Heat: 25 facts to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Michael Mann classic

It's been 25 years since Michael Mann classic Heat made its American debut. Part cops and robbers thriller, part melancholy rumination on disconnected modern life, Heat assembled a terrific cast, all working together under Mann's typically meticulous direction.

To celebrate the movie's 25th anniversary, here's our Cineworld blog list of facts. From the origins of the story to the making of the famous bank robbery scene and the movie's long-lasting legacy, this is our salute to one of the greatest films of the 1990s.


1. The origins of the Heat script date back to 1979, written by Michael Mann prior to his acclaimed 1981 James Caan thriller Thief.

2. Mann originally wrote the script as the pilot for a planned TV series.

3. Mann was tapped by network NBC following his hit show Miami Vice.

4. The pilot became 1989 TV movie L.A. Takedown; however, the wider series was eventually scrapped by the network.

5. The name of L.A. Takedown robber Neil McCauley was eventually transferred into the movie known as Heat.

6. McCauley was based on a real-life criminal of the same name, locked in a struggle with cop Detective Chuck Adamson.

7. Alcatraz veteran McCauley was eventually tracked down by Adamson in 1964, shot and killed on someone's front lawn.

8. Robert De Niro was the first person to read the script and signed for the role of McCauley.

9. Adamson would find his screen avatar in the form of Al Pacino's dedicated Vincent Hanna.

10. Pacino would later attribute Hanna's overwrought mannerisms and aggression to off-screen cocaine use.

11. Heat was the first time Pacino and De Niro had shared screentime together in a movie.

12. They'd both starred in 1974's The Godfather: Part II, but in different timelines. (Pacino as Michael Corleone; De Niro as the younger iteration of his father, Vito.)

13. The famous coffee shop sequence was based on a real-life encounter between the aforementioned McCauley and Adamson.

14. Pacino and De Niro opted not to rehearse the scene, so it could happen as organically as possible.

15. The scene was shot at the now-closed Kate Mantilini restaurant in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles.

16. Heat is celebrated for its authentic and ear-shattering shootout sequence, which was assisted by ex-S.A.S. veteran Andy McNab.

17. McNab schooled the various actors, including Pacino, De Niro, Val Kilmer and Tom Sizemore, as to how to fire semi-automatic weapons with live ammunition.

18. So realistic is Val Kilmer's reloading technique that it's shown to the Marines to prepare them for tactical operations.

19. In fact, De Niro, Kilmer and Sizemore learned to stake out a real bank in preparation for the sequence.

20. Sizemore became so good at infiltrating the bank that was able to take out a loan application without arousing suspicion.


21. As part of Michael Mann's exhaustive preparation, the actors were also taken to Folsom State Prison to interview hardened career criminals.

22. Heat's bank robbery sequence was cited as the inspiration for many real-life heists the world over.

23. Director Christopher Nolan and cinematographer Wally Pfister cited Heat's aesthetic and atmosphere as an important influence on their 2008 blockbuster The Dark Knight.

24. Nolan is such a fan of the movie, he hosted a special 2016 Heat Q&A with Mann, Pacino and De Niro.

25. Never a man of many words, De Niro praised Mann's direction and the script, lauding its "authenticity" and saying "it's a good story".


What is your favourite scene from Heat? Join us on Twitter @Cineworld as we celebrate the anniversary of this groundbreaking thriller.