A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Heat features numerous bloody shooting deaths; a serial killer who bludgeons a young, scantily clad prostitute; and tense situations during the commission of robberies and revenge killings. Expect multiple instances of "f--k," "s--t," "motherf---ker," and "ass." A naive lonely woman goes home with a stranger and has sex with him. Two married women have affairs when they're dissatisfied with their difficult husbands.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Police lieutenant Vincent (Al Pacino) solves a murderous bank robbery and brings on the HEAT as he lays in wait for the ringleader, Neil (Robert De Niro), and his crew to make their next moves. The cop comes to respect the criminal, who is as exacting and professional in his illegal undertakings as the cop is in his detective work. In pursuit of their individual kinds of excellence, both shortchange their personal lives and immerse themselves in violence and loss.
Is it any good?
At nearly three violent hours, this movie embodies the term "overkill" on many levels of meaning. Director Michael Mann brings too much of everything -- bodies, blood, plot complications -- to his rumination on the oft-cited observation that cops and criminals are alike, separated only by the law. By the third hour, thoughtfully paralleling the overly complex life of a master criminal with that of a master cop devolves into improbability and a lack of logic. The killer, cold-blooded and smart through the first two hours, turns incredibly sentimental and stupid, allowing himself the luxury of bloody revenge, which seals his own unfortunate fate. Heat takes far too much time to bring De Niro and Pacino together for the first time in their long careers, but their two scenes together do sparkle.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the relationship between police officers and the criminals they pursue. Do they have to think like criminals to catch them? How is that relationship portrayed in Heat?
Under what circumstances might a police officer come to respect a criminal he or she is tracking?
Do you think very smart criminals could do well in legal ventures if they attempted to go straight? Why, or why not?
Do you think this movie is still relevant, or does it feel dated? Why?
For kids who love action and adventure
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.