Nicolas Cage in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

All Nic Cage Movies Are the Best Nic Cage Movies but Let’s Try and Rank Some

Some of the best movies to watch are Nic Cage movies. Why? Because you really do never know what you’re going to get. The actor, who managed to break Abed in Community with his body of work, has been making films for the last 40 years, and there are a lot of bangers. Sure, there are some Nicolas Cage movies that we maybe should skip on a watch-through or ones that just don’t sadly hold up to the test of time. But then…there are the gems that keep us all coming back to Cage and his work.

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While I went through a great many of them before the release of The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, there are still so many gems that just make Cage a fascinating actor to work through, and so, here is my list of Nicolas Cage movies ranked in order of one that’s fun to watch to a must-see!

City of Angels

Meg Ryan in City of Angels
Warner Bros.

Granted, I probably watched this way too young but City of Angels is one of the earliest Cage movies I remember seeing (it was the 90s and I was the youngest child—there came a time when my parents stopped caring what I watched with them). The movie stars Cage as Seth, an “angel who wanders the Los Angeles area invisible to humans,” who eventually falls in love with Meg Ryan’s Maggie, a heart surgeon who he is willing to give up his immortality for.

What I really remember about this movie is that this is the reason we have the amazing “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls. Get it? He’d give up forever to touch her.

Gone In 60 Seconds

Nic Cage in Gone in 60 Seconds

Like fast cars? Like that gif of Nic Cage thinking with his hands? Well, then Gone In 60 Seconds is a must-see. It falls into that weird era of Cage movies where you’re not quite sure whether or not it’s good but you don’t really care either way because it’s fun and it’s Cage doing his thing so you just run with it. Plus, it also has Angelina Jolie and Giovanni Ribisi so even if the movie makes no sense (makes a modicum of sense), the cast alone makes it a draw.

And I don’t know, I don’t want to credit this movie with the success of the Fast & Furious franchise, but it did come out a year before the first one—so it kicked off our obsession with movies that have cars in them.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

Nic Cage in National Treasure 2

Look, I could not in good conscious put one National Treasure on this list and not the other (spoiler alert, the other is on here later). These movies have been meme’d, talked about, and they’re getting a spin-off series, and while I love Riley (Justin Bartha) a lot, they’re the Benjamin Franklin Gates show. Who thought a movie about stealing the Declaration of Independence would end up being the greatest thing god has given us mere mortals?

The second movie is obviously not as good as the first (no Sean Bean) but we do get the addition of Ed Harris and another journey of Ben, Riley, and Abigail (Diane Krueger), and that’s enough for any Cage fan.

Ghost Rider

Nic Cage in Ghost Rider
(Columbia Pictures)

JOHNNY BLAZEEEEEEE. I love Johnny Blaze, I think he’s fascinating, and also, it’s hilarious that a stunt man becomes a super-powered being who can catch on fire with a skull head. No notes! Perfection! While I am team Ryan Gosling for the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of the character (only if Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. actor Gabriel Luna is busy), I wouldn’t be mad if Nicolas Cage was just constantly playing Johnny Blaze.

This movie is arguably bad, I’m not going to pretend, but it’s also batshit in a way that makes it so entertaining you just can’t stop rewatching it. So Ghost Rider hive, we still ride on.


Nic Cage in Con-Air

Ask any Cage historian of a movie that you must watch in his filmography and Con-Air is on the list. And for good reason, it’s a wild ride. The movie is simple: Cameron Poe went to jail right before his daughter was born and is being paroled finally. On his way back home to meet her, he’s on a plane dubbed “Jailbird” that is quickly overturned by the convicts on the flight. Despite him trying to reason with those in charge, he’s forced into playing along in order to get out of the plane ride home alive and to his daughter.

Quickly frankly, it’s a good time. It’s action-packed, weird, and you’ll see a moment of Cage with long hair and go “Oh my god THAT’S where that gif is from?” in this and that’s really all we need to watch something in 2022.

National Treasure

Nic Cage in National Treasure

The trusted, the brilliant, the perfection that is National Treasure is something that fans of Nicolas Cage cling to like it will lead us to the hidden gold itself. The movie introduced us to Benjamin Franklin Gates as he tried to find the truth behind a legend he was told his entire life. When it is revealed to him that he’s right and that his family’s history is true, he begins a quest to steal the Declaration of Independence, and thus, a classic is born.

The movie is one that is obviously fun and something we all should revisit on the Fourth of July, but it’s also just exciting to see Nic Cage in a movie like this—having fun with the character he’s playing. Benjamin Franklin Gates is an icon for a reason.

The Rock

Nic Cage in The Rock

Look, obviously there are some classics that I’ve included in this list for a reason, like The Rock. Breaking into Alcatraz? Perfection. And getting to see Nic Cage team up with Sean Connery is something that probably sounds baffling on paper, and then you see it in actuality, and it is still baffling but very fun to watch.

The premise is simple: An ex-con and a chemist have to join together to take on military men using Alcatraz as their base for a nerve gas attack. Okay, not that simple, but still something that keeps us all on the edge of our seats.


Nic Cage in Pig

Don’t touch a man’s pig.

Did you want another John Wick-style movie where a man’s pet is taken from him and he enacts revenge? Well, this is not that, but it is about a truffle hunter, who lives by himself with his pig, and when someone steals the pig from him, he forces one of his buyers to help him search for the pig. It is such a Nicolas Cage movie, in the best of ways, that you’re invested in him finding this pig and want to help him, despite, you know, the reality of this movie being that a man is angry someone took his pet.

Pig does have an absolutely brilliant performance from Cage that mirrors my number one pick (in the sense that Cage is back, not that he went anywhere).


Nic Cage in Adaptation
Columbia Pictures

Don’t watch this movie if you’re not ready to question your life and your creativity. I was warned before watching it and I still was completely wrecked by the end of it. It features Nic Cage in two separate roles (he’s playing twin brothers), and also, has a strange backstory that extends into the creation of the film and is genuinely fascinating to look into after seeing it.

Written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Spike Jonze, the film stars Cage as Charlie Kaufman and his twin brother Donald, both writers, and we follow as Charlie struggles with his next project. It’s twisted and strange but also just hits.


Nic Cage in Kick-ASs
Marv Films

What’s better than superheroes? Nic Cage in a superhero movie. Kick-Ass is why men in the world know Aaron Taylor-Johnson and it brought us a movie where a kid wanted to be a superhero—and was willing to do whatever it took to get there, despite whether or not he had any kind of powers to do so. Cage plays Big Daddy, and we get to see him in the midst of the superheroes—a role that Cage was frankly destined to play.

Kick-Ass is fun and has a big fanbase for a reason.


nic cage in face/off

This is probably the first Nicolas Cage movie I’d ever seen and is also one of the best. The movie’s premise is that the terrorist Castor Troy is planning an attack, but the FBI needs to figure out when it’s happening, and so, using new technology, FBI agent Sean Archer (John Travolta) goes undercover as Castor Troy. By new technology I mean they fully swap faces.

This ends up being a problem when the real Castor Troy wakes up and begins living his life as Sean Archer—causing problems for the real Sean Archer. So yes, this movie is, on paper, completely off the rails, and the movie itself is off the rails too but it’s a fun time from start to finish.


nic cage in moonstruck

Nicolas Cage was in movies prior to Moonstruck and people knew him (if not from his other work then for Raising Arizona which was out earlier that same year) but boy oh boy does this one change the game. Cage plays Ronny, the brother of Loretta’s (Cher) fiance, and the man that she is drawn to despite her love for Johnny. The movie is a love letter to New York City, Italian families, and is just a perfect romantic comedy that you can watch over and over again and not get tired of it.

The film earned Cher an Oscar and is genuinely one of the best romantic films in the world. It’s weird, and yet, you still are just captivated by it every time you watch it. Cage’s performance as Ronny is so incredibly charming that you can’t help but love him.

Raising Arizona

20th Century

One of the best Coen Brothers movies, Raising Arizona brings us Cage as H.I. McDunnough, a convict who falls in love with a police officer and ends up getting out of prison and living with her. When Edwina (Holly Hunter) finds out that they can’t have kids, something she really longs for, H.I. takes matters into his own hands and decides that he can steal a baby from a wealthy couple—who had too many babies at once—he figures.

Chaos ensues and it’s a classic Coen Brothers adventure—mixed with hilarious performances from both Cage and Hunter—that just really makes this one of the best, in not only the Coen Brothers’, catalog but also in Cage’s filmography.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Nic Cage in Spider-Verse

If it wasn’t for Cage’s extensive list of movies, this would be number one. But it did feel strange putting a smaller voice-over role as his number one performance, so that’s the only reason why it is in the second slot and not the first. Because Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a perfect movie. Following Miles Morales and his journey to becoming Spider-Man, we get to meet a slew of Spider-Mans from other universes including Spider-Noir, voiced by Nicolas Cage.

He’s in black and white (despite the world around him being in color) and he’s basically a noir detective, but it works and is a hilarious look into the character as a whole. And Cage brings a phenomenal performance to the role.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Nic Cage in Unbearable Weight

And my number one pick is the latest movie in the Cage catalog—The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. It’s a perfect pick because it is a movie dedicated to the world of Nicolas Cage, and in the movie, he plays Nic Cage. So, yeah, obviously this had to be the go-to for the number one slot.

The movie has Nic going to the birthday party of his number one fan, Javi (Pedro Pascal), and when the FBI tells Nic that they think Javi has kidnapped a young girl, and he has to help find her, it becomes a game of pretending to be friends with Javi while also slowly realizing that this man couldn’t be the one who did it. It’s about friendship, finding your own footing, and, of course, being Nic Cage.


And that concludes the list and now I truly do feel like Abed in Community, when he’s fully just broken because of Nic Cage movies. Will I ever recover? OR will I crawl on a desk and say “I’m a cat” like Abed? Who is to say?

Abed pretending to be Nic Cage in Community

(image: Lionsgate)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.