As time has passed, appreciation for Michael Mann’s crime saga masterpiece “Heat” has continued to grow. Few films have ever captured Los Angeles so magnificently as Mann did here. Even after all of these years, a few locations remain secret, but most have surfaced.
The opening shots of the film show Neil McCauley, played by Robert DeNiro on the Metro Green Line, arriving at the Redondo Beach Station. Director Michael Mann would return to this same station for the climactic scenes of “Collateral.” If you plan to visit this station, the only way to access the platform is by purchasing a fare.
LOCATION: 2406 Marine Ave, Redondo Beach, CA 90278
Neil steals an ambulance from the St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach. The same hospital shows up again later in the film, when Vincent Hanna, played by Al Pacino, rushes his step-daughter Lauren, played by Natalie Portman, to the emergency room.
LOCATION: 1050 Linden Ave, Long Beach, CA 90813
The opening robbery of the armored truck takes place on Venice Blvd, exactly as Hanna states in the film. It’s near the Los Angeles Convention Center, just underneath the interchange of the 10 and 110 freeways.
LOCATION: Venice Blvd / Convention Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90015
The robbers emerge from underneath this split overpass for the collision.
This is where Vincent arrives to investigate the aftermath.
McCauley’s crew takes Waingro to the former Johnie’s Broiler in Downey, where they attempt to kill him in the parking lot, but he ultimately escapes. The restaurant has a unique history, having appeared in many other films, such as “Short Cuts,” “License To Drive,” “The Game,” “One Hour Photo” and many more. In 2007, the building was unfortunately demolished. However, Bob’s Big Boy purchased the property years later and rebuilt it based on the original blueprints and even some of the same materials. So what stands now closely resembles what was seen in the film.
LOCATION: 7447 Firestone Blvd, Downey, CA 90241
Vincent and his wife Justine live in what is known as the “Sixth Street House” in Santa Monica. A famous architectural piece, the house has the designation of historical landmark. Unfortunately, much of the front of the home is obscured by a wall and shrubs, making it a bit inconspicuous. The side of the home offers better visibility. In the film itself, only the interiors of the house are seen.
LOCATION: 2634 6th St, Santa Monica, CA 90405
The location of Neil’s oceanfront home, where Chris, played by Val Kilmer, sleeps off a domestic spat, has long been subject to debate. The house most commonly believed to be the correct location can be found on Malibu Cove Colony Drive, a private road just off the Pacific Coast Highway. Old real estate listings showing the interior of the home match closely with what was seen in the film, down to fixtures and appliances. The same house was also featured in the film “Less Than Zero,” where Jami Gertz tells Andrew McCarthy she’s not going to college. However, since then portions of the home have been remodeled, making it a difficult task to match up in person.
The entrance to Malibu Cove Colony Drive has a gate and guard on duty, preventing any public access (most beachfront roads in this area are likewise private). On the opposite side, however, are the outskirts of Escondido Beach, which is open to the public, but also presents it’s own challenges. First and foremost, the houses sit very close to the water. All of them are perched on stilts, as the tides can reach all the way up to the base of the properties. Visitors should use caution if they walk these narrow shores, as the high tides can leave you little room to cross. It also makes photography a challenge, unless you plan to take a swim. The next challenge is simply identifying the correct home. Many of these beachfront homes have been heavily remodeled. If you attempt to match them to satellite views, many details won’t align in person, due to remodeling. Some of the homes also resemble one another, particularly their patios, making it even more confusing. It’s easy to see why, after decades, the location has remained subject to debate. To be certain we found the correct home we were seeking, we used a combination satellite imagery and GPS. A drone (or jet ski) is likely a better method to view the house, but if you do attempt it on foot, use caution and do your research.
LOCATION: 26940 Malibu Cove Colony Dr, Malibu, CA 90265
The restaurant where Donald, played by Dennis Haysbert, begins working under the abuse of a crooked manager is Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank (not to be confused with the Downey location covered earlier in this article).
LOCATION: 4211 W Riverside Dr, Burbank, CA 91505
Later in the film, Neil happens to be dining inside with his crew and spots Donald cooking and immediately recognizes him as a former prison buddy.
Neil speaks to his driver, Trejo, from a phone at the restaurant, where his is informed Trejo is being tailed by cops and cannot join their heist. In need of a last-minute, replacement driver, Neil offers Donald a job on the spot.
Plans for the bank heist are first offered to Neil and Nate, played by Jon Voight, when they visit Kelso, played by Tom Noonan. The house was filmed on Dodds Circle in Los Angeles, which is also where Trejo’s house is located in the film. Neil and Nate first park here, overlooking the 10 freeway.
LOCATION: Dodds Cir, Los Angeles, CA 90063 (just off Dickson Ave)
McCauley then discusses the plan with Kelso at his house, which is fenced off around the entire perimeter.
LOCATION: 1235 Dodds Cir, Los Angeles, CA 90063
Later in the film, McCauley strikes up a romance with Eady, played by Amy Brenneman. Eady’s house sits perched on stilts in the hills of West Hollywood, offering a magnificent view over the city. There’s not much to see from the front of the house itself on Blue Heights Dr. Signs declare the cul-de-sac where it sits to be private property, but you can still see it well from the public section of the road. The floor to ceiling windows and patio area are much better seen from lower streets, such as Viewmont Dr (near the 1600 block, just before it reaches a dead end). The house found renewed interest in 2014 with the TV series “Bosch,” where it serves as the home of the titular detective.
LOCATION: 1870 Blue Heights Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90069 (best seen from around the 1600 block of Viewmont Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90069, just before the road hits a dead end)
Here is a view of the city, as seen from Blue Heights Dr, just before you reach Eady’s house, closely resembling what you’d see from the home.
One of the film’s classic scenes is of course the face to face meeting between Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. The conversation took place at the excellent Kate Mantilini, an institution of Beverly Hills which sadly closed in 2014 after the restaurant could not afford a rental increase by the building owners. We managed to capture some photos from when the place was still open.
LOCATION: 9101 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90212 (now closed)
Above the entrance to the restaurant, this image from the iconic scene was hung.
After meeting Neil, Vincent returns to a hotel where he’s staying, only to discover his step-daughter Lauren has attempted suicide in his bathroom. This was filmed at the Hotel Angeleno, just off the 405 freeway. The hotel was mostly seen from interior views in the film, aside from a shot of Vincent looking down at the freeway from his balcony.
LOCATION: 170 N Church Ln, Los Angeles, CA 90049
The exterior of the famous bank robbery scene is set in downtown Los Angeles at the Citigroup Center. This same location was also briefly seen in David Fincher’s “Fight Club.”
LOCATION: 444 S Flower St. Los Angeles, CA 90071
The robbery then spills out onto the streets, in what many consider one of the greatest shootouts ever filmed.
LOCATION: Intersection of W 5th St / S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071
Trejo’s house, much like Eady’s, sits on stilts over a hillside of L.A., where he is discovered by McCauley near the end of the film. It sits on the same small road as Kelso’s house from earlier in the film, which was discovered as a result of finding this home for the film.
LOCATION: 1219 Dodds Cir, Los Angeles, CA 90063