Here are the best Nicolas Cage movies because there is never a better moment to honor one of the most unique actors ever.
Nicolas Cage has been lighting the big screen with his performances for years.
He is unquestionably a brilliant actor, and he always gives a fun performance, despite the ups and downs of his career.
Nearly every genre, including drama, humor, action, and horror, has been covered by him.
Even though he has played several questionable characters, he has the acting skills and physique to become a legend.
He has received two Academy Award nominations and won Best Actor for the movie Leaving Las Vegas.
Below is a list of the best Nicolas Cage movies.
1. Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
- Director: Mike Figgis
- Cast: Nicolas Cage, Elisabeth Shue, Julian Sands, Richard Lewis, Steven Weber, Kim Adams, and Emily Procter
- IMDb rating: 7.5/10
Ben Sanderson, a screenwriter who loses his family and career and prepares to commit himself by drinking, delivers some of his greatest acting in this movie, which won Cage a well-deserved Oscar.
Although in more elegant circumstances, Nic Cage delivers his trademark towering, extravagant performance.
When asked to portray an alcoholic, Nicolas Cage does so throughout the whole movie.
Even in this extreme performance, Cage can identify with Ben despite his bulging eyes, slurred speech, dancing in liquor shops, and sipping bottles as he drives down the Strip.
2. Raising Arizona (1987)
- Director: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
- Cast: Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, Trey Wilson, John Goodman, William Forsythe, Sam McMurray, and Frances McDormand
- IMDb rating: 7.3/10
The Nicolas Cage movie “Raising Arizona” follows petty criminal Herbert McDunnough as he robs several convenience shops.
Being detained doesn’t bother Herbert since it allows him to flirt with Edwina, the officer who takes his mugshots (Holly Hunter).
Edwina first rejects the idea of working with him. Herbert discovers the cause of her misery after repeated arrests.
In light of Edwina’s recent breakup with her fiancé, Herbert makes an impulsive marriage proposal.
The happy couple Herbert and Edwina relocate to a mobile house amid the desert. Despite their plans to create a family, Edwina sadly cannot conceive.
The Coen brothers are adept at giving their characters believable motives, even when those goals require them to take extraordinary measures. This is one of their talents as directors.
Edwina and Herbert decide to kidnap a baby from wealthy furniture seller Nathan Arizona (Trey Wilson).
This is undoubtedly one of the best Nicolas Cage movies.
3. Adaptation (2002)
- Director: Spike Jonze
- Cast: Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, Tilda Swinton, Jay Tavare, Litefoot, and Roger Willie
- IMDb rating: 7.7/10
Two Nicolas Cages are the perfect answer when one Nicolas Cage portraying Charlie Kaufman isn’t enough for you, according to the meta-genius scriptwriter.
Cage portrays two sides of the same coin in Spike Jonze’s masterwork Adaptation.
He portrays the autobiographical Charlie, who struggles in love and society, and his fictitious twin brother Donald Kaufman, who is more self-assured.
He also resolves the issues around midlife crises and Hollywood. Cage plays anxiety like a master pianist, particularly when he finds himself in his third act and is forced to interact with the people he was assigned to create.
4. Bringing Out the Dead (1999)
- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Cast: Nicolas Cage, Patricia Arquette, John Goodman, Ving Rhames, Tom Sizemore, Marc Anthony, and Mary Beth Hurt
- IMDb rating: 6.8/10
Unfortunately, Martin Scorsese and Nicolas Cage haven’t collaborated more.
Although Scorsese is well known for his mafia-themed movies, “Bringing Out the Dead” stands apart in his filmography.
This is one of the best Nicolas Cage movies with dispersed horror elements.
However, the movie continues to emphasize the philosophical and theological elements prevalent in many of Scorsese’s movies.
Cage had a key role in capturing the spirit of a guy descending into lunacy in this movie.
As paramedic Frank Pierce, played by Cage, works a midnight shift and battles crippling melancholy, intricate delusions appear.
Pierce looks into a new, strange type of heroin nicknamed “Red Death” after several drug users mysteriously die away.
After saving her father’s life from a cardiac attack, he feels compassion for Mary Burke, a teenage addict played by Patricia Arquette.
Frank has to distinguish between his nightmare visions and reality as he unravels the riddle.
5. Mandy (2018)
- Director: Panos Cosmatos
- Cast: Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache, Ned Dennehy, Olwen Fouéré, Richard Brake, and Bill Duke
- IMDb rating: 6.5/10
Mandy is among the best Nicolas Cage movies. Cage is given the best opportunity to express his wild wrath and pain in a gorgeous arthouse movie that is both bizarre and exciting.
In this movie, a religious cult called the Children of the New Dawn and a group of cannibalistic, LSD-addled bikers known as the Black Skulls abduct Red Miller’s fiancée, the titular Mandy.
A highly skilled Cage delivered a variety of emotions while clearly understanding the director’s intention.
Cage was bound, gagged, and forced to witness his beloved burnt alive out of desperation.
He eventually acquires an axe and crossbow and consumes a full bottle of vodka, a mountain of cocaine, and contaminated LSD pills before getting revenge in a chainsaw fight.
Making scripts this serious and compelling requires an actor with real dedication.
6. Matchstick Men (2003)
- Director: Ridley Scott
- Cast: Nicolas Cage, Alison Lohman, Sam Rockwell, Bruce Altman, Bruce McGill, Jenny O’Hara, and Steve Eastin
- IMDb rating: 7.3/10
Frequently, Nicolas Cage lifts his co-stars. Alison Lohman, then a young actress, was given a chance to shine in Ridley Scott’s 2003 dark comedy “Matchstick Men,” thanks to Cage.
It’s not always easy to work with younger actors, but Cage and Lohman forged a believable father-daughter bond and contributed to the comedy in the movie.
Scott explores how con artists wreck the lives of their victims, yet Cage and Lohman still portray sympathetic characters.
The movie centers on the severe Tourette’s syndrome and OCD sufferer Roy Waller (Cage), a con artist from Los Angeles.
Sam Rockwell’s character Frank Mercer, Roy’s business partner, operates a fake lottery scam.
Roy and Frank pose as financial services representatives after persuading elderly people that they have a winning ticket.
Unexpectedly, Roy’s ex-wife Heather calls him to tell him about their teenage daughter, Angela (Lohman).
Roy is taken aback to discover that Angela is the ideal new partner; his deceptions benefit from her young enthusiasm, and he teaches her the trade secrets.
However, Roy must decide what to do next since he knows Angela may be a valuable asset and doesn’t want to jeopardize her future.
7. The Weather Man (2005)
- Director: Gore Verbinski
- Cast: Nicolas Cage, Hope Davis, Nicholas Hoult, Michael Caine, Gemmenne de la Peña, Michael Rispoli, and Gil Bellows
- IMDb rating: 6.6/10
Nicolas Cage plays David Spritzer in the underappreciated dark comedy The Weather Man.
Although well-paid and successful, Spritzer is not well-liked by the locals, who often throw fast food at him when they encounter him in public.
David’s family life is a mess despite his flourishing profession.
As he perceives his father’s displeasure in his failure to keep his family together, Robert Spritzer (Michael Caine), the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize, Dave also feels pressure to live up to his father’s expectations.
After learning that Robert has a fatal disease, David experiences severe depression and turns to archery to relieve his tension and worry. This is one of the best Nicolas Cage movies.
8. Vampire’s Kiss (1988)
- Director: Robert Bierman
- Cast: Nicolas Cage, Maria Conchita Alonso, Jennifer Beals, Elizabeth Ashley, Kasi Lemmons, Robert Lujan, and Jessica Lundy
- IMDb rating: 6.1/10
Vampire’s Kiss, a dark comedy horror movie written by Martin Scorsese’s partner Joseph Minion, has now gained cult status despite failing to earn back half of its production costs at the box office.
Cage portrays Peter Loew, a cocaine-fueled, suicidal, sex-dependent, and selfish literary agent who is so unpleasant that even his therapist is afraid of him. He ultimately develops feelings for Jennifer Beals’ portrayal of a vampire.
The movie’s appealing power derives from recognizing how ludicrous its protagonist is as he spirals into lunacy. This is undoubtedly among the best Nicolas Cage movies.
9. Knowing (2009)
- Director: Alex Proyas
- Cast: Nicolas Cage, Chandler Canterbury, Rose Byrne, Lara Robinson, D.G. Maloney, Nadia Townsend, and Alan Hopgood
- IMDb rating: 6.2/10
The 2009 science fiction mystery “Knowing” by Alex Proyas is not a great movie.
The movie’s complex series of events may be hard to follow, and many of the conclusions it makes appear absurd.
Proyas, conversely, poses intriguing questions regarding religious prophesies that make the movie worthwhile to see.
It’s the kind of bold, innovative science fiction project that needs engaging characters to pique the audience’s interest.
Nicolas Cage gives a very subdued performance as a bereaved father who starts to think he can stop an impending catastrophe.
The movie “Knowing” centers on John Koestler, an MIT astrophysics professor who has had difficulty connecting with his son Caleb (Chandler Canterbury) after losing his wife.
John no longer gets excited easily, but he starts to get curious about the discovery of a time capsule at his son’s primary school.
In the capsule, John finds a sheet of numbers, which he examines. He learns about natural catastrophes and wonders whether the writing is a prophecy.
10. The Rock (1996)
- Director: Michael Bay
- Cast: Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage, Ed Harris, John Spencer, David Morse, William Forsythe, and Michael Biehn
- IMDb rating: 7.4/10
Michael Bay’s movie The Rock tells the story of a sad Brigadier General Francis Hummel holding San Francisco captive from Alcatraz Island under the threat of nuclear war.
He wants a $100 million ransom paid to the families of the men who died while working for him on covert operations.
The main character to escape from Alcatraz Island is ex-con John Mason, who is teamed with FBI chemical warfare agent Stanley Goodspeed.
The two must breach the fortified jail to deactivate the nuclear bombs and free the prisoners, who are civilians.
Cage gives a funny, exciting performance and gets along well with Sean Connery, the other star.
11. The Cotton Club (1984)
- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Cast: Richard Gere, Gregory Hines, Diane Lane, Lonette McKee, Bob Hoskins, James Remar, and Nicolas Cage
- IMDb rating: 6.5/10
Francis Ford Coppola, Nicolas Cage’s uncle, is regarded as one of cinema history’s finest directors; few other directors have produced many masterpieces.
However, Coppola did have numerous failures, and several of his movies were not well received when they were first released.
Unfortunately, his historical play “The Cotton Club” from 1984 overspent and proved a commercial failure.
Due to this, many admirers of Coppola have missed the opportunity to watch one of his greatest films, which also has a superb early performance by Cage.
The movie “The Cotton Club” depicts the growth and demise of a mafia-run jazz club in Harlem.
Richard Gere plays the lead role as Dixie Dwyer, a gifted jazz pianist with connections to the mafia.
Dixie is ready to give up his life of crime after falling in love with Vera Cicero (Diane Lane).
Vera already has a relationship with drug lord Dutch Schultz (James Remar), which is unfortunate for him.
Vincent (Cage), Dixie’s erratic brother, already works for Schultz. In the movie, Cage and Gere establish a compelling brother bond.
When Dixie and Vera try to leave the nightclub scene, tension is raised by Vincent’s erratic behavior. This is one of the best Nicolas Cage movies.
12. Deadfall (1993)
- Director: Christopher Coppola
- Cast: Michael Biehn, Sarah Trigger, Nicolas Cage, James Coburn, Peter Fonda, Charlie Sheen, and Talia Shire
- IMDb rating: 4.0/10
In the movie Deadfall, about con artists in a criminal underground, Cage portrays Eddie King, the femme fatale’s boyfriend, who ultimately turns into the movie’s main antagonist.
The character, who was supposed to play nothing, is so outlandish that he ends up being what people remember most about a movie that his brother Christopher Coppola, who directed it, gets a lot of criticism for.
The sweaty and unpredictable King is a cocaine addict who enjoys strip clubs, uses bad language, wears a wig, and is often on the point of a breakdown.
Although Cage is no stranger to the impact of a well-rehearsed phrase, in this movie, he sounds like a mix between a rat pack imposter and a barking dog who is dubbing himself in real-time.
He slits an assailant’s throat in five minutes, breaks down in front of his fiancée, laughs maniacally while covered in blood, sniffs a cigar, and weeps before humping his bed.
13. Red Rock West (1993)
- Director: John Dahl
- Cast: Nicolas Cage, Dennis Hopper, Lara Flynn Boyle, Craig Reay, Vance Johnson, Robert Apel, and Bobby Joe McFadden
- IMDb rating: 7.0/10
The “Red Rock West” movie from 1993 is one of the best Nicolas Cage movies underappreciated.
Unfortunately, despite receiving praise from critics when it was premised at the Toronto International Film Festival, the movie did not succeed commercially.
“Red Rock West” is the kind of constrained thriller that truly benefits from someone like Cage.
The movie’s intimate style, courtesy of director John Dahl, makes it seem like a stage performance.
Following aimless vagabond Michael Williams (Cage), who is mistaken for hitman Lyle (Dennis Hopper) when he enters a bar in Red Rock, Wyoming, “Red Rock West” follows him.
Since Lyle is owed a large sum, Michael profits from the uncertainty by taking it himself.
However, the real Lyle appears and makes an effort to find him. Michael develops feelings for Suzanne (Lara Flynn Boyle), who got married to Wayne (J.T. Walsh), the town’s sheriff.
Wayne and Lyle try to catch Michael and Suzanne as they attempt to take the money.
14. Con Air (1997)
- Director: Simon West
- Cast: Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, John Malkovich, Colm Meaney, Mykelti Williamson, Nick Chinlund, and Renoly Santiago
- IMDb rating: 6.9/10
One of the most absurd action movies of the 1990s, “Con Air” is also one of the best Nicolas Cage movies. In contrast to Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, and Jean-Claude Van Damme, Nicolas Cage was a new kind of action hero.
He undoubtedly has the necessary physique to seem credible in intense action scenes.
Cage, however, also had the dramatic gravity necessary to give his characters true substance.
“Con Air” follows Cameron Poe (Cage), a former Army Ranger who received an honorable discharge.
His anticipated reunion with his expecting wife, Tricia (Monica Potter), does not last as long as he had hoped.
When some men attack Tricia at a bar, Poe accidentally murders one of the attackers. He receives a ten-year jail term.
Poe thus misses much of his daughter’s upbringing and eagerly anticipates his release.
Unfortunately, a band of criminals led by Cyrus’ The Virus’ Grissom (John Malkovich), a serial murderer, hijacks his flight home.
Poe must pose as a Cyrus criminal organization member while leaking information to the FBI.
15. The Wicker Man (2006)
- Director: Neil LaBute
- Cast: Nicolas Cage, Ellen Burstyn, Leelee Sobieski, Kate Beahan, Frances Conroy, Molly Parker, and Diane Delano
- IMDb rating: 3.8/10
The Wicker Man, a remake of the famous British folk horror movie, centers on a policeman (Cage) forced to look into a Neo-Pagan island where his missing daughter was last seen.
Despite having a stellar cast, the movie received negative reviews and was dubbed an accidental comedy.
If anything, the movie is only worth seeing for Nicolas Cage’s top performance, which almost fills the whole movie and leaves his co-stars with little opportunity for speech.
When they have the opportunity, Cage arrives and assaults them while dressed as a bear.
Even when he is finally tormented with a mask containing real bees, Cage, wholly devoted to absurdity, plays it completely straight.