“Michael Mann nailed it”: We Witnessed an Acting Masterclass the Very First Time Al Pacino and Robert De Niro Shared Screen in $187 Million Cult Classic Movie

The legendary film was extremely influential and even inspired Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight.

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino


  • Al Pacino and Robert De Niro have starred together in four films including Martin Scorsese's The Irishman.
  • While the two did not share screen space in The Godfather - Part II, they appeared on screen for the first time on Michael Mann's Heat.
  • The action crime drama became a cult classic, with the diner scene where Pacino and De Niro meet regarded as an iconic moment.
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Al Pacino and Robert De Niro are two of the most prolific veteran actors currently working in Hollywood. The legends have won Oscars and have featured in multiple acclaimed films. They have also worked with legendary directors such as Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Francis Ford Coppola, and more.


De Niro and Pacino have worked together on four films to date, with the last being The Irishman. Though they first featured in the film The Godfather – Part II, they never shared the screen as their roles were set in different periods. The first time they ever shared a screen was in Michael Mann’s cult classic film Heat.

Michael Mann Brought Together Al Pacino And Robert De Niro On Screen

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino sit inside a car in a still from The Irishman
Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in The Irishman | Credits: Tribeca Productions/Sikelia Productions/Winkler Films/Netflix

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro have been featured together in four films to date. The first time they were cast in the same film was in Francis Ford Coppola’s Oscar-winning sequel The Godfather – Part II. While Pacino returned to his role as Michael Corleone from the original, De Niro played a younger Vito Corleone, who was originally played by Marlon Brando.


Though their third film Righteous Kill was not a huge hit, their fourth outing was special for cinephiles as The Irishman also threw in director Martin Scorsese in the mix. This was the first time Scorsese and Pacino were working together while the filmmaker De Niro had long been creative partners in multiple films.

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in the legendary diner scene in Heat
Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro in Heat | Credits: Regency Enterprises/Forward Pass

Their most iconic appearance to date, however, is their second film together and the first where they actually appear on screen together: Michael Mann’s Heat. The crime drama has achieved the status of a cult classic due to Al Pacino and Robert De Niro’s involvement. The scene in which the two meet at a diner and have a dialogue has been considered to be iconic.



The film was a commercial success, earning $187 million at the box office (via The Numbers). The 1995 film has also been extremely influential, with many copycat robberies also taking place after the film’s release. Filmmaker Christoper Nolan also cited it as an influence for his film The Dark Knight (via Variety).

Michael Mann Is Developing A Sequel Without Al Pacino And Robert De Niro

Michael Mann directing Al Pacino and Robert De Niro on the sets of Heat
BTS of Michael Mann on the sets of Heat | Credits: Warner Bros.

Michael Mann reportedly first envisioned Heat as a TV show and had actually produced a pilot with Scott Plan playing the role of LAPD Lieutenant Vincent Hanna. While the show was canceled after Mann refused to recast Plank in the role, the pilot was reportedly aired as a TV movie called L.A. Takedown. He then revived the project after the success of The Last of the Mohicans (via Radiator Heaven).


The film was reportedly based on a real-life incident. In 2022, the filmmaker published a sequel/prequel in the form of a novel called Heat 2. Earlier last year, Mann revealed that he would be adapting the novel next after releasing his film Ferrari. He told Deadline,

Yes. Meg Gardiner and myself wrote the novel Heat 2, which came out right when we were shooting Ferrari. It did very well. I plan to shoot that next. 

However, the story features a younger Neil McCauley, Robert De Niro’s character, with Ferrari star Adam Driver being rumored to be eyed for the role. Though Mann did not confirm Driver’s involvement, he mentioned that the two got along like a “house on fire” while filming Ferrari. Due to the nature of the novel, it is sufficient to say that De Niro and Al Pacino will not be returning.

Heat is available to stream on The Criterion Channel.


Written by Nishanth A

Articles Published: 1190

Nishanth A is a Media, English and Psychology graduate from Bangalore. He is an avid DC fanboy and loves the films of Christopher Nolan. He has published over 1,000 articles on FandomWire. When he's not fixating on the entire filmography of a director, he tries to write and direct films.