ByMark Newton, writer at
Movie Pilot Associate Editor. Email: [email protected]
Mark Newton

Nicolas Cage has a long, and prolific career, appearing in no less than 79 movies as of early 2015.

The Coppola family member has grabbed one Oscar and been nominated for another, and has also had the honor of becoming an internet meme. Unfortunately, although the star of beloved action and dramatic movies, it seems Cage's career has recently taken somewhat of a downward turn, as he appears in more and more forgettable fair. The root of this problem, apparently, is in financial difficulties resulting from a shoddy accountant and a penchant for buying expensive houses.

Despite this, let's stroll down memory lane and remind ourselves of come of Cage's career.

Nicolas Un-Caged

The 1980s and early 1990s would see Cage develop as a household name, raising fast through the cinematic ranks and eventually bagging an Oscar in 1995.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High - 1982

Fun Fact: Cage, who was 17 at the time, lied about his age to try and get the bigger role of Brad. However, casting directors thought his performance was too dark, and when it was discovered he was underage, he was given the smaller role of Brad's Bud. Furthermore, this is his film debut and the only time he is credited as Nicolas Coppola.

Raising Arizona - 1987

Fun Fact: Cage began to slowly become a household name following his performance in the Coen brothers comedy, Raising Arizona. His manic, slightly crazed, performance was similarly seen in other late 1980s movies, such as Vampire's Kiss. However, we was almost not cast in Raising Arizona as Kevin Costner was also considered for the role.

Leaving Las Vegas - 1995

Fun Fact: For his Oscar winning turn as perpetual drunk Ben Sanderson, Cage would binge drink and then film himself talking to get his slurred speech just right.

The Nicolas Cage Action Renaissance

Although much of his early work was of a dramatic flavor, the mid to late 1990s would see him taking a turn to action, appearing in such classics as Con Air, The Rock, Face/Off and Gone in Sixty Seconds.

Con Air - 1997

Fun Fact: This is the second of two consecutive Nicolas Cage action movies which ends with Lynyrd Skynrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" - the first being The Rock. Another interesting fact is that John Cusack dislikes his movie so much, he refuses to be interviewed about it.

Face/Off - 1997

Fun Fact: Originally, Nicolas Cage wasn't interested in the film as he thought he'd be playing the villain of the piece. However, once he was told he was actually playing the hero - albeit with his villainous characters face sewn on - he quickly signed up.

The Versatile Cage

Although continuing to appear in many action movies, the early 2000s also saw him moving back into dramatic films, including Spike Jonze's Adaptation and Captain Corelli's Mandolin. He would also direct James Franco in his own drama, Sonny.

Adaptation - 2002

Fun Facts: Cage earned his second Oscar nomination for playing twins, Charlie and Donald Kaufman in the Charlie Kaufman penned comedy-drama, Adaptation. The credits for the movie also include Donald Kaufman as a co-writer, while the movie is also dedicated to his memory. However, Donald Kaufman never really existed and the real life Charlie Kaufman is not a twin.

National Treasure - 2004

Fun Fact: Nicolas Cage entered the franchise game playing Indiana Jones-Robert Langdon hybrid Benjamin Franklin Gates in National Treasure. He appeared opposite the villainous Sean Bean, and the really interesting thing about this movie is that Bean actually survives until the end.

The Rollercoaster Cage

As we moved into the latter half of the 2000s, Cage started to take on a lot of work, and appeared in four movies in 2007 alone. Appearing in this many films meant there would inevitably be drop in quality in his general filmography, although there were still a few gems to uncover.

The Wicker Man - 2006

Fun Fact: The Wicker Man was almost universally hated when it was first released, and those who did like it most did so because of its unintentional humor. Later Cage would argue that this was intended from the beginning, and the movie should have actually been read as an absurdist black comedy.

Kick-Ass - 2010

Fun Fact: Nicolas Cage based his speech mannerism as Big Daddy on original Batman, Adam West. According to the director Matthew Vaughn, Cage did it immediately after first putting on the costume. He was happy for Cage to continue with the style, as he disliked the gravelly tones of the Christian Bale Batman.

Left Behind - 2014

Fun Fact: Although only gaining 2% of Rotten, this is actually not Nicolas Cage's worst reviewed movie. That honor goes to 1993's Deadfall which gained 0%. However, Cage did win the Razzie for Worst Actor for his performance as Rayford Steele.


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