In Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, a summer heat wave descends on Brooklyn, pushing neighbors into the streets and stirring up boiling resentments. The heat is less of an environmental setting and more of a character unto itself.
In real life, just like in the films listed here, heat is often an invisible force with wide-reaching and unexpected consequences. It’s not all popsicles and swimming pools: Extreme heat, which is becoming more common and more intense under climate change, frequently disrupts normal life and can easily turn deadly. Here are some of my favorite movies in which sweltering temperatures drive the plot forward.
Some spoilers here, if you haven’t seen these movies.