His Best Movies From the ’90s, Ranked

Nicolas Cage is a national treasure. He’s one of the hardest working people in Hollywood with more than 98 film credits to his name. Many of those movies have been critically panned but his latest movie, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, has received a rare 100% ranking on Rotten Tomatoes and is garnering significant positive reviews for Cage’s performance. In the film, Nic Cage plays Nick Cage, an actor who is unsatisfied with his career and is also on the brink of financial ruin. Cage accepts a $ 1 million offer from a wealthy fan to make an appearance at his birthday party. Of course, things take a turn for the unexpected when Cage is recruited by the CIA for a mission only he can fulfill. Along the way, Cage the character channels Cage the actor’s most iconic characters to save himself and the people he loves.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is set for release on April 15, 2022, and we’re not gonna lie – it sounds freaking awesome. Another awesome thing that happened was Cage taking part in an Ask Me Anything forum on Reddit that took a turn for the unexpected in that it was completely wholesome, and the quirky actor came across as thoughtful, considerate, self-aware, and appreciative of his fans – which was unexpected. During the AMA, Cage was asked, “If only 3 of your films could be preserved for posterity, which 3 would you choose? “He answered “Bringing Out the Dead, Pig, and Leaving Las Vegas. ” Cage was also asked about the possibility of a Face / Off sequel. He’s very much on board with the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčthat.

Three of those aforementioned films came out in the ’90s, an excellent decade for Cage, with some of his best films. Let’s take a look at some classic films from Nic Cage’s career in the 1990s.

8 Bringing Out the Dead

Nic Cage in yellow light drives an ambulance in Bringing Out the Dead
Paramount Pictures

1999’s Bringing Out the Dead starred Cage as a depressed paramedic who begins hallucinating that the patients he lost are actually alive. One of the things Cage does best is play a depressed character with manic tendencies, and he’s at the top of his game in this, one of the best Martin Scorsese films and the last one the director has made with Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull) so far. Patricia Arquette and John Goodman also give stellar performances in this dark dramedy with some of the best needle drops of the ’90s.

7 Wild At Heart

Nic Cage dances sensually with Laura Dern in Wlld at Heart
The Samuel Goldwyn Company

In 1990, Cage starred in Wild at Heart from director David Lynch based on the novel of the same name. Cage played Sailor Ripley and Laura Dern played Lula Pace Fortune, a couple from Cape Fear, North Carolina who go on the run from the gangsters Lula’s mother (Diane Ladd) hired to kill Sailor. The film was a box office flop despite winning the Palme d’Or at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival. In the decades since its release, Wild at Heart has been re-evaluated and received a more positive analysis, with emphasis on Cage’s wild Elvis impersonation and Willem Dafoe’s absolutely disturbing performance.

6 It Could Happen to You

Bridget Fonda and Nicolas Cage in It could happen to you.
TriStar Pictures

The 1994 film It Could Happen to You starred Cage as a New York City police officer who is short on cash and offers to share his lottery winnings with his waitress at a diner (played by Bridget Fonda) if he wins. That ticket turns out to be a $ 2 million winner much to the chagrin of Cage’s onscreen wife (played by Rosie Perez). Cage’s character, Charlie Lang, is kind and generous, and loves being a cop. His wife Muriel is materialistic, greedy, selfish, and believes she deserves a better life.

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Fonda is excellent as the waitress Yvonne, who recently filed for bankruptcy because her ex-husband Eddie ran up $ 12,000 on her credit card without her permission. The characters interact in a delightful way in this charming movie about the lottery, luck, and kindness. The film was inspired by a real-life story from 1984.

5 The Rock

Nicolas Cage with arms spread holding signaling torches in The Rock
Good Vista Pictures Distribution

In 1996, director Michael Bay unleashed Nic Cage and The Rock on the world. Cage played an FBI chemist who teamed up with a former SAS officer and the only man to escape Alcatraz, played by Sean Connery, to break into prison to free tourists who’ve been taken hostage. The terrorists are comprised of a rogue group of Marines who are threatening to launch rockets filled with nerve gas on San Francisco unless $ 100 million is paid to the relatives of 83 men who were killed on missions the Pentagon denied happened. The film is an explosive blast, and probably Bay’s best.

4 Con Air

Nic Cage running away from an explosion in a wife beater in Con Air
Good Vista Pictures Distribution

In 1997’s Con Air, Cage plays Cameron Poe, a former Army Ranger who served prison time for accidentally killing a man who tried to rape his wife Tricia (Monica Potter). He’s part of a group of prisoners being transported via aircraft. The prisoners take the aircraft over and Cage’s character has to go along with the ruse and just try to get home to his wife and daughter alive.

Needless to say, Cage’s character saves the day by landing the plane on the Las Vegas Strip, apprehending the criminals, and meeting his daughter for the first time. The film is filled to the brim with great actors (John Cusack, Steve Buscemi, John Malkovich, Ving Rhames), and is a rare opportunity of Cage playing the ‘straight man’ and the most relatively normal person in the group.

3 Honeymoon in Vegas

The wedding scene in Honeymoon in Vegas
Columbia Pictures

In 1992, the very underrated Honeymoon in Vegas hit theaters. In it, Cage plays a bachelor who made a deathbed promise to his mom to never get married, much to the chagrin of his longtime girlfriend played by Sarah Jessica Parker. The two decide to elope to Las Vegas, but before they can take their walk down the aisle to wedded bliss, Cage first loses Parker in a fixed poker game. See, Parker looks like James Caan’s late wife, and he’s quite taken with her.

RELATED: These Are the Best Movies Set in Las Vegas, Nevada

When Cage gets a troop of skydiving Elvis impersonators involved, he gets Parker back from Caan, and they presumably go on to live happily ever after. The film continues Cage’s fascination with Elvis and is some of the most light-hearted, funny work he’s done.

2 Face / Off

Nic Cage and John Travolta on either side of a wall in Face Off
Paramount Pictures

In 1997, John Woo directed Face / Off starring Nic Cage and John Travolta; Cage played terrorist Castor Troy while Travolta played FBI agent Sean Archer. When Troy’s plane crashes and severely injures him, Archer gets the bright idea to have surgery to replace his face with Troy’s in order to infiltrate his criminal network for information. When Troy wakes up from his coma, he forces the doctor to put Archer’s face on him, resulting in a movie where each actor essentially impersonates the other. Cage is pure manic brilliance in this movie, which should be a disaster but is surprisingly an action masterpiece.

1 Leaving Las Vegas

Nicolas Cage in the liquor aisle in Leaving Las Vegas
MGM / United Artists

In 1995, Nicolas Cage turned into one of the finest performances of his career in Mike Figgis’ Leaving Las Vegas. In fact, Cage won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as a suicidal alcoholic who moves to Las Vegas in order to drink himself to death after losing both his family and his job. Once in Vegas, he meets and befriends a prostitute named Sera (Elisabeth Shue) who, despite the best of intentions, cannot save Cage’s character from himself.

Nic Cage puts his hands together for a greeting on an island in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

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