Nicolas Cage’s Most Underappreciated Roles

Nicolas Cage is one of those actors that everyone used to really love, but then he fell out of fashion and everyone sort of stopped paying attention to him. If you’re one of those people, here are some hidden gems from his oeuvre that prove, without hyperbole, that he is one of the greatest actors of our generation.

1. Johnny Blaze in “Ghost Rider”

What made him so great?

2007’s film adaptation of the “Ghost Rider” was a fun, over-the-top take on the books, and Nicolas Cage delivered exactly that type of performance. Was it cheesy? Sometimes. But it was just what was required from him.

2. John Koestler in “Knowing”

What made him so great?

Because of the way the movie was presented in ads before the release, not many people gave “Knowing” a chance, but it was actually one of the most memorable science fiction films released in recent memory, and that is due in part to Nicolas Cage’s haunting performance.

3. Milton in “Drive Angry 3D”

What made him so great?

He escapes form Hell at the beginning, shoots a bunch of dudes while having sex with a waitress, and then at the end, he blows a dude’s head off and drinks beer out of the skull. What about that doesn’t sound awesome?

4. Terence Mcdonagh in “Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans”

What made him so great?

Not many people have heard of “Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans,” but it was actually directed by Werner Herzog, and stars a lot of big-named actors.

If that isn’t enough for you, Roger Ebert said of his performance:

He’s a fearless actor. He doesn’t care if you think he goes over the top. If a film calls for it, he will crawl to the top hand over hand with bleeding fingernails.

6. Charlie And Donald Kaufman In “Adaptation”

What made him so great?

I’ll once again defer to Roger Ebert, who wrote of Cage’s portrayal of Charlie Kaufman:

There are often lists of the great living male movie stars: De Niro, Nicholson and Pacino, usually. How often do you see the name of Nicolas Cage? He should always be up there. He’s daring and fearless in his choice of roles, and unafraid to crawl out on a limb, saw it off and remain suspended in air. No one else can project inner trembling so effectively…. He always seems so earnest. However improbable his character, he never winks at the audience. He is committed to the character with every atom and plays him as if he were him.

8. Castor Troy and Sean Archer in “Face/Off”

What made him so great?

There are not many actors our there that have the range to play two entirely different characters with disparate moralities and personalities. (I mean, other than John Travolta, I guess.) Nicolas Cage pulls it off very convincingly.

9. Behmen in “Season of the Witch”

What made him so great?

Here’s a thought that will blow your mind: “Drive Angry 3D” and “Season of the Witch” came out in the SAME YEAR. Nicolas Cage has the versatility to go from being a motorcycle-ridin’, demon-killin’ badass from Hell to a rakish, medieval knight… all in one year. Brilliant.

10. Edward Malus in “Wicker Man”

What made him so great?

When you look up “acting” in the dictionary, it should just play the above clip from “Wicker Man.”

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