The film focuses on the confrontation between two smart, cunning and prudent people, crime boss Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) and lieutenant Vincent Hannah (Al Pacino) from the homicide department. Neil McCauley and his gang have been active on the streets of Los Angeles for a long time, their team is well-functioning, robberies are running smoothly and clearly. But during the next operation, the one-time criminal Waingro (Kevin Gage) hired for one time kills one of the guards of the cash-in-transit car, which forces the McCauley gang to kill all the witnesses to this incident. The robbery case moves to another level, and now the gang is wanted not only by other gangsters who have their own scores with McCauley, but also by Lieutenant Hannah, who is as cunning and quick-witted as the leader of the gang.
According to the director of the film, Michael Mann, he initially planned to invite only Robert De Niro and Al Pacino to play the roles of the main characters of this picture. It is curious that this film was the first in the career of two famous and honored actors, in which they appear before the audience in one frame. Previously, De Niro and Pacino both played in The Godfather 2, but they did not have scenes together. Ashley Judd, Val Kilmer, Natalie Portman, Jon Voight, Hank Azaria and others also played in the film.
Many characters in the film "Heat" were based on the images of real people. For example, Kevin Gage's character, Waingro, is based on the story of a real-life Chicago mobster named Waingro, who laid down several powerful Chicago crime bosses. According to Michael Mann, Waingro was missing for a long time, but then his body was found in New Mexico, nailed to the hangar wall. The director also mentioned that he made this film as a tribute to his Chicago cop friend who tracked down and killed a thief named Neal McCawley.