- Nicolas Cage stated in a recent interview that he is ready to stop making films, potentially ending his acting streak.
- Cage has had an impressive 37-year movie-making career and has appeared in some of Hollywood's most iconic films.
- He has made six appearances in 2023 alone, including a star performance in the highly acclaimed film "Dream Scenario."
In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Nicolas Cage stated that he’s ready to stop making films, which could mean an end to his impressive acting streak. In the interview, Nicolas Cage revealed, “I may have three or four more movies left in me.”
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Cage is a household name, and audiences would be sad to see him go. His movie-making career spans an impressive 37 years, and he has appeared in some of Hollywood’s most iconic films. In 2023 alone, he has made six appearances, some as scene-stealing cameos and as the lead in others. These include Butcher’s Crossing, Sympathy for the Devil, Renfield, The Retirement Plan, The Old Way and what seems to be one of his star performances in Dream Scenario.
Cage was met with an ecstatic crowd of SAG-AFRTA members (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) at a film viewing, and there is already award buzz for the dark meta-comedy.
With this reception, the experienced actor can sense that this film resonates with audiences, which is one of the key reasons he’s considering bowing out. “I want to say bye on a high note,” he said. In addition, he had this to say:
“I do feel I’ve said what I’ve had to say with cinema. I think I took film performance as far as I could.”
Another critical factor is the icon’s upcoming 60th birthday.
“I was taking stock of how much time I had left. I thought, Okay, my dad died at 75, I’m going to be turning 60. If I’m lucky, I have maybe a good 15 years and hopefully more. What do I want to do with those 15 years, using my father as the model? It occurred very clearly to me that I want to spend time with my family.”
Cage is dad to three children. He has two sons from previous relationships, Weston Cage and Kal-El Coppola Cage. He welcomed his first daughter, August Francesca Coppola Cage, with his wife, Riko Shibata, in September last year. Nicolas Cage added that he’s not completely done with acting as yet; he is just planning to slow down and look to new acting experiences and expand his repertoire.
As he puts it, he wants to “…explore the edge of screen performance.” He’s interested in switching to television—which he’s never really done, apart from a pilot he filmed at 15 years old. He’s also never made a film for a streaming service. “I don’t know. I have to look for the next step and I haven’t found it yet.”
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Looking back on his early career in the 1980s, Nicolas Cage debuted his acting in his first feature film in the coming-of-age comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982). The film became an all-time classic and boasted an ensemble cast including Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold, Phoebe Cates, Brian Backer, Robert Romanus, Ray Walston and Forest Whitaker.
Cage was cast in the minor role of “Brad’s Bud” as an unnamed co-worker at All-American Burger. Cage was then credited as Nicolas Coppola. He went on to appear in several films by his uncle Francis Ford Coppola (considered to be one of the greatest directors of all time), such as Rumble Fish (1983), The Cotton Club (1984), and Peggy Sue Got Married (1986).
Cage’s career is vast and varied, moving from small-budget dramas and romantic comedies to big-budget action films. During the 90s, Nicolas Cage became a massive acting star and appeared in some of that era’s biggest films. The actor has also had plenty of low moments where it seemed he would be stuck in straight-to-DVD films, but the Cage started to make a comeback in 2018 with films like Mandy and 2021’s Pig. Long considered one of Hollywood’s most unique and engaging actors, Cage’s filmography is a long list of fascinating films with director Guillermo Del Toro saying of the actor on X (formerly Twitter):
“He absolutely never, ever does anything but his best- I’ve said it before: there has not been, nor will there ever be an actor like Nicolas Cage.”
In celebration of the actor’s great work in Hollywood, here is a list of some of the best movies Nicolas Cage has appeared in.
14. Face/Off (1997)
The 90s were great for action films, and Hong Kong filmmaker John Woo adorned this sci-fi action classic with all the Asian cinematic flair he could muster in a Hollywood movie. Cage is terrific alongside John Travolta, with both actors at the peak of their game. Cage plays terrorist-for-hire Castor Troy, who eventually swaps faces with John Travolta’s character, FBI Agent Sean Archer. If you have not seen the film, this explanation could be confusing.
Director John Woo’s highly stylised, over-the-top action set pieces and memorable acting from Nicolas Cage and Travolta have gained Face/Off a large cult following. The movie is a thrill ride but also has plenty of emotional moments, all of which tie together to make this film one of Nicolas Cage’s best films.
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13. Raising Arizona (1987)
The Coen Brothers’ famous crime comedy is one of Nicolas Cage’s most acclaimed films. Written by the brothers and directed by Joel Coen, Raising Arizona paired the quirky style of the Coen’s with Nicolas Cage’s unconventional acting style.
The film features Holly Hunter as Ed, a policewoman who falls in love with 7-Eleven robber HI “Hi” McDunnough, played by Nicolas Cage. Unable to conceive, the couple kidnap the baby of Nathan Arizona, a furniture tycoon, to have their own family. Soon, chaos and trouble surround the couple. A great cast, which includes John Goodman and William Forsythe, makes this movie a must-watch for Nicolas Cage fans.
12. Con Air (1997)
Con Air, Face/Off and The Rock are the three best action flicks in Cage’s lengthy career. The actor plays an Honorably discharged US Army Ranger, Sgt Cameron Poe. He returns home from Desert Storm to his hometown of Mobile, Alabama, and reunites with his pregnant wife, Tricia. After defending Tricia from three intoxicated assailants, Poe accidentally kills one of them and is sentenced to jail for Manslaughter.
After eight years, Poe is out on parole and set to fly home to join Trish. He shares his flight with the worst criminals in the system, namely, Cyrus “The Virus” Grissom (John Malkovich), John “Johnny 23” Baca (Danny Trejo), Garland “The Marietta Mangler” Greene (Steve Buscemi), Nathan “Diamond Dog” Jones (Ving Rhames), and Joe “Pinball” Parker (Dave Chappelle).
The prison transport plane dubbed the ‘jailbird’ is hijacked, and Poe is forced to assist the hijackers while secretly helping the authorities uncover the sinister plot. It was Simon West’s first feature film as a director, and West was glowing in his praise of Cage as Cameron Poe. West said, “I can’t imagine that film without Nic as the lead. It was like having Salvador Dali on set every day… but with a greasy mullet.”
11. National Treasure (2004)
Nicolas Cage never confines himself to one genre. National Treasure is Cage leaving action and drama for fantasy. The film mixes fantasy with the heist genre to take viewers on an exciting treasure hunt as they follow the exploits of cartographer Benjamin Franklin Gates (Cage).
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Cage’s character has to steal the Declaration of Independence to find a hidden treasure map. The high-stakes plot and the Indiana Jones archaeological angle have made National Treasure a fun adventure film much better than its low critical score would lead you to believe.
10. Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
One of the best films of the 90s, Leaving Las Vegas, features Nicolas Cage as Ben Sanderson, an alcoholic screenwriter who has lost his job, friends, and family. Sanderson decided to head to Las Vegas and drink himself to death. Arriving from Los Angeles, Sam heads to the Las Vegas Strip and meets a sex worker named Sera, played by Elisabeth Shue. Together, they form a relationship and help each other deal with the troubles in their lives.
Cage’s outstanding performance as a drunk dealing with the effects of alcoholism earned the actor widespread critical acclaim, and he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture-Drama and the Academy Award for Best Actor. Don’t ever doubt Nicolas Cage’s acting again!
9. The Rock (1996)
The Salvador Dali of acting appeared alongside Sean Connery in this Michael Bay-directed action thriller. Cage stars as FBI chemical weapons expert Dr Stanley Goodspeed. Connery appears as M16 operative John Mason. In a standout role as General Francis X. Hummel, Ed Harris joins a stellar cast for a magnificent action joyride.
Hummel is a disgruntled former Brigadier General who leads a rogue squadron of marines as they steal a stockpile of VX gas-loaded M55 rockets. Hummel and his team seize Alcatraz Island, taking the tourists and guards hostage. Hummel threatens to use the rockets on San Francisco unless the government compensates Hummel, his fellow soldiers and the families of dead soldiers who died in covert missions under Hummel’s command.
Goodspeed and Mason join forces in a race against time to stop Hummel and the rocket attack. The Rock is perhaps Michael Bay’s best film, and Cage excels alongside Connery; the action and witty dialogue offers a thrill ride that makes you yearn for the heydays of the 90s.
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8. Adaptation (2002)
After several years as an action hero, Cage dived back into more minor films like Adaptation. The meta-comedy is directed by Spike Jonze and stars Cage, who plays a fictionalised version of the film’s writer, Charlie Kaufman, as he deals with writer’s block while attempting to write a screenplay adaptation of Susan Orlean’s 1998 nonfiction book The Orchid Thief.
Adaptation is one of the best films of the early 2000s, and critics praised Nicolas Cage’s performance as twins Charlie and Donald Kaufman. The actor was brilliant, switching between the self-loathing Charlie and Donald’s cockiness. Cage did this effortlessly and showcased the entire range of his acting skills. With Adaptation, Cage proved that action films did not diminish his creativity and acting ability.
7. Pig (2021)
For many years, Cage was used as meme fodder on social media. The actors’ hairstyles and larger-than-life persona were spectacles for public consumption online. This caricatured version of the actor coincided with his diminishing status as an A-list actor. Cage starred in many low-budget straight-to-DVD films. Cage’s financial troubles in real estate meant the actor was forced to star in films that were beneath his calibre.
After many years in the wilderness, where the actor fell out of favour with Hollywood and casual fans, he started appearing in acclaimed roles like 2021’s Pig. Recent films such as Mandy and Pig have set off a Cage renaissance and revitalised his career.
The film follows the travails of former Portland chef Robin Feld (Cage), now a recluse deep within the Oregan woods. Feld’s only companion is his truffle foraging pig, who is eventually kidnapped. Forced to return to Portland to search for his beloved animal, Feld is compelled to deal with his past.
Critics were elated by a magnificent Cage performance, with some noting that Pig features the actor’s best work in years. As Feld, Cage’s dramatic role leaves behind the stereotypical tropes for which the actor has become famous and quietly invites audiences into a character study of a brooding, sombre portrayal of loss and love.
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6. Moonstruck (1987)
Before becoming a big action star, Nicholas Cage was a romantic lead in films like Moonstruck. In this classic romantic comedy-drama, he appeared as Ronny Cammareri alongside Cher (Loretta Castorini). Loretta is a widowed bookkeeper from Brooklyn Heights who falls in love with her fiances younger brother, Ronny Cammareri.
Cage’s charismatic performance helped the film to achieve box office success and, together with Cher’s Academy Award-winning portrayal for Best Actress, made the film one of the most memorable romantic films of the 80s.
5. Lord of War (2005)
Nicholas Cage is Yuri Orlov, a Ukranian-American international weapons smuggler who seems to be without consciousness. Orlov feels justified that the sale of arms through weapons trafficking is reasonable because, in his view, people kill people and not the weapons they wield.
The writer and director of the film is New Zealander Andrew Niccol, who is also the writer for The Truman Show and writer and director of the Ethan Hawke classic Gattaca. Orlov is a multi-faceted character, and Cage’s performance enables viewers to see the character as a typical bad guy and an anti-hero.
Ask anyone what their favourite Nicolas Cage movie is and this one would be high on everyone’s list.
4. Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)
Cage capped off his late 90s action phase with this heist film, which saw him star alongside an up-and-coming Angelina Jolie. Reviews of the film were critical, but Cage’s portrayal of retired car thief Randall “Memphis” Raines was the perfect component in an exciting plot that sees Memphis attempt to steal 50 cars in 72 hours in exchange for his brother’s life.
3. City of Angels (1998)
This fantasy about romance and fallen angels was one of the most popular films of the late 90s. Cage stars as Seth, a guardian angel who falls in love with a human (Meg Ryan). Seth eventually relinquishes his immortality and angelic nature to have a relationship with Dr. Maggie Rice (Ryan).
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Cage gives one of his most sincere performances as a benevolent angel. The actor is restrained and doesn’t rely on wacky, over-the-top portrayals or indulge in bombastic acting. Seth is a character that allows Cage to show his gentle side and shows that the actor can play more grounded characters.
2. Mandy (2018)
The upsurge in Nicolas Cage’s film career can be traced to this action-horror set in the 80s in which Cage stars as Red Miller, a recovering alcoholic. Red works as a logger and lives with his partner, Mandy. Red’s world is turned upside down when a cult kills Mandy and leaves Red for dead.
This gory tale of vengeance sees Cage give a sterling portrayal as a man driven into a psychotic rage after witnessing the death of the love of his life. Thanks to his amazing acting, Mandy proves to be one of the best Nicolas Cage movies of all time.
1. Wild At Heart (1990)
The team-up of director David Lynch and the eccentric Nicolas Cage is a film aficionado’s dream. Critics, however, were at a loss and couldn’t stomach Lynch’s lurid sex scenes and graphic violence. The film’s slow pace and heavy use of iconography and metaphor at the expense of character study also irritated many reviewers.
Cage stars as Sailor Ripley alongside Laura Dern, who plays Lula Fortune, a young couple; the two go on the run from Lula’s overbearing mother and the criminals she hires to kill Sailor. Lynch described Sailor as a “rebel with a dream”, and Nicolas Cage was perfectly cast as an Elvis-styled bad boy looking for love and the American Dream.
- Nicholas Cage has had a long and varied career in movies.
- The actor is related to director Francis Ford Coppola and started his career cast in minor roles in films by his famous uncle.
- Nic Cage eventually broke out of his uncle’s shadow and appeared in many great films throughout his long career.
Which are your favourite Nicolas Cage movies that should have been included in this list? Are you sad to see Nicolas Cage possibly being done with acting?