Born Nicolas Kim Coppola on January 7, 1964 in Long Beach, California Nicolas Cage would become known for his over the edge style of acting and has become a kind of meme over it. there is also a theory that he’s immortal due to an old photograph that came up for sale on Ebay showing a man that looked an awful lot like Nicolas Cage and he is also a huge comic book fan, owning one of the most valuable collections in the world but besides all his quirky aspects he has starred in a ton of great movies, So let’s take a look at some of the best ones.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Released in 1982 and directed by Amy Heckerling Fast Times at Ridgemont High is adapted from the book of the same name by Cameron Crowe and explores the trials and tribulations of being a high school student in the 80’s and features some great actors early on in their careers. Although Nicolas Cage does not have a huge part in this film it is technically his first movie so I felt I had to add it here, he’s even given credit under his actual name Nicolas Coppola rather than Cage in this film. Also starring Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold and Phoebe Cates the film was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry in 2005.
Watch for free with a 7 day trial of STARZ here https://amzn.to/2CjCeJ0
Buy the book here https://amzn.to/33rdnyV
Released the following year in 1983 and directed by Martha Coolidge the Romantic Comedy Valley Girl would see Nicolas Cage in the role of a punk rock kid that meets a uptown valley girl. The film depicts all the struggles that come along with dating someone so unlike yourself that you can’t relate. The film grossed just over $17 million at the box office worldwide and had mostly positive reviews at the time of release and is the film that most people credit with putting Nicolas Cage on the map.
Watch the movie here https://amzn.to/2PVyy8c
Also released in 1983 and directed by Francis Ford Coppola the drama Rumble Fish was based on the novel of the same name by S.E. Hinton and although Nicolas Cage didn’t have a huge role I still believe it was a key stepping stone in his career. The film depicts a young hoodlum that strives to be as feared and respected as his older motorcycle riding brother and stars the likes of Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, Dennis Hopper and Diane Lane. Although the film was a huge failure at release it now is held in high regards by a lot of movie fans and certainly deserves it’s spot on this list.
Buy or Rent the movie here https://amzn.to/33pxIo4
Buy the book here https://amzn.to/2NqwmUF
Peggy Sue Got Married
Released in 1986 and also directed by Francis Ford Coppola, the fantasy comedy-drama Peggy Sue Got Married is about a woman that gets transported back in time to her senior year in high school and Nicolas Cage plays her high school sweetheart and future husband. The film also stars Kathleen Turner and was a tremendous success, grossing over $41 million at the box office worldwide and was nominated for 3 Academy Awards.
Buy or rent the movie here https://amzn.to/33xSKBe
Released in 1987 and directed by Joel Coen the crime comedy film depicts the struggles of a couple after they kidnap a baby due to the fact they can’t have their own children and puts Nicolas Cage in the role of ex con Herbert McDunnough. The movie also stars Holly Hunter and John Goodman and opened to mixed reviews, grossing just over $29 million at the box office worldwide.
Watch for free with a 7 day trial of STARZ here https://amzn.to/2PS2VMS
Released in 1989 and directed by Robert Bierman the dark comedy Vampire’s Kiss isn’t so much on this list because it’s a good movie but more for the fact that it’s one of the earliest examples of Nicolas Cage’s overboard acting style, just watch the scene where he stares into the mirror and starts whining about being a vampire, it’s so bad that it’s good. The film depicts a mentally unstable man that believes himself to be a vampire and also stars Jennifer Beals. The film was a box office failure but has since garnered a cult following, mostly due to Cage’s ridiculous overacting.
Check out the movie here https://amzn.to/2K0hGtd
Released in 1994 and directed by Hugh Wilson the comedy drama film has Nicolas Cage in the role of a secret service agent protecting a former first lady who is quite difficult to work for. The film also stars Shirley MacLaine and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture and grossed just over $27 million at the box office.
Buy or Rent the movie here https://amzn.to/2Ntep7T
Leaving Las Vegas
Released in 1995 and directed by Mike Figgis the romantic drama film Leaving Las Vegas has Nicolas Cage in the role of of a depressed ,recently divorced alcoholic who has decided to move to Las Vegas and drink himself to death. Also starring Elizabeth Shue and Julian Sands the film was met with critical and commercial success , grossing over $49 million at the box office and receiving multiple Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations and winning one of each for Cage’s performance.
Watch free with Amazon Prime here https://amzn.to/2CjE7p4
Buy the book here https://amzn.to/2PVZftr
Released in 1996 and directed by Michael Bay the action thriller puts Nicolas Cage in the role of a chemical weapons expert who is helping to retake Alcatraz from a group of terrorists led by a U.S. Marines Brigadier General. The film also stars the great Sean Connery, Ed Harris and William Forsythe and was a commercial success grossing over $331 Million at the box office worldwide.
Buy or Rent the movie here https://amzn.to/2rp9tbF
Released in 1997 and my second favorite Nicolas Cage movie, the action crime film Con Air was directed by Simon West and sees Nicolas Cage in the role of an ex Army Ranger imprisoned for killing a man in self defense and explores the chaos that ensues when an aircraft meant to transport the country’s most dangerous criminals is taken over by the criminals themselves. Also starring John Malkovich, John Cusack, Danny Trejo, Steve Buscemi and Ving Rhames the film was met with mixed reviews but had commercial success , grossing over $224 million worldwide.
Buy or Rent the movie here https://amzn.to/2NQiiTh
Released in 1997 and hands down my favorite Nicolas Cage movie, the action movie directed by the great John Woo Face/Off puts Nicolas Cage in the role of Caster Troy avery powerful criminal that ends up switching faces with an FBI agent that has been hunting him down. The film also stars John Travolta and Joan Allen and was a big success, grossing over $245 million worldwide and being nominated for an Academy Award.
Watch for free with a 7 day trial of EPIX here https://amzn.to/2Cjzrj1
City of Angels
Released in 1998 an directed by Brad Silberling the Fantasy romance film would show us Nicolas Cage in the role of an angel who falls in love with a mortal, human woman, played by Meg Ryan. although the movie was met with some critical disappointment it was a financial success and grossed over $198 million worldwide and was nominated for several awards.
Buy or Rent the movie here https://amzn.to/34JqPhP
Released in 1999 the mystery crime film 8mm was directed by Joel Schumacher and would put Nicolas Cage in the role of a private detective who is sucked into the horrific world of underground snuff films while working ona case. The film also stars James Gandolfini and Joaquin Phoenix and grossed just over $95 million worldwide. although not a ton of people have seen or even heard of this movie I believe it t be one of Nicolas Cage’s better films.
Buy or Rent the movie here https://amzn.to/2qAlBpy
Bringing Out The Dead
Also released in 1999 and directed by the legend himself Martin Scorsese the drama film Bringing Out The Dead is based on the book by paramedic Joe Connelly and portrays Nicolas Cage as a graveyard shift paramedic who is stretched too thin because of long hours and the struggles he deals with due to that fact. The film also stars Patricia Arquette, Ving Rhames, John Goodman and Tom Sizemore and although it was a commercial failure only grossing around $16 million worldwide it did get praise from critics for it’s honest and gritty portrayal of this very hard profession.
Check out the movie here https://amzn.to/34BHUKv
Buy the book here https://amzn.to/2CpmRig
Gone In 60 Seconds
Released in 2000 and directed by Dominic Sena the action heist film Gone in 60 Seconds has Nicolas Cage in the role of a leader of a group of very talented car thieves and also stars Angelina Jolie, Giovanni Ribisi and Robert Duvall. The film wasn’t loved by critics but did well commercially grossing over $237 million worldwide.
Buy or Rent the movie here https://amzn.to/2WQP6zA
This movie is also featured on my list of Angelina Jolie films here https://bit.ly/2Ns3M5p
Released in 2002 and directed by Spike Jonze the comedy-drama film Adaptation is based on the book The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean. Nicolas Cage plays twin brothers and the film shows the struggles involved in adapting a book into a screenplay. .Also starring Meryl Streep, Brian Cox, Tilda Swinton and Maggie Gyllenhaal the film didn’t do great commercially but did win numerous awards including an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Watch for free with a 7 day trial of SHOWTIME here https://amzn.to/2NOJjXp
Buy a signed 1st edition of the novel Orchid Thief here https://amzn.to/2CoOyaU
Released in 2003 and directed by Ridley Scott the black comedy crime film Matchstick Men is based on the book of the same name by Eric Garcia and is another of my favorites from Nicolas Cage, this time putting him in the role of a very talented conman who runs into a young woman perhaps even more talented than himself. Also starring Alison Lohman and Sam Rockwell the film did decently at the box office grossing around $65 million worldwide and was generally well received by critics.
Buy or Rent the movie here https://amzn.to/34EhPKD
Buy the book here https://amzn.to/2Nuz0ZD
Released in 2004 and directed by Jon Turteltaub the adventure film National Treasure puts Nicolas Cage in the role of a historian on the hunt for America’s greatest secrets and also stars Jon Voight, Sean Bean, Christopher Plummer and Harvey Keitel. Opening to mixed reviews the movie still did great commercially and grossed over $347 million worldwide and also had a sequel released in 2007.
Buy or Rent the movie here https://amzn.to/2NTlMEN
Released in 2007 the superhero film Ghost Rider is based on the comic book character of the same name , putting Nicolas Cage in the title role. Honestly these movies were horrible and are still horrible but I am a sucker for any comic book movie and it was still nice to see one of my favorite characters on the big screen. The film did well enough commercially to warrant an even worse sequel and grossed around $228 million worldwide.
Buy or Rent the movie here https://amzn.to/2WSF6Wv
Check out some Ghost Rider graphic novels here https://amzn.to/2NQl8rp
Released in 2007 and directed by Lee Tamahori the science fiction thriller film Next is loosely based on the short story The Golden Man by Philip K. Dick. This time around Nicolas Cage plays a small time magician with the ability to see the future and shows his efforts to avoid the people that want to use his gifts for the wrong reasons. Also starring Julianne Moore and Jessica Biel the film was a box office failure only grossing $76 million worldwide on a $70 million budget but I personally like the movie quite a lot.
Watch for free with Amazon Prime here https://amzn.to/2JXe9Ma
Get the book by Philip K. Dick here https://amzn.to/36LQyb1
Released in 2009 and directed by Alex Proyas the science fiction thriller film Knowing depicts Nicolas Cage as an MIT professor that starts noticing patterns and codes within number sequences that start to predict catastrophes. The film also stars Ben Mendelsohn and Rose Byrne and grossed around $186 million at the box office worldwide and although it’s not considered to be the greatest movie I personally enjoy it quite a lot as numbers and math are one of the loves of my life.
Buy or Rent the movie here https://amzn.to/2rfMRdp
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Released in 2009 and directed by Werner Herzog the crime drama film Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans puts Nicolas Cage in the role of an extremely crooked police officer and is a better film than it generally gets credit for. Also starring Eva Mendes, Val Kilmer and Fairuza Balk the film won a Christopher D. Smithers Foundation Special Award and grossed around $10 million at the box office worldwide.
Watch free with ads on IMDbTV here https://amzn.to/2WRn0nU
Released in 2010 and directed by Matthew Vaughn the superhero film is based on the comic book of the same name by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. and was a more realistic and gritty take on the superhero genre. Nicolas Cage plays Big Daddy an ex cop turned superhero and he’s joined by a great mix of zany characters with a cast including Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Aaron Johnson. The film did well both critically and commercially grossing almost $100 million worldwide and spawning a sequel in 2013.
Watch for free with Amazon Prime here https://amzn.to/32sfNMh
Buy Kick-Ass Volume 1 graphic novel here https://amzn.to/2WWWxpc
After this point Nicolas Cage seems to only appear in B movies and straight to TV or DVD releases, the movie Mandy released in 2018 was pretty decent but besides that I really can’t say I’d suggest any of his films after Kick-Ass. Nicolas Cage has many projects in the works right now, too many to list but here’s hoping at least one of them will bring us back the Nicolas Cage that was so great at one time…He’s still one of my favorite actors but these days is better known for his bad over acting than for his good films.
Please note I may receive commissions when you click through links and make purchases.