There’s no other actor like Nicolas Cage. For nearly four decades, he’s been a singular screen presence in his offbeat, distinctive performances. Here are 10 of the best Cage movies, from hits to hidden gems, to stream right now.
Update, 4/11/23: We’ve refreshed our guide with a new Nicolas Cage favorite and verified the rest of our links are working.
Color Out of Space
Lord of War
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
The Weather Man
Color Out of Space
Cult filmmaker Richard Stanley adapts H.P. Lovecraft’s classic short story of psychedelic horror, and Cage fits right in. He plays the patriarch of a family that encounters a mysterious meteorite on their rural property. The alien artifact infects the members of the family, causing strange behavior and hallucinations, and giving Cage and the rest of the actors the chance to cut loose. Stanley combines trippy imagery with the genuine terror of a family falling apart and turning on each other. The movie uses Cage’s signature freakouts in service of fully freaking the audience out.
Color Out of Space is streaming on AMC+ ($8.99 per month after a seven-day free trial) and Shudder ($5.99 per month after a seven-day free trial).
There are a lot of ridiculous Cage movies, but few are as entertainingly ridiculous as this revenge story about a man who literally escapes from hell. That’s Cage’s John Milton, who steals a gun from the devil and a vintage car from a waitress’ dirtbag fiancé. John and waitress Piper (Amber Heard) hit the road to take out the man who killed John’s daughter, while pursued by an agent from hell known as the Accountant (William Fichtner). It’s an entertainingly excessive combination of car chases and supernatural horror, with Cage gleefully leading the way.
Drive Angry is streaming on HBO Max ($9.99+ per month) and is available for digital purchase ($5.99+) and rental ($3.99) at Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, and other outlets.
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The height of Cage’s action-movie career is this gloriously absurd crime thriller from Hong Kong action legend John Woo. Cage stars as criminal mastermind Castor Troy, who’s being pursued by FBI agent Sean Archer (John Travolta). Thanks to a nonsensical experimental procedure, the two are able to switch faces, giving Cage and Travolta the chance to play each other’s characters. The actors fully embrace the ridiculousness of the story and their characters’ shifting identities, and Woo delivers stylized action that matches the delightfully over-the-top performances.
Face/Off is streaming on Amazon Prime Video ($8.99+ per month) and Paramount+ ($4.99+ per month after a seven-day free trial) and for free with ads on Pluto TV. It’s also available for digital purchase ($12.99+) or rental ($2.99+) from Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, and other digital outlets.
Lord of War
Sci-fi auteur Andrew Niccol takes on more present-day subject matter with this cynical dark comedy starring Cage as an illegal arms dealer. It’s a stylized take on a familiar underworld rise-and-fall story, held together by Cage’s world-weary narration as the main character. The movie covers a period of decades as Cage’s Yuri becomes more and more powerful, dealing with competitors, law enforcement, and a complicated personal life. Niccol delivers sharp social commentary alongside a complicated character study.
Lord of War is available for digital purchase ($7.99+) or rental ($3.99) from Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, and other digital outlets.
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A rare comedic movie from director Ridley Scott, Matchstick Men is a lively, underrated con-artist story with satisfying plot twists. Cage and Sam Rockwell play a pair of grifters whose lives and criminal operations are thrown into chaos after the arrival of the long-lost daughter of Cage’s character. Roy (Cage) bonds with the teenage Angela (Alison Lohman), teaching her the tricks of the trade and emerging from his state of anxiety and emotional paralysis as he discovers fatherhood. Cage brings sensitivity and humor to the role, and he has appealing chemistry with the alternately snarky and sweet Lohman.
Matchstick Men is streaming for free with ads on Tubi and is available for digital purchase ($9.99+) and rental ($2.99+) at Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, and other digital outlets.
Cher won an Oscar for her performance as widowed Italian-American accountant Loretta Castorini, whose life is upended when she falls in love at first sight with her fiancé’s brother. Cage’s eccentric, passionate performance as Ronny, the moody, one-handed baker who falls equally hard for Loretta, matches Cher’s energy perfectly. They make for an unlikely but somehow perfect duo, an off-kilter pairing in this off-kilter movie that’s sweet, funny, romantic, and completely weird. It’s a crazy meditation on the craziness of love, and Cage embodies that fully.
Moonstruck is available for digital purchase ($6.99+) and rental ($2.99+) at Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, and other digital outlets.
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For many, this acclaimed 2021 release is the movie that served as a reminder of Cage’s genuine acting skills. He’s mostly subdued and contemplative as a retired superstar chef who now lives an ascetic life in a cabin in the woods outside Portland, Oregon. Cage’s Rob Feld spends his time harvesting truffles with the help of his trusty pig, but when that pig is kidnapped, he reluctantly returns to the world he left behind, to seek vengeance. Writer-director Michael Sarnoski turns that somewhat absurd concept into a quiet, powerful meditation on loss and the things that truly matter in life.
Pig is streaming on Hulu ($7.99+ per month after a 30-day free trial) and for free via local libraries on Kanopy.
There are several Cage movies set in his adopted hometown of Las Vegas, including the Oscar-winning Leaving Las Vegas and the hit comedy Honeymoon in Vegas, but this heist thriller is the stealth MVP of that group. Cage and Elijah Wood make for a surprisingly effective team as a pair of corrupt cops who take the residents of an apartment hostage so they can drill through the floor to a drug dealer’s safe below. Of course, things don’t go according to plan, and filmmakers Alex and Ben Brewer build tension and danger within a single confined setting for nearly the entire movie.
The Trust is streaming for free with ads on Pluto TV, Tubi, and Vudu. It’s also available for digital purchase ($5.99+) and rental ($3.99) at Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, and other digital outlets.
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The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Cage clearly has fun riffing on his own persona as he plays a fictionalized version of himself. The movie’s Cage is contemplating an end to his career when he’s offered $1 million to travel to Majorca for the birthday party of a wealthy fan (Pedro Pascal). Once he arrives, Cage discovers that his fan is connected to an arms-dealing ring, and Cage is recruited by the CIA to help take the operation down. Director and co-writer Tom Gormican mixes self-referential comedy with fast-paced action, and Cage and Pascal have great chemistry as a pair of weirdos who bond over their shared movie geekery.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is streaming on Starz ($8.99 per month after a seven-day free trial).
The Weather Man
Cage tones down his energy for this darkly funny, melancholy film about a depressed TV weather personality. Director Gore Verbinski, better known for flashy blockbusters like the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, brings his flair for striking visuals to this small-scale story about a self-sabotaging guy who feels inadequate no matter how outwardly successful he becomes. Cage delivers sardonic narration as his character trudges through life, always in the shadow of someone more respected or likable than he is. He puts a wry spin on the script’s pessimistic observations about life.
The Weather Man is streaming for free via local libraries on Kanopy and is available for digital purchase ($9.99+) and rental ($2.99+) at Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, and other digital outlets.
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