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The Biggest Nicolas Cage Movies Of All Time

Nicolas Cage's acting career is full of ups and downs. The screen veteran got the acting bug in his teens and immediately approached his famous uncle — director Francis Ford Coppola — for a shot at stardom. To avoid any hints of nepotism, Cage changed his famous last name and ventured down a versatile path to success. His early work included quirky roles in Peggy Sue Got Married, and Raising Arizona. He struck gold and solidified his leading man status playing opposite Cher in Moonstruck and won an Academy Award for his role in the dark drama Leaving Las Vegas

After his big win, Cage became a box office star. Films like Face/Off, Gone in 60 Seconds, and Con Air made millions around the globe, and garnered Cage the type of success every actor dreams of. While his career has recently taken a down turn into direct-to-digital movies not too many people have even heard of, Cage still has some huge box-office hits on his resume.

No. 5 National Treasure

National Treasure exploded onto the screen in 2004, introducing audiences to Benjamin Gates — a historian who races against time and a crooked group of mercenaries — to find the treasure of the Knights Templar. Gates is from a long line of treasure hunters who will stop at nothing to solve any mystery; his search for clues even leads to brazen acts like stealing the Declaration of Independence. Gates outwits the FBI and the rogue group he was once a part of with his trusted sidekick Riley (Justin Bartha), and his intellectual match Abigail (Diane Kruger). 

In real life, Cage went on his own National Treasure-style adventure — or "grail quest" — as he told The New York Times in 2019. Though no treasure was found, the trip took Cage to several countries. Critics reviews of the movie were mixed, with some making note of the lackluster attempts to hop on the zeal of movies like The DaVinci Code, while others compared it to the 1980s hit, Raiders of the Lost Ark. Needless to say, National Treasure smashed the box office when it premiered, pulling in over $300 million worldwide, according to The Numbers.

No. 4 The Rock

The late Sean Connery teamed up with Nicolas Cage for Michael Bay's 1996 blockbuster, The Rock. Connery's character, long-imprisoned British spy John Patrick Mason, is a master escape artist who'd managed to break out of the former prison on Alcatraz Island. Because of his superb understanding of the notorious prison, the FBI pulls Mason out of prison to assist with a high-stakes operation. Cage plays anxious chemical weapons expert Stanley Goodspeed, who gets linked up with Mason and a squad of Navy SEALs to bring down a rogue military group threatening to release nerve gas on San Francisco. The group has set up operations in Alcatraz and it's up to Mason and Goodspeed to stop them. 

Up until the premiere of The Rock, audiences hadn't seen Cage in action movies. On DVD commentary for the movie (via Film School Rejects), Cage took his quirky label as a challenge to show he could carry an action movie. His challenge paid off, as the movie raked in more than $335 million worldwide (via The Numbers).

No. 3 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is an animated fantasy that takes the Spider-Man story on a wild ride. The movie takes audiences on a journey with Brooklyn teen Miles Morales and initially follows the same elements of the Spidey origin story. Miles is accidentally bitten by a radioactive spider and gains strange new abilities. The story quickly takes a major turn when Miles gets help with his skills from Peter Parker, and ends up watching him be killed by a villain named Kingpin (Liev Schreiber). Miles' universe is turned upside down when different dimensions open, and the other versions of Spider-Man show up to help him. Cage voices the character Spider-Man Noir — a black and white classic, gangster-style Spider-Man —  who teams up with the other dimensional heroes to fight the Kingpin and the rest of the bad guys. 

The unique story smashed the box-office, taking in over $370 million worldwide — according to The Numbers — and was so action-packed, fans definitely wanted more. The Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse sequel is eyeing a 2022 release date.

No. 2 National Treasure: Book of Secrets

Not long after the success of the original National Treasure movie, Walt Disney Pictures released the sequel that saw Benjamin Gates once again on the hunt to solve an ancient mystery. Following the format of some familial connection to the adventures, Gates goes on a journey to prove his great-great grandfather had nothing to do with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Gates teams up with his friends and parents to locate a lost city of gold before a sinister treasure hunter gets there first. In one harrowing scene Gates lures the president of the United States into a tunnel under Mount Vernon, in an attempt to uncover the national secrets that will unlock clues to the mystery. 

According to The Numbers, the sequel made over $450 million worldwide. However, the studio had a hard time getting a third movie off the ground. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer has spoken about a possible revival of the film (via SyFy), and a series, for the Disney+ platform.

No. 1 The Croods

Cage lent his voice to the 2013 animated blockbuster The Croods, voicing the character Grug, the prehistoric family man who must lead his primitive family through unfamiliar terrain after their cave is destroyed. Grug is very set in his ways when it comes to order, routine, and his attachment to the family cave. Keeping an eye on his curious daughter, Eep (Emma Stone), becomes a challenge when a mysterious boy shows up and shakes up Grug's strict ideals. Having never seen much of the Earth beyond the cave, Grug is forced to accept that the world has dramatically changed around him, and he needs to catch up if he's going to survive. 

In a 2013 Variety article, Cage talked about the work that goes into an animated movie. "The truth is, it's really a great test: how deep is your ability to access your imagination?" he said, "It's a great way to stay in shape as a film performer." The DreamWorks movie has made more than $570 million worldwide (via The Numbers), and the studio released a less-successful sequel in 2020.