Heat (1995): 10 Similar Movies You Must See

Directed by Michael Mann, ‘Heat’ follows LAPD Lieutenant Vincent Hanna as he hunts down the perpetrators of an armored truck robbery. A simple robbery turns into a high-profile case when the robbers end up killing the three men who were guarding the truck. As each day passes, the pressure is on for both the Lieutenant and the thieves trying to evade their clutches, for such a giant robbery is bound to bring the “heat” to them unless they can disappear in time.

The 1995 crime film features the star-studded ensemble cast of Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Diane Venora, and Amy Brenneman. The film is based on the true story of Neil McCauley, whose run-ins with the law and Detective Chuck Adamson have been chronicled fairly accurately in the film. If this is the kind of film you like watching, then we have a few recommendations that would be right up your alley.

10. The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

Directed by John McTiernan, ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’ revolves around Thomas Crown (Pierce Brosnan), an eccentric billionaire who has everything he could ever ask for. If he doesn’t have it, he can simply buy it. Since the ease with which Thomas lives his life starts to bore him, he turns to steal famous pieces of artwork to feel a modicum of thrill once again.

The entry of Catherine Banning (Rene Russo), a charismatic and cunning insurance investigator, in his life after one such theft starts to complicate things for Crown. A heist film much like ‘Heat,’ the elaborate schemes and maneuvers that Thomas Crown uses to steal the paintings will seem just as realistic to the plans Neil McCauley and his crew executed to commit their robberies.

9. Ronin (1998)

Ronin‘ is an action thriller film that follows the escapades of Sam (Robert De Niro), an ex-CIA operative turned mercenary, and his counterparts from various different countries as they plan and steal a mysterious metallic briefcase. While successful, the team is soon betrayed as more than a few rival parties are interested in the contents of the briefcase. Thus began an intense cat-and-mouse chase, with the briefcase changing hands constantly and Sam hunting after both it and those who betrayed him.

This John Frankenheimer directorial features intensely authentic car chases and action sequences. Though the robbery is of a single item in the film, the item becomes a catalyst or “MacGuffin” for the various character arcs and adjacent storylines in the film, which is the same as ‘Heat.’

8. The Town (2010)

‘The Town’ is a crime drama that revolves around four friends — Douglas “Doug” MacRay (Ben Affleck), James “Jem” Coughlin (Jeremy Renner), Albert “Gloansy” MacGloan (Slaine), and Desmond “Dez” Elden (Owen Burke) — who are responsible for several robberies. During one such robbery, they end up taking a hostage and then later releasing her. This simple act gives FBI Agent Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm) a thread to hold onto that leads to the gang of four. Having been pushed into a corner, would the four friends be able to escape to freedom?

Directed by Ben Affleck himself, many of the characters share similarities with that of ‘Heat.’ The most prominent of which is Jem, who mirrors Waingro’s volatility in ‘Heat.’ And just like the Robert De Niro and Al Pacino starrer, ‘The Town’ shows the struggle of one law enforcement officer to catch criminals who seem to be too good at evading him.

7. Hell or High Water (2016)

Directed by David Mckenzie, ‘Hell or High Water‘ follows Tanner (Ben Foster) and Toby (Chris Pine) Howard on their spree of bank robberies. After their mother’s death and the bank threatening to seize their farm over an unpaid debt, the two brothers have no recourse left but to turn to a life of crime. But with each bank robbery, the circumstances that the two brothers find themselves in become more and more dangerous for both them and the civilians caught in the crossfire.

To put an end to the heists, Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) is called in to lead the investigation. Much the same as ‘Heat,’ ‘Hell or High Water’ showcases a bond of mutual respect that forms between Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton and Toby Howard over the course of the film, even if they ultimately remain opposite to each other.

6. Training Day (2001)

Directed by Antoine Fuqua, ‘Training Day‘ narrates a day in the life of up-and-coming police officer Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) as he spends time with Detective Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington), who is somewhat of a celebrity in the narcotics division. But what should have been a routine patrol soon turns into extremely dangerous for Hoyt, as he is introduced to Alonzo’s own brand of justice on the streets of LA and his connections with the criminal element.

The conflict between Alonzo and Hoyt, as well as the latter’s inability to arrest the former without concrete proof, will remind fans of ‘Heat’ of the strained relationship between Neil McCauley and Lieutenant Vincent Hanna; and Hanna’s own helplessness in apprehending McCauley.

5. Carlito’s Way (1993)

‘Carlito’s Way’ is a crime drama film that centers around Carlito Brigante (Al Pacino), who has recently come out of prison. Originally sentenced to 30 years for his crimes, Carlito is released on a technicality. Grateful for this second chance at life, Carlito vows to walk on the straight and narrow path moving forward. But while he may have washed his hands off crime, crime isn’t remotely done with him.

Carlito is soon unwillingly pulled back into the seedy underbelly of New York City after a drug deal goes wrong. What follows is more trouble in the form of gangsters and betrayals, despite of Carlito’s best efforts to not engage with any of them. Directed by Brian De Palma, what makes ‘Carlito’s Way’ similar to ‘Heat’ and worth watching, is its depiction of the accurate inner workings of the mob, which adds a raw quality to the storyline.

4. The Usual Suspects (1995)

The Usual Suspects‘ is a neo-noir mystery film that sees US Customs agent Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) interrogate Roger “Verbal” Kint (Kevin Spacey), a smalltime con artist who is one of the two survivors of a massacre on a ship. The ship in question belonged to Argentinian drug dealers who were in the middle of a business deal when the murders took place. With no other eyewitnesses still intact, agent Kujan is left to rely on Verbal and his account of what happened on the ship and the appearance of a mysterious crime lord known as Keyser Söze.

Directed by Bryan Singer, Keyser’s character in the film resonates with that of Neil McCauley in ‘Heat.’  While the films have their own twists and turns that the viewers might find difficult to follow at times, both these characters, through their ruthlessness and ability to plan ahead, keep the focus of the story centered.

3. The Nice Guys (2016)

The Nice Guys‘ is an action comedy film directed by Shane Black. It focuses on Private Investigator Holland March (Ryan Gosling), who is hired to investigate the apparent suicide of famous porn star Misty Mountains (Murielle Telio). During his investigation, Holland runs into the more action-oriented Jackson Healey (Russell Crowe), and both of them find out that they were hired by the same person, a young girl named Amelia (Margaret Qualley).

However, the situation takes a turn for the worse when their young employer disappears, and it becomes apparent that there is a bigger mystery than just a missing person’s case. Both ‘Heat’ and ‘The Nice Guys’ are similar in their depiction of their so-called “protagonists.” While Holland March and Jackson Healey are the good guys, they aren’t above their vices. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Vincent Hanna is a tired cop who is struggling in his personal life. But both these sets of heroes don’t try to hide their flaws and continue to get the job done in spite of them.

2. Public Enemies (2009)

Public Enemies‘ is a crime film that chronicles the final years of the notorious bank robber John Dillinger (Johnny Depp), as he and his associates are pursued by FBI agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale). Dillinger and his gang are famous for only targeting big businesses and leaving the general public alone, which turns him into a kind of folk hero. With Dillinger’s rising fame and his boss breathing down his neck, Agent Purvis finds it difficult day by day to hunt down and arrest the robber.

Another Michael Mann directorial, ‘Public Enemies’ is much the same as ‘Heat’ due to the fact that it is also based on the life of a real-life bank robber and his gang, all of whom were active during the 1930s.

1. The Untouchables (1987)

In this crime drama film, legendary crime boss Al Capone (Robert De Niro) rules Chicago on the back of his illegal liquor empire. Hot on his trail is Prohibition Agent Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner), whose every attempt to take Capone down is thwarted by the widespread corruption within the police force. In the hopes of finally shutting down Capone and his illegal businesses, Ness creates an elite group of police officers who won’t be swayed by anything thrown at them.

Directed by Brian De Palma, the way Eliot Ness and his fellow officers in ‘The Untouchables’ create a case against Al Capone by leveraging his associates is similar to the methods used by the police in ‘Heat’ to gather evidence against Neil McCauley.

Read More: Is Heat (1995) Based on a True Story?