In June of 2002, the scene involving the shoot-out 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's 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.
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.
Rather than dubbing in the gunshots during the bank robbery shoot-out, Michael Mann had microphones carefully placed around the set, so that the audio could be captured live. This added to the impact of the scene, because it sounded like no other gunfight shown on-screen.
Waingro (Kevin Gage) 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.
The two main characters used to be in the Marine Corps. Detective Hanna (Al Pacino) is talked about during the briefing for McCauley's (Robert De Niro's) final robbery. McCauley is clearly seen with an Eagle, Globe, and Anchor tat on his arm, when getting up from bed with Eady (Amy Brenneman).
When Kevin Gage was imprisoned for two years in 2003, he was universally addressed by fellow inmates and prison guards as "Waingro", his character from this movie.
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.
This is one of Christopher Nolan's favorite films. The film inspired his vision of Gotham City in The Dark Knight trilogy.
Michael Mann visited inmates in Folsom prison to gain some insight into prison life, to aid his depiction of Neil (Robert De Niro). Mann later commented that Neil's collars were always perfectly starched, as they would have been in prison.
In an early draft of the script, Vincent Hanna had a cocaine habit, which, according to Al Pacino, explains his bombastic outbursts.
The first film to feature 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 the split chronology prevented this. When this movie was finally released, even its advertising material promoted the film as a De Niro and Pacino "showdown".
Nate (Jon Voight) is based on real-life former career criminal Edward Bunker. Bunker had previously starred in another famous heist film, Reservoir Dogs (1992).
The meeting between Robert De Niro and Al Pacino over coffee was shot at Kate Mantilini on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. The Los Angeles mainstay was a noted top spot for a stylish late supper. The restaurant had "heat" spelled in neon above the door and a large poster of the actors in the now famous scene. Diners could request the very table featured in the scene, table #71, which wait staff were familiar with as "The Table", and were happy to seat De Niro and Pacino fans at their famous meeting place. The restaurant closed in late 2014.
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.
Al Pacino and Robert De Niro were Michael Mann's first choices for Hanna and McCauley.
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 coffee shop scene sold Robert De Niro on the idea of making the film. He, Al Pacino, and Michael Mann later admitted that they couldn't wait to shoot that one scene.
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.
Waingro tells the bartender he spent time at Folsom State Prison and then at the "SHU" (Special Housing Unit) at Pelican Bay. Pelican Bay State Prison is where California houses the most dangerous of its most dangerous prisoners, and the S.H.U. is solitary confinement.
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.
Keanu Reeves was originally signed to play Chris Shiherlis, and Carsten Norgaard was also one of Michael Mann's options, but they both lost the part when Val Kilmer was able squeeze it into his schedule while making Batman Forever (1995).
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.
Danny Trejo, who plays a member of the crew, has been an inmate at Folsom Prison in real-life, just like Neil in the movie.
In a promotional interview for The Keep (1983), 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 was thrilled to learn that the moment in the gunbattle scene where he runs out of bullets, and rapidly changes his magazine, is regularly shown to Marine recruits as an example of how to perform the action properly.
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.
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).
Mykelti Williamson, in the Special Edition DVD of the movie, said in an interview, that 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 and actresses would have a better idea of how real detectives and criminals socialized and interacted with each other.
The scene of McCauley standing against a window and watching the ocean was inspired by the painting "Pacific" by Alex Colville.
The cast was given weapons and tactics training by former British Special Air Service members Andy McNab and Mick Gould. Gould has a cameo as one of the cops who breaks into Henry Rollins' flat.
Michael Madsen was originally cast as Michael Cheritto, but was ultimately replaced (for unknown reasons) by Tom Sizemore.
Many viewers claim that Robert De Niro and Al Pacino never (or hardly ever) actually share screentime during the film, despite the hype surrounding the film's release, as showcasing their first screen appearance. In most pan-and-scan versions of the film, and television 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 Michael Mann intended, clearly shows the two actors sitting at the table, though only in wide shots.
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.
Bosko, at the party, tells a story of a grade school friend of his named 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.
The now-legendary café scene between Robert De Niro and Al Pacino was one of only three scenes that the actors shared together. What we see on-screen is take number eleven.
Kris Kristofferson, in what would have been a nod to Thief (1981) and Willie Nelson's character in that movie, was suggested for the role of Nate, played by Jon Voight.
Keanu Reeves turned down the role of Chris to tread the boards in Winnipeg playing Hamlet for the minimum theatrical wage.
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".
In a Japanese television 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 scene involving the shoot-out after the bank robbery was particularly tricky to film, since they were only allowed to film on the weekends.
While researching her role, Ashley Judd met several former prostitutes who became housewives.
Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) only smiles five times in the entire movie. Once, when he sees Donald Breedan (Dennis Haysbert) in the diner's 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; once when he snaps pictures of Hannah; and finally (briefly) as he is driving in the car with Eady on their way to the airport.
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.)
Xander Berkeley plays Ralph, a minor character. He also played Waingro in L.A. Takedown (1989), of which this film is a remake. Michael Mann directed both movies.
Vincent's sidearm is a Colt Officer's Model .45 caliber with ivory grips, a likely reference to his service in the Marine Corps. Neil carries an HK USP 9mm early on in the movie, and then switches to a SIG Sauer P220 .45 caliber later on.
During a February 2016 discussion at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, Michael Mann revealed the locations of the real-life inspiration for the famous "coffee scene" between Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. Chicago detective Chuck Adamson ran into the real-life Neil McCauley while picking up dry cleaning on Lincoln Avenue and Belden Avenue in Chicago. The two went to the now-closed Belden Deli at 2301 N. Clark Street in Chicago, a few blocks away. The diner was knocked down, and reconstructed in the 1990s, and is now the location of the Eleven City Diner.
The actors who took part in the robbery sequence had to undergo power weapons training.
In order to prepare the actors for the roles of McCauley's crew, Michael Mann took Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, and Robert De Niro to Folsom State Prison to interview actual career criminals.
The manager of the Kate Mantilini restaurant in Beverly Hills said in the Heat Special Edition DVD 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 drive-in sequence was shot at the Centinela Drive-in in Inglewood, California, which had been closed since 1993. The theater was demolished in 1998, and the site is now occupied by an apartment complex.
Robert De Niro was the first cast member to get the film script, showing it to Al Pacino, who also wanted to be a part of the film.
Hank Azaria was also working on The Birdcage (1996) while he filmed his scene in this film. The scene was filmed on his thirtieth birthday. It was Al Pacino's fifty-fourth birthday as well.
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.
Johnny Depp was considered for the role of Chris Shiherlis, but his asking price was deemed too high.
In the original VHS release of the film, which was split between two videocassettes, the break occurred right after the diner scene in the film.
In 2016, in an interview with Christopher Nolan, Al Pacino revealed that Vincent Hanna is a cocaine user. It is never shown on-screen however.
Before Danny Trejo was hired to play the role of "Trejo" in this movie, he and Edward Bunker, a writer, were hired to be armed robbery consultants, since they both did time for these crimes, and knew the ins-and-outs of performing such crimes. When Michael Mann spotted Danny, Mann introduced him to Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Val Kilmer, and Jon Voight, where they discussed the cops-and-robbers shtick. After the meeting, Trejo would earn this role.
Lieutenant Hanna is shown "checking the 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).
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 scene together. In this movie, they only have two scenes together, for a total of less than ten minutes.
The date of birth given for Vincent Hanna's applications, reviewed by Neil and Nate, is 7/15/1953. Al Pacino was born in 1940. In the same application, the profession is listed as Salesperson. Neil identifies his profession to Eady as Salesman.
The film cast includes four Oscar winners: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Jon Voight, and Natalie Portman.
Michael Mann has wanted to work with Robert De Niro ever since he first saw him in Mean Streets (1973).
Principal photography lasted one hundred seven days. All of the shooting was done on-location, Michael Mann deciding not to use a soundstage.
Initially, Michael Mann shopped the script to Walter Hill to direct, but Hill turned him down.
Al Pacino revealed in Argentina when he performed An Evening With Al Pacino at the Teatro Colón, that when they had to rehearse the last scene, Robert De Niro told him: "No words". He still thinks that that was the right call.
A video game adaptation was reported to be in development around 2009, but never came to fruition.
The armored 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.
A Marine Corps plaque appears briefly in Vincent's office in the Major Crimes Unit, although the traditional crossed swords are removed.
This movie featured two actors who each played serial killers in movies based on Thomas Harris novels. Manhunter (1986), based on Harris' novel Red Dragon, featured Tom Noonan as the serial killer Francis "The Tooth Fairy" Dolarhyde. The 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. Coincidentially, Michael Mann is also the director of Manhunter, and Dennis Farina, who consulted this movie, played Jack Crawford in Manhunter.
Nick Nolte and Jeff Bridges were discussed as a possible alternative for the two leading roles.
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).
Li Gong was offered the role of Justine Hanna. She refused, unless the script was translated into Mandarin.
Xander Berkeley (Ralph) played Waingro in L.A. Takedown (1989), based on the same events. Michael Mann directed both movies.
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.
In the diner, McCauley asks Hanna "a normal life, what's that, barbecues and ballgames?" During the shoot-out after the bank robbery, McCauley can be seen shooting a barbecue grill.
The camera used by both Neil and Casals in the "We just got made" scene is a Nikon F4, at the time Nikon's flagship 35mm SLR. Casal's has the Nikon logo blacked out. Neil's does not. They use different lenses.
Released a month after Casino (1995), also starring Robert De Niro. Surprisingly, both movies are almost three hours long, and take place in different states, making it interesting that Robert De Niro would have time to make both movies released so closely.
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.
In the original script, the gunman at the drive-in was still alive, after being shot at, and run over. Neil executes the shooter a few moments after approaching and talking to him. In the final film, the shooter appears to be dead, since this scene is absent.
The rifle used by Lieutenant Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) in the bank hold-up shoot-out is a Fabrique Nationale FNC in 5.56mm (.223 Remington).
Drucker's name was Arriaga in the original film, L.A. Takedown (1989), though he was not a Sergeant.
Vincent Hanna's Armani suits and slicked-back hair are an homage to Los Angeles Lakers coach Pat Riley. Riley's style was also copied by Michael Douglas in Wall Street (1987) and by Kurt Russell in Tequila Sunrise (1988).
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, Norway, and most famously, the 1997 North Hollywood shoot-out, in which Larry Phillips, Jr. and Emil Matasareanu 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 shoot-out 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 bystanders were injured during the shoot-out. This movie was widely referenced during the coverage of the shoot-out.
In the original script, the burglary-cop Harry Dieter, was questioned and threatened by Vincent Hanna, because he was given a tip by C.I. Hugh Benny. After Hanna and Bosko leave, Dieter is left with a Booking Officer. This would have taking place just before Hanna and Bosko (now Hanna and Casals) breaching Hugh Benny's flat. But this scene is absent in the final movie.
Mel Gibson and Harrison Ford were considered for the lead roles of Vincent Hanna and Neil McCauley.
In 2007, the scene involving the shoot-out after the bank robbery was shown to British Army Officer Cadets at RMA Sandhurst as an example of effective fire and manoeuvre, and the proper way to retreat while under fire.
Deleted scenes, found on the Special Edition DVD, give more character development to Michael Cheritto, showing him to be a well-adjusted family man.
In April 1994, Michael Mann was reported to have abandoned his earlier plan to shoot a biopic of James Dean, in favor of directing.
The train station shown in the beginning of the film is the same station featured at the end of Collateral (2004).
During the scene when Detective Danny Schwartz is talking with Lieutenant Vincent Hanna over the phone, a man speaking with a detective can be seen on a television screen behind Schwartz.
William Fichtner (Roger Van Zant) appeared in the bank robbery sequence that opened The Dark Knight (2008). It was directed by Christopher Nolan, who has named this movie as an influence on his vision of Gotham City.
In this movie and True Lies (1994), Max Daniels plays a thug wielding a Steyr TMP who is shot, and wildly fires his gun into the air as he goes down. Here, it happens before Shiherlis shoots him in the back, as he is unable to get steady footing.
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.
In the original script, Casals was the detective wounded during the shoot-out sequence.
The armored car robbery originally had a different street location, and the escape is a lot tighter, as the crew actually rams several police cars escaping after shooting the three guards.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
Al Pacino won his Oscar for starring in Scent of a Woman (1992). In the climactic scene, he works opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman, who also appeared in Red Dragon (2002), the second adaptation of Thomas Harris' novel Red Dragon. Michael Mann directed the first adaptation Manhunter (1986).
In Dog Day Afternoon (1975), another heist movie that stars Al Pacino, the final scene also took place in an airport.
Michael Mann previously directed Manhunter (1986), the first film adaptation of the "Hannibal Lecktor/Lecter" series. Ted Levine (Bosko) played Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
First film that has Al Pacino and Robert De Niro acting together in the same scenes.
James Caan has been rumored to have been considered for the role of Nate. Caan lamented to Michael Mann that he did not get to star in Heat on their 1998 DVD commentary for Thief (1981).
When Sergeant Drucker (Mykelti Williamson) says to Charlene (Ashley Judd) her son could end up at "gladiator academies", like Chino and Tracy, his referring to Deuel Vocational Institution state prison in Tracy, California. The California Institution for Men is commonly known as "Chino", and is a state prison located in the city of Chino, San Bernardino County, California. "Gladiator academies", is slang for prisons or correction facilities.
Mykelti Williamson, Martin Ferrero, and Xander Berkeley appeared on Miami Vice (1984), Executively Produced by Michael Mann, and Ted Levine appeared on the Mann-created Crime Story (1986). This was the first time all of these actors had been directed by Mann in a feature film.
Jon Voight's first film to get a wide theatrical release since Runaway Train (1985). Desert Bloom (1986) had been given a limited release, and his other projects in the interim were made for television or went direct to video. The film began a resurgence of high-profile roles for the Oscar winner, culminating in his fourth Oscar nomination for Ali (2001), also directed by Michael Mann.
Hank Azaria and Wes Studi would appeared as "The Blue Raja", and "The Sphinx", respectively, in Mystery Men (1999).
Michael Mann and Tom Noonan previously worked together on Manhunter (1986), while Al Pacino and Robert De Niro appeared together in The Godfather: Part II (1974). The latter film featured Gianni Russo. Russo later appeared in Red Dragon (2002), the second adaptation of Thomas Harris' novel Red Dragon.
Al Pacino and Val Kilmer starred in films with Chris O'Donnell: Pacino in Scent of a Woman (1992), and Kilmer in Batman Forever (1995). Coincidentally, Pacino portrays a blind man in Scent of a Woman (1992) and Kilmer plays a similar role in At First Sight (1999).
Tom Sizemore and William Fichtner appeared and voiced characters in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002). The game is also a reference to Scarface (1983).
The film features the track "Armenia" from German industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten, which was used again by Michael Mann in his next film, The Insider (1999).
Michael Mann: He disowned the television version aired by NBC. Mann offered to restore seventeen of the cut minutes, NBC decided to instead cut forty minutes of the film out, in order to fit a three-hour television time slot. Mann said, "You can call it a Michael Smithee or an Alan Mann movie."