Heat (1995)
Heat (1995)
Heat (1995)
Heat (1995)
Heat (1995)
Heat (1995)

Film Studies

Cinema Classics Seminar:

Saturday, June 17, 2023, 12:30 pm to 4:30 pm  
Instructor: Paul Wright, Ph.D., Instructor, BMFI

Having merged the aesthetics of cinema and music videos in his TV series Miami Vice, Michael Mann would fully exploit this new visual language in his work for the big screen. Those films include The Last of the Mohicans and The Insider, which bookend what many consider Mann’s defining masterpiece, Heat (1995), an epic cat-and-mouse chase between a gang of heist men and the police in relentless pursuit.

The film’s marketing focused on the much-anticipated pairing of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, who’d both appeared in The Godfather Part II but had never actually met on screen. Here, Pacino plays Vincent Hanna, a detective obsessively fixated on De Niro’s thief, Neil McCauley. The two interact primarily in a fleeting, truce-like encounter over coffee, the exchange defining the film’s ironic mirroring of hunter and hunted. There is a sense of cinematic history being honored and made in the moment.

But Heat is a film with much else on its mind. It boasts strong performances from Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Amy Brenneman, and Ashley Judd, all playing various criminals and civilians caught in the decaying orbit of the gang’s effort to pull off that proverbial “one last score.” This culminates in the oft-imitated bank robbery sequence, one of the finest action set-pieces in cinema history and a masterclass in film technique.

Yet Heat is interested above all in the slow-burn of character in the crucible of ambition. As the various figures bounce off one another like billiard balls on an ultimately tilted table, Heat achieves a postmodern take on a decidedly classical dilemma of character as destiny. As thoughtful as it is visually arresting, Heat only gains in impact some twenty-eight years on from its release.

Are you interested in “just” seeing this movie? Visit the public screening page here.

Cinema Classics Seminars offer an entertaining and engaging way to learn more about some of the true classics of world cinema. All students receive an introductory lecture before the film and a guided discussion after the film. In addition, those in attendance receive a ticket to see it on the big screen, as well as popcorn and a drink. Please note: the screening associated with this seminar will be open to the public, as well.

If you are unable to attend this seminar on site, you can rent and stream it in our Remote Classroom beginning a week after the event date.

Please email BMFI Programs and Education Coordinator Jill Malcolm with any questions.


Course Information

$25 for members, $35 for non-members


  • Saturday, June 17 · 12:30 pm

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