“Hot as Hell” Movies Set in Extreme Heat

These movies capture the feeling of extreme heat in the best (and sweatiest) ways. Things are finally heating up just in time for summer breaks and summer vacations to start. There is nothing than can help create a warm and fun atmosphere like a summer watching movies, but to some, the start of hotter weather does not bring such a cheerful attitude. Especially with the wildfires and rising temperatures this year, the summer can bring just as many concerns as joys. Some films can also help bring hope to and reflect the feelings of those starting to feal a little claustrophobic or sweaty from the heat, or even just reflect the oppressive atmosphere of extreme heat. Whether you love or loathe the summer, here are some movies set in extreme heat to relate to.

Gone With The Wind

This film still holds the record for most box-office earnings when adjusted for inflation. Gone with The Wind stands as a beautiful snapshot of a dark time in American history, the Civil War. The movie features suspenseful chase scenes, romance, intricate cinematography, and stunning production values ahead of their time. We love the movie for the historical accuracy that permeates every detail, as well as the iconic relationship between Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara. Gone with the Wind takes place mainly on a southern plantation, and anyone who has visited the humid heat in the south will likely wonder about the layers of skirts and formal jackets.


Some consider it to be one of the best animated movies ever made, while others don’t get its sense of humor. Rango is loved by the former for its witty humor and cutting edge animation. The story centers around a household pet chameleon, Rango (Johnny Depp), that accidently finds himself out in the wild desert, animated with a kind of palpable heat. This new take on an old western is nothing if not unique, and it puts life in the heat of the desert at its center.

Only the Brave

Only the Brave highlights the character and solidarity of some of the nations real-life heroes. The inspiring true story of the film concerns the Granite Mountain Hotshots who helped save their town from wildfires in Arizona. The emotional stories behind the lives of each character makes the danger of fire even more suspenseful and the events of this film personally meaningful. If being set in Arizona wasn’t enough, Only the Brave’s shots of massive wildfires and sweaty firemen will surely solidify its place on this list and give audiences a new respect for firemen.

News of the World

This movie didn’t get the attention it deserved due to being released during the COVID-19 pandemic; it only brought in $12 million from the box office, despite its budget of $38 million. News of the World, starring Tom Hanks, tells the moving story of a Civil War veteran returning a lost girl to her home. The two travel through barren parts of the dessert and face criminals, local tribes, and deadly thirst on their journey. The movie takes the best of western movie classics and introduces some fast-paced action, capturing the period excitingly. Not only is this story set in the heat of the desert, but its layers of inspirational messages promise to melt viewers hearts.


Denis Villeneuve’s newest adaptation of the world-changing book series swept awards ceremonies in 2022. Dune went to the Oscars with ten nominations, and left with six awards, including Best Cinematography and Best Sound. Although the movie’s runtime is a long two hours and 35 minutes, its worth the wait to get the full understanding of Arrakis and the Atreides household.

Dune follows Paul Atreides, son of Duke Leto Atreides, as his family is relocated to the desert planet of Arrakis. In a political coup, the Atreides household must find a way to make the planet profitable despite assassination attempts, failing equipment, and stubborn locals. Amidst all this conflict is the underlying desperation for water. The desert planet is so hot that nobody can leave the palace without special suits to lock in moisture. All of this makes Dune both one of the best films on this list, and one of the best to make heat a central part of the story.


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