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Michael Mann's two takes on the Last Big Heist. Thief is competent but kind of cliched (I dunno, maybe they weren't cliches yet in 1981); Heat is a top-notch action film.
Heat is only Heat because of Thief. The Caan and DeNiro characters are essentially the same. Men who live by strict codes, who steal in the big time and are challenged to settle for a normal life but can't.
Heat is Mann's masterpiece.
Thief is great. I loved it...but I just can't pick it over Heat.