Heat (1995)

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Heat (1995) Movie Poster Image
Criminal, police face off in bloody '90s action-adventure.
  • R
  • 1995
  • 172 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 9 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Seeking revenge can have bloody consequences.

Positive Role Models & Representations

A criminal is intelligent, thoughtful, and meticulous in his planning, but the same guy also is an unhesitatingly brutal killer. Still, he demonstrates loyalty by not leaving a wounded co-conspirator to die. Two married women have affairs when dissatisfied with their difficult husbands. A cop devotes more of his life to catching criminals than to his wife and stepdaughter. A cop mercifully holds the hand of the killer he tracked down and shot, waiting for him to die rather than arresting him and sending him back to jail. A demented serial killer tells a young, scantily dressed prostitute that he plans to kill her. A young teen tries to kill herself, and her stepfather saves her. Husbands and wives break up for good reasons but still try to support each other in stressful times.


Masked men rob a bank, yelling obscenities at innocent bystanders, threatening to shoot. They shoot police officers who chase them, and we see their bloodied bodies. One robber grabs a child as hostage and is shot in the face by a police officer. A serial killer tells his victim that the Grim Reaper has come for her. She is later seen dead as her mother grieves for her. Armed criminals rob an armored car by crashing into it. Cars are upended and drivers are injured. A robber shoots an unarmed guard to death without provocation. A fatally wounded man begs his friend to kill him rather than let him suffer, and the friend complies, shooting at close range. A man throws things when angry with his wife.


A naive lonely woman goes home with a stranger and has sex with him. A clothed couple kisses.


"F--k," "s--t," "motherf--ker," and "ass."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A woman says she's stoned on marijuana and the antidepressant Prozac. Adults drink alcohol.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Written byAnonymous November 18, 2020
Adult Written byDesmond1970 August 29, 2020

EXCELLENT FILM but kids will need guidance

A mature 13 year old who can appreciate a good story should be able to handle this. Yes there’s a ton of swearing and violence. Yes it will make you wince if yo... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byDaphne the Reviewer January 4, 2021

A violent, thrilling crime epic- excellent from beginning to ten minutes from the end.

Heat is a well-written, well-acted, complex film, depicting the relationship between a thief and the detective after him. Both men are masters in their fields,... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byNF ATHayes88 March 1, 2021


Heat is probably the best crime drama the world has seen, with some of the best acting in a movie. Lots of drama. The violence is not at the forefront of the fi... Continue reading

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?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action and adventure

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