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15 Best Nicolas Cage Movies, According To Rotten Tomatoes

Because he’s famous for making bad movies, a lot of moviegoers forget about the best Nicolas Cage movies. The gems are hidden among the endless slew of direct-to-video stinkers and phoned-in, formulaic B-actioners, but they are there. Cage is an Academy Award winner who has worked with such legendary directors as the Coen brothers and Martin Scorsese. He can do both dramas like Leaving Las Vegas (the one that won him the Oscar), and comedies, like when he an ultraviolent Batman parody in Kick-Ass.

Updated on May 23rd, 2022 by Danielle Bruncati: In the last decade or so Nicolas Cage has been reduced to a meme actor, but Cage is so much more than talented than his memes give him credit for. In fact, he’s been acting for so long that every generation seems to have a role they associate Cage with. With the success of his latest movie, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, it’s safe to assume the world is going to see a lot more of Nicolas Cage which means we should catch up on some of his other great roles. 

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15 Joe (2013) – 86%

Available On Hulu

In 2013 Nicolas Cage starred in Joean independent crime drama, as Joe Ransom, a foreman of a Texan tree-poising crew who hires a 15-year-old to help the boy get away from his abusive father. The movie was adapted from a Larry Brown novel of the same name.

RELATED: The 10 Best Nicolas Cage Movies, According To Letterboxd

Despite being one of Nicolas Cage’s best performances, the movie was considered a box office flop when it premiered in theaters after a successful film festival run.


14 Color Out Of Space (2019) – 86%

Available On Roku Channel

nicolas cage horror movie color out of space

Color our of Space is based on the short story of the same name written by H.P. Lovecraft. It marked Richard Stanley’s first directing job since he was fired from the 1996 movie The Island of Dr. Moreau. 

Cage plays Nathan Gardner, a family man who happens to own the farm where a giant meteorite crash lands. Nathan and the rest of his family find themselves at war with the extraterrestrial organisms from the meteorite which affect their minds and bodies.


13 The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans (2009) – 86%

Available On Peacock

Nicolas cage plays Terence McDonagh in the 2009 crime drama The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call which, according to the director, has no ties to the 1992 movie Bad Lieutenant. The movie follows Terence McDonagh, a cop with a painkiller addiction who is struggling in every area of life. When he gets assigned to investigate a series of murders, he has to pull himself together to save his city.

The movie premiered at the 66th Venice International Film Festival and went on to win a coveted award. The movie then opened in general release in November 2009.


12 Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) – 86%

Available On HBO Max

Nicolas Cage and Jim Carrey in Peggy Sue Got Married

Directed by Nicolas Cage’s uncle Francis Ford Coppola, Peggy Sue Got Married is a curious take on a time travel story. It’s about a middle-aged woman who is filled with regret over marrying a jerk named Charlie, played by Cage, and wishing her life away. Suddenly, she’s whisked into the past and given the chance to do it all over again and stop herself from marrying Charlie in the first place.

However, in her younger body, she finds herself falling for Charlie’s charms again. What makes the movie work is that it doesn’t focus on the time travel aspect; it focuses on the human aspect.


11 The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent (2022) – 87%

Available To Rent Digitally On June 7th

Pedro Pascal and Nic Cage hide behind a rock

Nicolas Cage plays a heightened version of himself in the action-comedy movie The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent which is currently playing in theaters across the world. On the brink of financial ruin, actor Nick Cage decides to attend a wealthy fan’s birthday party for a million dollars. However, the party quickly becomes more than he bargained for when he gets recruited by a CIA operative and taken on a wild mission.

RELATED: The Best Nicolas Cage Movie References In The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent

The action-comedy is different than Cage’s latest string of movies which tended to be darker in content which might be why it’s becoming a fan favorite. The movie will be available digitally starting June 7th.


10 Leaving Las Vegas (1995) – 89%

Available On Philo

Nicolas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas

This is the movie that won Nicolas Cage his Academy Award for Best Actor. He plays a depressed alcoholic who heads down to Las Vegas to drink himself to death. However, things start to change when he falls in love with a troubled sex worker, played by Elisabeth Shue.

It’s a really heartbreaking movie, with characters that you feel bad for as you follow them into a dark psychological abyss. While most studio movies are shot on 35mm film, Leaving Las Vegas was filmed on super 16mm, which is more common in indie cinema, giving this one a less mainstream feel.


9 Raising Arizona (1987) – 90%

Available On Paramount+

Nicolas Cage in Raising Arizona

The Coen brothers’ sophomore effort starred Nicolas Cage as a reformed ex-con and Holly Hunter as his cop wife. They want to start a family, but Hunter’s character finds that she can’t have children, and due to Cage’s character’s past, they can’t adopt, so they’re stuck.

And then they see a furniture tycoon on the news who’s just had octuplets and decide to kidnap one of them. Things are great at first, but they become complicated when Cage returns to his life of crime by stealing diapers and a couple of his old criminal buddies break out of prison and come to stay. It’s a hysterical slapstick comedy.




8 Mandy (2018) – 90%

Available On Plex

The poster for Mandy (2018)

If you’re looking for a movie that will boggle your mind, rock you to your core, and feel like an acid trip, then look no further than Mandy. A couple are living a tranquil existence in a tranquil forest that is disrupted by a horrifying death cult and a demon biker gang, leading Cage on a violent path of revenge.

Between his rampant outbursts of violence, Cage shows real emotion in his character. It might be the weirdest movie you’ll ever see, but it’s nothing if not unique, and movies with fierce originality are few and far between in today’s Hollywood landscape.


7 Adaptation (2002) – 90%

Available On HBO Max

Nic Cage in Adaptation

Nicolas Cage plays dual roles spectacularly in Adaptation. When Charlie Kaufman was hired to write a movie based on The Orchid Thief, he couldn’t crack it, so he instead wrote a movie about his own struggles to adapt the novel. He also created his own fictional twin brother, Donald Kaufman, to be a much healthier, happier, less insecure, and ultimately more successful, albeit less creative screenwriter than himself.

Mainstream audiences won’t appreciate the debates about screenwriting theory and screenplay structure, but Cage is hilarious as both Kaufman brothers. Kaufman reteamed with Being John Malkovich director Spike Jonze for this equally weird head-trip.


6 Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (2018) – 91%

Available On HBO Max

A lifelong comic book fan, Nicolas Cage famously came close to playing the Man of Steel in a movie called Superman Lives. It was going to be directed by Tim Burton and written by Kevin Smith. However, for so many reasons that there’s a whole documentary about it, the movie was canceled by Warner Bros.

Cage eventually did get the chance to play Superman, albeit in a comical cameo appearance in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies. It’s a self-aware take on a film adaptation of a TV show that was far better received than the TV show it’s based on.


5 Face/Off (1997) – 92%

Available On Amazon Prime Video

An action movie starring John Travolta as an FBI agent and Nicolas Cage as the terrorist who killed his son as they switch faces might sound like a dreadful affair. However, in the hands of director John Woo, who leans into the absurdity of the premise, it’s actually a compelling cat-and-mouse thriller.

RELATED: 10 Best Nicolas Cage Movies, According To Ranker

When Cage is playing Travolta with Cage’s face, it’s fun to see him do his best John Travolta impression, and vice versa. As with all of Woo’s best movies, the action set pieces here are visceral, thrilling, and expertly crafted, both in the editing and in the choreography.


4 Moonstruck (1987) – 94%

Available On HBO Max

Cher in Moonstruck

Nicolas Cage starred alongside pop sensation Cher in this romantic comedy about a widowed woman who falls for her fiancé’s distant, angry younger brother. From that premise, it would sound like a harrowing drama, but make no mistake – this is a heartwarming Hollywood romcom if there ever was one.

It also won three of the six Academy Awards it was nominated for: Best Actress for Cher, Best Supporting Actress for Olympia Dukakis, and Best Original Screenplay. It was directed by Norman Jewison, the giant of cinema behind such classics as In the Heat of the Night and …And Justice for All.


3 Pig (2021) – 96%

Available On Hulu

Nicolas Cage stars as Robin “Rob” Feld in the 2021 drama movie Pig. Rob is a truffle hunter who has been living alone in the Oregon wilderness. When his beloved pig is stolen, he returns to Portland to track down the person who stole the pig.

The film was released theatrically in July 2021 and earned Cage high praise from critics for his performance. He went on to be nominated for his second Critics’ Choice Movie Awards for Best Actor.


2 Red Rock West (1994) – 97%

Available On Peacock

The little-seen neo-noir Red Rock West almost didn’t see the light of day (and it barely did, even then). Despite having its premiere at the revered Toronto International Film Festival and being showered with praise at that screening, the movie didn’t secure a theatrical release.

It was being primed for a direct-to-video release before a movie theater owner spotted it and liked it so much that he set it off on a tour of arthouse theaters. Nicolas Cage stars alongside Lara Flynn Boyle and the great Dennis Hopper in this contemporary western that veers between dark thriller and dark comedy.


1 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) – 97%

Available On Hulu

Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse Peni Parker Gwen Stacy Spider-Ham Miles Morales Peter Parker Noir

This dimension-hopping, web-slinging ‘toon beat both Pixar and Wes Anderson to the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature earlier this year. A number of interdimensional alternate versions of Spider-Man appear in the film. The one that Nicolas Cage plays is Spider-Man Noir, a black-and-white detective version of Spidey from the Depression era.

As a whole, the movie is a riveting superhero adventure with a beautiful animation style that looks more like a moving comic book than a cartoon, and its strong emotional core ensures that the gloss on the surface has something to capture. A sequel is eagerly anticipated by fans.

NEXT: 10 Amazing Roles Almost Played By Nicolas Cage, According To Ranker

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