In 1933, private investigator Mike Murphy (Burt Reynolds) is shocked when his partner, Dehl Swift (Richard Roundtree), is killed by thugs working for Primo Pitt (Rip Torn). Furious, Murphy asks his former police partner, Lieutenant Speer (Clint Eastwood), for help in putting a stop to the mobster. Though the two men now despise each other, Speer reluctantly agrees to help Murphy solve the murder while both court the private eye's secretary, Addy (Jane Alexander).
- Clint Eastwood as Lieutenant Speer
- Burt Reynolds as Mike Murphy, P.I.
- Jane Alexander as Addy, Murphy's secretary
- Madeline Kahn as Caroline Howley
- Rip Torn as Primo Pitt
- Irene Cara as Ginny Lee
- Richard Roundtree as Diehl Swift, P.I.
- Tony Lo Bianco as Leon Coll
- William Sanderson as Lonnie Ash
- Nicholas Worth as Troy Roker
- Robert Davi as Nino
- Art LaFleur as a bruiser
- Jack Nance as Aram Strossell, the bookkeeper
- Tab Thacker as Tuck, the bouncer
City Heat received lackluster reviews, and critics expressed their disappointment with the script and the pairing of the two star actors. At Rotten Tomatoes, 14 of the 18 reviewers cited gave the film a 'rotten' review for a score of 22%. On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 39 out of 100, based on 11 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Roger Ebert gave the film half a star, asking "How do travesties like this get made?" Gene Siskel gave the film zero stars, writing, 'Save for two moments when Eastwood does an amusing parody of his angry squint, City Heat is devoid of humor, excitement and amazingly, a comprehensible story.'
Janet Maslin was more positive, saying 'overdressed and overplotted as it is, City Heat benefits greatly from the sardonic teamwork of Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds. Without them the film would be eminently forgettable, but their bantering gives it an enjoyable edge'.