Heat (1995): The Restaurant Scene with De Niro and Al Pacino | Transcript

Explore the iconic restaurant scene in 'Heat' (1995) where De Niro and Pacino deliver a masterclass in acting
Heat (1995): The Restaurant Scene with De Niro and Al Pacino


The restaurant scene in the 1995 movie Heat is a pivotal and iconic moment in cinema history, showcasing the acting prowess of two legends, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. Directed by Michael Mann, the film builds tension throughout its runtime, and the restaurant scene is the culmination of the cat-and-mouse game between De Niro’s character, Neil McCauley, and Pacino’s character, Vincent Hanna.

The setting is a dimly lit upscale restaurant, creating a moody and intimate atmosphere. The choice of location is significant, as it emphasizes the clandestine nature of the meeting and the high stakes involved. The characters share a history and a mutual respect, despite being on opposite sides of the law. The scene is a rare moment of connection and understanding between the protagonists, transcending their roles as cop and criminal.

The dialogue is sharp and intense, with both actors delivering their lines with a subtle but powerful emotion. The script delves into the minds of these complex characters, exploring their motivations and the similarities that bind them. The conversation revolves around the themes of commitment, the choices they’ve made, and the inevitability of their conflict.

The dynamic between De Niro and Pacino is electric. The chemistry between them is palpable, and their performances elevate the scene to a masterclass in acting. The use of close-ups intensifies the emotions, capturing every nuance of their expressions as they discuss their lives and the choices that brought them to this moment.

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[Vincent Hanna] Seven years in Folsom. In the hole for three. McNeil before that. McNeil as tough as they say?

[Neil McCauley] You looking to become a penologist?

[Vincent Hanna] You’re looking to go back? You know, I chase down some crews… guys just looking to fuck up, get busted back. That you?

[Neil McCauley] You must’ve worked some dipshit crews.

[Vincent Hanna] I worked all kinds.

[Neil McCauley] You see me doing thrill-seeking liquor-store holdups… with a “Born to Lose” tattoo on my chest?

[Vincent Hanna] No, I do not.

[Neil McCauley] Right. I am never going back.

[Vincent Hanna] Then don’t take down scores.

[Neil McCauley] I do what I do best, I take scores. You do what you do best, trying to stop guys like me.

[Vincent Hanna] So you never wanted a regular-type life?

[Neil McCauley] What the fuck is that? Barbecues and ball games?

[Vincent Hanna] Yeah.

[Neil McCauley] This regular-type life like your life?

[Vincent Hanna] My life? No, my life… No, my life’s a disaster zone. I got a stepdaughter so fucked up… because her real father is this large-type asshole. I got a wife. We’re passing each other on the down slope of a marriage… my third… because I spend all my time chasing guys like you around the block. That’s my life.

[Neil McCauley] A guy told me one time: “Don’t let yourself get attached to anything… you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat… if you feel the heat around the corner.” Now, if you’re on me, and you gotta move when I move… how do you expect to keep a marriage?

[Vincent Hanna] Well, that’s an interesting point. What are you, a monk?

[Neil McCauley] I have a woman.

[Vincent Hanna] What do you tell her?

[Neil McCauley] I tell her I’m a salesman.

[Vincent Hanna] So then, if you spot me coming around that corner… you’re just gonna walk out on this woman? Not say goodbye?

[Neil McCauley] That’s the discipline.

[Vincent Hanna] That’s pretty vacant, no?

[Neil McCauley] Yeah, it is what it is. It’s that, or we both better go do something else, pal.

[Vincent Hanna] I don’t know how to do anything else.

[Neil McCauley] Neither do I.

[Vincent Hanna] I don’t much want to either.

[Neil McCauley] Neither do I.

[Vincent Hanna] You know, I have this, uh, recurring dream. I’m sitting at this big banquet table… and all the victims of all the murders I ever worked are sitting at this table and they’re staring at me with these black eyeballs… because they got eight-ball hemorrhages from the head wounds. And there they are, these big balloon people… because I found them two weeks after they’d been under the bed. The neighbors reported the smell… and there they are, all of them just sitting there.

[Neil McCauley] What do they say?

[Vincent Hanna] Nothing.

[Neil McCauley] No talk?

[Vincent Hanna] None. Just… They don’t have anything to say. See, we just look at each other. They look at me. And that’s it, that’s the dream.

[Neil McCauley] I have one where I’m drowning. And I gotta wake myself up and start breathing, or I’ll die in my sleep.

[Vincent Hanna] You know what that’s about?

[Neil McCauley] Yeah. Having enough time.

[Vincent Hanna] Enough time to do what you wanna do?

[Neil McCauley] That’s right.

[Vincent Hanna] You doing it now?

[Neil McCauley] No, not yet.

[Vincent Hanna] You know, we’re sitting here… you and I, like a couple of regular fellows. You do what you do, and I do what I gotta do. And now that we’ve been face to face… if I’m there and I gotta put you away, I won’t like it. But I’ll tell you… if it’s between you and some poor bastard… whose wife you’re gonna turn into a widow… brother, you are going down.

[Neil McCauley] There’s a flip side to that coin. What if you do got me boxed in and I gotta put you down? Because no matter what, you will not get in my way. We’ve been face to face, yeah… but I will not hesitate. Not for a second.

[Vincent Hanna] Maybe that’s the way it’ll be. Or who knows?

[Neil McCauley] Or maybe we’ll never see each other again.

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