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Heat

“For me the action is the juice…” settle in for a revisit of Michael Mann’s finest couple of hours

Join us today in a lockdown rewatch of Michael Mann’s 1995 star-studded cops’n’robbers epic, Heat. The first on-screen meeting of Pacino and De Niro didn’t disappoint – the movie was a commercial and critical smash, grossing $187 million worldwide against a $60 million budget. 

But did you know… 

1) Heat is partly based on a real life confrontation between a Chicago detective called Chuck Adamson and professional thief Neil McCauley. In the early sixties Adamson (who was also a good friend of the Mann’s) was locked in an obsessive pursuit of career criminal McCauley. Some of the film’s heists are based on actual incidents, the armoured car robbery and the aborted warehouse sting really happened. However, there was one real life event in particular that inspired Mann: the iconic scene where Pacino and De Niro’s characters grab a coffee at the diner. The conversation that takes place is almost word-for-word the same as the one McCauley and Adamson had. In real life the meeting ended with McCauley’s death, following a shoot-out. 

2) Heat was a canceled TV series before it became a hit film. Following Mann’s success in Miami Vice and Crime Story, he was set to create a new crime television show for NBC. Mann had already written the 180-page draft of Heat, so he adapted it into a 90-minute pilot. From doing this, Mann was forced to strip away many subplots to get the script down to almost a third of its original length. The pilot was shot in seventeen days. After it was shot, NBC asked to recast the lead actor and when Mann refused, the show was canceled. However, the pilot still aired in 1989 as a mediocre TV film entitled L.A Takedown.