Top 10 films by Nicolas Cage, ranked

Nicolas Cage has illuminated the big screen with his performances for decades. Although his career has seen its ups and downs, he is undoubtedly a talented actor and he always delivers an entertaining performance. He’s touched on almost every genre, including drama, comedy, action, and horror.

Even though he has played several questionable roles, no one can deny that he has the acting skills and the physique to make him a legend; with two Oscar nominations, winning the Best Actor award for Leave Las Vegas.

Cage was born in Long Beach, California, and is the nephew of legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. Coming from such a prestigious family of filmmakers, his fate to become an actor was almost certain. His first film role was Brad’s Bud in Quick times at Ridgemont High. From there, his career took off with his starring role in the Coen brothers classic, Elevate Arizona.

Through the ups and downs of an impressive career, here are the top ten films by this superstar.


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The family man

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This 2000 film tells the story of Jack Campbell (Nicolas Cage), a successful Wall Street executive who gets to see what his life would have been like if he hadn’t taken the road less traveled. After a chance encounter with an angel, played by Don Cheadle, Campbell wakes up on Christmas morning, now married to his ex-girlfriend Kate (Tea Leoni), with two children in suburban New Jersey. It is a story of redemption and achieving what is really important in life. Cage gives a sincere performance from start to finish.

9
Air conditioning

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Air conditioning is an action packed film with a star cast. The film follows an Army Ranger named Cameron Poe on his way home after seven years in prison. On board a plane with some of the country’s most dangerous criminals, it’s up to Poe to save the day after the convicts take possession of the plane. The movie is packed with everything you need for a classic action movie. There are explosions, bullets and thrills from start to finish. The fantastic cast includes John Cusack, Dave Chappelle, and John Malkovich as the main villain.

Related: Related: Con Air – Unrated Extended Cut DVD Review

8
Lord of war

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Cage plays Yuri Orlov, an illegal arms dealer who achieves great success in a cat-and-mouse hunt with an FBI agent named Jack Valentine (Ethan Hawke). It is a cold and harsh look at the dangers and risks of the arms trade and the death and torment it can bring. Although Yuri earns a fortune, his morals are put to the test as he has to watch the wars and deaths that his business creates. Although he may have millions of dollars, Yuri loses his wife and family who cannot sit idly by while Yuri goes about his business. Jared Leto plays Vitaly, Yuri’s drugged brother, in a fantastic supporting role.

7
Dreamer

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In this 1987 romance, Cage stars as Cher in a film that will win three Oscars. The story follows an Italian-American woman named Loretta (Cher) who falls in love with her fiancé’s younger brother, Ronny (Cage). The Oscar-winning script features memorable lines and scenes to make this film a romantic classic. The chemistry between Cher and Cage is phenomenal and the supporting cast including Olympia Dukakis all shine.

Related: Olympia Dukakis Dies, Oscar-winning Moonstruck Star Was 89

6
It could happen to you

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What would you do if you won the lottery? If you’re like the main character in this movie, you’d share it with a waitress after making a promise the night before. The film tells the story of an honest cop, Charlie (Cage), who promises a waitress named Yvonne (Bridget Fonda) to share his lottery winnings when he doesn’t have enough money to leave a tip. Surprisingly, Charlie wins and has to keep his promise despite what his wife (Rosie Perez) thinks. Through it all, Charlie and Yvonne teach us that it’s love that brings happiness, not money, in this endearing love story.

5
Pig

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Nicolas Cage receives praise for his latest film Pig. Cage gives a subtle yet powerful performance as a former chef who decided to live as a recluse in the Oregon wilderness after his wife’s death. His only companion is his truffle pig who spends his days with Cage hunting for precious truffles to sell to his produce merchant, Amir (Alex Wolff). Pig is a beautifully shot film that tells a powerful story about grieving. Cage delivers one of his best performances to date.

Related: Nicolas Cage Promises He Will Never Retire From Actin

4
Match men

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Ridley Scott’s critically acclaimed film tells the story of Roy (Cage), an obsessive-compulsive con artist who forms a bond with his teenage daughter, Angela (Alison Lohman), when he first meets her. Sam Rockwell plays Roy’s partner Frank in a fantastic supporting role. This film has heart, comedy, and thrill, and Cage gives a powerful performance as a neurotic, yet experienced, crook artist. The film may have been a lot less action-packed than the other Ridley Scott films, but it’s always refreshing to see the directors expand into new territory.

3
Elevate Arizona

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Cage’s escape role was in the classic comedy Elevate Arizona, written and directed by the Coen brothers. Cage and Holly Hunter play as a childless couple who decide to kidnap a baby from a wealthy family, resulting in a hilarious and chaotic adventure. The Coens delivered the goods with this classic film, and the film introduced the world to Cage’s talents as an actor. The supporting cast includes great performances from John Goodman, William Forsythe and Frances McDormand.

Related: Are The Coen Brothers Finished Making Movies Together

2
Adaptation

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Cage plays both Charlie Kaufman and his fictional brother Donald Kaufman in a movie that broke all the rules of storytelling. The brilliant screenplay, written by Kaufman, tells the story of himself attempting to adapt a book, which resulted in writer’s block inducing insanity. Cage is giving an Oscar nominated performance for both roles and the film is one of the most original stories ever told. It’s a look at Kaufman’s bizarre, tormented mind, and Spike Jonze once again proves he’s a brilliant director.

1
Leaving Las Vegas

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This tragic story, based on the novel by John O’Brien, tells the story of Ben Sanderson (Cage), an alcoholic screenwriter, who moves to Las Vegas to get drunk to death. There, he meets and falls in love with a prostitute named Sera (Elizabeth Shue). The film is a brutal portrayal of alcoholism driven by a defining performance by Cage.

Shue also shines in every scene and has won an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. Cage would go on to win the Oscar for Best Actor for good reason. The film tells an unlikely love story, and while it can be difficult to watch at times, it is a film that should be seen by everyone.


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