In 2019, The Irishman made a huge splash on Netflix, largely thanks to the weighty chemistry between lead actors Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. But that wasn’t the first time these acting titans shared the screen together. Heat is considered to be one of the greatest crime films of all time. The Michael Mann classic brilliantly and epically details the lives of those on opposite sides of the law who are put on a collision course with each other. It also boasts an impressive cast, with Pacino and De Niro as the leads.
Along with some thrilling action sequences and tense moments, the film is filled with great dialogue and memorable lines.
Updated on September 27, 2021 by Colin McCormick: Nearly three decades after its release, Heat still stands up as a crime epic masterpiece. Though the team that brought this story of cops and robbers to life have all gone on to do other acclaimed projects, this film remains a highlight in all of their careers. And along with the thrilling action set pieces that the movie is known for, Heat has even more memorable quotes that are badass one-liners, insightful observations about this world, and even rare moments of levity.
15 “Cause There Is A Dead Man On The Other End Of This F***Ing Line.” – Neil McCauley
One of the subplots in Heat revolves around Neil McCauley and his crew getting double-crossed in a deal with a shady businessman named Van Zandt. Unfortunately for Van Zandt, he doesn’t know just how dangerous these men are.
After the deal goes wrong, McCauley calls Van Zandt, who is surprised to hear him alive but tries to play it cool. He asks McCauley what he’s doing and McCauley replies, “I’m talking to an empty telephone… Cause there is a dead man on the other end of this f***ing line.”
14 “I’m Alone; I Am Not Lonely.” – Neil McCauley
McCauley is an intriguing criminal character as an early scene shows how willing he is to kill in order to avoid getting caught. But the movie then goes on to explore him as a more complex character, including a burgeoning relationship with a young woman named Eady.
The relationship gives further insight into this man as he becomes slightly more vulnerable with her. When asked if he gets lonely in his solitary life, McCauley points out there is a difference between alone and lonely, which speaks to his cold and detached view of the world.
13 “What The F*** Is That? Barbeques And Ballgames?” – Neil McCauley
The iconic diner scene in Heat is not just about seeing two powerhouse actors performing opposite another. It is a gripping moment of these two men on opposite sides of the law, who are heading towards a collision course with each other, realizing they are not so different.
As McCauley and Detective Vincent Hanna speak frankly about their lives, Hanna asks McCauley the obvious question: did he ever want a normal life. However, McCauley dismisses that as “barbecues and ball games” and it’s clear Hanna feels the same way.
12 “I Do What I Do Best; I Take Scores. You Do What You Do Best; Try To Stop Guys Like Me.” – Neil McCauley
With all the excitement of the shootouts and the exciting heist sequences, it’s easy to forget that Heat is a very simple story of two men doing their jobs. McCauley and Hanna do not see this as some epic battle but rather the thing that they are both good at doing.
McCauley addresses their differences that could lead to them killing each other, but he has a very matter-of-fact view of it. He talks as if there is no choice in the matter and they should both just do what they are good at.
11 “Well Ya Know, For Me, The Action Is The Juice.” – Michael Cheritto
When McCauley and his crew discover that they are under surveillance by Hanna and his team, the risks of their next score become a lot higher. The crew gathers together to discuss whether it is worth it to go through with their bank heist as planned.
McCauley suggests to his friend Michael that he doesn’t need the risk and he has enough money to call it quits right now. But Michael responds that it isn’t just about the money; the thrill of the job is what he is after.
10 “You Do Not Get To Watch My F**king Television!” – Vincent Hanna
Heat is a very serious film with most of its characters living cold and unhappy lives. However, there are moments of fun humor throughout the story, most of them coming from Pacino as the unhinged yet professional detective Vincent Hanna.
While Vincent is focused on taking down this latest gang of robbers, his marriage begins falling apart. This leads to an uncomfortable confrontation when he comes home to find his wife with another man. Vincent confronts the confused man as he sits on the couch and tells him he doesn’t mind if he sleeps with his wife, but watching his television is where he draws the line.
9 “I Had To Get It On.” – Waingro
Early in the film, Neil McCauley’s crew of professional thieves is introduced. While the crew is highly professional and effective, one new member, Waingro, is a liability. During an armor car heist, Waingro loses his cool and executes a guard, leading to two more deaths.
As the team meets afterward, Waingro clearly knows the others are not happy with him. He lies and says the guard was making a move and explains, “I had to get it on.” Neil promptly gives him a beating, taking away any sense that Wanegro was a tough guy.
8 “We Just Got Made.” – Vincent Hanna
The cat-and-mouse game between Neil and Vincent is one of the more thrilling aspects of the movie. Both these men and their respective teams are highly skilled at their jobs ,which makes them formidable adversaries.
Vincent and his team track Neil and his crew to a location and overhear them discussing an upcoming job. Afterward, Vincent and the cops go over the area, trying to understand what the target is. Suddenly, Vincent realizes that they were the targets and Neil is now watching them. He begrudgingly gives admiration to his enemy and admits, “We just got made.”
7 “Drop Of A Hat, These Guys Will Rock And Roll.” – Vincent Hanna
Vincent is appalled by the violence criminals like Neil are capable of, but he does seem to hold some level of respect for the professionalism at work. He is used to chasing foolish criminals so he is surprised to find some thieves that know what they are doing.
While going through the armored car crime scene, he explains that they are not killing for the sake of it, but rather because they are efficient. When the situation escalated, they didn’t hesitate to kill the guards to leave no witnesses. Vincent understands that this impressive heist team is not messing around.
6 “Told You I’m Never Going Back.” – Neil McCauley
The entire movie feels like it is leading up to the inevitable showdown between Vincent and Neil. The epic feel of that moment is even more effective not only because it is Pacino and De Niro, but also because these two men have such respect for each other.
The climax of the film finds Vincent pursuing Neil at the airport. Despite any respect they might have for each other, they are both ready to kill. After Vincent guns Neil down, they are able to share a final moment, making for a beautiful final shot of the movie.
5 “Cause She’s Got A Great A**!” – Vincent Hanna
Pacino has always been a fascinating performer and his role as Vincent Hanna brings a lot of energy to the film. While De Niro plays the more reserved criminal, Vincent is unhinged, wild, and unpredictable. Pacino seems to be having a great time with the role.
In a particularly memorable scene, Vincent confronts a man (Hank Azaria), who is having an affair with a woman involved in Neil’s gang. As the man laments why he got mixed up with her, Vincent screams “Cause she’s got a great a**!” According to his tweet, Szaria’s stunned reaction to the over-the-top moment was unscripted.
4 “Gimme All You Got!” – Vincent Hanna
As Vincent, Pacino’s performance ranges from calm and collected to wild and over-the-top, adding a compelling unpredictability. Though the wild aspects of the character are never distracting, it does spice up certain scenes.
In one scene, Vincent is confronting one of his informants who has been neglecting his duties. Pacino is completely unleashed in this scene, yelling his lines with frenetic energy. Once again, his co-stars in the scene seem utterly shocked by the outbursts, which makes the scene all the more hilarious.
3 “What’d Ya Say I Buy You A Cup Of Coffee?” – Vincent Hanna
This simple line kicks off one of the most memorable movie scenes in history. After pursuing each other for much of the movie, Vincent tracks Neil down in his car. Both men have their guns at the ready but then Vincent suggests they get a cup of coffee together.
Seeing these two acting legends sharing a scene is thrilling enough, but they really bring the A-game to this moment. The men get candid about their lives, nightmares, and codes. According to Slash Film, Mann specifically didn’t want the two actors rehearsing the scene before filming, which ultimately paid off in spades.
2 “Brother, You Are Going Down.” – Vincent Hanna
The café scene between Vincent and Neil is played out with a surprising amount of civility. However, in the end, the two men have to acknowledge the inevitable ending to this path they are on.
Vincent explains that while he might have respect for Neil, if it’s between killing him to save some innocent lives, he has no choice, saying “Brother, you are going down.” But Neil explains there is another side to that coin. If Vincent comes between Neil and his freedom, he won’t hesitate to kill him, even after their pleasant face-to-face.
1 “…If You Feel The Heat Around The Corner.”
Though both Neil and Vincent find themselves on opposite sides of the law, the movie makes it clear that they are not too different from one another. The two men seem to understand that kinship immediately and it is Neil’s codes for how to survive in this life that both men seem to live by.
The words Neil lives by are “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.” Both men live distant and lonely lives because of the paths they’ve chosen. It’s unclear if they can or want to change that.
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