Top 10 Movies Starring Nicolas Cage

Split image of Ghost Rider, Con Air and The Rock
Split image of Ghost Rider, Con Air and The Rock

When names of the most prolific actors in Hollywood come to mind, Nicolas Cage should be close to the top. His films range from horror, to action, and even the occasional romantic comedy.

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Best known for his over-the-top portrayals and wild facial expressions, Cage’s star power has faded significantly in the last decade, but seems to be rebounding. With a very loyal fanbase, Nicholas Cage has some of the top films of the past decades.

10) Ghost Rider

Source: Ghost Rider, Columbia Pictures

While Ghost Rider might not be at the top as everyone’s favorite superhero movie, nobody can deny how big of a superhero fan Nic Cage is. While Ghost Rider left something to desire as a movie, Cage brought nothing but passion to the role, and loved every minute of it.

In all fairness, Ghost Rider came out at a time when superhero movies were still on the verge to breaking through as hits. Perhaps if it were remade today with Cage in the role, fans would get to see the Johnny Blaze they deserve.

9) Snake Eyes

Source: Snake Eyes, Touchstone, Pictures

Nic Cage loves playing a sleaze ball, but he loves playing a sleaze ball with a conscience even more. Snake Eyes is a true to form noir mystery with Cage at the center, and has plenty of twists to entertain viewers.

The story follows a conspiracy during a high-profile boxing match. As a detective, Cage has to unravel exactly what happens while questioning different witnesses’ sequence of events. It’s a very cerebral film, but done dark in Cage’s trademark style. 

8) Gone in 60 Seconds

Source: Gone in 60 Seconds, Touchstone Pictures

It’s hard to describe Gone in 60 Seconds as anything but a fun movie. It involves Nic Cage as a car thief set to pull off one of the all-time largest heists in one night. This late 1990s remake of the classic original boasted some of the coolest cars around at that time, which was a major draw for vehicle buffs. 

The film is fun, action-packed, and has a surprising amount of heart. The role doesn’t allow Nic Cage to showcase his more wild and crazy characters, but it’s still a solid action flick with some great actors, a lot of humor, and thrilling car chase sequences.

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7) Willy’s Wonderland

Source: Willy’s Wonderland, Screen Media Films

Cage is such a presence on screen that sometimes he doesn’t have to utter a single word, which is exactly what happened in Willy’s Wonderland. Cage doesn’t have a single line of dialogue, yet delivers one hell of a performance as a warrior janitor.

The premise is exactly the kind of ridiculousness that Cage finds attractive. He is stuck overnight in an abandoned kids restaurant where the automaton characters are possessed by killers. It’s absurd, crazy, and a lot of fun for a horror film.

6) Lord of War

Source: Lord of War, Lionsgate Films

The idea of Nic Cage as a gun runner sounds promising enough. Throw in a globetrotting story and Lord of War is a surprisingly big movie with a very poignant theme of war and capitalism, based loosely on a true story about international arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Even more than that though, the movie allows Cage to showcase a lot of his heart in the face of so much violence. It also helps that Jared Leto gives an excellent and comedic supporting performance, especially when the drugs kick in. 

5) 8mm

Source: 8MM, Columbia Pictures

Cage does not shy away from difficult subject matter, and it doesn’t get more difficult than snuff films. 8MM takes some of society’s most depraved notions right to the edge, making for one of the actor’s most bleak roles. 

As a genre, 8MM is hard to pin down. It has elements of horror, but there are profound hints of thriller noir in there, as well. Either way, it’s probably one of Cage’s most in-depth and gut wrenching films.

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4) National Treasure

Source: National Treasure, Disney Pictures

Besides delivering performances for movies that are difficult to watch, Nic Cage also just has a fun time with adventure, and it’s hard to get a more for fun time with history than National Treasure.

The problem with a lot of movies is that it tries to do too much. It wants to be an action film, but it wants to be dark and edgy too. National Treasure succeeds simply because it’s happy just being a light-hearted movie for the whole family.

3) The Rock

Source: The Rock, Hollywood Pictures

There was a period in the ’90s where Nic Cage was the definitive action hero, and The Rock is absolutely evidence of that. The fact that he teams with Sean Connery is simply an added bonus.

The Rock has a rare combination of action-oriented direction, a great cast, and a wild setting of taking place on Alcatraz. By today’s standards, it might be filled with gratuitous violence, but that’s kind of the point.

2) Face/Off

Source: Face Off, Touchstone Pictures

Some premises are so ridiculous that there seems to be no way that they can work, but somehow, the idea of Nic Cage and John Travolta swapping faces made for a damn god movie. Directed by Asian super-director John Woo, Face/Off threw realism in the garbage in favor of blistering balls-out action and over-the-top dialogue. 

It’s weird that Face/Off is primarily an action film, yet it has an underlying presence of science fiction. It also allowed Travolta and Cage to really play with their characters and push their acting to the limits as both bad, and good guys.

1) Con Air

Source: Con Air, Touchstone Pictures

It’s hard to top Con Air. Cage plays an ex-army ranger that gets convicted of manslaughter, and has to take a plane filled with other criminals across the country. Of course, the plane gets hijacked, and Cage has to save the day.

It’s hard not to find something to like about this film. It has a phenomenal cast that gets to work with a wide range of hilarious and timeless dialogue. Plus, John Malkovich plays an irredeemable villain that Cage goes to town on as a great hero.

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