by Pat Wright

It’s that time of year again when hot and humid seems to sum up the weather in the South.  Record breaking temperatures across the country.  That makes it the perfect time to stay inside and watch other people work out their issues in the heat.  Sometimes the hot weather is used in films as a metaphor or and sometimes it becomes a “character” and influences the actions of others.  Either way, it is smoking hot.

Here are my top five sizzling hot films where the heat from the weather and on-screen  performances is intense!

1.     Do the Right Thing (1989)

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, 

On the hottest day of the year on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, everyone’s hate and bigotry smolders and builds until it explodes into violence. Is it hot outside? Or is our anger and hatred making it even hotter? Spike Lee lets it all boil over.


2. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

Director: Elia Kazan | Stars: Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden

Not only is the film set in New Orleans which is a very toasty place during the summer, but the heat between the characters is palpable. Love, lust, and desire come together in this classic film from Kazan where everybody is sweating and the action is HOT!

3. Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Director: Stuart Rosenberg | Stars: Paul Newman, George Kennedy, Strother Martin, J.D. Cannon

The only cool in this film is the character who puts up with terrible treatment and maintains his cool despite the roasting temperatures and time in “the box.” Kinda makes you want to turn your AC down, doesn’t it?


4. Rear Window (1954)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: James Stewart, Grace Kelly

A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbors from his Greenwich Village courtyard apartment window, and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder. Naturally the weather is smoking hot and everyone is sweaty as nerves build for an exciting and nail-biting conclusion.


5. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Al Pacino, John Cazale, Penelope Allen

Three amateur bank robbers plan to hold up a bank. It sounds like a nice simple robbery: Walk in, take the money, and run. Unfortunately, the supposedly uncomplicated heist suddenly becomes a bizarre nightmare as everything that could go wrong does.  Add in the broiling temperature which seems to get hotter with each passing moment and you’ve got a hot film with complications!