21 Best Nicolas Cage Movies of All Time

It’s not an easy task to pick a list of the best Nicolas Cage movies. He stared in over 80 movies and he has done it all, from action movies and science fiction to dramas 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 not-so-great movies, he is still interesting to watch.

After winning an Academy Award and Golden Globe award for Leaving Las Vegas (1995) and starring in huge action movie blockbusters in the 90’s (The Rock, Con Air, Face/Off), he became a superstar. His highest-grossing films are yet to come in the next decade (National Treasure in 2004 and National Treasure: Book of Secrets in 2007).

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If you want to experience Nicolas Cage at his best, this is the list for you. Here is our pick for best Nicolas Cage movies (ordered by release date):

1. Raising Arizona (1987)

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 police woman (Hunter) unable to conceive a baby and desperately in need for 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.

There are no best Nicolas Cage movies list without this one. Matthew McConaughey once said somewhere that this is the movie he watched the most times.

2. Moonstruck (1987)

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

Italian-American widow Loretta (Cher) believes that her first marriage was cursed and decides to redo everything her own way for the 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. We definitely wouldn’t put this movie that high, but it’s certainly in the top 20. It was nominated for six Oscars and won three: Best Screenplay, Best Actress (Cher), and Best Supporting Actress. Cage has earned Golden Globe nomination for this movie.

3. Honeymoon in Vegas (1992)

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 Casino Resort, a wealthy gambler Tommy Korman (James Caan) notices Betsy and he is immediately attracted to her because she reminds him of his late wife Donna. Korman decides to arrange a poker game where Jack will end up losing $65,000. The debt will be cleared if Jack agrees to borrow his fiancee Betsy for a weekend with Korman. Since there is no other way out, she accepts. When Jack changes his mind he starts to pursue his fiancee, but Korman will do everything to delay his interference, making it look like he doesn’t care about Betsy.

4. Red Rock West (1993)

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

After being discharged from a Marine Corps due to injury, Michael finds himself living in his car and wandering around, looking for work. Upon arriving into small town Red Rock, he’s mistaken for a hitman by Wayne, a local bar owner. Michael then decides to take advantage of the situation, but soon realize that he made a big mistake.

An excellent thriller from the 90’s with a lot of plot turns and Nicolas Cage at his best. It’s one of those movies that you know you will like right from the start (In one of the first scenes Cage does one hand push ups in the middle of the road, I mean come-on). Many of us jumped on a Nic Cage train with this movie. It’s one of the best Nicolas Cage movies for sure.

5. It Could Happen to You (1994)

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

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

6. Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

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

Cage plays a suicidal alcoholic who arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets a prostitute Sera, and their lives beautifully intertwine. It’s a story about pain, destruction, loneliness, hopelessness, but also about love. For the role in this movie Nicolas Cage received Academy Award and Golden Globe Award. The movie is also nominated for Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Director.

7. The Rock (1996)

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

When a renegade general and his group of U.S. marines decide to use biological weapons and take over Alcatraz – an ex-con and FBI chemist must lead the counterstrike and prevent destruction. The Rock is one of the biggest blockbuster action films of the 90’s. It is also one of the biggest financial success among Nicolas Cage movies, grossing over $335 million.

8. Con Air (1997)

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

A highly decorated US ranger is convicted of of killing a man after protecting his wife in a drunken brawl. Seven years pass and he’s finally granted parole. He finds himself trapped in a prisoner transport plane when the criminals take control of the plane. The US Marshall is left with no choice but to, either seeks Cameron’s help, or just shoot the plane down.

Many of us love to see Nicolas Cage in a tough guy role and this is toughest as its get (well, maybe next to Kiss of Death where he is a mob guy). The movie was a box office success, grossing over $224 million. According to the votes on the ranker.com it’s the best Nicolas Cage movie.

9. Face/Off (1997)

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 adopts a terrorists physical appearance to foil an extortion plan. However, things take an unexpected turn when the terrorist himself decides to do the same and impersonate the FBI agent.

10. Snake Eyes (1998)

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 mixed up in this murder and is left to uncover the identity of the killer. The movie is both written and directed by Brian De Palma, and you can go wrong with De Palma. Add to that energetic Nicolas Cage and you got some good movie.

11. Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)

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. An excellent heist film. Cage plays a legendary retired car thief who is coerced to return to his old profession and steal 50 cars in a single night, in order to save his brother’s life. The movie was a commercial success, grossing over $237 million.

12. The Family Man (2000)

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

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

13. Windtalkers (2002)

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

During the WWII, the US Intelligence desperately looks for an encryption code that is foolproof. 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 with Nicolas Cage at his finest. The directing was outstanding, which is to be expected of Mr. Woo. IMDb is closest to the truth with this one as they rank the movie in top 10 best Nicolas Cage movies.

14. Matchstick Men (2003)

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 questions her dad’s evasive career. With Ridley Scott as a director and top Nicolas Cage performance with all his phobias and tics, a good result is inevitable.

15. National Treasure (2004)

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

Benjamin has known since childhood that he comes from a lineage of people whose job was to protect a treasure hidden by the ancestors. But when he learns of a plot to steal this treasure – he decides to steal it himself. However, things take an unexpected turn when the FBI gets involved in the scheme.

National Treasure is real entertainment for the whole family. It was second biggest box office success in Nicolas Cage’s career grossing over $347 million worldwide.

16. Lord of War (2005)

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

An arms dealers faces an internal crisis as he begins to question the morality of his deeds, while also trying to run from a chasing Interpol agent. Lord of War is an excellent movie. After Adaptation, it is second best rated Nicolas Cage movie on IMDb, and for a reason. It’s one of our personal favorite.

17. The Weather Man (2005)

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

David Spritz (Nicolas Cage) is a successful weatherman, but things in his personal life are not going well. He has an ex wife who isn’t too fond of him, a father who is dying and is disappointed with him, and he doesn’t know how to deal with his kids. As a way to handle all this and calm his nerves, he takes up archery. When an attractive job offer is presented to him, he needs to decide whether to pursue the career or try to fix family relations.

18. National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)

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 The Croods which is animated movie).

19. Knowing (2009)

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

Astrophysicist John Koestler (Nicolas Cage), intrigued by a series of numbers his son got from a time capsule in school, decides to decipher the code. What he will find is that the numbers are dates and locations of disasters over a 50-year period. Most of them have already occured, but some are yet to happen. The mysterious list also shows the number of deaths on each event. John decides to contact the daughter of a girl who wrote the numbers 50 years ago and together they will try to warn people about what’s coming. What is also strange is that Jack’s son is starting to hear voices and see visions of destruction shown to him by a mysterious visitor.

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

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

Detective Terence McDonagh investigates the murder of an African family while battling with drug addiction. Things take an unexpected turn when he decides to seek a way out of his mounting debts, and joins forces with drug dealers. It’s in the top ten Nicolas Cage movies for sure. Cage has done an excellent job here.

21. Joe (2013)

Genre: Crime, Drama
Director: David Gordon Green
Starring: Nicolas Cage (49), Tye Sheridan (17)

An ex-con, who is far from being a role model, crosses path with a 15 year old boy and gets wind of his abusive home life. Initially dismissing any urge to get involved – he finally decides to take the matter into his own hands. Another great performance by Cage. If you didn’t watch this one, you really should. It’s one of the latest really good Nicolas Cage movies.

There you go. This is our list for best Nicolas Cage movies. It is carefully crafted and a lot of factors are considered while making it. So if you want to explore Nic’s filmography at his best, these are the movies to start with.

15 Best Nicolas Cage Movies According to IMDb

According to IMDb, these are 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
  • Con Air (1997) – 6.9
  • Joe (2013) – 6.9
  • National Treasure (2004) – 6.8
  • The Family Man (2000) – 6.8
  • Bringing Out the Dead (1999) – 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

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