Die Hard scenario Wiki
DHS- Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) in Heat (1995)

Neil McCauley

Neil McCauley is one of the two main protagonists in the 1995 crime film Heat and is portrayed in the film by actor Robert De Niro in one of his best known 1990s film roles.

Character Summary[]

McCauley was a career criminal, former Marine and the leader of a robbery gang. He is a former convict who wants a new life and was the personal enemy of Vincent Hanna.

After committing a robbery on an armoured truck van with Waingro, Chris Shiherlis, Michael Cheritto and Trejo, McCauley decided that Waingro's psychotic nature and sudden executions of the various armoured truck guards had cost the team a lot. Seeing as he had no business sharing a paycheck with Waingro, he decided to attempt to have Chris, Trejo and Michael help execute Waingro in the parking lot but once they saw policemen drive nearby in the area, they hid their weapons. During the scuffle, Waingro escaped and vowed vengeance upon the gang.

Later, after much planning with Kelso and Nate and knowing that the LAPD was onto their final heist attempt, Neil encouraged other actions to take place. This included having to deal with traitorous white collar criminal Roger Van Zant's hitmen and telling Chris to make things right with his wife Charlene so that Chris has no distractions and has his head in the game.

After Chris fails to convince his wife Charlene to quit giving them trouble, Neil goes to her house and confronts her himself demanding that she let them do their jobs so that everyone can be happy in the end scheme of things. After Trejo, the getaway driver member of the team, reports to Neil that he will have to stay out of this robbery for fear that he'll alert the authorities to the heist scene, Neil decides to hire through word of mouth recently released ex-felon Donald Breedan to be the new getaway driver for the team's final robbery.

Once the bullets start flying during the burglary, Donald and Michael are killed during the intense gunfight between Hanna's squad, the LAPD roadblocks and the remaining members of the gang. Neil gets his pal Chris to safety after the latter is injured and then gets black market Dr. Bob to help stitch up and remove fragile bullet wounds from Chris. Neil then proceeds to avenge Trejo and his spouse Anna after he finds them lying dead in their house, after having been attacked by Waingro. Anna has already died but Trejo is barely breathing and asks that Neil put him out of his misery. After Neil mercy shoots Trejo twice, he then finds out who also betrayed the gang's whereabouts.

After tracking the snitching back to Van Zant's place and proceeding to kill him there in his own house, Neil goes to Waingro who's hiding out in a hotel. After fighting with Waingro and forcing him to look him deadpan straight in the eyes prior to shooting him to death, Neil then had to make a quick escape and ended up knocking out a security guard as the LAPD was tracking his nearby sightings.

After Neil had to make a quick good-bye to Eday, he was then pursued by Hanna to a nearby airport. This resulted in a final yet brief gunfight. While Hanna came out the victor, he still felt dissatisfied as he knew that Neil seemed like a nice guy outside of his illegal profession and could've easily been friends had neither been on opposite sides of the law.


  • Neil is meant to be the primary antagonist, but overly appears as the anti-heroic protagonist villain due to his friendly personality and his major presence in the story while Waingro, his former-partner-turned-enemy, acts a lot more sinister and antagonizing in his appearances; thus, Waingro is the true main antagonist of the movie.