22 Best Nicolas Cage Movies of All Time

22 Best Nicolas Cage Movies of All Time: Picking a list of the best Nicolas Cage movies is not an easy task. With over 100 movies under his belt, Cage has covered a wide range of genres, including action, science fiction, drama, and romantic comedies. With Cage, you never know what he will do next. He is unpredictable and that is a good thing. Even in his less-than-great movies, Cage’s captivating performance makes him a treat to watch.

After winning an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Leaving Las Vegas (1995) and starring in several blockbuster action movies in the 1990s, such as The Rock, Con Air, and Face/Off, Cage became a superstar. His highest-grossing films are from the 2000s, including National Treasure (2004) and National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007).

In the last decade, Cage has been especially active and has produced some noteworthy movies. His latest release, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022), in which he plays himself, is a great addition to his list of best movies.

If you want to see Nicolas Cage at his best, this list is for you. With selections from each decade, starting from the 1980s to the present day, you will have the opportunity to experience Cage’s versatility and talent. Here is our pick of the best Nicolas Cage movies, ordered by release date:

1. Raising Arizona (1987)

Raising Arizona | April 10, 1987 (United States) Summary: When a childless couple--an ex-con and an ex-cop--decide to help themselves to one of another family's quintuplets, their lives become more complicated than they anticipated.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

Genre: Comedy, Crime
Director: Joel Coen
Starring: Nicolas Cage (23), Holly Hunter (29)

Considered to be the best comedy starring Nicolas Cage, the movie focuses on an ex-con and his wife, a policewoman (Hunter) unable to conceive a baby and desperately in need of one. An ingenious idea comes to mind then – to steal one of the quintuplets born to a furniture tycoon. Thus starts a series of hilarious and unpredictable events.

No list of the best Nicolas Cage movies is complete without this one. Matthew McConaughey once said somewhere that this is the movie he watched the most times.

2. Moonstruck (1987)

Moonstruck | January 15, 1988 (United States) Summary: Loretta Castorini, a bookkeeper from Brooklyn, New York, finds herself in a difficult situation when she falls for the brother of the man she has agreed to marry.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English, Italian, Latin

Genre: Comedy, Romance
Director: Norman Jewison
Starring: Cher (41), Nicolas Cage (23)

Loretta, an Italian-American widow (played by Cher), believes that her first marriage was cursed and decides to do things her own way for her second marriage. She accepts her boyfriend’s proposal to marry, but soon finds herself falling in love with his hot-tempered brother instead.

According to Metacritic, Moonstruck is the best Nicolas Cage movie. While we may not rank it quite so highly, it is definitely in the top 20. The movie was nominated for six Oscars and won three: Best Screenplay, Best Actress (Cher), and Best Supporting Actress. Cage was also nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance in the film.

3. Honeymoon in Vegas (1992)

Honeymoon in Vegas | August 28, 1992 (United States) Summary: Jack loses $65,000 in poker in Las Vegas, where he's marrying Betsy. The wedding will have to wait as the poker winner wants the weekend with Betsy to cancel the debt. She accepts. Whom will... Read all
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English, Hawaiian

Genre: Comedy, Romance
Director: Andrew Bergman
Starring: Nicolas Cage (28), Sarah Jessica Parker (27), James Caan

Private detective Jack Singer (Nicolas Cage) is about to marry his girlfriend Betsy (Sarah Jessica Parker) in Las Vegas. After they check into the casino resort, a wealthy gambler, Tommy Korman (James Caan), notices Betsy and is immediately attracted to her because she reminds him of his late wife, Donna. Korman decides to arrange a poker game where Jack ends up losing $65,000.

The debt is cleared if Jack agrees to lend his fiancé, Betsy, for a weekend with Korman. With no other options, she reluctantly accepts. But when Jack changes his mind, he starts to pursue his fiancé. However, Korman will do everything in his power to delay Jack’s interference, making it seem like he doesn’t care about Betsy.

4. Red Rock West (1993)

Red Rock West | May 14, 1993 (Italy) Summary: Upon arriving to a small town, a drifter is mistaken for a hitman, but when the real hitman arrives, complications ensue.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

Genre: Crime, Thriller
Director: John Dahl
Starring: Nicolas Cage (29), Lara Flynn Boyle (23), Dennis Hopper (57)

After being discharged from the Marine Corps due to injury, Michael finds himself homeless and roaming, searching for employment. Upon arriving in the small town of Red Rock, he is mistakenly identified as a hitman by Wayne, a local bar owner. Michael takes advantage of the situation, but quickly realizes that he has made a grave error.

This is an excellent thriller from the 90s with many twists and turns, featuring Nicolas Cage at his finest. From the start, you can tell it’s a movie you’ll enjoy. One of the first scenes features Cage doing one-arm push-ups in the middle of the road, for crying out loud. Many of us became fans of Nic Cage through this movie. It’s definitely one of his best films.

5. It Could Happen to You (1994)

It Could Happen to You | July 29, 1994 (United States) Summary: A police officer promises to share his lottery ticket with a waitress in lieu of a tip.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English, Spanish

Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama
Director: Andrew Bergman
Starring: Nicolas Cage (30), Bridget Fonda (30), Rosie Perez (30)

Romantic comedy-drama about Charlie Lang, a New York cop, who jokingly promises a waitress half of his lottery winnings if he wins, since he doesn’t have enough money to tip her. However, things take an unexpected turn when Charlie actually wins the lottery and feels obliged to keep his promise, but his wife Muriel disagrees.

6. Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

Leaving Las Vegas | February 9, 1996 (United States) Summary: Ben Sanderson, a Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his alcoholism, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship and non-... Read all
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English, Russian

Genre: Drama, Romance
Director: Mike Figgis
Starring: Nicolas Cage (31), Elisabeth Shue (32)

Nicolas Cage stars as a suicidal alcoholic who travels to Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets a prostitute named Sera and their lives become intertwined in a story about pain, destruction, loneliness, hopelessness, and love. For his role in this movie, Nicolas Cage received both an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award. The movie was also nominated for Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Director.

7. The Rock (1996)

The Rock | June 7, 1996 (United States) Summary: A mild-mannered chemist and an ex-con must lead the counterstrike when a rogue group of military men, led by a renegade general, threaten a nerve gas attack from Alcatraz against San Francis... Read all
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

Genre: Action, Thriller
Director: Michael Bay
Starring: Sean Connery (66), Nicolas Cage (32), Ed Harris (46)

In The Rock, a rogue general and a group of U.S. Marines plan to use biological weapons and take over Alcatraz. An ex-con and FBI chemist must lead the counterattack and prevent destruction. This action-packed blockbuster is one of the biggest financial successes of Nicolas Cage’s career, grossing over $335 million and considered one of the biggest hit films of the 1990s.

8. Con Air (1997)

Con Air | June 6, 1997 (United States) Summary: Newly-paroled ex-con and former U.S. Ranger Cameron Poe finds himself trapped in a prisoner-transport plane when the passengers seize control.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English, Spanish

Genre: Action, Thriller
Director: Simon West
Starring: Nicolas Cage (33), John Cusack (31), John Malkovich (44)

A highly decorated US ranger is convicted of killing a man while protecting his wife in a drunken brawl. Seven years later, he is granted parole. However, he finds himself trapped on a prisoner transport plane when the prisoners take control of the aircraft. The US Marshal is left with no choice but to either seek Cameron’s help or shoot the plane down.

Many of us love seeing Nicolas Cage in a tough guy role, and this is as tough as it gets (well, next to “Kiss of Death” where he plays a mobster). The movie was a box office success, grossing over $224 million, and according to the votes on ranker.com, it’s the best Nicolas Cage movie.

9. Face/Off (1997)

Face/Off | June 27, 1997 (United States) Summary: To foil a terrorist plot, FBI agent Sean Archer assumes the identity of the criminal Castor Troy who murdered his son through facial transplant surgery, but the crook wakes up prematurely an... Read all
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English, Latin

Genre: Sci-Fi, Action
Director: John Woo
Starring: John Travolta (43), Nicolas Cage (33), Joan Allen (41)

Another Nicolas Cage blockbuster from the 90s. An FBI agent undergoes facial transplant surgery and takes on the physical appearance of a terrorist to foil an extortion plan. However, things take an unexpected turn when the terrorist himself decides to impersonate the FBI agent.

10. Snake Eyes (1998)

Snake Eyes | August 7, 1998 (United States) Summary: A shady police detective finds himself in the middle of a murder conspiracy at an important boxing match in an Atlantic City casino.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

Genre: Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Director: Brian De Palma
Starring: Nicolas Cage (34), Gary Sinise (43)

In the midst of a boxing match in an Atlantic City casino, a spectator is suddenly found dead. Rick Santoro, a corrupt cop who was also in the audience, becomes embroiled in this murder and must uncover the identity of the killer. The movie is both written and directed by Brian De Palma, and you can’t go wrong with De Palma. Add Nicolas Cage’s energetic performance, and you have a good movie.

11. Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)

Gone in 60 Seconds | June 9, 2000 (United States) Summary: A retired master car thief must come back to the industry and steal fifty cars with his crew in one night to save his brother's life.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Director: Dominic Sena
Starring: Nicolas Cage (36), Angelina Jolie (25), Giovanni Ribisi (26)

Before Fast & Furious, there was Gone in 60 Seconds. It’s an excellent heist film. Cage plays a legendary retired car thief who is forced to return to his old profession and steal 50 cars in a single night to save his brother’s life. The movie was a commercial success, grossing over $237 million.

12. The Family Man (2000)

The Family Man | December 22, 2000 (United States) Summary: A fast-lane investment broker, offered the opportunity to see how the other half lives, wakes up to find that his sports car and girlfriend have become a mini-van and wife.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English, Italian

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Director: Brett Ratner
Starring: Nicolas Cage (36), Téa Leoni (34), Don Cheadle (36)

Nicolas Cage plays fast-lane investment broker Jack Campbell who finds himself perplexed when he wakes up one day to find his life transformed completely. His Ferrari has been replaced with a mini-van and his girlfriend is now his wife. Unexpectedly, Jack begins to settle into his new life and realizes what he was missing.

13. Windtalkers (2002)

Windtalkers | June 14, 2002 (United States) Summary: Two U.S. Marines in World War II are assigned to protect Navajo Marines, who use their native language as an unbreakable radio cypher.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English, Navajo, Japanese

Genre: War, Action, Drama
Director: John Woo
Starring: Nicolas Cage (38), Adam Beach (30), Christian Slater (33)

During World War II, US Intelligence desperately searches for a foolproof encryption code. Two men are assigned to use their native language, Navajo, as the encryption code to protect the Marines and fight the battle to take Saipan.

Windtalkers is a good war movie featuring Nicolas Cage at his best. The directing is outstanding, as one would expect from Mr. Woo. IMDb is closest to the truth in this case as they rank the movie among the top 10 best Nicolas Cage movies.

14. Matchstick Men (2003)

Matchstick Men | September 12, 2003 (United States) Summary: A phobic con artist and his protégé are on the verge of pulling off a lucrative swindle when the former's teenage daughter arrives unexpectedly.
Countries: United States, United KingdomLanguages: English

Genre: Comedy, Crime
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Nicolas Cage (39), Alison Lohman (24), Sam Rockwell (35)

Frank and Roy, a couple of professional con artists, are sailing through life just fine until Roy’s daughter unexpectedly comes into the picture. While Roy learns to develop affection for his long-lost daughter, she begins to question her dad’s evasive career. With Ridley Scott as the director and a top-notch performance by Nicolas Cage with all his phobias and tics, a good result is inevitable.

15. National Treasure (2004)

National Treasure | November 19, 2004 (United States) Summary: A historian races to find the legendary Templar Treasure before a team of mercenaries.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English, Spanish, German

Genre: Adventure, Family
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Starring: Nicolas Cage (40), Diane Kruger (28), Justin Bartha (26)

Benjamin has known since childhood that his lineage is one of the protectors of a treasure hidden by their ancestors. But when he learns of a plot to steal the treasure, he decides to take matters into his own hands. However, things take an unexpected turn when the FBI becomes involved in the scheme.

‘National Treasure’ is a thrilling entertainment option for the entire family. It was the second-biggest box office success in Nicolas Cage’s career, grossing over $347 million worldwide.

16. Lord of War (2005)

Lord of War | September 16, 2005 (United States) Summary: An arms dealer confronts the morality of his work as he is being chased by an INTERPOL Agent.
Countries: United States, Germany, France, Zambia, Italy, Denmark, United KingdomLanguages: English, Ukrainian, German, Spanish, Russian, French, Arabic, Turkish

Genre: Crime, Drama
Director: Andrew Niccol
Starring: Nicolas Cage (41), Ethan Hawke (35), Jared Leto (34)

An arms dealer is facing an internal crisis as he starts to question the morality of his actions, while also attempting to escape a pursuing Interpol agent. Lord of War is an excellent film. After Adaptation, it is the second-highest-rated Nicolas Cage movie on IMDb, and for good reason. It’s one of our personal favorites.

17. The Weather Man (2005)

The Weather Man | October 28, 2005 (United States) Summary: A Chicago weather man, separated from his wife and children, debates whether professional and personal success are mutually exclusive.
Countries: United States, GermanyLanguages: English

Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director: Gore Verbinski
Starring: Nicolas Cage (41), Hope Davis, Nicholas Hoult

David Spritz (played by Nicolas Cage) is a successful weatherman, but his personal life is in shambles. He has an ex-wife who harbors ill feelings towards him, a father who is on his deathbed and is disappointed with him, and he doesn’t know how to connect with his children. To cope with the stress and find peace, he takes up archery. When a tempting job offer comes his way, he must decide whether to further his career or try to repair his family relationships.

18. National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)

National Treasure: Book of Secrets | December 21, 2007 (United States) Summary: Benjamin Gates must follow a clue left in John Wilkes Booth's diary to prove his ancestor's innocence in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English, French

Genre: Adventure, Family
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Starring: Nicolas Cage (43), Diane Kruger (31), Justin Bartha (29)

Years after Benjamin Gates discovered the treasure and became rich, he must follow a clue in John Booth’s diary that leads to a lost city of gold. He must also stay ahead of Mitch, another treasure hunter following the same clue. With over $457 million at the box office, this movie is to this day the biggest success among Nicolas Cage movies (not counting The Croods which is an animated movie).

19. Knowing (2009)

Knowing | March 20, 2009 (United States) Summary: M.I.T. professor John Koestler links a mysterious list of numbers from a time capsule to past and future disasters and sets out to prevent the ultimate catastrophe.
Countries: United States, United Kingdom, AustraliaLanguages: English

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Director: Alex Proyas
Starring: Nicolas Cage (45), Chandler Canterbury, Rose Byrne

Astrophysicist John Koestler (played by Nicolas Cage) is intrigued by a series of numbers his son received from a time capsule at school. Determined to decipher the code, John discovers that the numbers are dates and locations of disasters that have occurred or will occur over the next 50 years, along with the number of deaths for each event.

He decides to reach out to the daughter of the girl who wrote the numbers 50 years ago and together they attempt to warn people of the impending disasters. The situation becomes even more strange when John’s son begins to experience visions of destruction and hears voices from a mysterious visitor.

20. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans | December 11, 2009 (United States) Summary: Terence McDonagh is a drug- and gambling-addled detective in post-Katrina New Orleans investigating the killing of five Senegalese immigrants.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English, Spanish

Genre: Crime, Drama
Director: Werner Herzog
Starring: Nicolas Cage (45), Eva Mendes (35)

Detective Terence McDonagh investigates the murder of an African-American family while struggling with drug addiction. The situation takes an unexpected turn when he tries to find a solution to his growing debts and teams up with drug dealers. It is definitely one of the top ten Nicolas Cage movies. Cage has performed exceptionally well in this film.

21. Joe (2013)

Joe | April 11, 2014 (United States) Summary: An ex-con, who is the unlikeliest of role models, meets a 15-year-old boy and is faced with the choice of redemption or ruin.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

Genre: Crime, Drama
Director: David Gordon Green
Starring: Nicolas Cage (49), Tye Sheridan

An ex-convict, who is far from being a role model, crosses paths with a 15-year-old boy and learns about his abusive home life. Initially dismissing any urge to get involved, he finally decides to take matters into his own hands. This movie features another great performance by Nicolas Cage. It’s probably one of the best Nicolas Cage movies in the last 10 years.

22. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022)

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent | April 22, 2022 (United States) Summary: Moviestar Nick Cage is channeling his iconic characters as he's caught between a superfan and a CIA agent.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English, Spanish

Genre: Action, Comedy
Director: David Gordon Green
Starring: Nicolas Cage (58), Pedro Pascal (46), Tiffany Haddish (42)

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is the latest action comedy starring Nicolas Cage. He plays himself, an actor who is struggling with his career as major film roles are passing him by, and he is planning to retire. Pedro Pascal plays a billionaire playboy and Nicolas Cage superfan who wants his favorite actor to attend his birthday party. With everything going on in his career and personal life, Nicolas accepts the million-dollar offer to attend the party. This movie managed to get on the top 15 highest-rated Nicolas Cage movies on IMDb.

Here it is. This is our list of the best Nicolas Cage movies. It has been carefully crafted and many factors were considered in its creation. So, if you want to explore Nicolas Cage’s filmography at its best, these are the movies to start with.

15 Best Nicolas Cage Movies According to IMDb

According to IMDb, these are the 15 best Nicolas Cage movies in the lead role:

  • Adaptation. (2002) – 7.7
  • Lord of War (2005) – 7.6
  • Leaving Las Vegas (1995) – 7.5
  • The Rock (1996) – 7.4
  • Face/Off (1997) – 7.3
  • Raising Arizona (1987) – 7.3
  • Matchstick Men (2003) – 7.3
  • Wild at Heart (1990) – 7.2
  • Moonstruck (1987) – 7.1
  • Red Rock West (1993) – 7.0
  • The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent – 7.0
  • National Treasure (2004) – 6.9
  • Con Air (1997) – 6.9
  • Pig (2021) – 6.9
  • The Family Man (2000) – 6.8

15 Best Nicolas Cage Movies According to Box Office

  • National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007) – $457 million
  • National Treasure (2004) – $347 million
  • The Rock (1996) – $335 million
  • Face/Off (1997) – $245 million
  • Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) – $237 million
  • Ghost Rider (2007) – $228 million
  • Con Air (1997) – $225 million
  • The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010) – $215 million
  • Knowing (2009) – $201 million
  • City of Angels (1998) – $198 million
  • World Trade Center (2006) – $165 million
  • Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011) – $132 million
  • The Family Man (2000) – $125 million
  • Snake Eyes (1998) – $104 million
  • 8MM (1999) – $96 million

ALSO CHECK: Best Tom Cruise Movies of All Time

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