Top 18 Nicolas Cage Roles

After The Sorcerer's Apprentice made a somewhat disappointing $42 million in its first ten days of release, we thought it might be interesting to turn our attention to Nicolas Cage's past roles. Here are our 18 favorite Nicolas Cage roles:

18. Edward Malus, The Wicker Man
17. Smokey, Rumble Fish
16. Michael Williams, Red Rock West
15. Jack Singer, Honeymoon In Vegas
14. Sailor Ripley, Wild At Heart
13. Jack Campbell, The Family Man
12. David Spritz, The Weather Man
11. Damon Macready/Big Daddy, Kick-Ass
10. Castor Troy/Sean Archer, Face/Off
9. Charlie Kaufman/Donald Kaufman, Adaptation
8. Peter Loew, Vampire's Kiss
7. Ben Gates, National Treasure

6. Dr. Stanley Goodspeed, The Rock
I have a couple of friends who both respect my taste in movies up to a point--and that point is any film in which either Michael Bay or Jerry Bruckheimer is involved. That makes the fact that I enjoy The Rock so thoroughly a total mystery to them. But what other people think about the movies I like doesn't matter to me. I actually put The Rock in my top 10 action movies of all time. And a lot of that is due to Nick Cage's character, Dr. Stanley Goodspeed.

Goodspeed is the antithesis of your average, everyday action hero. He's a brilliant scientist, but he's really just a lab rat. Sure, he's more than willing to save the world--but from his lab, not from the middle of an escalating conflict on Alcatraz. The fact that Goodspeed is dragged kicking and screaming into the conflict and that he's such a fish out of water is what helps to ground the movie--which is saying something. The thing my friends don't like about Bruckheimer and Bay is that their films are really over-the-top, and The Rock is no exception. The apocalyptic car chase near the beginning of the movie is typical of the unbelievable action sequences that are common in their movies. But things like that are offset by the fact that you're pulling for this every-guy Goodspeed from beginning to end. He doesn't want to be in the midst of this mess...and he's so dorky and likable that you can't help but root for him.

One other thing about The Rock that stands out for me is that it contains my personal favorite Nicholas Cage line of all time--and that's saying something. Raising Arizona has TONS of great lines, so you'd think one of those would top my personal charts. But no.

"You broke out, let me see if I can get this straight, down the incinerator chute, on the mine car, through the tunnels to the power plant, under the steam engine--that was really cool by the way--and into the cistern through the intake pipe. But how in the name of Zeus's BUTTHOLE did you get out of your cell? I only ask because in our current situation, well, it could prove to be useful information. Maybe!"

My buddies would probably say lines that contain the words "Zeus's butthole" are just another immature hallmark of a Bay/Bruckheimer film. But that little outburst totally cracks me up. Every time. --Dave

5. Ronny Cammareri, Moonstruck
"Loretta, I love you. Not like they told you love is, and I didn't know this either, but love don't make things nice - it ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren't here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and die. The storybooks are bullshit. Now I want you to come upstairs with me and get in my bed!"

So says Nicolas Cage's character, Ronny Cammareri in Moonstruck, my favorite role of his to date. There's something about Ronny, with his wife beater, hooked hand and jaded outlook that's very appealing (along with his youthful good looks and full head of hair), and his onscreen chemistry with Cher is electric. Although he comes off as brash at first and a bit rough around the edges, Ronny's a big softie underneath - he loves opera and his brother's fiancee - and he just can't stop until he gets what he wants. There's more than an ounce of truth to what he says to Loretta about love - we aren't here to make things perfect. We're here to love each other, make a mess of things (falling in love with your brother's fiancee seems to work well) and then work it out in an Italian kitchen over a bottle of wine.

And if that's not amore, I don't know what is. --Mamatulip

4. Cameron Poe, Con Air
What doesn't this film have? Big stars: Cage, Cusack, Malkovich, Rhames, Buscemi and even Dave Chappelle, bitch! Big explosions and big explosions filmed in slo-mo from every angle imaginable. Big adrenaline rushes, one after another, to the point where it's hard to distinguish where one ends and one begins. Big hair: that mullet Cage is sporting should have its own credit for crissakes. Now, where was I? Oh, yeah. What doesn't this film have? Cohesiveness. Honestly, I'm pretty sure some guys were sitting around a bar drinking Bud drafts, throwing around every possible movie cliché, action flick contrivance, and outlandish plot device they could possibly think of when one said, "This could work!" And thus was born Con Air.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you. I like big, mindless action flicks as much as the next testosterone-fueled guy. I'm pretty sure I've professed an unhealthy love of Armageddon in one or two tweets somewhere. But to throw everything - not one, but two scene stealing baddies, a creepy Lecteresque serial killer, heroic good guy done wrong by the "system," flamboyant over-the-top gay con, Vegas, and enough explosions to make Michael Bay or Jerry Bruckheimer blush - well, you might have gone too far. I did say "might." Too far might have been Will Smith as some hot shot fighter pilot... oh, wait, nevermind.

Like I said, there is nothing wrong with any of that. Not one thing. It's the perfect veg on the couch movie when you don't want to be challenged. That being said, I recently added it to my Instant Watch queue on Netflix because I need to watch it again. I think that mullet actually has a few lines. Which, in this movie, might actually make sense. "Dude! That's awesome! The mullet talks to him. Write that down! Suh-weet. This movie is gonna kill." --Mr. Big Dubya

3. Ben Sanderson, Leaving Las Vegas
I think the perfect lighthearted Sunday afternoon movie watching experience has to be Leaving Las Vegas. What movie says "end your weekend on a high note and get back to work and be productive" more than a tragic love story about a hooker an alcoholic drinking himself to death.

Nothing, I say. Nothing.

I think I had a much stronger constitution 15 years ago when Leaving Las Vegas was released. Back then I could watch a movie like this and be moved by the story and the performances simply based on the merit of both but I watched it again to refresh my memory and I feel totally depressed now. This is not the movie to be watching if you are developing a full-on Sunday afternoon panic attack, it will just make things worse. Trust me. But if you are looking to watch a great movie with a gritty storyline and excellent acting and you are not afraid to feel uncomfortable, then hunker down. But I wouldn't grab a bottle of wine - it won't help you to get through this one.

All kidding aside, and by kidding I mean my personal neurosis about how depressing this movie was, it was also a defining moment in Nicolas Cage's career. It takes a tremendous amount of talent to take a character like Ben and make him likable. If we don't like Ben then this movie would have failed miserably. As awful and tragic as Ben is, Nicolas Cage still captures his humanness and makes him someone we understand, making his desire to drink himself to death almost acceptable, and as hopeless as he is at times humorous.

My favorite scene: when Ben is in line at the bank waiting to cash his check recording the monologue about how the teller could be of real use to him. Perfect. --A Vapid Blonde

2. Randy, Valley Girl
"Julie's cool. Randy's hot. She's from the Valley. He's not." That line, taken from the film's trailer, sums it up perfectly. Valley Girl is a basically Romeo And Juliet with some extra likes and totallys in the prose.

Cage's character, Randy, is a Hollywood gutter punk who crashes a party and meets Julie, a prim and proper Valley girl. Despite his exterior, Randy is cool, somewhat detached, but sweet. They immediately fall for each other. And then the Montagues and Capulets rear their ugly heads. Or in this case, Julie and Randy's friends. Julie's friends threaten to cut ties with her if she doesn't break up with Randy.

During the film's pivotal prom scene (which is where 95% of all '80s teenage movies ended), Randy punches out Tommy, Julie's snotty, conceited, Valley Boyfriend, steals his limo and his girl, and takes them both back to Tommy's hotel room. SCORE!

This is such a great movie: Nicolas Cage at his best; Deborah Foreman, who played Julie and later went on to the awesome dual role of Muffy and Buffy St. John in April Fool's Day; Elizabeth Daily's breasts; Julie's father, who I thought was played by Sonny Bono; Tommy, the conceited blond jerk ex-boyfriend (all ex-boyfriends from '80s flicks were blond, conceited jerks); and one of the best soundtracks EVER. I saw this movie on what seemed like an endless loop on HBO when I was 14. I loved Nicolas Cage's character, someone so cool and so different from me and anyone I knew. It was my introduction to Nicolas Cage, who is one of the best actors of his generation.--Chag

1. H.I. McDunnough, Raising Arizona
"Edwina's insides were a rocky place where my seed could find no purchase."

With that line, spoken in a slow as molasses Southern drawl, Nicolas Cage's character H.I. McDounnough left an indelible mark on movies.

There is no question that in a career built out of playing quirky characters, Cage's best role came early. You can't imagine Raising Arizona with any other actor. In the Cohen Brothers' second film, Cage made his quirky looks even quirkier with the bushy mustache and wild hair. But he brings heart and depth to a character that so easily could have been broad caricature in anyone else's hands.

In Raising Arizona, Nicolas Cage erased the weird, almost grating turn in Peggy Sue Got Married and proved to an audience of moviegoers that he was a different kind of movie star.

Although he's had a lot of memorable roles since then, none has matched this one. --Daddy Geek Boy

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We showed you ours, now show us yours. What's your favorite Nicolas Cage role?

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