Born in California in 1964, Nicolas Cage began his rise to fame when he stared in ‘Valley Girl’ and ‘Rumble Fish’ in 1983. Films like these and later Moonstruck in 1983 launched Cage into the public eye.
Since then, he has starred or featured in sixty one movies to date with another seven being announced or in production. Cage has been the centre of some weird and wacky accusations ranging from his intense and literal method acting to a naked man breaking into his house to eat a fudgsicle and most recently the civil war photograph that led to him being labelled a hundred year old vampire. (An accusation he met with trademark stoicism)
To celebrate the upcoming release of Justice on DVD and Blu-Ray on 26 March, courtesy of Momentum Pictures, and in honour of the enigmatic man himself, we have compiled a personal and chronological list of Nicolas Cage’s top ten movies performances.
-Moonstruck - Ronny Cammareri (1983)
Cher co-stars in this older generation romantic comedy about a woman in Brooklyn who falls in love with her fiancé’s brother. Cage plays estranged younger brother Ronny Cammareri, an Italian-American baker with a prosthetic hand and a chip on his shoulder.
An unlikely romantic lead in this case, yet Cher and Cage’s on screen chemistry leads to memorable and hilarious performances in this cult classic.
Best quote Ronny: I love you Loretta: (slaps him twice) Snap out of it!!
- Con Air - Cameron Poe (1997)
Cameron Poe, a highly decorated United States Army Ranger, kills a man accidentally during a drunken brawl and finds himself in jail. Seven years later he is released, but to get home he has to take a flight with some of the country’s most dangerous criminals.
What follows is an attempted hijacking with plans to escape the country. It then comes down to Cameron to rescue the plane and get it back down to the ground, whilst playing along with the criminals.
Best Quote Cameron: Put... the bunny... back... in the box
- Face/Off - Castor Troy/Sean Archer (1997)
This movie saw Cage play one character, but with two faces. Confused? Cage plays Sean Archer, a detective reeling from the death of his son at the hands of Castor Troy (played by John Travolta). After a fight, Troy is knocked unconscious, but not before planting a bomb that will destroy LA.
Archer’s only hope to save the day is to have Troy’s face scientifically transplanted onto his own to allow him to get the details from Troy’s brother in prison. However, Troy awakens again whilst this is happening and demands the Dr transplants Archer’s face onto his, before setting about destroying Archer’s life. This dual personality role allows Cage to show off both his gentle and manic sides alike.
Best Quote Castor Troy: It's like looking in a mirror... Only...not.
- City Of Angels - Seth (1998)
Inspired by the modern classic ‘Wings of Desire’, this film focuses on Seth, an Angel who watches over LA. One evening he meets Maggie (Meg Ryan), a heart surgeon who has just lost a patient and reveals himself to her.
As they begin to meet regularly, Seth realises he must make an incredibly difficult decision and choose between becoming mortal for a short while and be with Maggie, or stay eternal and alone forever. The many faces of Nicolas Cage are exemplified further as our hero takes a romantic turn in this nineties tear jerker.
Best Quote: Seth: I would rather have had one breath of her hair, one kiss of her mouth, one touch of her hand, than eternity without it. One.
- Gone in Sixty Seconds - Memphis Raines (2000)
Arguably one of Cage’s best films, Gone in Sixty Seconds sees Nic playing ex car thief Randall ‘Memphis’ Raines. Memphis thinks his days of petty crime are behind him until his brother Kip (Giovanni Ribisi) pulls him back in to clean up his mess.
In order to settle his brother’s debt to big bad broker Raymond Calitri (Christopher Ecclestone), Raines has to steal 50 exotic cars and have them on a container ship by 8AM five days later.
With Calitri and his bruisers threatening their lives and a vigilant police unit on their backs, Memphis pulls out all the stops to achieve the impossible. Starring opposite Angelina Jolie, in this action thrill ride, a very blonde Nicolas Cage has us on the edge of our seats.
Best Quote: Calitri: Am I an asshole? Do I look like an asshole? Memphis: Yeah.
- Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Captain Antonio Corelli (2001)
In 1941, at the height of World War Two, Greece is ruthlessly conquered by the Germans. On one remote island, an Italian artillery garrison is sent to maintain order.
Cage plays Captain Antonio Corelli, a soldier who spends his time forming relations with the locals by engaging in light-hearted music festivals and event courting the beautiful daughter of a local doctor (Penelope Cruz). These new bonds are pushed to the limit in when Italy surrenders, and Corelli’s idyllic Greek island comes under attack by the very army who sent Antonio and his men out there.
Best Quote: Corelli: I have always found something in life worth singing about, and for that I cannot apologize
- National Treasure - Ben Gates (2004)
Nic goes all tomb raider in this family adventure series as Benjamin Franklin Gates, a history fanatic descended from a long line of maverick treasure seekers.
Ben seeks a war chest hidden by the founding fathers of America during the revolutionary war, but soon picks up unwanted attention from the FBI and competitor hunters. With an all star cast including Diane Kruger, Sean Bean, Harvey Keitel, Christopher Plummer and Jon Voight, it’s no wonder Disney commissioned two more films in this successful series.
Best Quote: Ben Gates: If there's something wrong, those who have the ability to take action have the responsibility to take action
- Ghost Rider - Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider (2007)
Another film series now, about to release its long awaited sequel. Our protagonist is stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze (Cage). When Johnny discovers his father is dying of cancer he makes a deal with the devilish Mephistopheles (Peter Fonda) to sell his soul in exchange for his father’s health. Years later, Mephistopheles calls in his debt.
A dual role again, Cage gets to play both Blaze and his satanic alter ego ‘Ghost Rider’, a vengeful construct of Mephistopheles who works to release Johnny from his human contract with the devil. Proving he can play the bad boy, Cage goes dark in this entry with some entirely awesome motorcycle stunts to boot.
Best Quote: Caretaker: You all right? Johnny: Yeah, I'm good. I feel like my skull is on fire, but I'm good.
- Kick-Ass - Big Daddy (2010)
A supporting role this time, in one of the most successful films of that year, Cage plays vigilante superhero ‘Big Daddy’, an ex cop who fights side by side with his young daughter, alter ego ‘Hit Girl’ (Chloe Moretz) to battle the scurge of evil.
Damon Macready by day, super sleuth crime fighter by night, Big Daddy is a force to be reckoned with. With a secret, personal vendetta against the gang-lord (Mark Strong) who killed his wife while he was in prison.
Suited suited up in spandex clobber eerily reminiscent of an early Batman, Big Daddy ultimately bites the bullet in a hectic and emotional fight scene, by being burnt to death by thugs. His death is avenged by the lethal skill and kamikaze bravery of his daughter.
Best Quote: Damon Macready: Mindy, no more homework, Babydoll. Time for Frank D'Amico to go bye-bye.
- Justice - Will Gerard (2011)
Inner city High School teacher Will Gerard is content with life, until one night’s horrific events turn his world upside down when his wife Laura is left for dead after being violently attacked.
Whilst waiting anxiously in hospital, he is approached by a well dressed man who offers to dispense immediate justice to the attacker and save the couple from a traumatic trial.
Confused and distraught, Will accepts the proposal and is soon pulled into an underground vigilante organisation that leads to frightening and dangerous consequences. Soon he learns that justice comes at a price..Starring Guy Pearce and January Jones, this latest heart-pounding action thriller outs Cage at his best.
Best Quote: Will: Nobody said anything in the agreement about killing anyone... so get the hell out of my life!
Justice is released on Blu-Ray and DVD on 26 March, courtesy of Momentum Pictures (c) 2012 Momentum Pictures. An Alliance Film Company.
Tagged in Angelina Jolie Cher Diane Kruger Ghost Rider Guy Pearce John Travolta Jon Voight Justice Meg Ryan Nicolas Cage Sean Bean Penelope Cruz Kick Ass January Jones Christopher Plummer Mark Strong Chloe Moretz