55 Facts About Nicolas Cage Movies
In the seminal hit Community, Abed Nadir is warned to not watch too many Nicolas Cage movies in a row. The mind cannot handle that much unfettered Cage. Perhaps then you might want to space out the following Cage facts over several days, or even weeks, instead of facing them all at once.
If you're willing to brave them all, be warned: We will also be rating the some Cage films from 1 to Cage, with a Bees being a terrible movie you should watch instantly, a Cage being a great movie you should instantly, and other ratings made up whenever needed.
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1. Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Nicolas Cage’s film debut does lack some of his stellar personality, given that his was a bit role. The film was based on Cameron “I made Jerry Maguire, Say Anything and Vanilla Sky” Crowe’s book and was enough of a success to spin off into a now forgotten show—but as it lacks Nicolas Cage in more than a tiny role, it gets a 1/Cage (for existing, but that’s about it).
2. Valley Girl
Valley Girl, starring an 18-year old Nicolas Cage, is a meet cute between a Valley girl and a punk rocker that was created primarily to capitalize on Frank Zappa’s “Valley Girl” song and its popularity. So it’s a film based on a fad inspired by a song based on absolutely nothing, as all of the Valley Girl slang in the song was Zappa’s daughter mocking people at her school. The female director was forced to include at least four shots of naked breasts in the movie. Due to these producers’ awful, sexist requests and the fact that there’s a musical version, this film gets a 1/Cage.
3. Peggy Sue Got Married
Directed by Cage’s uncle Francis Ford Coppola (the Godfather guy), this film is about a sad woman at her high school reunion pulling a reverse 13 Going on 30 and waking up back in the past. Surprisingly, this is Cage’s second film in such a short time to be based on a song, in this case Buddy Holly’s “Peggy Sue Got Married.” Due to how boringly it pulls off its wild premise, and Cage basing his voice on Pokey from The Gumby Show, this film gets a 1/Cage.
4. Raising Arizona
One of Nicolas Cage’s best films of all time, this Coen Brothers joint follows Cage’s character and his wife stealing a baby for ransom before falling in love with it, like Raising Hope but not shitty. One fan of the film appears to be whoever the hell made Serbian textbooks because they went and took a screenshot from the film and plastered it onto one of em. Reportedly, the Coens and Cage never got along, with the Coens being “autocratic.” Regardless, just like the textbook, this gets a Cage/Cage.
Cher had one condition (aside from, ya know, money and the rest of her contract) for doing this film—Nicolas Cage had to be the male lead. The studios tested him, detested him, and Cher insisted, persisted, and ultimately won an Oscar. This film gets a rare Cher/Cage.
6. Vampire's Kiss
The film that established Nicolas “Batshit” Cage. Though this film is a classic, it almost didn’t happen. The writer gave up on the film due to its darkness, union filmmakers protested the non-union set, and Cage’s agent pressured him to go after a movie with more prestige. Instead, Nicolas Cage ate a cockroach, terrified homeless people, and then bought a sports car with the money from this film that gets our first Bees/Cage.
7. Wild at Heart
This film, based on a book and adapted by David Lynch, is like Natural Born Killers in that it’s dark, a road movie, and you should probably watch it. In the film, Cage’s snakeskin jacket becomes part of his character, and it was all Cage’s idea—he made Lynch write it into the script. The movie was so important to the cast that Laura Dern broke her no-nudity rule because she trusted Lynch and thought the movie needed it. This film gets a Cage/Cage.
8. Leaving Las Vegas
One of Nicolas Cage’s most nuanced and depressing portrayals, this film about a man who moves to Las Vegas to drink himself to death was based on a semiautobiographical book, whose author died of suicide shortly after signing away the book rights. The author perhaps unexpectedly had another large script—although this one he despised due to editorial changes. What dark story was this? Oh, the Rugrats episode “Toys in the Attic.” This film gets a very depressing Cage/Cage.
9. The Rock
The beginning of Nicolas Cage’s “I’m the biggest action star around” phase—which never officially ended, but, like cheese after six months on a counter, molded and mutated. This Criterion Collection-worthy film directed by Michael Bay depicts the incredibly not true story of a general taking over Alcatraz and threatening to destroy San Francisco unless money goes to the families of soldiers the Pentagon denies died in the line of duty. Such a simplistic plot, but it inspired a debate about how writers should be credited, as it had many many writers, most of whom were not credited, including Quentin Tarantino. One of the people responsible for the film wasn’t a writer, but Nicolas Cage, who decided his character wouldn’t swear but instead say stuff like “gee whiz.” For that if no other reason, this gets a Bees/Cage.
10. Con Air
Con Air is about a Con … Airplane. An airplane full of cons. It’s about a bunch of cons in an airplane and then the nice cons fight the mean cons, and Nicolas Cage leads the fight while speaking in a terrible accent. It’s a Bees/Cage obviously, but apparently there was almost a sequel that was going to be much more insane. The second Con Air was supposed to be Con Air … in Space. Con Space? No one can describe the film better than Simon West, the director himself: “A studio version where they’re all robots or the convicts are reanimated as super-convicts, or where the good guys are bad guys and the bad guys are good guys.”
Let’s just get Bees/Cage out of the way first. This film about John Travolta and Nicolas Cage switching faces as part of an undercover operation is one of Cage’s favorites. Despite that, he almost wasn’t in it. Johnny Depp was due to star in it until he read the script … and realized it wasn’t about hockey. The film was originally going to take place in the future instead, where hockey is of course outlawed … probably.
12. City of Angels
City of Angels, about an angel coming to LA and falling in love with Meg Ryan, gets a solid 1/Cage, being little more than a high-budget Lifetime movie. However, it is noteworthy for continuing a trend of Nicolas Cage’s—that is, Johnny Depp almost taking the role before Cage came along. Ghost Rider's another example of that. Of course, that’s more or less fair given Johnny Depp only started acting because Cage, a friend of his, encouraged him to try out for A Nightmare on Elm Street.
13. Gone in 60 Seconds
Gone in 60 Seconds, featuring Nicolas Cage and a pre-Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston, gets a certified Bees/Cage if for no other reason than it led to Nicolas Cage’s stunt driving hobby. See, during the film, Cage’s character steals cars and then drives them fast. Sorry for spoiling the entire script. To get ready. Cage began training to stunt drive … and kept training … and kept training … and then just decided to pursue it in his off-time. You can see him in most of the driving scenes. One of the only ones they didn’t allow him to do was the big jump scene because actors are too important for that—that’s what stunt drivers are for. Disposable, disposable stunt drivers.
14. The Family Man
The Family Man is a film about Nic Cage waking up and having a new life, with a wife (a woman he used to be in love with) and beautiful children. There’s only one issue with this film, though, and that’s if you think of it from any other perspective than Cage’s—especially his real wife, whom he unites with at the end of the film and tells about his “visions” of an alternate world. This Peggy Sue Got Married rip-off gets a 1/Cage.
15. Shadow of the Vampire
This is our first Nicolas Cage movie … not starring Nicolas Cage. See, he produced this film, about how Max Shrek, the real life actor who played Nosferatu and a personal inspiration for Nicolas Cage, was actually a Nosferatu. Cage was apparently originally going to play Nosferatu himself (continuing his vampire love) but didn’t end up doing it after Willem “My Dick Was So Big It Needed a Stunt Double” Dafoe expressed interest. While the film doesn't actually feature Cage, it does feature Willem Dafoe, and the plot is about if an actor is truly a vampire or not, so this gets a firm Cage/Cage.
Based on the real-life story of WWII Navajo code talkers—people who could pass secret military information using Navajo without the Axis discovering it—this film stars Nicolas Cage as a white savior who works with and protects code talkers. When preparing for the film, Nicolas Cage went ahead and learned Navajo, despite his character never speaking it. According to him, it was because he wanted to understand the story better. According to John Woo, his former Face/Off and then Windtalkers director, it was because he misunderstood who he had been cast as. Either way, for making a film about real-life codebreakers who are one of the most trod upon groups in America into a film about how One White Man can save everything, this film gets a 1/Cage.
This film, written by Charlie Kauffman as an adaptation of the The Orchid Thief, is about Charlie Kauffman adapting The Orchid Thief, and also about his fictional brother, both of whom are played by Nicolas Cage. It’s weirder than it sounds. And, reasonably, Charlie Kaufman thought it might end his career. He was hired to write a book adaptation, not a navel-gazing film about him and his fictional brother—but it worked and it was a smash hit. This gets a rare Cage/Kaufman.
18. Matchstick Men
Matchstick Men is the story of Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell, Alison Lohman, and the best cons in film. The film was supposedly one of two (the superior one of two) con artist flicks on Steven Spielberg’s plate, the other being the Frank Abagnale story Catch Me If You Can starring Leo DiCaprio. (Also up for the role? Robert Zemeckis.) Given that one went on to become a famous musical and nearly everyone has heard at the least the title, he may’ve made the right call, but this Ridley Scott–directed film gets a solid Cage/Cage as we enter the time of Cage as the Man who will do just about whatever he wants to.
19. National Treasure
National Treasure is about … oh, you know what this one is about. Despite having a third film on the way and a younger kids remake, this film had its original ending changed … because it implied a sequel. Bees/Cage.
20. Lord of War
This film, about Nicolas Cage the arms dealer, was almost fully funded with money from outside the US. All major studios turned it down, and the producer himself had to front a lot of the money. What did they do with all that money? Well, among other things, they bought 3,000 real guns. For this reason, and others—including Amnesty International endorsing it—it gets a Cage/Cage.
21. The Weather Man
The soppy sad weatherman at the heart of the story is based on Cage himself. At least according to the man, that is. Spritz, like Cage, was born in a vast shadow he could never find himself out of, living in a broken family. 1/Cage.
22. World Trade Center
Perhaps to make up for the fact that Lord of War was vaguely anti-American, Nicolas Cage starred in this Based on a True Story about 9/11 first responders. Despite it being as American as apple pie and exploiting a national tragedy for financial gain, the film was not without controversy. Many believed director Olive Stone would take a JFK approach, and discuss the conspiracies surrounding the day, while others were just like “Hey, man, my husband/brother/son died, can you just not,” with one widow even saying “How could you do this to my family?” For that reason, and it just not being a great film, it gets a I I/Cage
23. The Wicker Man
Arguably Nicolas Cage’s most famous film. The movie that made the man the meme. This gets Bees/Cage (the original film gets a Cage/Cage). Maybe the wildest part of the film is it’s dedicated to Johnny “Blitzkrieg Bop” Ramone. Cage was friends with The Ramones, and one day, Johnny invited Cage over to watch the original Wicker Man. That’s right, if it weren’t for Johnny Ramone, there’s a chance we would never have gotten this masterful work of art right here.
24. Ghost Rider
Remember back before the MCU, when Marvel movies could be good or bad instead of just another installment in the world’s most expensive television show? Back then, this movie about a stuntman turned demon/ghost thing working to send souls to hell came out to middling applause. The film’s title character could bear all of Cage’s real tattoos—save for one. Because Cage, in real life, has a Ghost Rider tattoo. This film gets a Bees/Cage despite not being quite as good as the sequel.
Nicolas Cage’s role in Grindhouse was a bit part in Werewolf Women of the SS by Rob Zombie, as Fu Manchu. Unlike most of the other commercials, no one has expressed interest in fully developing this one, and there’s almost no chance for it now, given that Rose McGowan has come out about how horrible working on it was.
Next was a 1/Cage movie that originally could’ve been something more. This film, about a man who can see what’s coming next, was originally an anti-authoritarianism film based on a Philip K. Dick story before turning into … whatever the hell this is now.
27. Bangkok Dangerous
The film that began the end. While he had a few films lined up after this, this film knocked Cage off of the Can Do Anything list and into the bargain bin. That said, Bees/Cage.
Nicolas Cage based his portrayal as a professor on his own father, a professor who presumably did not discover an alien conspiracy to make a new Garden of Eden. Bees/Cage.
29. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
G-Force … about guinea pigs … is also not a remake. Despite that, it does have the same name as a more popular anime series, also called, you guessed it, G-Force. g/Cage
31. Astro Boy
Though this film was near-forgettable on release, its history stretches back to Disney. Of course, Disney didn’t end up making it, the dude who did Flushed Away did. Just before that, the creator of Samurai Jack was in the running to do the film. Boy/Cage
The first superhero, the murderous Big Daddy, is much different in the comics. There, he’s not a former cop, but a former loser comic book addict, just like main character David. His entire origin is a fraud. Regardless, Cage/Cage, if only for the scene where he keeps helping Hit-Girl while on fire. God, that was a good movie, what went wrong? Well …
32.2 Kick-Ass 2
Despite not being made by the original creator, the second film exists. But not for long! See, the first film’s writer/director team are coming back to make a prequel, a third film, and then reboot the entire thing altogether with a brand-new Kick-Ass … but hopefully the same Big Daddy. You can’t beat Cage.
33. Sorcerer’s Apprentice
The idea to make a film based on “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” from Fantasia is one of the wildest ideas ever … which is no surprise given that it was all Cage’s idea. For that reason alone, this gets a Bees/Cage.
34. Drive Angry
The process by which Nic Cage selects his films has always been a mystery … until now. Nic Cage found out his character would get his eye shot out in this film and said yes immediately, because that’s just kinda how he works. Bees/Cage.
35. Ghost Rider: Spirits of Vengeance
Using magic/an acting technique he created, Nicolas Cage channeled a god and set himself on fire to get into the mindset of the Spirit of Vengeance. Bees/Bees—the most Nicolas Cage movie since Wicker Man.
36. A Thousand Words
Perhaps Cage only producing instead of starring in this film is the reason it’s one of about fifty films to ever receive a 0 rating on rotten tomatoes. 0/Cage.
Nicolas Cage removed two of his teeth without anesthesia for research for this film. Bees/Cage.
38. The Croods
Writer-director Chris Sanders has another job lined up if this whole film making thing ever goes to shit—making sexy pin-ups. Some of them? Oh, they’re of characters from his film, The Croods. 1/Cage—the pin-ups get Cage/Cage.
39. Left Behind
Here's Nicolas Cage's second attempt at making a full motion picture franchise out of the worst of conservative Christian’s fears … because of Marc. Who’s Marc? His pastor brother, who presumably believed a big name being behind the film could get more eyes on it. Hey, maybe, but probably not. This got as many eyes Grand Isle, another Nic Cage movie that no one’s ever heard of. The Truth Shall Set You Free From Your/Cage.
40. Mom and Dad
The beginning of Nicolas Cage’s “I’m the most insane man of all years” phase, this film is his first Hulu original, which is just a thing now. Bees/Cage
Mandy is a wild film, made all the wilder by the reveal that the emotion that drives Nic Cage is real. He went through a divorce, from a marriage 14 years long, just before the film started and poured all of his feelings into the film.
42. Teen Titans Go! to the Movies!
Nicolas Cage is Superman … and Kal-El is Batman. Kal-El Cage, that is. Yes, this is a father-son affair with Nic's real-life son, who really is named Kal-El, portraying a young Bruce Wayne. Cage/Cage.
43. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
The animation in the film tells a tale—in addition to being colored like a comic book, the frame rate of the characters changes based on their experience. For instance, Miles is animated to look like a laggy NPC whereas Peter is smooth as the sonorous tones from the real, actual Christmas album made for the film.
44. Color Out of Space
Director Richard Stanley’s first film in twenty years, since his aborted Island of Doctor Moreau, this film unites—somehow—two different people, Cage and Stanley, who looked for the Holy Grail. The film also came about, partially, due to Cage being such a big Lovecraft fan that he called Stanley at three in the morning to talk about it.
45. Jiu Jitsu
46. The Croods: A New Age
As well as boasting the biggest box office take of any Cage film since the pandemic began, it’s also Nicolas Cage’s 100th acting credit.
47. Prisoners of the Ghostland
Despite being a Nicolas Cage movie and not an anime from the 70s, this film stars—in a small role it seems—Lupin the Third. Bees/Cage for that alone.
48. Willy’s Wonderland
Nicolas Cage’s non-speaking role in this “not Five Nights at Freddy’s adaptation, we promise” is, based on background clues, his character from Con Air. Just like Cage’s voice captions, there are no words. Cage/Cage.
Nicolas Cage has said he will never watch Pig. It was too emotional for him to film. He laid himself bare, and can’t go through that again. Cage/Cage.
50. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
It’s a return to his old roles, in more ways than one. For the character he plays, he’s said he’s channeling his Weather Man role of Dave Spritz—but that’s not accounting for the fact that he’s literally going to be recreating scenes he’s already done in the past. If you read through this whole list and wished you could just watch all of this but don’t have the time, congrats, Cage is making a Greatest Hits!
51. The Old Way
After all of these films, Cage is finally making his first Western—with his second on the way.
52. The Best of Times
Going back to the beginning as we wrap up, this pilot to a series that was never made from 1981 was the acting debut of both Nicolas Cage and Crispin Glover. Man, this show just gave us some class-A weirdos.
For his latest confirmed role, Nicolas Cage is going back to the vampire well to portray Dracula, in this film about his lackey. It's the first time he’s played a role of this sort, fulfilling a life-long dream.
54. Superman Lives
Before Batman v Superman, we almost got this Tim Burton–created film about Superman, starring Cage as the man himself. While not confirmed, it seems the bad box office and critical reception to Mars Attacks! might’ve torpedoed the film.
Nicolas Cage’s directorial debut was a critical failure, but it had at least one big fan—Tommy “The Room” Wiseau, who allowed James Franco to portray him in The Disaster Artist after seeing him here. Cage/Cage.