Nicolas Cage’s Top Performances Ranked

Sharing is caring!

Nicolas Cage is one of those performers that people either hate or love. He has a distinct style, and this is one of the things that rubs some people the wrong way—especially critics, who are often very brutal with him. Interestingly, critics and audiences frequently disagree about his best and worst films. While this is not uncommon, for Nicolas Cage’s work, the division is much wider than usual.

Not So Humble Beginnings

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Born Nicolas Kim Coppola on January 7, 1964, he has connections directly to the cinema dynasty; his uncle is director Francis Ford Coppola. Wanting to succeed independently without any special treatment because of his family, he changed his surname to Nicolas Cage. Despite this, he quickly started receiving roles at age 17.

The Good, The Bad, and The Weird

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Nicolas Cage’s career has been filled with quirky choices, but that hasn’t diminished his popularity. In fact, it seems to enhance his appeal to audiences. There’s an aspect of “what will he do next” to this. His unpredictability contributes to how critics view him but only adds to the overall mythology around him. Like John Malkovich before him, he heightens his mythology by playing an over-the-top version of himself in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. This brings us back to the disparity, so here are the films that critics and audiences most liked and the ones they most disagreed upon.

1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

The most equally beloved film by both critics and watchers has Nicolas Cage in the role of Spider-Man Noir, as a multitude of Spider-Men discover each other’s existence and work together to close a rift between their worlds. His role is small but memorable.

2. Pig (2021)

Photo Credit: AI-Film.

Nicolas Cage plays reclusive truffle hunter Robin Feld, who must return to the city to try and recover his kidnapped truffle pig. There, he must work with former allies and adversaries to solve the kidnapping. Critics almost unanimously loved the film, while moviegoers were only slightly less impressed.

Follow us on MSN to see more of our exclusive entertainment content.

3. Raising Arizona (1987)

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Upon leaving prison, “Hi” McDunnough (Nicolas Cage) marries the cop who often took his mug shot. Together, they decide to raise a family, but due to infertility, they cannot. This begins Hi’s return to a criminal life when they kidnap an infant, and a convoluted tale ensues involving a perverted boss, a distraught family, and a monstrous bounty hunter.

4. Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

Photo Credit: United Artists.

Ben Sanderson (Nicolas Cage) has pushed everyone away due to his alcoholism. Using his severance check from his screenwriting job, he travels to Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets streetwalker Sera, and they begin a firestorm relationship. Critics enjoyed Raising Arizona and Leaving Las Vegas at a 9 to 1 ratio, while viewers were slightly less impressed at 8 to 1.

5. Face/Off (1997)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Nicolas Cage plays terrorist mastermind Castor Troy, whose nemesis is FBI agent Sean Archer (John Travolta). When Castor ends up in a coma before revealing the location of a bomb, Archer agrees to a face transplant so he can trick Castor’s brother into revealing the location. But Castor wakes up and forces the doctor to put Archer’s face on him, creating confusion for both sides. Fans love the versatility of him playing both Castor and Archer; two sides of the same coin.

6. Adaptation (2002)

Photo Credit: Sony Pictures.

Nicolas Cage plays twin brothers Charlie and Donald Kaufman. Charlie is a neurotic screenwriter trying to pen a script from an unadaptable book; Donald is a confident extrovert freeloading off Charlie. Both get drawn into a web woven by the book’s author. Critics enjoyed Adaptation and Face/Off at a 9 to 1 ratio, while viewers were slightly less impressed at 8 to 1.

7. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022)

Photo Credit: Lionsgate.

Nicolas Cage plays a fictionalized version of himself who falls in with a billionaire playboy who idolizes him. Audiences and critics both agree at almost a 9 to 1 ratio that his performance is a winner. The plot is outlandish, with kidnappings, car chases, and murder, but it works.

Follow us on MSN to see more of our exclusive entertainment content.

8. Red Rock West (1993)

Photo Credit: Propaganda Films.

Nicolas Cage plays drifter Michael Williams, who is mistaken for a hitman in this modern western/noir film. The convoluted plot involving his character, the one who hires him, the victim, and the actual hitman makes this the highest-rated film with critics, while audiences liked it at a 3 to 1 ratio.

9. Moonstruck (1987)

Photo Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Self-deprecating widow Loretta Castorini (Cher) is all set to marry Johnny Cammareri (Danny Aiello), but first, he must go to Italy to console his dying mother. While he’s gone, she takes it upon herself to approach Johnny’s estranged brother Ronny (Nicolas Cage) about attending the wedding but finds herself falling in love with him instead. Critics like this 9 to 1, while fans are less forgiving at 4 to 1.

10. The Croods: A New Age (2020)

Photo Credit: DreamWorks Animation.

The Crood patriarch Grug (Nicolas Cage) and family are still looking for a comfortable place to live, which leads them to a wall—literally. On the other side, they discover the perfect home, but also the Betterman family, who don’t want them there. This movie is one of those rare cases where the sequel is more well-liked than the original, even though its box office was considerably lower.

11. Color Out of Space (2019)

Photo Credit: ACE Pictures Entertainment.

The first newer film on the list is based on the H.P. Lovecraft story of the same name and takes place in his Cthulhu universe. When a meteor lands in the Nathan Gardner (Nicolas Cage) family’s yard, each member begins to have strange experiences centered on the nearby well. Critics liked this one slightly better than filmgoers, but it is still close.

Follow us on MSN to see more of our exclusive entertainment content.

12. Birdy (1984)

Photo Credit: TriStar Pictures.

The story is about two neighbors, Birdy (Matthew Modine) and Al (Nicolas Cage), who become lifelong friends. They grow up together and end up apart, but their Vietnam War injuries bring them back together. Filmgoers and critics are dead even on this one.

13. Kick-Ass (2010)

Photo Credit: Lionsgate.

Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) wants to be a superhero. He bites off more than he can chew when he hooks up with Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage), a former cop who is so bent on bringing down a crime boss that he’s trained his preteen daughter Mindy (Chloë Grace Moretz) to be a vigilante.


14. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

Photo Credit: Universal Films.

This coming-of-age film for the stoner generation has Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn) facing off with history teacher Mr. Hand (Ray Walston), while Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh) gets caught up in a love triangle. Nicolas Cage’s part is small but memorable, with a ratio of 4 to 1 positive vs. negative reviews.

15. Rumble Fish (1983)

Photo Credit: Zoetrope Studios.

The story of an aimless boy and his equally aimless friends who aspire to follow in his brother’s gangland footsteps deserves mention as the film that made Nicolas Cage a star. More than that, it was also a star-maker for Matt Dillon and Chris Penn. Four out of five critics and filmgoers liked it equally.


Fan Favorite: Becoming Iconic (2018)

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

This documentary about eight actors’ first experiences behind the camera as directors is the favorite film featuring Nicolas Cage for viewers. Still, the critics brutalized it, splitting evenly on whether it is worth a watch.

Follow us on MSN to see more of our exclusive entertainment content.

Highest Grossing: National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Interestingly, Nicolas Cage’s highest-grossing film doesn’t make it to the top films in either the critic or audience list. While taking in 220 million, only 1 out of 3 critics and 2 out of 3 fans approve. This sequel has Ben Gates (Cage) trying to solve a Civil War cipher from John Wilkes Booth’s diary.

Biggest Disagreement: Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000)

Photo Credit: Touchstone Pictures.

Former car thief Memphis Raines (Nicolas Cage) comes out of retirement to steal fifty cars to save his brother’s life. While not a fan-favorite role for the actor, 75% of viewers liked it, while the same percentage of critics hated it.

No Role, But a Wide Divide: The Life of David Gale (2003)

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

While only co-produced by Nicolas Cage, the film with the most prominent split between moviegoers and critics is It follows a death row inmate who claims he was falsely accused of murder after years of campaigning against the death penalty. Critics felt it was convoluted and implausible, only favoring it 1 to 4, while watchers almost unanimously enjoyed it.

Most Universally Hated: 211 (2018)

Photo Credit: Millennium Films.

Almost universally hated, with a viewer score of only 11% and an even lower critic score faceof just 4%. Nicolas Cage plays a police officer with a civilian teenager in tow who gets caught up in the crossfire of a violent bank heist.

Follow us on MSN to see more of our exclusive entertainment content.

Staying Power

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Regardless of whether critics and fans agree about a film, one thing is certain. Over forty years into his career, Nicolas Cage remains a popular actor with both factions. Still, they might not want to go to all of his films together.

20 Timeless Black and White Films That We Absolutely Love

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

So we’re sharing our top black-and-white films with you today! From the contained drama of 12 Angry Men to the eerie Nosferatu and the heart-achy Casablanca, we’re rounding up 20 of the myriad old films that have made it to the status of legends; whether they’re can’t-miss classics or films with a niche cult following, they’re all excellent in some way.

20 Timeless Black and White Films That We Absolutely Love


20 Hilarious Movies That Aren’t Actually Comedies

Photo Credit: Vertigo Films.

Just because a movie is not in the comedy category does not mean it cannot be funny. These movies latched onto that belief and injected a healthy dose of comedy into other genres.

20 Hilarious Movies That Aren’t Actually Comedies


Similar Posts