Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 22 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Body Heat, a sexy, haunting tale of desire and skullduggery that echoes 1940s film noirs but is charged with an energy and passion that could only flare in the '80s. Sit back and bask in this contemporary classic's wicked warmth. (Warner Bros.)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. 100
    Body Heat is good enough to make film noir play like we hadn't seen it before.
  2. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    An excellent crime drama in the style of Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, and Dashiell Hammett.
  3. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Kasdan's moody tribute to cinema's dark past set a gold standard for neo-noirs that has seldom been equaled.
  4. 80
    Lawrence Kasdan's 1981 noir fable is highly derivative in its overall conception, but it finds some freshness in its details. All in all, this evokes the spirit of James M. Cain more effectively than the 1981 remake of The Postman Always Rings Twice did.
  5. While Body Heat involves murder, fraud, a weak hero led astray and a seductive, double-dealing broad, it also incorporates something new: a sexual explicitness that the old films could only hint at.
  6. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Body Heat is full of meaty characters and pungent performances...a film to be seen at a drive-in, on a heavy summer night, with someone you trust.
  7. Hurt is so good at capturing the charming and chilling Ned that he almost makes up for the film's two primary weaknesses: Kasdan's inexperience and a message of significant unpleasantness. [28 Aug 1981, p.P17]

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 1 out of 6
  1. AlanM.
    Nov 25, 2008
    Great Film Noir. My favorite of many great Lawrence Kasdan films, with Kathleen Turner at her sexiest best. Great intrigue and setup.
  2. MichaelR.
    Oct 10, 2007
    This homage to Double Indemnity is one of the most captivating film noirs since Double Indemnity.
  3. Apr 3, 2013
    I don't give "10s," and this review is 32 years late, but Body Heat is one of those films that you can see over and over. It's a shame that there was never a sequel to Body Heat, or that the same elements didn't produce another neo-noir. I recommend this film highly. Expand
  4. Mar 12, 2014
    Body Heat is a great film debut for Kasdan. He sets the scene for this film noir drama by carefully playing out his characters and conveniently avoiding some of the fatal clich├ęs involved with these kinds of movies. Expand
  5. Jul 9, 2014
    Body Heat: 9 out of 10: Many successful movies lose their ability to shock over the years. After hundreds of copy cats Alien isn't as effective as when it first came out. Kramer vs. Kramer certainly isn't the shocking eye opener it once was.

    Body Heat should suffer the same fate. It doesn't. Despite a hundred direct to video takes on the same story (six of them with the exact same title) the movie still works. In fact it works very well indeed.

    Writer Lawrence Kasdan had just penned Raiders of the Lost Ark and Empire Strikes Back so it is a surprise he chooses noir for his first directing outing. (His next film was The Big Chill so this is one guy hard to pigeonhole) He both updates and in many ways upgrades the noir of the past.

    By setting the movie in a Podunk Florida town he invokes John D Macdonald the way no Macdonald movie treatment has successfully done. His then unknown actors William Hurt and Kathleen Turner are pitch perfect.

    This is a movie that really brings some new things to the table as it does some old things very well indeed. Like the best noir you are too involved to even begin to try to guess the next twist and turn.

    Like Scorsese in Goodfellas or Huston in the Maltese Falcon Kasdan's directing is obviously very good yet his tricks remain hidden from view. Not a wasted shot and your television will sweat from all the heat generated.

    Highly recommended to all fans of noir or simply fans of movies.
  6. Apr 2, 2013
    The plot of this movie is totally unrealistic. I could not believe in these characters for a minute, even though the actors did a good job, but the problem is with the writing of the movie. Expand