With 77 and counting credits to his name, it is nothing less than a true challenge to pick the ten best roles Nicolas Cage has delivered. His career spans over 30 years and encapsulates performances that range from the truly bizarre to grounded and realistic. In popular culture, Cage has become the butt of many a joke—what with his unique style of acting, seeming inability to turn down a project, and penchant for buying ludicrous items including (but not limited to) dinosaur bones and castles. However, regardless of how his image is perceived, Nicolas Cage is an Academy Award winning actor who has worked with a variety of prolific filmmakers and has delivered more than a handful of great, nigh fantastic, performances; all things which command more than an ironic online following in mock worship form.
So, without further ado, Nicolas Cage’s 10 best performances:
10. Face/Off (1997) – Directed by John Woo
John Woo’s stylistic action film capably showcases Nicolas Cage’s scenery-devouring, absolutely-bonkers side as Castor Troy, a terrorist-for-hire with a love for peaches. In the course of the film, Troy’s face is swapped for that of John Travolta’s character, FBI agent Sean Archer—who has a personal vendetta against Castor Troy. With that, the roles switch seamlessly and, suddenly, Cage’s psychotic portrayal is handed off to Travolta (who also shows off his chops for playing an absolute lunatic), while Cage assumes Travolta’s decidedly more normal mannerisms. It is a unique role that allows for Cage to express two very different characters and a versatility unexpected in a film about shooting guns amongst clouds of doves in slow-motion while wearing another man’s face. In one scene, Cage is terrifying to the point of hilarity, and, suddenly, he is grief-stricken, scared, and completely vulnerable shortly after. It is certainly a sight to behold.