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YMMV / Heat

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  • Adaptation Displacement: Even dedicated Mann fans might not be aware that this is a remake of his earlier L.A. Takedown. It's arguable that this was intentional; L.A. Takedown was a television film that suffered from a low budget and heavily cut script to fit a 90-minute runtime. This film is also one of the few cases where the remake is nigh-universally agreed to be superior to the original.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: It's left up in the air how sympathetic Neil and his crew are. Are they furious with Waingro and anxious to kill him because they are morally repulsed by his needless violence, or simply because his recklessness during the first heist brought them more police attention than they would have had if the guards hadn't been killed during the heist? Or is it both?
    • Also, did Neil abandon Eady due to his "being able to leave something in 30 seconds" rule or because he realized how screwed he was and didn't want Eady to get convicted with him? Or is there even a hint of "wait a second, did you call the cops on me here?" betrayal and grief in his expression?
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    • 22 years after the film's release, Al Pacino finally revealed that he saw Hanna as a cocaine addict who's strung out throughout the whole film.
  • Award Snub: Number of Oscar nominations: ZERO.
  • Awesome Music:
    • The final shots of the movie before the credits where Hanna holds McCauley's hand as he dies are set to Moby's "God Moves Over The Face of the Waters". And it is glorious.
    • The opening credits theme by Kronos Quartet (which also plays when Neil decides to kill Waingro rather than leave the country right away with Eady) is excellent as well, perfectly setting the tone for the movie.
  • Catharsis Factor: Seeing Neil kill Waingro is immensely satisfying after all the shit he pulled.
    • Equally satisfying to see is Breedan giving his Bad Boss a well-deserved shove to the floor.
  • Complete Monster: Waingro is a Psycho for Hire initially brought in as a newcomer to Neil McCauley's team to assist in an armored truck robbery. During the job, Waingro murders one of the guards for looking at him funny, necessitating the deaths of the other two guards to eliminate witnesses. His cohorts, disgusted by his actions, try to kill him, only for Waingro to escape and begin working for their enemy, Roger Van Zant. Waingro and Van Zant tip off the police in the middle of the crew's newest job, resulting in a massive shootout in the streets of LA. Waingro got this information by holding Trejo's wife hostage, only to viciously murder her afterwards, then mortally wound Trejo and leave him for dead. Waingro is also a Serial Killer who solicits underage prostitutes then bashes their skulls in.
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  • Evil Is Cool: Neil McCauley in general. An incredibly badass bank robber who masterminds the heist. In fact, the bank's shooting is among one of the film's best-known scenes.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The film is known for the climatic bank robbery scene, where Neil and his gang get into a gunfight with the police and shoot up Downtown LA with automatic rifles. Then, two years after the movie's release, the North Hollywood shootout happened as two gunmen armed with automatic rifles robbed a bank, then were killed after a 44 minute shootout with the Los Angeles Police Department. No police officers were killed in the North Hollywood shootout, but some were badly wounded, and remember, this shootout was six times longer than the film's shootout, which lasts just under seven minutes. It's also of note that the robbers of the North Hollywood Shootout reportedly watched this film numerous times.
    • Seeing Shiherlis' marital issues throughout the film become this due to Val Kilmer going through similar issues of infidelity within his own marriage which eventually led to his divorce the following year.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Ted Levine and Mykelti Williamson play two of Hanna's detectives, Bosko and Drucker respectively. They'd later meet again on Monk in "Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan," where their respective characters, SFPD Captain Leland Stottlemeyer and NYPD Captain Walter Cage, had a lot of friction and hostility towards each other.
    • Following The Devil's Advocate, both leads of the film (Pacino and De Niro) have played Satan.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Both Hanna and Shiherlis could count. Granted, they have issues with their wives cheating on them.
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  • Just Here for Godzilla: For many people, the main draw of this film is seeing Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino go head to head for the first time ever. Which is somewhat unfortunate as it's a terrific film with some excellent performances from the supporting cast.
  • Love to Hate: Waingro is such a loathsome, irredeemable piece of shit that you can't help but cheer when Neil does him in.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Neil McCauley is a master thief who organizes masterful heists to keep his lifestyle going. Pulling off a daring heist against an armored car to steal bearer bonds and then sell them back to their original owner, things go wrong when the psychotic Waingro executes a guard and escapes Neil's attempt to kill him in retribution. Neil then plans a masterful bank heist, executing it almost flawlessly if not for Waingro and his arch-nemesis Steve van Zant tipping off the cops. After losing his friends and comrades, Neil even forsakes a chance to get to safety in order to avenge them by killing van Zant and Waingro before facing off with his nemesis, LAPD cop Vincent Hanna with whom he shares an incredible respect despite being on the opposite ends of the law.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The audience already knows that Waingro is an unstable and violent character after he shoots the first guard during the armored car robbery at point-blank range for no good reason, but the scene where he kills the prostitute, then the scene where Hanna visits the crime scene of another one of Waingro's victims, exists solely to push him into this in order to demonstrate how Neil and his friends, while still violent criminals, are much better people than him, even though Neil and his crew members use assault rifles during the bank robbery shootout and bring down several cops, and kill at least one detective. This also serves to make a distinction, however; Neil and his crew take no pleasure in killing, viewing it as an unpleasant but necessary possibility of what they do, while Waingro is nothing but a massive Hate Sink who actively takes pleasure in sadistic killings.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Unusually, it's a one scene pairing. The two lead characters spend the whole movie plotting against one another, but never meet and aren't on screen together except for one great scene where they sit down and have coffee (see Not So Different) and the final showdown. Notable, because it's the first time Al Pacino and Robert de Niro ever did a scene together.
    • Tom Noonan, of Manhunter and RoboCop 2 fame, plays against type as wheelchair-bound hacker who sets up the bank job.
    • Additionally, Jeremy Piven shows up as the doctor who treats Chris after the bank heist.
    • Tone Lōc as Richard Torena, a criminal who tries to extort Hanna to get rid of his competition before giving him what seems to be the most useless information imaginable. "Seems" being the key word as it turns out he's absolutely correct.
    Hanna: ... You saw a guy on the street who's an ex-con?
    Richard Torena: That's right.
    Hanna: Well... I am... over-fucking-whelmed.
  • Retroactive Recognition: A young Natalie Portman as Hanna's stepdaughter Lauren Gustafson.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Neil has quite the following despite being ultimately a bank robber, murderer, and all-around bad guy. This was probably at least partially intentional, though, given the amount of Character Development he gets.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Vincent and Neil's conversation in the coffee shop. It was once the picture for the main page.
    • The bank shootout.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Grand Theft Auto V is probably the closest we'll come to a Heat video game. The Payday games are a close second, with several heists in game outright evoking this movie.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Mann's earlier films Thief and Manhunter.
  • Why Would Anyone Take Him Back?: Eady and Neil have a one night stand. Then they get back together. Then she finds out that he is an armed robber who sprays the streets with automatic gunfire. She is still more than ready to abandon her life in LA and run off with him to parts unknown.


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