's first choices for the roles of Hanna and McCauley, respectively, and they both immediately agreed to act.
Mann assigned Janice Polley, a former collaborator on The Last of the Mohicans, as the film's location manager. Scouting locations lasted from August to December 1994. Mann requested locations which did not appear on film before, in which Polley was successful – fewer than 10 of the 85 filming locations were previously used. The most challenging shooting location proved to be Los Angeles International Airport, with the film crew almost missing out due to a threat to the airport by the Unabomber.
To make the long shootout more realistic they hired British ex-Special Air Service special forces sergeant Andy McNab as a technical weapons trainer and adviser. He designed a weapons training curriculum to train the actors for three months using live ammunition before shooting with blanks for the actual take and worked with training them for the bank robbery.
Heat was released on December 15, 1995, and opened #3 in the box office with $8,445,656 opening weekend in 1,325 theaters (behind Jumanji and Toy Story respectively). It grossed $67,436,818 in United States box offices, and $120 million in foreign box offices. Heat was ranked the #25 highest-grossing film of 1995.
Heat was released on VHS in June 1996. Due to its running time, the film had to be released on two cassettes. A DVD release followed in 1999. A two-disc special-edition DVD was released in 2005, featuring an audio commentary by Michael Mann, deleted scenes, and numerous documentaries detailing the film's production. This edition contains the original theatrical cut.
The Blu-ray Disc was released on November 10, 2009, featuring a high-definition film transfer, supervised by Mann. Among the disc extras were Mann's audio commentary, a one-hour documentary about the making of the film and ten minutes worth of scenes cut from the film. As well as approving the look of the transfer, Mann also recut two scenes slightly differently, referring to them as "new content changes".
Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 86% of 76 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 7.8/10. The film's critical consensus reads, "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." Metacritic gives the film a score of 76 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Roger Ebert gave the film 3½ stars out of 4, writing: "It's not just an action picture. Above all, the dialogue is complex enough to allow the characters to say what they're thinking: They are eloquent, insightful, fanciful, poetic when necessary. They're not trapped with cliches. Of the many imprisonments possible in our world, one of the worst must be to be inarticulate — to be unable to tell another person what you really feel." Simon Cote of The Austin Chronicle called the film "one of the most intelligent crime-thrillers to come along in years", and said Pacino and De Niro's scenes together were "poignant and gripping".
Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times called the film a "sleek, accomplished piece of work, meticulously controlled and completely involving. The dark end of the street doesn't get much more inviting than this." Todd McCarthy of Variety wrote, "Stunningly made and incisively acted by a large and terrific cast, Michael Mann's ambitious study of the relativity of good and evil stands apart from other films of its type by virtue of its extraordinarily rich characterizations and its thoughtful, deeply melancholy take on modern life." Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave it a B− rating, saying that "Mann's action scenes [...] have an existential, you-are-there jitteriness," but called the heist-planning and Hanna's investigation scenes "dry, talky."
The explicit nature of several of the film's scenes was cited as the model of a spate of robberies since its release. This included armored car robberies in South Africa, Colombia, Denmark, and Norway and most famously the 1997 North Hollywood shootout, in which Larry Phillips, Jr. and Emil Mătăsăreanu robbed the North Hollywood branch of the Bank of America and, similarly to the film, were confronted by the LAPD as they left the bank. This shootout is considered one of the longest and bloodiest events of its type in American police history. Both robbers were killed, and eleven police officers and seven civilians were injured during the shootout. Heat was widely referenced during the coverage of the shootout.
|Heat: Music from the Motion Picture|
|Soundtrack album by various artists|
|Released||December 19, 1995|
|Genre||Classical, Avant-garde, Modernist, Jazz fusion, Electronica, Alternative rock|
|Elliot Goldenthal chronology|
On December 19, 1995, Warner Bros. Records released a soundtrack album on cassette and CD to accompany the film, entitled Heat: Music from the Motion Picture. The album was produced by Matthias Gohl. It contains a 29-minute selection of the film score composed by Elliot Goldenthal, as well as songs by other artists such as U2 and Brian Eno (collaborating as Passengers), Terje Rypdal, Moby, and Lisa Gerrard. Heat used an abridged instrumental rendition of the Joy Division song "New Dawn Fades" by Moby, which also features in the same form on the soundtrack album. Mann reused the Einstürzende Neubauten track "Armenia" in his 1999 film The Insider. The film ends with Moby's "God Moving Over the Face of the Waters", a different version of which was included at the end of the soundtrack album.
Mann and Goldenthal decided on an atmospheric situation for the film soundtrack. Goldenthal used a setup consisting of multiple guitars, which he termed "guitar orchestra", and thought it brought the film score closer to a European style. The soundtrack was noted for lack of a central theme. Christian Clemmensen of Filmtracks.com criticized the omission from the album of much music heard in the film due to the film's length, but praised the album as a decent listening experience, and Goldenthal's score as "psychologically engaging and intellectually challenging", believing it to be one of Goldenthal's best. AllMusic called it a "soundtrack for the mind [...] full of twists and turns". Musicfromthemovies.com thought of the album as uncharacteristic for Goldenthal's style, calling the atmosphere "absolutely electrifying".
|1.||"Heat"||Elliot Goldenthal||Kronos Quartet||7:41|
|2.||"Always Forever Now" (from Original Soundtracks 1, 1995)||U2; Brian Eno||Passengers||6:54|
|3.||"Condensers"||Elliot Goldenthal||Elliot Goldenthal||2:35|
|4.||"Refinery Surveillance"||Elliot Goldenthal||Kronos Quartet||1:45|
|5.||"Last Nite" (from Blue, 1987)||Terje Rypdal||Terje Rypdal & The Chasers||3:29|
|6.||"Ultramarine" (from Cobalt Blue, 1992)||Michael Brook||Michael Brook||4:35|
|7.||"Armenia" (from Zeichnungen des Patienten O. T., 1983)||Blixa Bargeld; F.M. Einheit||Einstürzende Neubauten||4:58|
|8.||"Of Helplessness"||Elliot Goldenthal||Elliot Goldenthal||2:39|
|9.||"Steel Cello Lament"||Elliot Goldenthal||Elliot Goldenthal||1:43|
|10.||"Mystery Man" (from The Singles Collection, 1989)||Terje Rypdal||Terje Rypdal & The Chasers||4:39|
|11.||"New Dawn Fades" (from I Like to Score, 1997)||Ian Curtis; Peter Hook; Stephen Morris; Bernard Sumner||Moby||2:51|
|12.||"Entrada & Shootout"||Elliot Goldenthal||Elliot Goldenthal||1:49|
|13.||"Force Marker"||Brian Eno||Brian Eno||3:36|
|14.||"Coffee Shop"||Elliot Goldenthal||Elliot Goldenthal||1:38|
|15.||"Fate Scrapes"||Elliot Goldenthal||Elliot Goldenthal||1:34|
|16.||"La Bas: Song of the Drowned [Edited Version]" (from The Mirror Pool, 1995)||Lisa Gerrard||Lisa Gerrard||3:10|
|17.||"Gloradin" (from The Mirror Pool, 1995)||Lisa Gerrard||Lisa Gerrard||3:56|
|18.||"Run Uphill"||Elliot Goldenthal||Elliot Goldenthal||2:51|
|19.||"Predator Diorama"||Elliot Goldenthal||Kronos Quartet||2:40|
|20.||"Of Separation"||Elliot Goldenthal||Elliot Goldenthal||2:21|
|21.||"God Moving Over the Face of the Waters" (from Everything Is Wrong, 1995)||Richard Hall||Moby||6:58|
Mann is developing a Heat prequel as part of launching his company Michael Mann Books.
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