Nicolas Cage is the kind of actor you either like or you don’t. No real middle ground here and polarizing is probably the word that best describes him. He won an Oscar in 1996 for Leaving Las Vegas and is the nephew of famous director Francis Ford Coppola (his real name is Nicolas Kim Coppola). Also according to IMDB trivia he got Johnny Depp his first acting job.
Nicolas Cage plays Johnny Blaze in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance now in theaters, so I think this is as good a time as ever to recap his top 10 most successful movies worldwide, unadjusted for inflation.
10. Knowing (2009) $183.6 million – The first hit for distributor Summit Entertainment outside of their famous Twilight franchise, Knowing was somewhat of a surprise considering most expected it to bomb. You won’t remember the plot a few months from now but Knowing is still an interesting sci-fi thriller, one of the better movies of Nicolas Cage’s career.
9. City of Angels (1998) $198.7 million – What happens when you bring together rom-com sweetheart at the time Meg Ryan and action star Nicolas Cage? Well City of Angels is what, a bitter-sweet fantasy romantic drama about an angel (Nicolas Cage) that falls in love for a human (Meg Ryan). It’s a good movie, watch it if you haven’t already.
8. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010) $215.3 million – After the success they had with the National Treasure series, prolific producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Jon Turteltaub, and actor Nicolas Cage teamed up once again to deliver this film inspired by a famous Mickey Mouse short. The end result leaves more than a few things to be desired but ultimately it will entertain the younger ones and won’t bore their parents as much as other similar kid flicks.
7. Con Air (1997) $224 million – Now this is one of my personal favorites. Here Nicolas Cage is a genuine badass, John Malkovich makes for a fantastic villain, while Steve Buscemi plays one of the most memorable psychopaths. Don’t know what you have but “he’s got the whole world in his hands”.
6. Ghost Rider (2007) $228.7 million – Nicolas Cage had been after this part for a very long time so finally getting the chance to play Johnny Blaze in 2007’s Ghost Rider must have been a dream come true for him. For just about everybody else it’s more like a nightmare. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating here; it’s not that bad actually.
5. Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) $237.2 million – I remember being really into this back then and I can see why. Cool cars, action, Angelina Jolie, you know the rest. The film hasn’t exactly aged well but it still features a really good car chase sequence at the end and if you’re a gearhead you owe it to yourself to see at least that part.
4. Face/Off (1997) $245.7 million – This is in my honest opinion one of the best pure action flicks of all time. Directed by John Woo, Face/Off puts a twist on the usual cop after criminal scenario. Here the good guy has to become the bad guy and I’ll leave it at that, the rest you must see for yourself.
3. The Rock (1996) $335.1 million – Without a doubt the 1996-1997 period was the best of Nicolas Cage’s career. The second big screen movie for director Michael Bay and arguably his best effort to date, The Rock is a fantastic flick. It was this, Face/Off, and Con Air that made me a Nicolas Cage fan.
2. National Treasure (2004) $347.5 million – This is an entertaining action-adventure where Nicolas Cage plays Benjamin Franklin Gates, a treasure hunter. In his search for a long lost mythical treasure he discovers that the next and possibly final clue to said treasure is hidden on the back of the declaration of independence. A good film, worth your time.
1. National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007) $457.4 million – Direct sequel to the original, Book of Secrets tried the bigger-means-better approach and for the most part it failed. It’s still a worthy follow-up but with some of the charm lost along the way. If you liked National Treasure there’s no reason not to check this one out. A third entry is scheduled for 2014 with most of the original cast returning according to IMDB.
Before getting into trashy films Nicolas Cage used to be in some pretty great movies more often than not, particularly older stuff like Peggy Sue Got Married, Raising Arizona, It Could Happen to You or Leaving Las Vegas, all worth your time if you can find them. Then there are some newer ones like World Trade Center, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, and the crazy Kick-Ass. So yeah, with Nicolas Cage it’s worth navigating your way around his bad flicks since you never know when you might stumble upon something really good.
So what is your favorite or least favorite Nicolas Cage movie?